The National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, came into existence as a result of a joint initiative of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), during the World Decade for Cultural Development Programme (WDCD) (1988-1997). WDCD emphasized the need for culture to be brought to the fore in the development of nations.
The Institute was subsequently established by Decree No. 93 of 1993, with the primary responsibility of promoting positive cultural values and harnessing culture for national development, as enunciated in the 1988 Cultural Policy for Nigeria.
NICO has the mandate of effecting a sense of cultural direction and relationship to meet the challenges of social integration, unity, and peaceful co-existence for national development. This is pursued through inter-agency, inter-sectional and inter-disciplinary programmes and projects, and research and documentation of Nigeria’s arts and culture.