By Mohammed Mohammed
The Director-General (DG) of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), Prof. Abba Isa Tijani, has expressed strong desire to collaborate with the Ecological Project Office (EPO) to tackle the ecological challenges threatening Nigeria’s 2 World Heritages sites of Sukur Cultural Landscape in Adawama State and that of Osun Oshogbo Grove in Osun State as well as other national monuments across the country.
Tijani, disclosed this during a courtesy visit to the Permanent Secretary, Ecological Project Office, Mr. Shehu Ibrahim, at EPO’s Headquarters in Abuja.
He said the activities of illegal mining and encroachment around the Osun Oshogbo Grove, have contributed to the erosion menace in the area and polluted the revered water that worshippers believe has spiritual healing powers.
The Director-General said: “We have challenges in managing our museums and monuments because of encroachments and infringements.”
According to him, failure to maintain them would deny Nigeria the opportunity to enlist them internationally as heritage sites, citing that of Kano City Wall as a case in point.
In his request, he added: ”I wish to bring to your attention, that due to the peculiar nature of the Commission as well as the economic value of these sites to the nation, there is need to ensure sustainability of the ecosystem for both tourism and employment generation.”
He disclosed that Nigeria presently has 2 world heritage sites enlisted by the UNESCO World Heritage list, 53 National Museums, 65 declared National Monuments and 108 proposed National Monuments nationwide.
The EPO boss, in his response commended the DG for his enthusiasm and commitment to ensuring the preservation of the Heritage sites and monuments and the drive to retrieve some stolen artifacts back to the country in recent times has yielded positive results as some are being returned.
He added that the Office is always willing to partner with relevant agencies to address ecological problems in the country.
Ibrahim, explained that the office concentrates its interventions in areas that will impact communities. According to him, “We usually concentrate more on interventions in areas that will really impact lives in communities where they are located.”.
The Permanent Secretary advised the commission to expand its collaboration beyond EPO for a more comprehensive intervention in other problem areas while it should make specific request that relates to EPO Interventions. ‘’Do individual request, we will try to assess them to see the one that falls within our mandate’’, he said.
Signed: Ugoma Nnorom, ACEO (Information)
For: DD (Press & PR).