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International Museum Day: Experts Call For Establishment of War Museum, Another Presidential Liberary

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By: Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta

Speakers at a Forum, organised to mark the “2017 International Museums Day” by the management of Olusegun Obasanjo presidential Library, called for the establishment of a National War Museum and another Presidential Library in the country.

They also called for the re-introduction of history into the school curriculum from the Primary to the University level.

The Speakers who included, Dr. Edet Abu Solomon of the University of Calabar, Dr. Philip Akpen, Mr. Martins Oloja of The Guardian and Mr. Ayodele Aderinwale, stressed that it was regrettable that due to the neglect history in the school curriculum, the young generation know very little able the Nigerian Civil war.

Others who spoke were, Mr. Chijioke Iwuamadi, lead speaker, Mrs. Constance Omawunmi Kola, Mr. Hamzart Lawal and Comrade Daminabo Alali Daniel.

The programme was organised by the management of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) for Primary and Secondary school students from various parts of the State. Video and audio clips on Civil war were played for the students.

Dr. Edet Abu Solomon in his keynote address insisted that Museum studies must form part of the school curricula at all levels of the country’s education system, “from Primary, Secondary and Tertiary.”

“It is the museums role in today’s society to promote public awareness by means of education with special emphasis on health, human welfare, climate change, environment food and education. The museum collections are there to build story lines and insight into the various human problems in Nigeria”, he stated.

Solomon added, “The role of the museum to develop news or disseminate information via exhibition and public awareness campaign on national pressing issues such as corruption, religious extremism and against the recreation of new Biafra will have great impact in the country’s sustainable growth.”

In his opinion, “While the battle against corruption, terrorism, kidnappings, theft and vandalism to Nigeria’s cultural property rages, there is need to revive the museum system. I am a strong proponent against the menace destroying our cultural resources, but at the same time I insist we should direct attention towards creating jobs, increasing revenue for the country and building our economic capacity as a whole using cultural resources”.

“The Government of the day has a duty to come up with policies that encourage enterprise, particularly in areas other than oil such as heritage entrepreneurship, cultural-tourism, eco-tourism and business-tourism and the incipient carnival tourism in Nigeria.”

“By mediating and expressing multiple points of view, museums play a role in peacefully addressing traumatic histories –while still sharing knowledge of the past and giving it meaning to help us understand the world today. Museums therefore become tools for teaching universal values and help create a common destiny among different, peaceful geopolitical spaces.”

Solomon affirmed, “In this kind of situation of general crisis in Nigeria, it would be indeed the role of the museum to engage in critical and reflective thinking on its role in illuminating the past, through interpretation, exhibition, promotion and propagation of the values of our national unity and those things that undermine the basis of our social.

According to him, “Developing Nigerian museums and cultural resources for economic benefit is inevitable because they can serve as investment vehicles.”

Solomon said it was noteworthy that past governments before President Muhammadu Buhari administration considered diversification of the museums, but none had so much urgency as the government and leadership of President Olusegun Obasanjo.

He recalled that as the then Military Head of State, Obasanjo signed the decree that established the former Department of Antiquities as a full fledge commission, known as “The National Commission for Museums and Monuments”, adding that Obasanjo’s resolve might have been fuelled by his knowledge arising from the establishment of Presidential Library whose bedrock is the establishment of museum galleries with high-tech information system, one of its kinds in Nigeria and Africa.

He commended Obasanjo for establishing the Presidential Library, saying “This strategic step would impact the economy in several ways, including increased tourism for Nigeria, as well as employment for locals through direct and indirect means.”

In his view, “Nigerian society is undergoing numerous social disorders such as political unrest, religious violence, and the failure of our social institutions to respond to the challenges Nigeria is facing. Museums can engage in the promotion of freedom and human dignity as primary social values by engaging in information dissemination and education of the general public on those values that make social cooperation possible.”

To tackle the economic dynamics in cultural resources, he suggested, “Moves must be initiated to see private players adopt the various entrepreneurial services required in the promotion of such identified resources in the bid to develop the museums and heritage industry. This could only be achieved if the venture of adoption is made profitable in itself to parties that would be involved in the process of the promotion of the resources for tourism”.

“Government,” Solomon pleaded, “Must develop and enact the right policies, sensitize both the public agencies and the private industries to be partakers, directly providing funding for the initiative and by protecting both public agencies, investments by private enterprises and the tourists. Other attendant in the development dynamics are security management, and training in tourism business.”

He called on the Federal government to ensure that “Security agents, the police, civil defence, customs and immigration services should be subjected to periodic refresher courses on the illegal trafficking and preservation of antiquities.”

His words, “The services of religious institutions should be amply utilized in educating the public on the imperative of preserving our cultural properties and not to destroy them”, adding, “The mass media should feature prominently in public enlightenment campaign programmes”.

Oloja urged the students to take Mathematics seriously in the course of their studies, explaining that.

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