The Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Mallam Ado Muhammed Yahuza has called on the Benue State Governor, His Excellency, Dr. Samuel Ortom to ensure there is continued support towards safeguarding the mechanisms of Kwagh-Hir Theatre in the State.

Yahuza made this call on Thursday, April 29, 2021 at the Benue State Government House, Makurdi while presenting UNESCO’S certificate of inscription of Kwagh-Hir puppetry theatre to the Deputy Governor of the State, Engr. Benson Abounu, who received the certificate on behalf of the State Government.

According to him, the inscription of Kwagh-Hir performance on UNESCO’S list has earned it international recognition and has made the Benue State Government a partner with UNESCO in the promotion of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The NICO ES said apart from the inscription of Kwagh-Hir Theatre on UNESCO’S World Heritage Map being a land mark achievement of the Institute towards the realisation of its mandate, it is  also a great privilege and honour for Nigeria as it is now a potential foreign exchange earner for the country.

His words “The benefits of this milestone achievement are not farfetched. Kwagh-Hir Theatre can now enjoy the support and protection of UNESCO. The inscription will also increase visibility for the element and at the same time, enhance the dignity and pride of the performing communities”.

He also expressed joy and satisfaction, saying NICO as the focal agency that coordinated the inscription exercise is highly elated to have been in possession of the certificate of inscription which he stressed is a mark of authenticity, hence the formal presentation and handing over to the state government.

Yahuza therefore expressed deep appreciation to the government and good people of Benue State, specifically the Tiv community who are bearers of Kwagh-Hir theatrical performance for their unalloyed cooperation throughout the inscription exercise.

The inscription of Kwagh-Hir Theatre was adopted on December, 12, 2019 at the 14th session of the Inter-governmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage held in Bogota, Colombia, making it the 5th of Nigeria’s inscription on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage

The four (4) inscriptions before now are: Oral Heritage of Gelede (2008); Ifa Divination System (2008); Ijele Masquerade (2009); and Argungu International Fishing Festival (2016)

Caleb Nor

Media Asst.-ES