The United State (U.S.) says it is committed to preserving Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage and diversity.
The Acting U.S. Consul General, Mr Brand Hudspeth said this at the Ancient Rock Art of Nigeria Exhibition Launch Programme at the National Museum on Thursday night in Lagos.
He said the U.S. would ensure that the relationship between both countries remained deepened and strong.
“Everyone here knows about the depth of the relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. as the former is our strong political and democratic partner in the African continent.
“Through the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, the U.S. government awarded a grant for the preservation of rock art in Cross River and Jigawa to ensure its conservation through proper documentation and the provision of basic infrastructure.
“With this exhibition, we believe this will help showcase the importance of preserving Nigerian rock art and also serve as an opportunity to deepen our relationship and ties with Nigeria,” he said.
He noted that public engagement space project was being built at the museum to serve as an educational tool for the public.
“There is a public engagement space that is been established by the entrance of the museum and we believe it will be ready by May or June.
“The importance of this cannot be overemphasised as this will serve as an educational tool for the public, especially children who come around to the museum,” he said.
Prof. Abba Tijani, Director General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments noted that collaboration remained an essential tool to strengthening the cultural heritage of the country.
He noted that the major challenges facing museums across the country was lack of documentation and display of cultural heritage.
“I want to emphasise on the need for continuous collaboration becaus it is the key to preserving our cultural heritage and also to provide an enabling environment for our young scholars to learn about our culture and also to attract more visitors to our museum.
“The major challenges we have in our museums across the country is lack of proper documentation and display of our cultural heritage but this has opened windows of opportunities to put that in order.
“We can go into many of our stores and pick up items we want without any problems because we have been able to address the challenges through collaboration and this is important for any museum around the world,” he said.
He expressed gratitude to the U.S. for their partnership and commitment to cultural preservation of the country.
Mr David Coulson, Chairman, Trust for African Rock Art (TARA) noted that the exhibition would help raise awareness on the importance of preserving Nigerian rock art.
He noted that Nigerian rock remained a cultural treasure at risk which must be addressed with immediate action.
Prof. Kabiru Bala, Vice Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, commended the exhibition, noting that it would help in enlighten people living near rock sites on the importance of rocks. (NAN)