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UNESCO warns against trafficking of cultural artifacts

11 July 2014, 19:20

Abuja -  The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) on Tuesday warned against the risk of losing the cultural heritage of the country to trafficking of cultural artifacts.

Ayanwale Olayanju, who is the UNESCO National Programme Officer on Culture, said in Abuja that Nigeria culture was beginning to lose its value.

Olayanju said that the intangible cultural practices such as dance, music and language were also at risk as they have become more exposed to modern global culture.

According to him, these cultural values should be preserved to strengthen the country’s culture.

Olayanju stressed the need for the Federal Government to domesticate conventions that would help Nigeria in safeguarding its artifacts.

He said that it was government’s responsibility to put in place strategies that would lead to the recovery of stolen artifacts and build up the cultural sector of the country.

He said that preserving the country’s culture was every Nigerian’s responsibility, but the bulk of the work should be in the hands of the government.

"Nigeria recently recovered some stolen artifacts made of terra cotta from France through the Nigerian immigration and police. Although, it is a collective responsibility, but government must do what it takes by domesticating the convention that will preserve the country’s works.The convention is a political commitment from government to address the issue of stolen artifacts.’’  he said.

"This convention has to be backed by strict legislation, rules and regulations, which should not only be implemented, but enforced,’’ he added.

Olayanju called on government to develop the creative industry for the development of cultural expressions that would strengthen the sustainability of Nigeria’s culture.


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