Washington DC—The federal government has said it has recovered 31 Benin bronzes from three museums in the United States 125 years after they were stolen.
Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture who witnessed the transfer of the artefacts on Tuesday in Washington DC alongside Aghatise Erediauwa, who represented the Oba of Benin said: “We have also received or are in the process of receiving repatriated artefacts from The Netherlands, the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, Mexico, the University of Cambridge in the UK, and Germany, among others.
“Let me state clearly that Nigeria, as part of the global cultural heritage tradition, will not depart from the norms already established by practitioners in this field.
“Therefore, our museums will sustain the tradition of exchanges and collaborations with museums in the United States and other parts of the world.
“Nigeria looks forward to working with these institutions on joint exhibitions and other educational exchanges. By returning the artefacts, these institutions are together writing new pages in history.
“Their brave decision to return the timeless artworks is worth emulating.”
The minister also said Nigeria has signed an agreement with Germany for the repatriation of over 1,130 looted Benin bronze artefacts.
He said Nigeria is getting positive responses from France and Mexico to also return stolen artefacts.
The minister said the world has realised that it is an ethical and moral issue to return the artefacts back to their owners.