UK Government Commemorates Nigerian Rail Legacy

The UK Government marked Nigeria’s rich railway heritage in Lagos as part of its ongoing efforts to highlight the shared heritage between the two countries in the railway sector through its Heritage Project.

According to Llewellyn-Jones, the purpose of the program was to showcase the collaboration between NRC, Oxford University, and Heritage Group Legacy 1995 which operates the railway museum at Jaekel House in Ebute-Metta. The goal was to explore ways to utilize railway and transport heritage for social and economic development. He expressed excitement to be among the distinguished speakers, participants, and volunteers to advance the discourse on the UK-Nigeria heritage collaboration. The aim was also to discuss how this rich history can be approached through parallel projects and arenas. The digital heritage project, funded by UK research, aims to document and preserve railway history in a locally relevant way in various areas of Nigeria.

Llewellyn-Jones expressed excitement over the timing of the program as Nigeria is currently revitalizing its rail networks. He highlighted that the project was funded by UK research and involved working with Nigerian partners to showcase their heritage in the digital age. He emphasized the collaboration between NRC, NGOs, academics, and the public to bring the international railway story to life in local communities.

Llewellyn-Jones stated that the workshop was designed to exchange ideas on preserving and promoting railway history and heritage in Nigeria. The project involved the involvement of railway employees, including PR officers, and volunteer researchers from various backgrounds to share their local perspectives on the railways’ impact. Olly Owen, the Research Coordinator on the project, expressed gratitude for the support and participation received from NRC staff, architects, and photographers. He emphasized the involvement of local research groups and the aim to demonstrate how railway heritage can serve as a resource while Nigeria redevelops its rail network for the future.

Llewellyn-Jones emphasized that railway heritage can not only serve as a source of education, memory, and identity but also as a resource for culture and tourism. Ifunanya Madufo of the Centre for Memories in Enugu, who participated in the research, praised the program. She said that speaking to people about the history brought out their memories of how the railways facilitated communication and development for people from various localities and trades. The UK-Nigeria heritage collaboration project was funded by the Impact Acceleration Account from the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council, through Oxford University’s Institute of Cultural and Social Anthropology. The funding allowed UK research institutions to collaborate with partners from various sectors to tackle challenges in the industry through social sciences knowledge.

The program attracted stakeholders from the transport and heritage sector, groups as diverse as transport operators, academics, Lagos state government policymakers, and UK British Business Groups in Nigeria.

Source: Vanguard News

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