EDThe Honourable Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, High Chief Edem Duke, has challenged the entire Management of National Commission for Museums & Monuments (NCMM) and the museum communities to, as a matter of urgency, be more proactive than ever before so as to be in the forefront of giving the best interpretation to its collections and effectively bring out the real role played by museum collections in connecting people and not separating them.

Duke, who made this call while delivering his speech, Tuesday, 27 May, during the 2014 International Museums and Monuments Day commemoration held at Barcelona Hotel, Wuse II, Abuja, cited examples of some of Nigeria’s foremost heritage sites and monuments as not having relevant legal and administrative frameworks for their identification, protection and conservation and so cannot be accounted for, maintaining that, the Commission must create the necessary frameworks for them as part of its mandate.

Duke also enjoined all Museum professionals and stakeholders in the culture sector to spread the gospel of peace using the museums as points of reference, and that Management of National Commission for Museums & Monuments must contribute immensely to the restoration of family values, using the available collections, connections and heritage resources, bearing in mind the fact that the level of crime and terrorist activities in Nigeria were very much connected to the loss of family values.

Earlier, delivering the first lecture at the occasion, titled, “Heritage of Commemoration,” Chief Oluwole  Ajayi  of  the Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, said heritage commemoration dates back the 1st World War (1914-1918), during which period the Southern and Northern Protectorates were amalgamated to form the Nigerian nation and as such monuments and heritage sites of this nature should be protected and preserved to avoid their destruction or extinction; but that they should serve as reference materials on the history of Nigeria.

The second lecturer, Mr. Josiah A. Ozomah, a retired Assistant Director of National Commission for Museums & Monuments (NCMM), in his paper, titled, “Museum Collections Make Connections,” talked about the connections heritage collections can bring to given communities where they are found, museum where they are kept, research institutions working on the artefacts, the public and Nigeria, at large, saying such collections have links to all these groups for posterity.

Njideka Justina Dimgba

Corporate Affairs