Blue Shields Protect Nigerian Heritage

Blue Shields Protect Nigerian Heritage

The National Commission for Museums and Monuments of Nigeria and the UNESCO Regional Office, Abuja, are excited to announce the placement of blue shields on eighteen museums across the country, and Nigeria’s most famous World Heritage Site, Sukur Cultural Landscape. The work was funded by the Culture Sector of UNESCO.

The sites are

  • Benin Museum
  • Calabar Museum
  • Enugu Museum
  • Kano Museum
  • Ibadan Museum
  • Jos Museum
  • Kaduna Museum
  • Katsina Museum
  • Owerri Museum
  • Port Harcourt Museum
  • Lagos Museum
  • Lokoja Museum
  • Museum of Colonial History Aba
  • Asaba Museum
  • Ile Ife Museum
  • Umuahia Museum
  • Currency Museum
  • and Sukur World Heritage site

The blue shield distinctive emblem is a protective emblem created in the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. The 1954 Hague Convention calls for the safeguarding and respect of cultural property “of great importance to the cultural heritage of every people” meaning all the communities in the states that have signed it (Article 1).  Together, States Parties agree that they are:

determined to take all possible steps to protect cultural property 

a promise that is as important today as it was 70 years ago when the Convention was written. The emblem is designed to facilitate the recognition of the most important cultural property of great importance that should be protected during conflict. The Blue Shield knows that cultural heritage – tangible and intangible – is important. It is a vital expression of the culture that makes up unique communities and its loss during conflict and disaster can be catastrophic. It can also have serious effects on military missions, and an increasing number of armed forces around the world actively work to protect cultural property when deployed.

Nigeria has a rich and decorative cultural and natural heritage, with hundreds of archaeological sites, museums, important buildings and a stunning diversity of natural heritage sites. The museums host ethnographic and archaeological collections, as well as sculptural, craft and art collections, representing the ancient and modern artistic ingenuity of the Nigerian people and their history.

The 1954 Hague Convention was ratified by Nigeria on 5 June 1961 along with its First Protocol (1954). Nigeria also ratified the 1999 Second Protocol on 21 October 2005. As of January 2024, more than two-thirds of the world have agreed to abide by the principles of the 1954 Hague Convention – it has been ratified by 135 countries. Some parts of the Convention are so widely accepted that today they are considered international customary law, binding on all parties in all conflicts.

Congratulations to Nigeria in this important step to implement the Hague Convention on its 70th anniversary – a fantastic achievement!

The blue shield distinctive emblem is a protective symbol used during armed conflicts. Its use is regulated at all times by national law, international humanitarian law, and customary law, through the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, and its Second Protocol of 1999.


Read more about Nigeria’s cultural heritage on the Nigerian Government website

Read more about Sukur Cultural Landscape World Heritage site on UNESCOs World Heritage website

Read more about Blue Shields in the brochure UNESCO and Blue Shield International: Distinctive marking of cultural property: rules and practices

or on the Blue Shield website.

This year is the 70th anniversary of the 1954 Hague Convention: learn more about it in this Information Pack

Image of the cover of the Information Pack
1954 Hague Convention Anniversary – Information Pack available

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