SAFETY AND SECURITY MEASURES IN THE HERITAGE INDUSTRY OF THE EASTERN REGION OF NIGERIA
In most parts of Africa and Nigeria in particular, heritage tourism has formed a major part of the tourism base due to the much availability of cultural and natural heritage resources. Unfortunately, this heritage industry is faced with safety and security threats. This has put some questions on the availability and functionality of safety and security measures in the heritage industry. The purpose of the study was to examine safety and security measures the heritage industry, looking at threats and their causes. A survey design was adopted for this study, coupled with the use of purposive and cluster sampling techniques. Four museums, four monuments, five natural tourist sites, four festivals and five shrines/sacred groves were carefully sampled from the Eastern Region of Nigeria with emphasis on one from each of these groups. Seven states (Enugu, Anambra, Imo, Abia, Cross River, Rivers and Akwa-Ibom) were carefully selected from the area under study considering the robust availability of study samples. Study population include, tourists/visitors, host communities, staff and management of heritage establishments, and other relevant stakeholders in the heritage industry within the study area. The study used qualitative method of data collection. A sample size of two hundred and eighty-seven (287) comprising of fifty-three (53) informants and two hundred and thirty-four (234) respondents were used for the study. Data gathered were analysed using SWOT analysis. Descriptive and evaluative techniques were equally used in the analysis of data. Out of the identified threats in the heritage industry were grouped into mrajor and minor, with minor threats getting a greater percentage. They include hostilities from the host community, collapse of structures, decay of ethical standard, westernisation, theft/smuggling, vandalism, amongst others. Legislations, site policies, indigenous techniques, security agency, orientation programmes, visitors’ register, germane restrictions and relevant custodians were identified as existing measures for checkmating safety and security threats in the Nigerian heritage industry. Some of the existing measures were found to be less effective due to some human and non-human factors which include poor policy implementation, technology encroachment, iconoclasm, materialism, culture diffusion, redundancy of legislations, poor funding, nature of the site, etc. Host community involvement and proper orientation, efficient human resource management, review of obsolete legislations, effective site policies, promulgation and implementation of relevant laws, conscious promotion of indigenous cultures and revival of relevant indigenous techniques were identified as other safety and security measures to be integrated in the existing ones.