The wife of Ogun State Governor, Bamidele Abiodun, has lamented the activities of counterfeiters of ‘adire’ fabric, calling on the relevant regulatory agencies in the country to urgently address the issue of intellectual theft bedeviling the industry.
This is just as she lauded Ecobank Nigeria for supporting the just concluded Adire Market Week which took place in Abeokuta, the state capital. Mrs. Abiodun in her welcome address at the event, which was organized by her office in conjunction with Ajose Foundation, noted that the unfair practice of counterfeiting is impacting the industry negatively with many people abandoning the trade.
According to her, “Foreign manufacturers, aided by Nigerian middlemen, carry off original, handmade adire designs from Nigeria, mass produce them and then sell them cheaply to Nigerian markets around the country. The effect of this is that makers of authentic adire are never able to compete with the cheap print alternatives. She added that “An industry that employs tens of thousands of Nigeria across the entire value chain 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.”
The First Lady 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, Ecobank Nigeria, Bolaji Lawal, 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 business communities within Ogun State.
Represented by Head of Agency Banking, Nike Kolawole, she stated that Ecobank will continue to stand by the women of Ogun State and Nigeria, particularly the indigenous local women who produce adire fabric, so that they continue to flourish. “Ecobank will stand by you and we will always be there to provide you the right support you need to succeed,” she said.
Over 100 exhibitors as well as the works of traders, fashion designers, models and other players in the adire industry were on display at the fair. The event also attracted wives of some governors, female dignitaries, fashion entrepreneurs, politicians, business leaders and corporate top shots.