Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has said his administration will collaborate with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to build a world-class museum and promote tourism in the state.
The governor noted that the Benin Empire was very rich in arts and culture, which are still part of its modern day culture that can be sold to Africa and the rest of the world.
Obaseki disclosed this when he received the Country Director of UNIDO, Jean Bakole, who led members of his delegation on a courtesy visit at the Government House, Benin City.
The governor said though all stolen artworks from the Benin Kingdom may not be returned but assured that his government will work with UNIDO and other groups to ensure that the artworks are returned.
Governor Obaseki stated: “The Benin Empire is rich and has so much to sell to Africa and the world in terms of culture. We are working with various groups, including the Benin Dialogue Group and major Museums in Europe to ensure that artifacts taken out of Benin Kingdom after the invasion are returned.”
Speaking to the UNIDO-delegation, the governor said: “We know that we may not be able to get all of them back, but we would like to work with you to build a world class museum in Benin where the world will visit to see where these stolen works came from. That way we would promote tourism in the State.
“We have gotten support from major European museums in the world; we are doing documentation of the art works globally. The design for the museum is almost ready, hoping that before the end of the year we would have worked significantly on that project.”