UNESCO to consider Nigeria cuisines as intangible heritage

UNESCO has called on Nigeria to forward a list of its traditional cuisines for consideration for inscription as intangible heritage.

Dr Tawfik Jelassi, the Assistant Director-General Communication and Information UNESCO, made the call at a dinner on Monday night in Abuja to welcome participants to the Global Media and Information Literacy Week

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the week-long event with the theme: “Nurturing Trust: A Media and Information Literacy Imperative’’ is being attended by 193 UNESCO member countries physically and virtually.

Speaking at the dinner, Jelassi said he was delighted by the amazing cuisines, particularly the traditional menu and enthralled by the traditional dances that complement it.

According to him, some Nigerian traditional cuisines are qualified for inscription into UNESCO list of intangible heritage and a step should be taken in achieving that.

Though not on the menu list, Jelassi particularly referred to a traditional Itsekiri soup, “Egbele Koko miyo’’, adding that he was made to understand that it was an irresistible delicacy prepared to stop a man from cheating on his wife.

“Egbele Koko miyo’’ in Itsekiri language means “A cock can never reject maize seeds”.

Jelassi called on Nigeria Permanent Representative to UNESCO, Hajia Hajo Sanni to take a step in submitting some of the traditional cuisines for consideration for listing as intangible cultural heritage.

On his view about Nigeria, Jelassi said just a day in the country, he had seen Nigeria at its best and “its diversity is the source of its enrichment’’.

Intangible cultural heritage according to UNESCO is a practice, representation, expression, knowledge, or skill considered to be part of a place’s cultural heritage.

Examples include community gatherings, oral traditions, songs, knowledge of natural spaces, healing traditions, and foods.

Others are holidays, beliefs, cultural practices, and skills of making handicrafts, methods of agriculture and cattle breeding, traditional navigation skills, as well as cooking skills.

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