The Federal Government has been urged to encourage a Bill at the national, state and local government levels that will incorporate the contents and framework of the 2003 UNESCO Convention on the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in Nigeria.
This was contained in a Communiqué issued at the end of a 3-day Intensive Capacity Building Workshop on the Domestication of the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) and stated that this is necessary because Nigeria has a rich depository of ICH elements.
The participants at the workshop asserted that such a Bill will legalize all cultural policies and programmes by the federal, state and local governments, cultural agencies, communities, media and civil organizations.
It added that when these cultural heritages are fully exploited, they have the potential of attracting, not only international assistance and recognition to the country, but also repositioning Nigeria globally in the comity of nations, within the framework of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
To further add force to the safeguarding efforts of ICH, the participants resolved that: “The translation of the 2003 Convention into Nigerian indigenous languages is recommended in order to achieve the indigenous people’s rights, interests as right holders, and the recognition of language as a legitimate vehicle of ICH. That the workshop recognized the existence of a National Committee on Oral and Intangible Cultural Heritage but called for immediate review of the membership of the Committee to include representatives of all relevant stakeholders such as parastatals of the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, NGOs, as well as the Media. That there is urgent need for sensitization and awareness creation workshops for policy/decision makers on Intangible Cultural Heritage, in Nigeria.’’
The workshop, which was jointly organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), took place at the Bridge Waters Hotel, Enugu, Enugu State, from June 1 – 3, 2011, with stakeholders in the cultural sector in attendance.