Musawa, Zulum, Others Chart Way Forward At Kanem Borno Cultural Summit

February 20, 2024
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Minister of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy Hannatu Musa Musawa says communal peace and unity will ensure the preservation of the Kanuri cultural heritage.

Musawa made the statement at a two- day Kanem Borno Cultural Summit hosted by the Borno Emirate Concerned Citizens Forum (BECCF) at the University of Maiduguri at the weekend.

In her keynote address, the Minister emphasized the region’s rich history and cultural significance and the need to tackle environmental and security issues facing the region.

“The history of Kanem Borno dates back to 700 AD. This ancient kingdom has thrived, becoming one of the oldest and most culturally significant in Africa.”

“Our focus extends beyond celebration to action. We must address pressing issues facing our communities; from disasters to environmental conservation and sustainable development.”

Minister Musawa highlighted concrete steps taken to preserve Nigeria’s cultural heritage, including the recent memorandum of understanding with the US Embassy for the conservation of the Sukur Cultural Landscape and the CPIA Bi-lateral Agreement for deterring illegal artifact exports.

“Just this week, a memorandum of understanding was signed at the United States Embassy in Abuja for the conservation of the Sukur Cultural Landscape in Adamawa State—an initiative that underscores the importance of international collaboration in preserving our cultural heritage.

“Furthermore, the Cultural Property Implementation Act (CPIA) Bi-lateral Agreement between Nigeria and the USA, signed in February 2022, has been instrumental in deterring illegal exporters of Nigerian antiquities and strengthening cooperation in heritage preservation”.

In his remarks, the Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum acknowledged the challenges faced by the region due to insurgency but emphasized the importance of cultural preservation and unity in rebuilding Borno state.

The Governor outlined the state government’s efforts in promoting cultural heritage, including school curriculum reforms and support for traditional institutions.

“Government will look into the possibility of introducing Culture as a Subject in our Primary and Secondary schools. We shall constitute a Committee to embed the evolution and survival of Kanem-Borno Culture in our school curricula so that our school children will embibe cultural consciousness and genuine appreciation of our history as a people.

“Let us work to unite the Kanem-Borno people and resuscitate our lost culture. Today, we are living witnesses to the decay of our culture as a result of globalization, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and invasion of our culture by alien influences and decadent ways of life. Let us unite to resist these negative influences and bring to the front burner, our rich cultural and material anthropology. Our arts, artifacts, costumes, calligraphy, language and value systems are a stuff of legends and we owe ourselves a duty to ring fense and defend our culture before it is too late”.

Gov Zulum also called for continued collaboration with stakeholders in preserving, protecting, and promoting the rich cultural heritage of Kanem Borno which he said will bring about peace and development in the region.

Investing in preserving and promoting the Kanuri language and culture, developing sustainable economic development strategies for the region, addressing climate change and environmental challenges as well as promoting peace and unity through dialogue and collaboration were the key highlights at the summit.

The summit featured presentations, panel discussions, and keynote addresses focusing on various themes related to the Kanem Borno culture and heritage, such as: The future of the Kanuri language and culture, the economic potential of Borno State, the history and future of agriculture in the region, the impact of climate change and environmental challenges and strategies for promoting peace and unity.

The summit also received goodwill messages from the governments of Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Sudan, Ghana, Benin, the Central African Republic, and several other countries, highlighting the international community’s support for Kanem Borno’s cultural preservation and development.

Minister Hannatu Musa Musawa later paid a courtesy visit to the Shehu Of Borno, Abubakar Ibn Umar Garba Al Amin El-Kanemi at the Palace, where a book titled ‘1,500 years of the Kanem-Borno Caliphate’ authored the 5th Waziri of Katsina, Prof. Sani Abubakar Lugga, MFR, FNIM , was presented to her.

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