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US, Nigeria Sign MoU On Cultural Preservation

 

The federal government and the United States of America on Thursday signed a memorandum of Understanding, MoU, on a cultural heritage preservation project in Adamawa State.

This was revealed that it has repatriated a total of 63 Benin bronzes taken from Nigeria since 2022.

The project involves the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy, Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, Zaria, the American University of Nigeria, Yola, Adamawa, the International Council on Monuments and Sites-Nigeria and the United States of America, under the implementation of the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation grant.

Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony in Abuja, Ambassador David Greene said: “We are so proud that, with our Nigerian partners, we have been able to preserve culturally significant art, sites, and other heritage items.”

The US Charge D’Affairs also added: “Our latest AFCP grant will support ICOMOS-Nigeria and its local partners to help preserve Sukur cultural heritage through infrastructure enhancements, revival of threatened traditional crafts, and documentation and preservation of the Sakun language.

“This will require a collaborative effort amongst each of your organisations, so I am proud and pleased to witness your signing today of the Memorandum of Understanding covering the planned project.”

The ambassador said further: “In 2021, the United States and Nigeria signed the bilateral Cultural Property Agreement. With that, we intensified joint efforts to identify, intercept, and repatriate looted, or other displaced cultural property and related heritage works.

“These efforts paved the way for the official transfer in October 2022 of twenty-two Benin bronzes back to Nigeria. I am pleased to report that since 2022, the number has grown, and now a total of 63 Benin bronzes have been successfully repatriated to Nigeria.”

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Minister of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy, Hannatu Musawa, said in her remarks that the project involves the conservation of the tangible and intangible heritage of Sukur Cultural landscape.

“The project aims at undertaking a two-year conservation and preservation work in the Sukur Cultural Landscape, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is regarded as a place of Outstanding Universal Values.

“The work also involves the conservation of the tangible and intangible heritage of Sukur Cultural Landscape, enhancing community capacity, strengthening local, national and international links and networks for conserving the site’s Outstanding Universal Values and buttressing the resilience of the Sukur community in the face of insurgency and climate change.”

Since 2001, $1.5 million has been granted for 14 projects spanning 21 states in Nigeria by the US Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation.

The US non-profit organisation CyArk received a $125,000 grant from the embassy in 2020 in order to digitally survey and photograph the Busanyin Shrine located within the Osun Osogbo Sacred Grove.

The goal of the most recent initiative is to record, preserve, and enhance the cultural legacy of Adamawa State’s Sukur UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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