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By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun, the wife of Ogun State Governor, Mr. Dapo Abiodun, has accused the foreign manufacturers of killing the local Adire fabric industry with the support of Nigerian middlemen.

According to her, these manufacturers mass-produce the fabric to sell it at low prices in the country, which makes it difficult for local producers to compete with them, causing many people to abandon the trade.

Speaking at the just-concluded Adire Market Week in Abeokuta, the state capital, she called on relevant regulators across the country to urgently address the problem of intellectual theft that plagues the industry, especially by those she called “counterfeiters”. Adire fabric” because “the unfair practice of counterfeiting has a negative impact on the industry”.

“Foreign manufacturers, aided by Nigerian intermediaries, take original, handmade Adire designs from Nigeria, mass-produce them, and then sell them at low prices in Nigerian markets across the country.

“The effect of this is that the makers of genuine Adire are never able to compete with the cheap print alternatives.

“An industry that employs tens of thousands of Nigerians across the value chain faces a dilemma. While many have scaled back production, others have considered giving up the craft altogether, even though it has been in their family for generations,” Ms Abiodun said.

The Governor’s wife took the opportunity to congratulate Ecobank Nigeria for supporting the event, organized by her office in collaboration with the Ajose Foundation.

She explained that the Adire Market Week aims to build on the achievements of the successful launch of adireogun.com, promote financial inclusion for women-owned businesses, improve the state’s tourism potential and to further assist Ogun State to continue setting the pace as the world capital of Adire.

Speaking on the initiative, Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria, Mr. Bolaji Lawal, said the bank identifies Adire as a key driver of tourism, culture and creative industry and that supporting the industry will enhance the empowerment of youth, women, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and other business communities in Ogun State.

Represented by the Bank Branch Manager, Mrs. Nike Kolawole, the head of the bank said that Ecobank will continue to support women in Ogun State and Nigeria, especially the local indigenous women who produce the cloth Adire so that they continue to prosper.

“Ecobank will be by your side and we will always be here to provide you with the support you need to succeed,” he said.

More than 100 exhibitors, as well as the works of traders, fashion designers, models and other players in the Adire sector, were exhibited at the show. The event also attracted the wives of some governors, women dignitaries, fashion entrepreneurs, politicians, business leaders and senior executives.