The Chief Heritage Officer, National Museum, Lagos, Mr Taiwo Awoniyi on Tuesday said that Nigeria has attained international standard in promotion of culture, monuments and heritage sites.

He spoke to the Nigerian pilot against the backdrop of the International day for monuments and sites, with the theme, “Cultural heritage and sustainable Tourism“.

According to Awoniyi, Nigeria is very rich in terms of diversity of cultural heritage with over 250 ethnic groups that possess unique culture and traditions.

He added that Nigeria could boast of two heritage sites and landscape, which had attained world standard in terms of tangible and intangible artifacts.

“Nigeria has attained world standard in possession of cultural heritage and sites with the Osun Osogbo festival, Osun State and Sukur Cultural Landscape in Magadali, Adamawa state, (UNESCO) World Heritage Centre.

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“The two sites and events had attracted several tourists annually into the country, though we still have 65 listed national monuments, man-made buildings, and archaeological sites in Nigeria awaiting listing,“ he said.

The officer noted that the country was blessed with rich resources in artifacts, both tangible and intangible, cultural music, folklore that could boost tourism for the country if promoted.

“We have what it takes to measure up with the 2017 theme, Cultural heritage and sustainable Tourism“, but we can do more to increase the tourists traffic into the country,’’ he told NAN.

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Awoniyi said that the existing sites and monuments needed more publicity to showcase their existence and what they could offer.

He urged the government to encourage the existing monuments and sites, by highlighting their image to the international world; so that the existing festivals could attract more tourists.

The official told NAN that the theme for this year’s celebration was chosen in relation to the UN’s International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals.

NAN reports that Nigeria is blessed with over 200 heritage sites and monuments, which are managed by the federal, states and local government authorities.

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The monuments currently awaiting presidential assent are the: Oke Idanre Cultural Landscape, Ondo State; Surame Cultural Landscape, Kebbi/Sokoto; Kano City wall and Associated sites.

Others are Oban Hills and Associated Cultural Landscape, Cross River State; Ogba Ukwu Cave and Waterfalls, Anambra State, among others,

Some sites and monuments in Nigeria include; Ogbunike Cave, Oyi, in Anambra state, Kano City Wall, Oban Hills in Cross River State and Erin Ijesha waterfalls, Osun state.

Others were, Ikogosi Warm spring, Ekiti state, Obudu Mountain Resort, Cross River State, and latest Tinubu square in Lagos.(NAN)