There is no denying the fact that Nigeria’s cultural heritage resources are largely unprotected and unaccounted for. This ugly situation has led to many of the resources been cleverly converted to private use and others used as conduct pipes to deceive both the government and people of Nigeria. Indeed, it is estimated that our heritage resources not excluding landed property ran into billions of naira and due to the absence of due diligence and other factors, most of the resources are either sold out to foreigners while some clever Nigerians who specializes in reaping where they did not sow, appropriates and convert the resources, particularly lands and abandoned buildings to private use and in some cases, illegally collects rents, and taxes and levies for their use.
From the north, west, east and south, poor record keeping and deliberate negligence by government officials and certain rogue elements within the system, had over the years denied government and the Nigerian people the benefits and proper use of these resources, living very large and fat on them.
Annoyingly, some of these criminal Nigerians, sometimes doctored documents to totally convert and covet such facilities, while some put up bold face to mislead investigations or the court proceedings on the true states of government heritage locations and facilities.
Nigeria’s Minister of Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed recently bemoaned the sad situation, nothing that government would put in place machinery to recover some of the stolen artifacts abroad and a standard procedure put in place locally to fully ascertain what is where as far as the heritage resources not excluding government owned heritage locations are concerned. However, the interesting aspect of the development is the keen interest shown by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu to ensure that all government properties and buildings are protected and accounted for.
Significantly, under his watch since coming in as IGP, Mohammed Adamu has left no stone unturned and in fact has warned individuals who converted government property and facilities for partial use to return them or face the wrath of the law. The no nonsense police chief who recently demonstrated his determination to rid usurpers the hold on government property as exemplified during the face off by some group of individuals and National Council of Arts and Culture on the Abuja Arts and Crafts Village, has through effective deployment of security agencies to protect and retrieve the iconic government property warned others yet to give up government buildings in their possession to do so or be faced with arrest and prosecution.
At a recent oversight visit to the Arts and Crafts village, members of the House Committee of tourism, commended the IGP for standing resolute to defend and protect government property, nothing that the IGP has shown more than enough passing interest in this national assignment.
Chairman of House Committee on Tourism, Omoregie Ogbeide Ihama frowned at the situation where individuals without fear of the law and powers of government would boldly convert government property and even present themselves as owners before the law without any legal backing whatsoever.
Ogbeide Ihama noted that the committee just like the IGP and the DG, NCAC, Otunba Segun RUnsewe would remain resolute in their commitment to protecting government property and in recovering others anywhere in the country. He and the committee members called on the IGP to join hands with them and NCAC to see that the craft village flourishes and becomes a rallying point for generation of employment for the Nigerian young persons and a destination for Nigerian tourism and cultural exhibition.
The DG NCAC, Otunba Runsewe while conducting the committee round the complex, gave the IGP credit for the concerted effort to retrieve the iconic place from unknown individuals bent on using blackmail and sundry clandestine tricks to take over the place without fear of extent Nigerian law.
He also thanked the committee for living up to its mandate to protect the interest of the people of Nigeria and all that belongs to them.