Sukur Kingdom in the Madagali Local Government Area of Borno State has been listed as one of the world’s at risk places in the biennial watch list by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), World Monuments Fund (WMF).
Sukur in 1999 became the first site in Nigeria to be inscribed on the world heritage list due to the intactness of its material culture, and cultural landscape.
However, UNESCO in its 2018 World Monuments Watch said although the threat posed by Boko Haram had subsided, the influx of refugees from the lowlands into Sukur, as well as the collapse of infrastructure and public services, including education and healthcare, posed further challenges.
Since 2013, Sukur has had to contend with the terrorising impact of the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency, which has affected the lives of millions of people in North-East of Nigeria and other countries.
In December 2014, Boko Haram militants raided the Sukur plateau, setting houses and crops on fire and stealing livestock and other goods.
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UNESCO said in the rampage, the Hidi’s house and other features of the World Heritage Site were damaged.
It added that an assessment of the full impacts of the raid on the cultural landscape was required.
“At the same time, many of the cultural features of this landscape beyond the house of the Hidi remain little-known and are in need of mapping in their own right. The recent meetings between local stakeholders and Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments have led to the drafting of a new management plan for this World Heritage Site,” the organization said.
Renewed efforts to improve the stewardship of the site have to address a range of management challenges.
The World Monuments Watch calls attention to 25 sites, their challenges, opportunities, and the communities that cherish them.
Since 1996, when the biennial watch was founded with support from American Express, the programme has issued a call to action for 814 sites facing daunting threats or compelling opportunities for protection, conservation, and engagement.
Since its launch in 1996, the World Monuments Watch has served as a catalyst for action for hundreds of sites, leading to improved safeguarding of places of cultural heritage, more suitable tourism management, and increased community engagement.