Nigeria’s information minister, Lai Mohammed, has blamed European colonialists for destroying the “ways of life” of Nigerians and other Africans.
“When we look back to what happened to us in Africa, we see that in trying to bring a new religion, they destroyed our cultures. In destroying our cultures, they did not only destroy our ways of life, but also the essence of our lives,” Mr Mohammed claimed.
“Most of the destruction on the African continent today emanated from that action.”
The minister made this claim at the opening of the sixth edition of the Edinburgh International Cultural Summit in Edinburgh, Scotland.
He explained that if Africa had been left alone with its culture, tradition and religion, it would have developed better at its own pace.
In an interview he granted journalists at the summit, the minister underscored the importance of culture and its industry to nations’ development, civilisation, economy, stability and security.
Mr Mohammed also stated that a play written by Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, ‘Death and the King’s Horseman’, captured the essence of the destruction of African cultures and traditions through colonial incursion.
“In the play, you would see that the British colonialists simply did not understand why the king’s horseman should die with the king, and he was arrested. In arresting him, they thought they were protecting him, not knowing that they were destroying the whole cultural and traditional ecosystem,” reasoned Mr Mohammed, supporting a barbaric cultural rite.
The minister also noted that African countries’ health systems were rooted in their cultures, but rather than the colonialists understanding them, they were frightened and destroyed their essence.
The minister stressed that the summit was apt because it centred on diversity and equality of cultures and peoples. He said from participants’ submissions at the event, the world realised that people and their cultures might be diverse but must be treated equally.
The summit had ‘Culture and a Sustainable Future’ as its theme. It focused on the urgent need to construct an investment plan for the future.
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