Veteran actor, Lari Williams, yesterday lamented that he needed help from philanthropists because he was homeless and going blind.
“I have heard people say that the Lagos State or the Federal Government had given me a two-bedroom flat somewhere, it is all lies,” he said.
Williams told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that he was only conferred with a Member of the Federal Republic (MFR) honours by the government, without any cash backing.
The thespian told NAN that he was recently evicted from his three-bedroom apartment by the landlord, who told him that he needed to use the house for something else.
He expressed sadness at the hardship being experienced by veteran entertainers across the length and breadth of the nation, with no help in sight.
“We served this country and helped to build the entertainment sector that a lot of people are benefiting from today, but there is nothing for people like me to show for it.”
“Most of us are left unsung because of the kind of structure that is being run; we should be having benefits like the civil servants.”
“In other climes, artists live on government subventions and are structured in such a way that they earn from their creative works,” he said.
Williams added that government should carve out an enclave for entertainers to live and thrive.
“Nigerian cultural policy should be looked into so as to fashion out ways that can benefit the government and the practitioners.”
“The present government should be very careful in whom it will appoint as ministers, that it will send to the arts sector. We need hands-on individuals to be made ministers.”
“Government needs to have time for the creative sector so that it can have a voice, arts has been the unfortunate ministry. If it is well structured, then we can stop dying poor.”
“Look at Femi Robinson who played the second headmaster-character in the Village Headmaster: a Nigerian television drama, Dan Maraya Jos and others, they all died with nothing.”
“We are not handing over what we have in us to the next generations; because the room was not created for that,” he lamented.
Source: Guardian Newspaper