The Director-General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Yusuf Usman, has said five sites in Nigeria were recently submitted to the World Islamic Heritage Committee for recognition.
This is contained in a statement signed by the director-general and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday.
The statement quoted him as saying that the Islamic World Heritage Committee of the Islamic Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO) in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco was giving due attention to the list.
“The five Heritage Sites submitted are: Hubbaren Shehu in Sokoto State, Gobarau Minaret in Katsina, and Sheikh Alimi Mosque complex in Ilorin.
“Others are Mbormi Battle Ground in Gombe and Fanisau Palace Mosque in Kano.
“The sites were selected based on their outstanding universal value as architectural masterpieces, archaeological and historical edifices.”
The statement said the Hubbaren Shehu, otherwise known as Sheikh Usman Danfodio House, represented an outstanding example of typical Sudan-Arab Islamic traditional architecture which remained unchanged for over 200 years.
“The place served as one of the famous centres of Islam despite the 19th and 20th centuries period of missionary activities and colonialism in Africa.”
It further said the Gobarau Minaret was the single spectacular minaret structure of its kind in Africa still standing on its original site established over six hundred years ago.
It explained that the building exhibited an architectural rarity in storey building construction and maintenance as exemplified by the traditional Katsina master builders through the use of indigenous sustainable local resources.
The director-general further stated that the Sheikh Alimi Mosque complex comprised three mosque structures established by Sheikh Alimi in Kuho, Ori-Okoh and Idiape areas of Ilorin, Kwara.
“The complex stands out as the tangible signpost of the historical account of the spread of Islam in South-west Nigeria and its association with the Jihad movement that characterised the entire West African region in the 19th century.
“In its serial spread and construction patterns, the mosque complex also reflected the history of conflicts and adaptation between Islam and African ways of life and belief systems.”
Mt. Usman said the Mbormi battle ground was located in a rural setting near the Nafada town of Gombe State.
“The landscape is an abandoned settlement site with evidence of archaeological remains and the three marked graves of the leaders of Sokoto caliphate — AmirulMuminin Sultan Attahiru I, the Chief Imam of the caliphate and that of the commander of the British forces, Major Marsh.
“The Mbormi site was evidence of the patriotic and courageous resistance of colonialism as it bore a unique testimony to the phenomenal British colonial conquest in Africa.”
The statement added that the Fanisau Palace Mosque, the fifth property submitted to ISESCO for consideration, is located in Kano State.
He said it was an ancient mosque structure attached to a palace built in line with Hausa traditional architectural pattern now serving as a country guest house of the Emir of Kano.
“The mosque in association with the palace structure represents the early history of Islam in West Africa embodying physical architectural elements as well as encompassing political, social, and cultural dimensions of Islamic heritage.”
Mr. Usman further explained that the submission of these sites to ISESCO was within the framework of Nigeria’s ongoing efforts at reconsidering cultural issues using innovative mechanism and concepts.
He noted that Nigeria is rich in culture, traditions and natural landscape with unique features.
According to him, listing these five sites will raise the heritage status of Nigeria and bring development in addition to creating job opportunities for the Nigerian youths.
“I appeal to Nigerians to always guard against looting and destruction of heritage sites, which are the legacies of our fore fathers.
“The commission is working round the clock to ensure that cultural heritage sites across the country are well preserved and protected.”
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