The U.S. on Tuesday in Abuja signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the provision of $125,000 grant to promote Nigeria’s rock art.
The project funded by the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation seeks to create awareness on importance of rock arts and ensure proper documentation, provision of basic infrastructure and its preservation.
The MoU was jointly signed by the U.S. Trust for African Rock Art (TARA), National Commission for Monuments and Museums (NCMM), University of Calabar (UNICAL) and Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria
The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Stuart Symington, said that the signing of the MoU marked a turning point for some of the rock art that Nigeria is endowed with.
“what we want to do is to make sure that the Nigeria’s patrimony and the extraordinary museum collections are cumulated by people who know everything about museums.
“This is to enable people see what has been done overtime; so that we can capture the whole of history about people and the society.
“We are celebrating something that unites Nigerians from Calabar to Zaria and beyond; we are not the first to be here and by God’s grace we will not be the last.
“By the time we are bound together in this planet, we stand the chance to make historical marks and that is what this cultural preservation is all about.”
Speaking, Mr. Abdulkerim Kadiri, Acting Director-General of NCMM, said that the MoU would boost interventions through partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
He said that such partnership meant to preserve the heritage monolith and other artifacts would further enhance the preservation of the nation’s cultural heritage.
According to him, the funding is apt because it is in line with the Federal Government’s 6 point agenda for diversification of the nation’s economy from crude oil and gas.
Kadiri said that “government is currently using revenues derived from oil and gas to diversify the economy into agriculture, solid minerals and tourism.
“NCMM being key player in the nation’s tourism sector is saddled with the responsibility of collecting, preserving and exhibiting our cultural heritage, tangible and intangible cultural assets which is our national patrimony.
“We do archeological excavations; we research into them and use them for educational purposes, entertain foreigners who visit our country, by so doing, we play key role in developing Nigeria’s tourism.”