The Executive Secretary of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma has told Nigerians how he took the bold steps that culminated to a 3-Day Capacity-Building Workshop on the Domestication of the 2003 UNESCO Convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in Nigeria taking place in Enugu State.

He recalled that it was through a rapport he had with Ms Cecile Duvlle, the Secretary of ICH, UNESCO during an interactive meeting in Paris in February this 2011, hence the collaboration which UNESCO has with NICO in the workshop.

The NICO boss disclosed that he was motivated by the appointment of NICO as a coordinating agency on ICH matters in Nigeria, which made him engage in critical analysis of activities in the sector. His findings were that there was low level of awareness, inadequate sensitization and mobilization of stakeholders, and dearth of technical knowledge for the domestication on ICH in Nigeria.

The culture administrator stressed that with these reflecting at the last year inter-Governmental Committee on ICH in Nairobi, Kenya where there was no nomination from Nigeria and even entire Africa, even with our rich traditions, he resolved to take a concrete step to mobilize and sensitize as well as train stakeholders who are bearers of living heritage.

Noting that this will make them appreciate the principles and objectives of the Convention in order to maximize the benefits of Nigerian involvement, NICO boss added: “The workshop is also a platform to keep participants abreast with the principles and objectives of the Convention, strengthen and enhance their capacities and to acquire necessary knowledge and skills required for the identification and definition of ICH, drawing up of inventories and preparation of nomination files for inscription on the list.”

He said the necessity for this arose because as a state party to the Convention, “Nigeria has a responsibility to take necessary measures to ensure the safeguarding of the ICH present in its territory. I want to let the participants know that as managers of culture in your area, you are important stakeholders in the implementation process. So, you are required to mobilize support and highlight the importance of the Convention, as you will also train others who will be involved in driving the process. So, by the training you are all part of our National Network of Experts on ICH.”

Cultural dances and drama added to beauty of the workshop which was attended by dignitaries and stakeholders from the culture sector.

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