NCMM DG visits Osun Osogbo Grove, commends staff, partners

by Araayo Akande

Director-General of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), Professor Abba Isa Tijani has commended partners and staff of the Commission for helping to keep the Osun Osogbo Grove in pristine condition.
The Osun Osogbo Grove is one of the two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Nigeria and is maintained by the NCMM with support from organisations including the Adunni Olorisha Trust (AOT).
Speaking after an inspection of the Grove on Thursday, Tijani, a professor of museology and anthropology at the University of Maiduguri appointed in August, expressed happiness with the state of the heritage site.
He said, “In terms of the preservation and care, I’m impressed because I’ve gone round. I can see that almost everything is in good shape, well preserved. And that’s because of the hardworking staff of the Grove under the NCMM in partnership with NGOs and the traditional institution.”
Tijani disclosed that he would seek to replicate the cooperation between the NCMM, AOT and others during his tenure because of the government’s lean resources.
“This kind of cooperation is what I’m going to pursue during my time because the government’s resources are not enough to look over 50 museums across the country and over 65 monuments and sites. The little resources we have cannot go round; it cannot even take care of what we are doing at the headquarters. So, I’m looking for a partnership with the private sector, and we have started.”
The DG added that he would also be collaborating with banks to showcase the nation’s artefacts to the public.
“We want to partner with the banks because they have large customers that visit them. We want a situation where we can partner with them; we can have an exhibition area within the banking halls and the ATM areas so that people can have access to our collections. They will be able to see, appreciate and learn from our rich history and culture. Many don’t have the opportunity to visit museums, so we want to take the museum to them,” Tijani added.
The former acting director of UNIMAID’s Centre for the Study of Cultural Sustainability also reiterated his commitment to staff welfare. He said “One of the most important components in any museum is the staff. We say that we have priceless collections in our care, but I think the most priceless in the museum is the staff. First, we have to take care of them. They have to be in good shape, have the encouragement, the incentives and the confidence for them to work in the museum. Once their welfare is addressed, they will take care of the objects. They will be able to interpret the objects, and display them in a way that will communicate, pass a message to our visitors. Staff welfare is uppermost in my mind, and I want to work with them directly. Any member of staff can call me directly if they have suggestions or have any issues.”
Professor Tijani also assured of continuous cooperation with the AOT, dedicated to preserving the UNESCO site.
“We appreciate your contribution, your effort in preserving and protecting our cultural heritage. Please continue so that our people would benefit from it. I do look forward to working and partnering with you. I appreciate your effort,” he said.

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