Oba of Benin celebrates return of looted artefacts from Germany

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Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, yesterday, evoked memories of old as he danced to the songs of his forebears when he received two artefacts from Germany through the National Commission for Museum and Monument, NCMM.

The national treasures include a wooden and bronze stools said to have been used by Oba Esigie and Oba Eresonye between 15th and 17th centuries.

Alongside others, the artefacts were looted by the British during their invasion of the Benin palace in 1897.

The two items were handed over to the NCMM on behalf of the Nigerian government by the German authorities in 2022.

Director-General of the NCMM, Mr Olugbile Holloway, on behalf of the Federal Government, yesterday, presented them.

Addressing the monarch, Holloway pledged collaboration with the Benin Royal Court in uplifting and displaying the Edo heritage.

He said: “NCMM will join hands with the Royal Court to create a befitting destination for people around the world to come and appreciate these works. What you see before us was originally taken away from the Royal family in 1897. We have a stool made of Bronze and a wooden stool. I speak for every member of my team when I say that we remain loyal to the Royal Court. If there is anything we can do, we will do to support this laudable initiative.

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This heritage is not just Benin heritage, but Nigeria’s heritage. When we speak of Benin heritage, there is nobody that doesn’t know the great works of ours. I appreciate you, we will always do what we can do with our powers to make His Royal Majesty lineage in memory.”

After unveiling the repatriated artefacts, Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II, with excited Chiefs and members of the royal family, danced to Benin traditional rendition in dramatic dance steps, offering prayers to God and his ancestors.

The monarch appreciated the German government and the federal government for their efforts.
Recall that the Swedish government had also it would return 39 pieces of Benin artefacts in its Museum to the custody of Obaseki Ewuare II.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Oba, Osaigbovo Iguobaro, said the Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, Annika Hahn-Englund, conveyed the Swedish government decision when she paid a courtesy visit to Oba of Benin Palace in Benin City, Edo State.

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