FG declares Azikiwe, Balewa’s tombs national monuments

The Federal Government has declared the tombs of Nigeria’s first Governor-General and President, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, first Nigerian Prime Minister, Tafawa Balewa; and Head of State, General Murtala Mohammed as national monuments.

Similarly, the first site where oil was discovered in Nigeria, in 1956; Oloibiri, in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, was also designated a national monument.

One hundred new sites comprise 19 architectural, 57 historical, 12 natural and five technological sites as well as seven wildlife/forest reserves, were identified by the federal government for classification as national monuments.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who disclosed this in Abuja, yesterday, while opening a one-day exhibition on the 100 proposed national monuments, said the initiative will enhance and consolidate the management and promotion of immovable cultural heritage in Nigeria.

Represented by the Deputy Director, Cultural Industries and Heritage, Mrs. Lizzy Ihiezue-Iwuamadi, the minister stated that the additional monuments will fill in the gaps in the categories of values and typologies of the nation’s monuments and heritage sites.

“By this addition, I am sure more diverse interest and values of different communities and socio-cultural groups are incorporated. I am hopeful that heritage management in Nigeria will get more impetus, especially through the inclusion and participation of local communities,” he stated.

In his remarks, Director General of National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), Mallam Yusuf Usman, said several heritage properties scattered across the communities have not been properly documented and used for societal development due to lack of knowledge, low appreciation and sometimes indoctrination or other negative tendencies.

Usman said the stakeholders’ sensitisation workshop organised in 2013 was the first step in the process of enlistment of national monuments.

He however, explained that not all the sites will be regarded as national monuments as some of them will be declared regional, state and local monuments, in order of significance and values.

The DG said the commission is willing to work with and encourage states and local governments to identify such sites and monuments for local declaration.

Daily Sun gathered that NCMM has, since inception, declared 65 properties national monuments; two of them-the Sukur Cultural landscape and Osun Osogbo Sacred Grove, which were listed as world heritage sites in 1999 and 2005, respectively.

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