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Unpublished Paper
CHALLENGES IN PROCUREMENT AND PRESERVATION OF ARABICL/AJAMI MANUSCRIPTS IN NIGERIA: LESSONS FROM RECENT FIELD EXPERIENCES OF AREWA HOUSE, ABU, KADUNA
(2009)
  • Musa Salih Muhammad
Abstract
ABSTRACT One of the most serious challenges facing historians of West Africa and Nigeria in particular, is related the utilisation of Arabic and Ajami manuscripts. This is because while this vital source material is known to be available in large volumes in the areas that came under the influence of Islam, like Northern and South-Western Nigeria and the Sene-Gambian region, only about 20% of them are in the custody of public repositories and therefore potentially accessible to researchers. The remaining 80% or so are in the hands of private individuals/Ulama’a and hence dispersed all over the region. Secondly, in spite of the efforts of pioneer researchers who collected and deposited these documents in the repositories the contents of most of the Arabic manuscripts in these repositories are not well known because of the fact that many of them are not even catalogued, not to talk of being translated into working languages in order to enable non-Arabic speaking researchers to have access to them. Thirdly, there is the problem of conservation of these manuscripts, some of which are several centuries old. All the surveys recently conducted on the public repositories and some of the private holdings are unanimous that the conditions under which the manuscripts are kept cannot ensure their long term survival and therefore require urgent remedial action. It is therefore quite necessary and urgent for the manuscripts in private hands to be recovered and for those in public repositories to be properly preserved and conserved through the application of modern scientific methods. The issue of organisation and cataloguing of the manuscripts should also be seriously addressed in order to enable researchers to have easy access to the documents and use them for the production of new knowledge. Arewa House, Centre for Historical Documentation and Research, ABU, Kaduna, has in the last two years resumed field operations for the recovery of the Arabic/Ajami manuscripts and its efforts in this regard had yielded positive results.
Disciplines
Publication Date
Fall July 13, 2009
Citation Information
Musa Salih Muhammad. "CHALLENGES IN PROCUREMENT AND PRESERVATION OF ARABICL/AJAMI MANUSCRIPTS IN NIGERIA: LESSONS FROM RECENT FIELD EXPERIENCES OF AREWA HOUSE, ABU, KADUNA" (2009)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/musasm/1/