Nigerian Archivists call for establishment of National Archives and Records Administration

The Society of Nigerian Archivists (SNA) on Friday advocated the passage of an ‘Act to Repeal the National Archives Act, 1992 and to establish the National Archives and Records Administration.

The President of SNA, Prof. Olutayo Adesina, made the call in a statement issued in Abuja to mark this year’s International Archives Day.

Adesina stated that the call had become imperative so as to give the National Archives the resources and independence it required in the onerous tasks of archives and records keeping and management in the twenty-first century.

He noted that the laws governing the management and administration of the nation’s archives were outdated and cumbersome.

He observed that since the 1950s, Nigeria had been an enthusiastic supporter of the vision of the ICA.

Adesina, however, noted that over the years, records keeping, and the management of our records and archives had fallen to its lowest ebb either because of a lackadaisical approach to this important task on the part of the government or due to the acute economic crisis facing the country.

“Our archives had been neglected through poor funding and a visit to many of our archives would reveal the effect of the neglect on important documents and equipment.

“Archivists and record managers are poorly paid and do not have access to adequate and qualitative local and international training,’’ he added.

He, therefore, maintained that as the country edged closer to the end of the second decade of the 21st century, Nigeria must rediscover the relevance of its past records, archives, record managers and archivists for future growth.

He said: “We must begin to understand how to leverage on these to ensure that this country moves into the future as a cohesive and vibrant nation.

“Thus, while encouraging our archives and records managers a happy Archives day, we must also go beyond and over the call of duty to help preserve the records of the past.

“This patriotic task is being handled with the required skill and zeal despite our lean and dwindling resources.’’

The president called on the three tiers of government to ensure the preservation of nation heritage by way of committing deep resources to the maintenance and revamping of the archives.

“We must save our archives from decay and total collapse through better funding and incentives.

“We are also ready to dialogue with responsible members of society, creators and users of the archives to ensure the growth and survival of our archives.

“The Society of Nigerian Archivists (SNA) will dedicate the next one year to ensuring the realisation of these lofty goals. We wish our compatriots a happy Archives Day,’’ he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that June 9 of every year is celebrated as the International Archives Day.

The date was instituted by the International Council on Archives (ICA), an international non-governmental organisation dedicated to the preservation of the integrity of archives worldwide

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