A total of 7, 613, 515 tourists visited the national museums located across the six geo-political zones from 2010-2013, the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) annual report has shown.
The reports which was obtained by LEADERSHIP also showed that there are about 49 national museums that are categorised as archaeological, ethnographic, zoological, monuments, life history, colonial history, military and slave trade.
Both foreign and Nigerian tourists were at the museums for different activities like outreach and holiday programmes, debate, quiz, gallery tour, computer training, skill acquisition and Saturday art club.
They also visited for zoo tour, painting, visit to inmate, mini exhibition as well as traditional fashion outings that was organised and supervised by the Education Service Departments of the NCMM.
The report further showed that the national museum, Osogbo, Osun state, had the highest number of visitors with a total of 1,724,851 followed by Plateau state that has three tourist attractions like the National Museum Jos, Museum of Traditional Nigerian Architecture (MOTNA), Jos and the Zoological Garden, Jos with a total of 1, 102,306 visitors while the National Museum, Lagos had a total of 879,736 tourists.
Birnin-Kudu Rock Art Interpretation Centre, Jigawa State, had the least number of visitors from 2011 to 2012 with a total of 3, 107; followed by the National Museum, Abakaliki, Ebonyi state with 3,879 visitors likewise the Nana Living History Museum, Koko, Delta State which had 4,843 visitors.
Sadly, there was a decline in museum visits at the crisis prone areas in four northern states – Yobe, Katsina, Sokoto and Borno – in 2013 with a demeaning number of 5, 403 tourists.
While the National museum, Damaturu, Yobe state attracted no visitor within the last three years, the National museum, Sokoto, National Museum, Katsina, and National Museum, Maiduguri,Borno state had a total of 1,002; 4,337 and 64 visitors respectively in 2003. This is against the initial figures of 15,200; 20,400; and 26,300 respectively in the year 2010 while 2011 also recorded about 15,400; 21,342 and 2,135 visitors.
However, the poor number of tourists and serial violent attacks in northern states to some extent also led to a decline in internally revenue generation (IGR) base for the commission.
The director-general of the NCMM, Mallam Yusuf Abdallah Usman, said the IGR of the commission between 2011 and 2012 was N39,635, 315.18 million which were all remitted to the appropriate authority.
“In 2011, we generated over N16, 109, 631. 34 million while in 2012, we generated N23,525,683 with a total of N39,635,315. 18 million were remitted via mandate no: FA/Rev/11/006 and FA/ Rev/12/001 respectively.
Enumerating the challenges, he noted that climatic condition and natural phenomena contributed to the deterioration of sculptures, structures and sites as well as reluctance of schools to fix museum outreach programme in their school calendar.
According to him, Illegal traffic in cultural properties at border points, bureaucracies involved in releasing of seized objects by customs and immigration, lack of proper ICT training for officers in the area of computerisation of objects information and low turnout of visitors to the gallery due to misconceptions based on religious beliefs were also contributory factors to poor turnout of visitors to the museums.
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