Kwagh-hir inscription by UNESCO a landmark achievement – NICO

The National Institute of Cultural Orientation (NICO) Thursday presented to the Benue state government Certificate of Inscription of Kwagh-hir theatre on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of humanity.

NICO is a parastatal of Federal Ministry of Information and Culture with the primary mandate of promoting positive cultural values and harnessing culture for national development.

Presenting the certificate to the government through the deputy governor of Benue state, Benson Abounu, who represented Governor Samuel Ortom, leader of NICO delegation, Mallam Ado Mohammed, said the inscription of Kwagh-hir theatre on UNESCO World heritage map was another land mark achievement of the institute towards the realization of its mandate and a great privilege and honour for Nigeria.

Mohammed who said the benefits of this milestone achievement were not farfetched noted that Kwagh-hir theatre can now enjoy the support and protection of UNESCO.

He added that the inscription will also increase visibility for the element and at the same time enhance the dignity and pride of the performing communities.

He said Kwagh-hir theatrical performance has now earned international recognition as a tourist destination and as such a potential foreign exchange earner for Nigeria and the state.

“As the focal agency that coordinated the inscription exercise, NICO is elated to be in possession of the Certificate of Inscription which is a mark of authenticity.

“Hence, we have come to make this formal presentation of the certificate to the executive governor of Benue state, Samuel Ortom and the good people of Benue state on behalf of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, and the Federal Government of Nigeria.

In his remarks, Governor Samuel Ortom said Kwagh-hir theatrical performance reinforces traditional beliefs, upholds the culture and behavioral attributes of the Tiv people.

Ortom said with the inscription, Kwagh-hir has come to stay.

He described Kwagh-hir as cultural heritage performance of Tiv speaking people of North Central Nigeria with which dramatists convey deep meaning, with some kind of mysteries.

“The Kwagh-hir artists through animated characters in some cases express the deep rooted cultural heritage of the Tiv people and it deserves world recognition,” he added.

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