The Federal Government has said it will continue to pay adequate attention to the restoration of cultural sites in Nigeria, especially those that have been identified as, “critical heritage sites” that must be restored in order to protect our history as a nation.

Honourable Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke was conveying the assurance of the President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan-led administration’s consideration for the culture and tourism sector, while delivering an address at the official opening of a 5-day workshop, organized by the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) at the Public Service Institute of Nigeria, Abuja-FCT, on Monday, 8th September, 2014 to train public officers on ways to manage cultural heritages during emergencies.

With the Workshop on the theme, “Capacity Building Programme for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in the Conflict Afflicted Zones of Nigeria,” is a tripartite collaboration between NCMM, Prince Claus Fund (PCF) for Culture and Development and the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property.

The Minister expressed Federal Government’s gratitude to what he called, “an act of solidarity,” saying the gesture is exceptional among the outpouring the Nigerian state has received from other nations since the advent of violence perpetrated by insurgents.

His words: “The uniqueness in the PCF gesture stems from the fact that virtually all forms of intervention and assistance coming from either individuals or groups including states have been focused on immediate humanitarian needs, theirs has come to cover an equally important aspect of human need that has unfortunately been neglected.”

Speaking earlier, the Director-General, NCMM, Alhaji Yusuf Abdallah Usman said there was no doubt that cultural heritage had received more than a fair share in the conflicts ravaging the country both from the direct and indirect destruction it suffers to the neglect it receives in both reportage and evaluation.

Abdallah, who said despite the fact that careful study had shown that both in its tangible and intangible form, cultural heritages have continued to contribute significantly towards conflict resolutions, regretted that the nation’s response to conflict pay more attention to human lives and materials in both salvation and rehabilitation.

Duke with some Culture ExecutiveWhile identifying ignorance on the part of policy makers and executors as factors responsible for the neglect and misplacement of priority, the NCMM boss however called on the government not to neglect the heritage aspect in its effort to resettle and rehabilitate affected people and communities.

Other Dignitaries present at the occasion were the Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, Executive Director, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Mrs. Dayo Keshi, Representative of the Chief of Army Staff, Colonel I. Garba as well as Representative of the Artistic Director, National Troupe, Mr. Godwin Uka.

Caleb Nor

Corporate Affairs Unit

NICO, Abuja