ICOMOS Nigeria decries defacement of TBS gates
The Nigerian National Committee of the International Council on Museums and Sites (ICOMOS Nigeria) has expressed shock, displeasure and disappointment over the wanton defacement of the gates of the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), a site considered to be an important national edifice and listed as a Lagos state cultural monument site.
The president of ICOMOS-Nigeria, Mr Aliyu L Abdu, expressed surprise that such a negative activity can take place in day light without fear of any consequences and that the Lagos State government which recognizes and lists Tafawa Balewa Square as an important state monument has allowed this to happen under its watch.
According to the Lagos State Law of listed sites for preservation enacted by the state House of Assembly in 2011, “As from the commencement of this law, no property, site or monument location to which this law applies as a monument site under grade I, II, and III shall be altered demolished or improved upon as is necessary owing to normal wear and tear or minor repairs without the prior issuance of listed site consent of the governor in accordance with the provision of this law.
“Any alteration to any listed site shall take into consideration the character and special interest of the site.”
Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) is a historically significant monument in Nigeria. It is a rectangular 3.9615 hectares ceremonial ground originally called Race Course in Lagos Island, Lagos State, where the Union Jack was lowered to mark Nigeria’s independence in 1960.
“This same site has also hosted the inauguration of the governors of the state and undoubtedly habours attributes that demonstrate historical, architectural and artistic values of the TBS worthy of preservation, promotion and transmission.
“ICOMOS-Nigeria, however, stands by the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), in its statutory mandate to enlist, protect the preserve important national monuments and heritage in the country.”
“We urge NCMM to deal with this matter swiftly and decisively, particularly as TBS is proposed for enlistment as a national monument. We further call on the NCMM to be proactive in protecting and preserving other monuments proposed for enlistment.
ICOMOS Nigeria extends its call to local communities, professional urban planning agencies, organisations and other cultural heritage and conservation groups to show interest by joining hands with government agencies to protect monuments and heritage sites within their localities.
ICOMOS-Nigeria is ready to collaborate with all stakeholders to protect and preserve important monuments across the country.