As a move to enhance the mining sector’s contribution to Nigeria’s economy by fostering domestic investment in the sector, the Federal Government in collaboration with the World Bank, assisted Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification (MinDiver) Project, has concluded plans to revive abandoned Ladi Kwali Training Centre in Suleja, Niger State.
iBrandTV gathered that the Nigerian N20 note was adorned with the picture of the famous potter Ladi Kwali and her works to showcase the importance Nigeria attaches to her exploits.
Also, in 1951, a famous British studio potter, Michael Cardew, was employed by the Federal Government as a pottery officer in the department of commerce and industry, he identified the unique qualities and exceptional potential of Abuja pottery.
However, in a chat with iBrandTV, Project Coordinator, MinDiver, Mr Salim Salaam, stated that the centre that was abandoned for over two decades would be revived to an international standard to serve as a heritage centre.
“The fund to revive the centre will be drawn from the 150 million dollars credit loan facility given by the World Bank to the Federal Government to enhance the mining sector.
“The project would be monitored and supervised by MinDiver.
“The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and the Niger State Government had drafted an MoU and it would be signed soon.
“The resuscitation of the centre was delayed due to boundary problem and encroachment of people into the centre.
“The World Bank insisted that all affected people must be resettled and agreement must be reached by both parties on the money that will be invested on the centre and how it will be run,” Salaam added.
The project coordinator said that the Niger State Government had settled affected people and both parties were preparing to meet to sign the MoU.
MinDiver is a World Bank assisted project under the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.
The overall objective of MinDiver project is to enhance the mining sector’s contribution to the economy by strengthening key Government institutions, improving information, infrastructure, knowledge and fostering domestic investment in the sector.
Historical fact on Ladi Kwali
Suleja in the early 1950s was a notable destination for the pottery industry in Nigeria and Africa.
Cardew selected the area (Abuja) for the establishment of a pottery training centre; the old Abuja, which was named Suleja following the creation of new Federal Capital Territory, is now the modern-day Niger.
Cardew’s exploits (founder of the centre), Ladi Dosei Kwali, Lami Toto, Kande Ushafa among others created a vibrant industry with numerous employees as well as its eminence as a tourist destination.
Kwali’s exploits through the centre earned her both local and international recognition with the British Government decorating her as Member of the British Empire in 1962.
In 1979, the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, honoured her with an Honorary Doctorate Degree. The honour has been described as unprecedented for a women potter without formal education.
Kwali had given lectures and demonstrations on her craft within the country and abroad.