Professor Hassana Alidou, the Regional Director, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), has said that fostering cultural diplomacy among countries would help Nigeria’s recovery of its stolen artifacts.
Alidou said this while speaking at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) forum in Abuja.
She said the role of the organisation in safeguarding cultural heritage and promoting the cultural and creative industries gave it the comparative advantage of providing platforms for dialogue.
“Really, Nigeria is doing very well in terms of promotion of its culture, cultural industry, looking at really expanding world heritage sites.
“But in terms of really taking away cultural artifacts, UNESCO is working diligently with Nigeria.
“Wherever there is cultural artifact which is displaced from its original country, we use cultural diplomacy to really bring back these cultural artifacts to its country of origin.
“And so, that, I think UNESCO and Nigeria are doing very well and we are continuing through dialogue.
“I think it’s something that does not happen overnight. It’s something that has to be established.“
Alidou said that the exclusion of the culture sector from mainstream government strategies and action plans had been a major challenge in the cultural sector.
According to her, the role of UNESCO makes it a catalyst for partnership, which can help promote the sector.
She said that it was the responsibility of UNESCO to promote intercultural dialogue, cultural diversity and protect illicit trafficking of cultural goods through a framework of repatriation.
“It has to be established that there is dialogue between country A and country B and a framework for repatriating.
“Because sometimes when you find an object, it is really repatriated into the country of origin.
“So it’s done in a way that both parties feel at ease because historically, they are contributing to really promoting world cultural heritage.
“So, Nigeria and UNESCO are working hand-in-hand in that particular area.“
She commended the Nigerian government for the way it had promoted its diverse cultures as well as its cultural industry.
She, however, appealed to the government to develop and expand Nigeria’s heritage sites so that they could be included on the world heritage list. (NAN)