By Alex Enebeli
Enugu, May 19, 2022 A University of Nigeria, Nuskka, lecturer, Dr Joshua Uzuegbu, has urged Nigerians to desist from destroying the nation’s artefacts, especially shrine objects, in the name of religion.
Uzuegbu made the call on Thursday during the 2022 International Museum Day celebration, organised by the National Museum of Unity (NMU) in Enugu.
He described the objects as the “cultural heritage and property handed over to us by our forefathers”.
Uzuegbu, who teaches in the Humanities Unit, School of General Studies in the university, argued that the objects were used in the past to celebrate traditions.
According to him, shrines have a lot of objects, like woods, ivory, stone, Terracotta, glass, bronze, brass and iron, which are driven by spirits invoked into them.
“When we stop worshipping them, they become pieces of wood, useless and powerless,” Uzuegbu said.
He said that instead of destroying them “we should keep them in museums for future generations to see.
“It is disheartening when we destroy these sacred objects due to our new-found religion or being born again.
“I am not saying that the new religion is bad but for the fact that we came from somewhere, there is need to ensure that one religion will not disturb the other.
“There is need to remove whatever that is evil in them as many of those artifacts taken away by the colonial masters, which today are fetching them huge revenue” he said.
He argued that the objects would become ineffective when they are removed from the shrines and no longer honoured with libations.
Earlier, the Director-General of the National Commission For Museums and Monuments (NCMM), Prof. Abba Tijani, said the commission had begun to connect the past with the future, using digital technology.
Tijani, represented by the NMU Curator, Mr Aloysius Duru, said: “The world is gradually moving from analogue to digital space.
“The commission is imbibing those practices that take root around the cyber space.
“We are utilising the benefit of technology to aid the dissemination of museum activities.
“NCMM museums, like other major museums in other societies, have turned to virtual and augmented realities.
“This is using internet and other technologies to bring museums to our immediate environments.
“People can take a tour of Nigeria museums from the comfort of their homes,” he said.
In a remark, the Chairman of the event, Mr Okey Ikenegbu, spoke on the importance of culture in the life of youths.
“We are here to see some of the cultural materials displayed in Igboland.
“Museum is very important in any country that wants to progress,” Ikenegbu, who is a sculptor, said.
By Alex Enebeli