By Bassey Inyang in Calabar
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has denied the rumour making the rounds that it has released the sums of $320,000 and N25 million for the enlisting of Ekpe and Nyoro cultural practices in Cross River State on the organisationâ€™s World Heritage map.
National Professional Officer for Culture, UNESCO Regional Office, Mr. Ifeanyi Ajaegbo, cleared the air when he visited the Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi-Otu V, and members of the Etuboms Traditional Rulers Council, and other palace chiefsÂ Monday.
Ajaegbo, who said no such amount has been released by UNESCO to any individual or the facilitators of the project, added that such rumour was dangerous because it was capable of igniting violence, and thereby endangering the lives of innocent people.
Addressing the gathering at the palace of the monarch, the UNESCO representative said: â€œI want the Obong, and the Etubom-in-Council to understand that it is not possible in heaven and hell to give any individual, even (Muhammadu) Buhari, $5 anywhere to start with. It is not possible. And I came with me the original document signed between UNESCO and Japanese Embassy in Nigeria, who are the founders of this project in what is called Fund-in-Trust.
â€œWe were in Abeokuta for another convention when the office called us, and said that a letter came in from Calabar, stating that there is a rumour or misinformation Chief Ndem Bassey, and Stanley (Eyamba) received $320,000 in one instance, N25 million second instance, and then slots for scholarship abroad from us. Please, I want it on clear record that UNESCO culture section does not give scholarship to anybody. We canâ€™t even think of giving. We do not have the capacity to,â€ he said.