Edo State To Receive Stolen Artefacts from Germany in 2022

From Victor Osula

 

Ongoing efforts by Nigeria to repatriate the Benin Bronzes from all over the world reached an important mileage on Tuesday when Germany formally agreed to return precious artefacts stolen from the Benin Royal Court following the British incursion in 1849, by 2022.

This was announced on Tuesday at a press briefing in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The event was attended by the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed; Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki and the German delegation led by Nigeria Ambassador to Germany, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar, and also the visiting delegation from Germany, led by Mr. Andreas Gorgen, Director General for Culture and Communication of German Foreign Affairs.

At the meeting, the German Director-General, Culture and Communication, Dr Andreas Gorgen said the  German government acknowledges that Nigeria has suffered a loss, adding that the country is on a restitution mission to Nigeria, to return all artefacts taken from the Benin Empire.

He also announced that Germany will partner with Nigeria in the area of culture promotion and preservation.

According to Mohammed,  the discussion which was initiated by the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), with several European museums, the Royal Palace of Benin and the Edo State Government on the return of Benin Bronzes looted from the Oba of Benin’s palace in 1897, led to the to the formation of what is now globally called the Benin Dialogue Group (BDG), an offshoot of which is the Legacy Restoration Trust (LRT) that was created to raise funds towards establishing a museum capable of housing these antiquities when they are eventually returned.

He said;  ” I am aware that, following an earlier meeting involving the German delegation, the NCMM, Edo State Government and the Royal Palace of Benin over the Benin Bronzes, certain agreements were reached. These are, among other:
 That Benin bronzes from German museums shall be released to Nigeria. Upon their return, the bronzes are expected to be exhibited at the proposed museum being anchored by the Legacy Restoration Trust, of which NCMM is a part. We do know, from our knowledge of the workings of the German federal system, particularly regarding museums and antiquities, that a lot of work must have gone into the agreement by the German Federal government, the states and cities to have made the announcement of a return to be made.