The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has disclosed that the Federal Government is planning to enlist more Nigerian sites on the World Heritage Sites list.
Mohammed disclosed this on Tuesday, December 17, after a tour of the Osun Osogbo Sacred Grove in Osun State.
The Osun Grove, inscribed in 2005, is one of Nigeria’s two world heritage sites with the other being the Sukur Cultural Landscape in Adamawa State.
“You will agree with me that this is indeed an extraordinary site, worthy of its declaration as a world heritage site,” the Minister noted while praising the grove.
Mohammed, who added that his visit was to renew national and global attention on the Osun Grove, disclosed that Nigeria is planning to enlist more sites as world heritage sites.
He said, “As you are aware, Nigeria has many veritable sites that meet the requirements of being declared World Heritage Sites. We are taking immediate steps to first enlist the sites on the Tentative List, after which they can be inscribed as World Heritage Sites.”
According to the Minister, the sites are the Ancient Kano City Walls, Brazilian Baracoon Museum/Point Of No Return in Badagry, and the forests in Oke-Igbo, Ile Oluji Axis of Ondo State, which was the inspiration for the late D. O. Fagunwa’s book, ‘Igbo Olodumare’.
The other two were the Gashaka-Gumti National Park, Nigeria’s largest national park located in the eastern provinces of Taraba and Adamawa close to the border with Cameroon and the Ogbunike Caves in Anambra State.
He explained that Nigeria’s recent election into the UNESCO World Heritage Committee would aid the government’s quest to enlist more Nigerian sites.
Mohammed said, “The fact that the General Assembly, comprising the entire 193 states parties, last month elected Nigeria into the UNESCO World Heritage Committee is a positive development for our quest to have more sites designated as World Heritage Sites. And we shall use our presence on this Committee to fight for the enlistment of many more sites from Nigeria into the World Heritage list because Nigeria is blessed with a lot of potential sites.”
He disclosed that he was planning a similar visit to the Sukur Cultural Landscape and warned land grabbers to steer clear of the Osun Grove.
“Let me use the opportunity of this visit to warn the land grabbers who are threatening the buffer zone around the Osun-Osogbo Grove, which is also a national monument. We will do whatever is possible within the law to keep encroachers at bay,” he said.