Nigeria’s minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the federal government will take possession of the repatriated Benin artefacts, but will take into cognizance the culture that produced the art works.
The minister disclosed the plan while speaking with the media during a press briefing on the efforts by the federal government to repatriate looted artefacts from around the world, in Lagos on Saturday.
Recall that the German government said it would return the 1,130 looted Benin bronzes to Nigeria in 2022.
In 1897, the Benin kingdom, which was well-known for its rich cultural heritage and artefacts, was invaded by British soldiers, in what is now known as the Benin invasion of 1897.
Thousands of bronze castings and other cultural artefacts were destroyed while some were carted away.
Since the process of repatriation began, the Benin palace and the Edo government have been at loggerheads over who will house the historical and precious artefacts.
The Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, had asked the federal government to take possession of the artefacts when received, noting that the only legitimate destination for the artefacts is under the Benin royal museum which will be sited within the vicinity of the Oba’s palace.
According to him, the repatriated bronzes are not the property of the Edo state government but that of the Benin kingdom.
Godwin Obaseki, the state governor, had said on the return of the bronzes, they will be kept in ”a transformational museum to be built in Benin City