Foundation seeks proper documentation of architectural monuments
The Àsà Heritage Africa Foundation has canvassed proper documentation of architectural monuments for effective management and conservation of heritage sites and listed historic structures in the country.
Chief Executive Officer and Trustee of the foundation, Dr. (Mrs.) Oluwatoyin Sogbesan, who spoke with The Guardian, yesterday in Lagos, commended the efforts of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), state governments, non-governmental organisations and ICOMOS Nigeria for facilitating the identification and protection of heritage sites across the country.
“We at Àsà Heritage Africa Foundation believe there is need for more positive work to be done in identifying, documenting, conserving and protecting heritage sites and structures.
“The NCMM, tasked with the identification and documentation of listed buildings, seem overwhelmed as many of the listed buildings are in a deplorable state and in need of restoration to bring them back to their original state,” she said.
Speaking further, she said: “Interestingly, protecting and preserving these listed monuments will require dedicated funding to be disbursed for periodic maintenance. With little or no attention given to the listed historic buildings, they are left to rot and await demolition, as they are perceived as not fit for habitation.”
“Their effective demolition is a loss to a database of national monuments and a threat to national history.
“History, we believe, is substantiated by the architectural structures in our national history and cultural heritage relations. It is to this end that we lament the demolition of Nigeria’s oldest court in February 2022.”
She said the State High Court on Igbosere Street is the oldest and most recognisable court building in the country, adding that it became a victim of the #EndSARS protest in October 2020, thus highlighting the many national heritages at risk of attack and neglect.
“There is, therefore, the need to protect another natural, structural and cultural heritage around the country,” she said and recommended the immediate publication of the full list of Nigeria’s listed buildings by the NCMM.
“The distribution of the list to all states, urban and town planning departments is to prevent illegal demolition and financial implication.
“We demand immediate documentation of all heritage sites and listed buildings in Nigeria according to states and a database established and made accessible to Nigerian experts in the field of Heritage & Culture for academic and non-academic purposes,” she added.