By Anietie Akpan
Calabar — Archeologists and other experts yesterday decried the poor funding of museums in Nigeria.
They also lamented the poor protection of archeological and tourism heritage like the monoliths in the country.
The experts spoke at the University of Calabar, during the third International and inter disciplinary conference, 2018 with the theme: “Cross River Akwanshi, the intervention and interpretation of indigenous cultural stones.”
According to them, the country has lost many of the monoliths in Cross River, as well as cultural heritage to museums in Europe, America and other parts of the world.
Delivering a keynote address, former Director of the National Museum and Monuments, Lagos, Prof. Levi Uzuakor said there was the need for the monoliths “to be studied, restored, conserved and exhibited, so that we could know more about them. Professionals have done much to keep the monoliths and give us some answers, so they must be recovered and preserved.
“Today we have about 35 museums built by the Federal Government through the National Commission for Museums and Monuments.”
He said the museums are handicapped in their efforts to preserve and conserve, adding that some of the professionals are suffering in the museum because proper care is not being taken.
He canvassed adequate funding of the museums to enable them to perform properly in the society.
He urged the private sector to intervene so that the country’s historical artifacts could be preserved.
The Head of Department, History and International Studies, Dr. Frank Enor, said: “Recently our research team discovered a broken piece of monoliths at Met museum in New York. The other piece had been found in Ntitiko where it was looted.
“An helicopter made an obscure landing at a community bordering Utai and Nde and after a brief interval, it saddled away with some monoliths.”
An American researcher, Dr. Ivor Miller, working on the heritage of the Cross River region, said the conference was done in collaboration with Trust for African Rock Art (TARA) headed by Prof. David Coulson.
He said: “It is happening to alert the people that the heritage of the state is being destroyed. The national museum is not functioning to help. Essentially we are trying to carry on the brilliant work of Donald Duke, when he was governor to make Cross River a tourist’s destination.”