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Nigerian govt commends UNESCO’s role in repatriation of artifacts



The Federal Government has commended the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) for its intervention in the ongoing repatriation of stolen cultural artefacts.

This was stated on Thursday by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who gave appreciation at the ongoing 41st UNESCO General Conference in Paris, France.

According to the Minister, the intervention by the UN organ aided the repatriation of the cultural assets.

“I commend UNESCO on the emphasis on illicit trading and trafficking of cultural artefacts

“This is an area where the federal government has been most successful because, in recent times, we have been able to get our cultural artefacts back from Cambridge University and the University of Aberdeen.

“We have succeeded in letting countries like France return our terracotta head while we are also on the hot pursuit of the 1,130 Benin bronze heads from Germany,” he said.

The minister, on behalf of the Federal Government, also endorsed the 2022 to 2025 budget proposal of the Cultural Commission of UNESCO.

“The emphasis is largely on the areas of COVID-19 and the effects on the creative industry as well as the issue of illegal trafficking in cultural heritage.

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“I am glad to say that Nigeria is on course, because at the onset of the pandemic, the federal government through the ministry, set up a committee to look at its impact on the film, entertainment and music industry.

“I do not think any industry was more negatively affected by the pandemic than the creative industry because films, music entertainment and other related sectors were brought to a halt.

“UNESCO is therefore on course, and what we need is their support in training and capacity building as well as funding where necessary,” he said.

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