FG To Take Possession Of Looted Benin Bronze When Returned From Germany- Lai Mohammed
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has reacted to the misunderstanding between the Oba Of Benin and the state government over the looted 1,130 looted Benin bronzes expected from Germany.
Recall the Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, protested against the Edo state government’s intention to assume control of the 1,130 stolen Benin antiques that are being repatriated from Germany.
According to the Oba Of Benin, he wants the artefacts to be brought back to the Benin Royal Museum while the State government wants the artefacts at the Edo Museum of West African Arts. This has created a bit of confusion between the Oba and the state government.
The Oba said: “I have called this meeting today (Friday) to intimate you of the matter of the Benin artefacts in Europe on the verge of being repatriated, which I am sure you have heard and read about in recent weeks. You may also have heard about the recent activities of a group of individuals who incorporated a company since January 2020 called Legacy Restoration Trust Limited.
In reaction, Lai Mohammed revealed that the federal government would take possession of the artefacts since since the International community knows the Nigerian government and not the Benin palace.
He said: “The Federal Government is aware of the widely-reported controversy over who will take possession of the Benin Bronzes when they are returned from Germany.
“Let me state clearly here that, in line with international best practice and the operative Conventions and laws, the return of the artefacts is being negotiated bilaterally between the national governments of Nigeria and Germany.”
“Nigeria is the entity recognised by international law as the authority in control of antiquities originating from Nigeria.’’
“What we’re saying in essence is that the federal government will take possession of these antiquities, because it’s its duty to do so, in line with the extant laws,’