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SIGHTS & SOUND of the celebration of international Museum Day and International Day for Monuments and Sites held on Thursday, June 9, 2022 at NTA Arena, Area 11, Abuja

Nigeria’s rich cultural diversity was on display Thursday in Abuja, as the country joined the international community to celebrate the 2022 International Day for Museums, Monuments and Sites.

This year’s event with the themes, “The Power of Museums”, and “Heritage and Climate”, gave Nigerians the opportunity to renew their appreciation of the important role individuals and institutions play in safeguarding the nation’s vast cultural heritage collections for the benefit of future generations.

Speaking at the event, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed, said the event aimed to celebrate Museums across the globe and to raise public awareness on the pivotal role played by the protection and sustainability of our heritage Sites for cultural tourism and socio-economic development.

The Minister who was represented by Dr. Ifeoma Anyawutaku, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, noted that Nigeria is endowed with rich cultural diversity and values of different ethnicities and languages, which birthed multiple aesthetic heritage Sites and Monuments that it is proud of today.

“These Sites are natural, cultural, religious, historical, some are archeological, all depicting unique universal values. Our cultural heritage and Monuments are indeed our identity, they are our pride, our history, roots and cultural manifestations creating strong traditional networks and connecting us to our ancestral source.

“It is therefore our shared responsibility to make every effort to protect them from theft and during conflicts, for the sake of posterity and patrimony. I implore us to harness our individual creative abilities in an effective manner towards the protection and management of our various Sites”,

Alh. Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture,

According to him, Nigeria is collaborating with UNESCO convention state parties on global best practices and information sharing on applied time-tested monitoring, mitigation, and adaptation practices.

He said the nation’s strategic engagement with traditional institutions, indigenous communities, security agencies foreign bodies, and other relevant stakeholders had resulted in the safe return of the Benin artifacts from Museums across Europe.

“This has continued to strengthen the drive of our Museums to foster unity through its collection and exhibitions while promoting self-reliance through its vocational skills acquisition programs,’’ Mohammed said.

Speaking earlier, the Director General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), Prof. Abba Isa Tijani, said the celebrations were combined to accentuate the importance of our cultural consciousness, promoting awareness about the vulnerability of the world’s diverse Monuments and heritage Sites and efforts required to protect and conserve them.

“The Commission foresees a future of collaboration where we use assets of the past to fashion out a new commitment and educate the populace towards sustainable Monuments conservation and Museum practices”, he enthused.

Prof. Abba Isa Tijani, the Director General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM),

Speaking on how the commission is adapting to and mitigating climate change which has drastically increased over time, he said it periodically reviews and updates its strategies to mitigate against any threat to the National Monuments and Sites.

“Given the different impacts of climate change on the declared and proposed National Monuments/ heritage properties, the Commission, in-spite of very limited resources has remained resolute in its task of ensuring that these National Monuments and Sites continue to remain stable in the face of the uncertainties of climate change.

“NCMM partners with International bodies involved in heritage management to infuse the application of modern technology and knowledge in the preparation and implementation of heritage management strategies across Nigeria” he noted.

Prof. Abba Isa Tijani, the Director General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM),

Tijani said that the commission had also carried out restoration works on some national monuments such as Chief Odo Nwokolo House in Ukehe, Enugu State, and Chief Ochie Kalu House, Ndi Okereke Abam, Abia State.

“Others are first Tin Mining Beacon at Tilden Fulani in Bauchi State, Chief Okoroji House, Arochukwu, Abia State and Deji Akure Palace, Akure, Ondo state,’’ he said.

While remarks were made by special guests present, such as the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria, Nigeria Police, Nigeria Customs Service and others, cultural dances and special presentations were on display to thrill the audience.

“Nigeria has a lot of beautiful sites and monuments and museums.

“Three years ago, I visited a museum in Kano with a lot of artistic works in there and I was impressed.

“I think we can work together to preserve and to develop the museum and make more people know Nigeria and make Nigeria the cradle for African civilization.

“We can jointly organize general events, we can work with the National Commission for Museums and Monuments and such institutes in Nigeria to work together.’’

“Secondly, I think we can promote the artists, museum experts and workers to visit each other’s countries to promote the People to People exchange and we can strengthen the capacity building.

“Organise Nigerian people to go to China. Both countries can work together to set up mechanisms to promote the development of our traditions.

Mr Li Xuda, the Director, China Cultural Center, Abuja,

Story picked from NCMM, The Sight News, NNN, PM News, AIT, ITV

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