By Michael Peter, The Sight News
Abuja: In its quest for economic diversification the Federal Government has expressed commitment to utilize Nigeria’s Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) as a veritable platform for socio-economic empowerment through the non-oil sector.
Speaking at the final stakeholders meeting on the Implementation of the 2003 Convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage held in Abuja, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed said the government acknowledges living heritage as a mainspring of cultural diversity and human creativity to sustainable development of the country through the effective implementation of the 2003 Convention for safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
You will recall that Nigeria had secured international assistance from UNESCO Japanese Fund in Trust to the tune of $300, 000.00 (Three Hundred Thousand Dollars) to implement the 2003 Convention for Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in Nigeria.
Three communities of Oyo, Bida and Calabar were engaged as pilot communities towards the project implementation.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Deaconess Grace Gekpe, the Minister commended the pilot communities for their hard active participation in translating the training they received on ICH inventorying to practical fieldwork, noting that in so doing, the communities have developed an inventory methodology and mechanism tailored to the needs of Nigeria.
He therefore charged them to continue to be torch bearers in promoting better visibility of intangible cultural heritage.
He also assured both the international and national facilitators as well as the independent evaluator that their observations and recommendations will be constructively followed up to ensure that their efforts are not in vain.
Also speaking at the meeting the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Sadanobu Kusaoke who was represented by Hideki Sakamoto, the First Secretary in the Embassy, tasked Nigeria as one of the biggest countries in Africa with a long history and cultural diversity, to preserve its cultural heritage for the future generation.
He expressed happiness over Nigeria’s show of commitment towards the actualization of the project, urging it to ensure that the the project is replicated in other areas.
Earlier, the UNESCO regional Director, Ydo Yao commended the government for creating an enabling environment for the implementation of the project.
Represented by the Senior Program Specialist, Saidou Sireh Jallow, the Regional Director urged the country to increase the number of sites and elements on the list to adequately represent its vast cultural heritage.