Nigeria joins global community to protect cultural heritage

Solomon Chung, Abu-Dhabi

The Nigerian government has joined the global community in a deliberate and strategic effort to protect cultural heritages across the world.

President Mohammadu Buhari said this on Friday at an international conference for the safeguarding of cultural heritage in conflict areas holding from 2nd to 3rd of December in Abu-Dhabi, the capital of United Arab Emirates.

The president also said that Nigeria stands to benefit from the project when eventually executed, especially in the North East and the Delta areas of the country.

President Mohammadu Buhari who was represented by the country’s Information and Culture Minister, Mr Lai Mohammed said it was high time the global community put a definite strategy to safeguard cultural heritages across the world, especially in conflict areas.

 “Considering some of our issues in this regard, Nigeria stands to benefit from it, especially with the insurgency in the North East where some cultural heritage where slightly affected. Once such funds are realized, Nigeria can benefit in diverse areas,” he said.

He added “Whenever conflict plays out, not only do the victims get affected, their cultural heritage also suffers.”

On her part, the Director General of the United Nation Scientific, Education and Cultural Education, Mrs. Irina Bokova said it was a significant fund raising project considering the alarming rate at which cultural heritages are being destroyed in conflict zones across the globe.

“We need better information sharing, capacity building and some other strategies to curb this menace. It is our strong opinion in UNESCO that creating such emergency funds to protect cultural heritage during conflict was a responsibility,” she said, adding that the world must regard such act as a war crime.

The representative of French President Mr. Jack Lang confirmed that the idea was to assist UNESCO which is an organization with a capacity to handle the menace but has limited resources to act.

He said at the moment the French Government has contributed the sum of $30 million to the fund raise, and is waiting for other nations as well as private partners.

The project is aimed at raising $100 million as a starting point with a view to deepen the purse with other nations as well as private partners and foundation expected to participate in the donation.