By John Ikani
No fewer than 65 monuments across Nigeria have met qualification requirements to be listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites.
This was made known by the Director-General of National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) Prof Abba Tijani at the ongoing 41st UNESCO General Conference in Paris, France.
Heritage Times gathered that Tijani is among the Nigerian delegation to the conference and he is in a team led by Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
What the Director-General said:
“We have a number of heritage sites that we want to propose for enlistment into the world heritage sites.
“We have 65 monuments at the moment and all of them are equally important.
“As you know, the process of enlistment into the world heritage site is cumbersome and requires financial wherewithal.
“We have to work towards having the fund to prepare their dozier and invite the necessary experts to come and assess the monuments before they can be considered for enlistment to world heritage site.”
Tijani said that Nigeria had only two UNESCO enlisted world heritage sites at the moment – the Osun Osogbo Cultural groove in Osun and the Sukur Cultural Landscape in Adamawa.
Speaking on a presentation earlier made by the Minister to the Cultural sector of UNESCO, Tijani said it centred on issues of repatriation of stolen artefacts from Nigeria.
He said efforts were being made by Nigeria in getting the cultural heritage that were stolen from the country.
“The minister made reference to a Nok Terracotta which was returned by France, the artefacts being repatriated by UK in Cambridge where we took possession of Okwukor Cockerel.
”He also made reference to Aberdeen Museum also in UK where we also received the stolen head of the Oba.
“These are all efforts that are being made as a result of UNESCO Convention of 1972 which mandates the return of illicit trafficked cultural property to be returned to their countries of origin,” he said.