Thursday, May 18, 2017 12:22 pm
As the world marks International Museum Day, Prof. Jonathan Aleru, Head of Department, Archaeology/Anthropology, University of Ibadan, has called for the maintenance of museums in Nigeria.
Aleru made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan.
He said that government should encourage museums to foster the tourism industry through promotion of various items of cultural and natural heritage.
The archaeologist urged stakeholders, especially those carrying out construction works, to desist from wanton destruction of items of cultural heritage.
He said that people should form the habit of protecting and preserving items of cultural heritage rather than destroying them.
Aleru noted that the items if well preserved and invested on, could boost the country’s economy and Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The head of department stressed the need to enlighten people about the need to preserve items of cultural heritage, saying they were capital assets that could give Nigeria more income than oil.
He said that in its efforts to promote cultural heritage, the department carried out archaeological investigations at Olusegun Obasanjo presidential library foundation in Abeokuta, where it discovered late stone-age site (rock shelter).
“Rock hollows were also discovered, the hollows are indicative of beginning of agriculture because they are used for grinding food items, they also indicate traditional weaving and dying.
“They can also be used for polishing arrow heads that are used in hunting, the moveable materials are presently here but when they complete Obasanjo museum the materials will be moved there,” he said.
According to him, the department also worked on Sungbo Eredo Rampant (an artwork) covering most of Ijebu land where they discovered charcoals dated to 6,000 years ago.
“Most times we use the research as field work for training the students; they also go with the lecturers who are assigned students of different levels.
“Also from the archaeology of Africa farming system research, we have been able to obtain information that has thrown light on ancient farming practices, especially from the Middle Belt.
“We have a new course in the department called Forensic Science where the use of scientific evidence in criminal investigations is practiced; we have students from Army and DSS,” he said.
He, however, emphasised that most terrorists destroy heritage sites and that security challenges occasioned by terrorist activities in different parts of the country was a major problem.