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Federal Government of Nigeria to take Custody of Repatriated Benin Artifacts – Oba of Benin

The Oba of Benin has said that he would want the federal government to take custody of the looted Benin artifacts by the Europeans when they are returned pending when the Benin Royal Museum would be built within the precincts of the Palace.

His Royal Majesty Omo N’Oba N’Edo, Ewuare II, Oba of Benin made this known in a meeting held with Palace Chiefs and Enigies on the Repatriation of the Looted Benin Artifacts in his palace.

The Benin Monarch made it known that there is no collaboration with any private or group of individuals on returning and keeping the artifacts outside the palace.

Though he thanked the Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki for joining the struggle and showing commitment in retrieving the stolen cultural heritage from Europe but however pointed out that the artifacts which are products of the Benin Cultural heritage cannot be kept outside the Palace.

He therefore reiterated that looted artifacts awaiting repatriation from Europe are not properties of the State Government or any private corporate entity or organization that is not a creation of the Benin Kingdom and therefore advised Governor Obaseki, Governor of Edo State to review his approach of using the private vehicle of the Legacy Restoration Trust Ltd and the Edo Museum of West African Art (EMOWAA) and to see how he can genuinely collaborate with the Oba Palace in accordance with our original understanding.

The Palace advised any one, group, organization or government, weather national or international dealing with anyone else or any other organization as the case may be on the process of returning the looted artifacts and its keeping to desist and withdraw.

The palace as well dissociates itself from a purported Legacy Restoration Trust Ltd. and the purported establishment of Edo Museum of West African Arts (EMOWAA), entities said to be involved in the repatriation and storage of the artifacts in conjunction with the State Government.

The Benin artifacts are art works made Primarily of cast bronze and carved ivory, produced mainly for the court of the Oba of Benin – a divine ruler for whom the craftsmen produced a range of ceremonially significant objects in the pre-colonial era before the invasion of the British when they came to colonize Nigeria and forcefully took them away for their esthetic.

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