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Culture advocate reinforces need to preserve heritage buildings, monuments



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Ms May Ikokwu, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Save Our Heritage Initiative (SOHI) and culture advocate, on Monday reinforced the need for the preservation of heritage buildings and monuments in Nigeria.

Ikokwu made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on the occasion of World Heritage Day.

World Heritage Day, also called International monuments and sites day, is celebrated annually on April 18.

She explained that there are numerous benefits of heritage buildings and monuments for economic development.

The Culture advocate said that preservation of heritage buildings and monuments are vital components of urban revitalisation efforts.

“Heritage tourism is often rooted by historic buildings which generate revenue for the state or country like the Egyptian pyramids,” she said.

Ikokwu said that these powerful, tangible connections to our past are the ways in which people today come in touch with the past.

According to her, Heritage buildings are also increasingly accepted as important venues linking a new generation with an older one, and therefore are places to be used for education and citizenship.

She explained that tourism requires more than a few monuments and buildings scattered all over the country.

“Other activities have to be planned around the locations to make them interesting because of their importance for historical records,” she said.

Ikokwu who re-emphasized the imperatives of preserving heritage buildings and monuments, said it had the potential to revitalize old neighbourhoods, the buildings and the landscape.

The Chief Executive Officer said that such sites could engender improved quality of life, thereby maintaining community cohesion and unity.


She called on governments at all levels to begin to preserve heritage buildings and monuments aimed at keeping people, especially older persons, active and involved in their community.

“Some of the most significant benefits from the conservation of heritage buildings are related to economic issues.

“There would be tremendous growth in employment in the restoration industry in construction trades, professionals and product manufacturing.”

She further explained: “enhanced municipal tax base through restored individual buildings and areas is also one of the greatest benefits with increased tourism.”

Ikokwu said that preservation of heritage buildings promotes restoration which is often cheaper than new constructions.

She called for Economic Sustainability through the conservation of heritage buildings as often predicated on their economic sustainability,

Ikokwu called for maintenance of such heritage buildings and monuments for creation of more local employment.

She identified some of the heritage buildings in Nigeria as; Mary Slessor House, Calabar, National War Museum, Abia, First Storey Building In Nigeria, located in Badagry.

Others are; Gobirau Minaret, Katsina, Ancient Nok Settlement, Kaduna, Oba of Benin Palace, Edo, Ancient Kano City Walls and Sungbo Eredo, Ogun.

Ikokwu also mentioned First Presbyterian Church, Calabar, National Museum, Benin City that contains priceless relics from the ancient Benin Kingdom and others from elsewhere in Nigeria as important heritage buildings for national development and integration.