River-side shrine of the Osun Osogbo Grove
The National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) says Nigeria’s two Heritage Sites are being threatened by erosion as well as the activities of people involved in illegal excavation.
The commission identified the Sukur Cultural Landscape in Adamawa State and Osun Oshogbo Grove in Osun State as the Nation’s only monuments inscribed as United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) world heritage sites in 1999 and 2005, respectively.
The Director- General of NCMM, Professor Abba Isa Tijani said the commission, as a consequence, sought the support of the Ecological Project Office (EPO), office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to take urgent steps in remediating the heritage sites and other national monuments across the country.
Illegal mining and encroachment around the Osun Oshogbo Grove has worsened the erosion menace in the area and polluted the revered lake, believed to have spiritual healing powers, Professor Tijani told EPO Permanent Secretary, Mallam Shehu Ibrahim, during a courtesy visit.
He expressed worry that the commission had found it difficult to manage some museums and monuments due to encroachment and infringement.
Mallam Ibrahim commended NCMM for its doggedness in the preservation of the heritage sites, as well as its determination to retrieve Nigeria’s artefacts carted away to foreign lands.
He assured his guest that EPO would continue to collaborate with relevant agencies to address ecological problems in the country.
Aside from the two world heritage sites, Nigeria currently has 65 National Monuments and has commenced the process of declaring 101 historical sites as national monuments.
Writing by Godson Elekwachi; Editing by Oluwaseyi Ajibade and Tony Okerafor