The Nigerian government has disclosed that the German authorities would be returning 1,130 Benin Bronzes which were looted from the ancient Benin Kingdom during the Benin Expedition of 1897.
Penpushing reports that the Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Communications, Lai Mohammed made this known on Friday following a sign declaration held in Berlin, by the to countries
The press statement by the Nigerian Ministry of Information and Communication, explained that the historic joint declaration will pave the way for the return of bronzes 125 years after they were looted from the ancient Benin Kingdom.
The Minister speaking at the signing event, described the planned return as the single largest repatriation of artefacts anywhere in the world, adding that Germany has taken the lead in correcting the wrongs of the past by agreeing to return the looted artefacts.
Penpushing further reports that, Mohammed pointed out that, though Nigeria was never a German colony, adding that many of the artefacts seen in German public institutions got there via trade and donations.
“I have no doubt in my mind that this pace-setting action by the Federal Government of Germany will become a harbinger of more repatriation of cultural property to their place of origin, as other museums and institutions are expected to take a cue from what Germany has done. Germany has gained more friends in Nigeria and all over the world by returning to Nigeria what rightfully belongs to it,” he added.
Penpushing also reports that, in his remarks, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany, Annalens Baerbock, noted that, admitted that, it was wrong to take the (Benin) bronzes, and kept them for 125 years.
The Nigeria’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Zubairu Dada, speaking as a witness at the signing alongside Germany’s Minister of State for Culture and media, Claudia Roth; Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, Yusuf Tuggar, and Director-General of Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Abba Tijani, described Germany as the champion of justice and fairness.’
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