UNESCO lists Argungu as heritage site

UNESCO

UNESCO

The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has inscribed Argungu Fishing and Cultural Festival, Kebbi State, on the Representative List of Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The nomination of the yearly cultural and tourism festival was adopted at the 11th Session of the UNESCO’s Inter-governmental Committee for the Safeguard of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) and leader of Nigerian delegation to ICH, Dr. Barclays Ayakoroma, who broke the news to The Guardian through telephone chat, said the adoption and final inscription followed a critical assessment of the nomination by the evaluation body.

Before then, however, an amendment to the dossier was sponsored by Palestine, based on additional information provided by the NICO. The nomination was further defended by Senegal, and in the absence of any objection from State Parties, it was adopted.

Ayakoroma, on behalf of Nigerian government, had commended members of the evaluating body for their objective assessment. The inscription of Argungu brought to three the number of intangible cultural heritage of Nigeria enlisted by UNESCO. Before now, only the Ifa Divination System and Ijele Masquerade were on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. These two elements were inscribed in 2008 and 2009 respectively while the Oral Heritage of Gelede, a multi-lateral element in Benin and Togo Republics was inscribed in 2008.

“Today, we have made history with the inscription of Argungu Fishing Festival on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The Nigerian Delegation wishes to reiterate its position to be more omitted to carry on with the documentation of our rich and cherished intangible cultural heritages. The elements are there in abundance. We have the will; and as the saying goes, ‘once there is a will, there is a way’. We will further strategise and make a rebound in the preparation of more Nomination Files on the Representative.

“There are cultural elements in various communities in Nigeria that require urgent safeguarding measures for them to be sustained for future generations.

“We believe that the ICH programme is a veritable window for us in Nigeria, and indeed Africa, to bring to the fore, our unique cultural endowments.”



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