Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau has assured participants of the 2020 National Festival for Arts and Culture (NAFEST) of safety and compliance to COVID-19 protocols.
Lalong gave the assurance during the grand performance of the 33rd edition of the festival, tagged, “Cultural Dynamism and Post COVID-19’’ in Jos.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NAFEST 2020 being hosted by Plateau would feature traditional board game, archery, indigenous fabrics competition, traditional cuisine competition and children’s essay competition.
He urged the visitors to feel comfortable, enjoy the hospitality and conducive weather of the state, saying they would be protected, with no infection of COVID-19 as the festival would be memorable.
“You are free to enjoy the hospitality and accommodating nature of the people.The thing you will temper with the Plateau people is when you dabble into their culture and tradition,” he said.
The governor expressed confidence that the festival would be fun, entertaining, build lasting friendships and would set standard for subsequent editions.
He applauded various presentations by the cultural groups, especially the children, saying the festival was a platform to showcase their potential.
According to him, Plateau groomed many musical artists such as Tuface and PSquare, and is also a breeding ground of Nollywood.
“In sports we had the best from Plateau, in music we have artistes such as Tuface, PSquare, Also, Nollywood started with programmes such as Cock Crow at Dawn, a series that gave way to many productions,”he said.
Lalong said he was committed to restoring the glory of film production in the state through his peace efforts.
Earlier in his remarks, Segun Runsewe, Director-General, National Council of Arts and Culture,(NCAC), thanked the governor for hosting the event in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic impact on the economy.
Runsewe said that the state could be transformed to a tourist hub with the needed support from Lalong, while assuring participants of visits to tourist sites.
Also, the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, said the event was historic as it signified hope for progress after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
Tallen also commended the governor for promoting culture and bringing hope to the state.
She urged traditional leaders and youths to cooperate with Lalong on peace efforts, noting that the festival was a chance to foster unity for progress in the state and the country.
NAN reports that highlights of the event was the symbolic release of Doves for the restoration of peace in the state and other parts of the country.(NAN)