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National Museum, Others Digitalise Nigerian Heritage Sites For Preservation

THE National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), Lagos office on Thursday unveiled digitalised documentaries of Nigerian heritage sites.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the project was unanimously carried out by NCMM, Institut Français de Recherche en Afrique (INFRA-Nigeria) and the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD).
Speaking during the unveiling, at the National Museum, Onikan, Dr Babrabra Morovich, Director of INFRA-Nigeria, said that the digitised heritage sites cut across monuments and artefacts from Ibadan, Benin and Ile-Ife.
She said the challenges encountered in the course of the project had to do with disseminating the research work to all Nigerians, adding that this was the most important aspect of the project.
Morovich said the benefit of the project was directed at the public who had been provided with a platform for easy understanding of what heritage meant.
“We collaborated with CDD on this project and we have worked on digitalising heritage sites and archival materials in Ile-Ife, Ibadan and Benin, for the purpose of preserving them for the future,” she said.
Also speaking, Dr Sa’eed Husaini, Acting Director, CDD, said the primary purpose of the project was to preserve materials that were potentially endangered and to disseminate those materials as well as render them accessible for all.
Husaini said the project was in six components and each of the components currently had at least one website for the public to access information, archival materials that had been digitised and uploaded.
According to him, the public could now visit those sites and download their desired materials.
“The findings and entire work done by various researchers and archeologists are extremely fascinating.
“The project has run for two years now and we are now opportuned to engage with the materials provided to bring them to a new audience in a new generation, this is one that I cherish,” he said.
One of those engaged in the project, David Afolayan, Chief Executive Officer of GIS Konsult Ltd., identified emerging problems he came across in the course of executing the project.
Afolayan said climate change posed serious threat to most heritage sites across the nation, citing the example of the town of a thousand gullies in Auchi, Edo State and series of floods at heritage sites within Ibadan.
He added that the analogue way of record-keeping had become obsolete and inadequate, making him embrace new technologies for the project.
Afolayan said in digitalising the religious architectural heritage of Ibadan and urban archeology mapping of the pavements of Ile-Ife, he had engaged the Geographic Information system (GIS) as the best technological platform.
According to him, GIS integrates computer hardwares, softwares and humanwares for collating, processing, analysing and displaying geographically referenced data to solve complex problems.
He said in the course of the project, he had trained no fewer than 100 researchers, students and stakeholders.
“In the course of this, we have developed Ibadan religious heritage map, Ifa pavement archeology map, digitalisation of Ibadan religious heritage and photogrammetry and video game applications of heritage sites in 3D models,” he said.
Also, Femi Olanrewaju, an Architect, noted that no fewer than 137 churches, I42 mosques and 127 shrines had been digitalised as well as two Egungun festivals, to provided resourceful materials for all.
This, he said, was to encourage promotion of religious tourism in Nigeria.
Mrs Nkechi Adedeji, Curator of the Lagos Museum, harped on the need for heritage conservators to be well informed in the area of heritage preservation, using the GIS.
She encouraged them to consistently come up with laudable ideas to protect the nation’s heritage resources for future generations
Prof. Adisa Ogunfola of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), advised on building of a digital interpretation centre, for all the urban archaeological heritages of Ile-Ife, in partnership with the National Museum, Ile-Ife.
He said the successful medieval Ile-Ife recapturing had ensured future security for all.
“With the project, we have been able to secure the captured medieval Ile-Ife for posterity against the possible blotting out of its traces by pending urbanisation,” Ogunfola said. (NAN)

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