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Germany To Return All Benin Artefacts By 2022



Germany has agreed to return all Benin artefacts to Nigeria by 2022.

The artefacts are those taken from the Benin Royal Court following the British incursion in 1849.

This was announced on Tuesday, May 18 at a press briefing in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The event was attended by the Minister of Information, Mr Lai Mohammed; Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki; and the German delegation led by Mr Andreas Gorgen.

At the meeting, the German Director-General Culture and Communication, Mr Gorgen said Germany acknowledges that Nigeria has suffered a loss following the taking of the artefacts over 170 years ago.

He said Germany 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. The artefacts are to be returned to Benin, Edo State capital.

Berlin’s Ethnologisches Museum holds more than 500 artefacts from the Kingdom of Benin, mostly bronzes.

In April, Germany’s Culture Minister, Ms Monika Gruetters initially made the promise to return the looted artefacts.

“We want to contribute to understanding and reconciliation with the descendants of those whose cultural treasures were stolen during colonisation,” she said.

Scotland’s University of Aberdeen said in March that it would repatriate a Benin bronze whose acquisition in 1957 at an auction, it called “extremely immoral“.

Last year, France approved the restitution of its collection of pillaged Benin Bronzes.

Hundreds of pieces are still held in the British Museum and several museums in the United States.



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