Popular travel writer and tour guide, Pelu Awofeso, said Nigeria had good intentions when it designated some places as national monuments over the years.
Awofeso, who runs TravelNextDoor, a tourism company, explained that lack of policy continuity from government officials are the reasons for the decline being experienced at the nation’s monuments.
He said, “It also boils down to our appreciation of history. The government sometimes puts civil servants who probably don’t think preserving those relics are important. “I have been to up to 30 museums in Nigeria and all of them are in bad shape. Sometimes I even take tourists there out of patriotism. They feel disappointed when they see the state of the museums. Sometimes you get there, the air conditioner is not functional or there is no power or the staff themselves are bored to death and are despondent. How do you expect such human beings to happily take a tourist around?
“No serious country in the world jokes with its history and heritage. That is what we seem to be doing. We are belittling them and by so doing, we don’t allow Nigerians to appreciate what they have. This is why Nigerians would always appreciate things from outside the country. Most of these agencies don’t always need government funding. They just need a director-general who can turn things around.”
Awofeso said private partnership with the government may be needed to put the country’s heritage sites back in good shape.
According to him, no matter how much restoration is done at heritage sites across the country, without the willingness of Nigerians to visit them, it would be a waste.
“How many Nigerians are happy to take their kids to Nigerian museums even if they are in good shape? They would rather take them to see an underground aquarium in Dubai whereas any little money they pay in Nigerian museums would go a long way to fund the maintenance of the place.
“Visiting the Nigerian museums is a way of helping them to be better.
“If in the years to come, the relics in our museums or at sites like the Brazilian Baraccoon degenerate to the point where they would be no longer available, it would mean we have lost a thousand years of our history.”
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