DG Seeks Policy On Repatriation Of Artefacts

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Alhaji Yusuf Usman, the Director General of the National Commission for Museums and Museums on Friday, urged the Federal Government to evolve a policy on the repatriation of artefacts back to Nigeria.

Usman who made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, said that Decree 77 of 1979 which was re-enacted as Cap. 242 of the laws of the Federation 1990 had become obsolete.

“I would wish to suggest the inclusion to the drafted laws that Nigeria should have a sort of international copyright control over cultural objects.

“I notice also that there is no provision for de-accessioning in our current laws. De-accessioning is the formal process by which a museum disposes of an object from its collection,” Usman said.

According to him, sanctions contained in the new laws should be made tougher than what currently prevails.

Usman also suggested that cataloguing, provenance and object identification cards should be included in the proposed law in order to repatriate them if they were lost.

“I would suggest that the issue of specific provisions on museums security be included in the laws as experienced in other developed countries,” he said.

The director general said that big construction and mining companies should be educated on the need to preserve archaeological artefacts.

He said that rescue archaeology was necessary to prevent the destruction of artefacts in the soil, adding that there should be records even when they were destroyed in the process of construction.