The Coalition of Nigerian Entertainers has decried the inability of its members to access the N50 billion Creative Industry Loans being coordinated by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The Coalition, led by Ambassador Kenule Nwiya, registered their displeasure during their courtesy visit to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, in Abuja.
Nwiya said: “We want to express our displeasure over the manner in which the CBN has built a wall against the Creative Industry Practitioners.
“We are aware of the loan that is being coordinated by the CBN.
“We have been unable to access its, so we decided to come, pay our respects and hold discussions with stakeholders and see how to resolve the issue.”
Nwiya said the coalition had tried sending letters to draw the attention of the Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, towards the challenges in obtaining the loan but had not got any response.
He added: “They have been shying away from seeing us, so we have decided to come to the one man that we think and feel is accessible, to lay our complaints.
“We have observed the ease with which the agricultural loan and other loans are being accessed, but the creative industry loan has not been accessed.”
Nwiya questioned the alleged monetary policy press briefing claim of the CBN Governor that more than N50 billion has been accessed by the industry.
He said: “We went back to our people to ask all creative industry groups if they have accessed such loans and they all said they have not.
“So we decided to draw the attention of the Minister to help us talk to the CBN Governor to publish the names of all the creative industry practitioners that have accessed that loan.
“Then we will know that truly, our members have been able to access the loan.”
Nwiya, however, said the coalition will support all the peace initiatives of President Muhammadu Buhari to partner critical stakeholders for a peaceful nation.
He said: “We will continue to create awareness at the grassroots of the need of to remain peaceful to enhance the growth of our dear nation.
“We wish to have a critical partnership with the Federal Ministry of Justice, CBN, FIRS, TETfund, NNPC, etc to impact the grassroots.”
Responding, Abiodun Aikomo, Special Assistant to the President on Financial Crime and Compliance, who represented the Minister, advised the coalition to formally write and document their request with the Minister.
Aikomo said: “I note your concern about the loan that the CBN is championing, although we will not be able to speak about that because it’s obviously independent of the office of the Attorney General.
“I will pass on your requests as part of this report, but will counsel that you formally write to the Minister so that there will be a basis for him to engage with the CBN.
“It is a very serious issue that you have raised.
“If a loan was made available or created to help an industry, it spirals and has consequences on the overall economy.”
Aikomo said if the people who are meant to be beneficiaries claim that they are not benefitting, then it’s a serious matter that the Attorney General will be interested in pursuing.
He also appreciated the role that the group is playing in nation building, noting that development of a nation is a collective responsibility.
He said: “It is a collective task that everybody is involved in.
“Every society works like a system and a system works when all the components of the system play their distinct roles.”
The coalition presented a proposal for involvement of “celebrity aggressive campaign against COVID-19 and other social vices” to Malami.