The Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has assured of his administration’s resolve to reclaim, remodel and preserve the Benin Moat as part of the new tourism super-structures that will pull tourist traffic to the state.
Obaseki gave the assurance in commemoration of the International Day for Monuments and Sites, marked on April 18, each year.
“The Benin Moat is a priceless asset and part of our heritage objects with global appeal. We have commenced the reclamation of the Benin Moat and our grand plan is to make it one of the superstructures in our tourism master plan.
“We are very proud to have inherited this massive earth work which is considered the largest man-made structure in the world and we are determined to unlock its cultural and tourism potential,” the governor said.
He added that similar attention would be accorded other cultural assets across the state to boost social-economic activities in the culture and tourism sector.
Obaseki called on culture enthusiasts, tourism promoters, art collectors and other stakeholders to key into the culture and tourism value chain to maximise the gains the sector holds for development.
He stressed: “Culture is our strongest asset as a state and we must make the best of this prized inheritance. Part of our plan for our heritage objects is to partner with the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, to build a world-class Royal Museum to hold stolen artefacts being recovered by the Benin Kingdom.”
He explained that “the museum will put an end to the argument by holders of these stolen works, that we lack world class facilities for preserving our art works.”
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the International Day for Monuments and Sites (World Heritage Day) is an international observance held on 18 April each year around the world with different types of activities, including visits to monuments and heritage sites, conferences, round tables and newspaper articles.
The day was proposed by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) on 18 April 1982 and approved by the General Assembly of UNESCO in 1983.
The aim is to promote awareness about the diversity of cultural heritage of humanity, their vulnerability and the efforts required for their protection and conservation.
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State