Stories by JOHNMARK UKOKO
Wife of Ogun State Governor, Mrs Bamidele Abiodun, has condemned the activities of the counterfeiters and their foreign collaborators in the country, saying they are sabotaging the nation’s economy.
Abiodun said Adire fabric, which is produced mostly in Ogun State, was being massively counterfeited by some unpatriotic Nigerians with their foreign collaborators and that if not checked, it was capable of killing local producers and charged the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and other government agencies to tackle the menace.
Abiodun also pleaded with the agencies to address the issue of intellectual theft bedevilling the country, as she commended Ecobank Nigeria Limited for supporting the just concluded Adire market week, in Abeokuta, the state capital.
In her welcome address at the event, which was organised by her office in conjunction with the Ajose Foundation, noted that the unfair practice of counterfeiting was impacting negatively on the sector, adding that the situation had led to many people abandoning the trade.
“Foreign manufacturers, aided by Nigerian middlemen take away original, handmade Adire designed from Nigeria, mass produce them and sell them cheaply to Nigerian markets around the country. The effect of this is that makers of authentic Adire are unable to compete with the cheap print alternatives, The Trumpet gathered.
“An industry that employs thousands of Nigerians across the value chains is in dilemma, while many have cut back on production. Others have considered abandoning the trade altogether, even though it has been in their families for generations,” she said.
Abiodun explained that the Adire Market week was meant to build on the gains of the successful launch of the adireogun.com to promote financial inclusion for women-owned businesses, enhance the tourism potential in the state and to further help Ogun State continue to set the pace as the Adire capital of the world.
Speaking on the initiative, Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria, Bolaji Lawal, who was represented by Head of Agency Banking, Nike Kolawole, said the bank identifies Adire as a key driver of tourism, culture and the creative industry and that supporting the industry will further empower the youths, women, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and other businesses in Ogun State.
She stated that Ecobank would continue to support the women of Ogun State and Nigeria, particularly the indigenous local women who produce Adire fabric so that they would continue to flourish.
“Ecobank will stand by you and will always be there to give you the right support you need to succeed,” she said at the exhibition attended by over 100 exhibitors, traders, fashion designers, models and other players in the Adire industry.