Nigerians and curators maintaining various museums in the country must cultivate habits of properly handling the artifacts and antiquities within their domains.
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, gave the advice when the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) sought his views on how the country could retrieve Nigerian artifacts currently in some foreign countries.
The traditional ruler said that the handlers of treasured artifacts should be ready to provide conducive environments to preserve them as well as handle them with care when they had been retrieved.
He said that governments of the foreign countries where such artifacts from Nigeria were currently being kept used to budget for their maintenance on an annual basis.
“I support the desire to retrieve our artifacts from the foreign lands where they are currently being kept.
“But if we want to retrieve our artifacts, where are we going to keep them back home.
“ We need to create enabling environments for them; they must be placed in strategic ways and manners.
“Bringing them back home is no problem; handling them is the most important thing, they must be handled with care,” he said.
According to Ojaja II, our people are longing to see those artifacts returned to them but will they be handled carefully, it is critical for us to know how to handle our things.
“ I have been travelling all over the world, and every time, I go with a minimum of between 20 and 30 traditional rulers for them to see how governments and nationals of countries we visited used to treasure their artifacts and antiquities.
“ Such artifacts are part of the spirituality and culture of Yoruba people. We must make sure everything is being nurtured well,” he said.
The Oba assessing security in the country commended both the Federal and state governments for being proactive.
He said that the relevant authorities were doing their best and that insecurity would soon become a thing of the past.
“ In terms of security and road network, it is actually a challenge but they will soon become a thing of the past because it is very important for them to be okay.
“The relevant authorities are applying technology to ensure we have good roads and efficient security.
“The Federal Government on its part has been very up and doing in providing security for Nigerians.’’
He noted that with adequate security and good road network in place; more investors and foreigners would be encouraged to visit and experience the beauty of Nigeria.
The traditional ruler advised Nigerians to desist from speaking ill of their country, adding that it would do more harm than good.