‘Germany to return 7,000 Benin artefacts to Nigeria in October

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said Germany will repatriate to Nigeria in October over 7,000 artefacts plundered from Benin Kingdom by the European country.

© Thomas Niedermueller/Getty Images FILE – STUTTGART, GERMANY – MAY 05: Sculptures looted by British soldiers from the Kingdom of Benin in 1897 hangs on display in the “Where Is Africa” exhibition at the Linden Museum on May 05, 2021 in Stuttgart, Germany. The Linden Museum is among several museums in Germany that have items known as Benin Bronzes in their collections, as do other museums across the world. German authorities recently announced that German museums will return their Benin Bronzes to Nigeria beginning next year, the first commitment with a timetable by a government to do so. British soldiers stole thousands of Benin Bronzes, priceless artefacts made of brass, wood or ivory, in a raid in 1897 from the Kingdom of Benin, located in present-day Nigeria. The Linden Museum has been a participant in the Benin Dialogue Group to participate in the planning of the new Royal Museum in Benin City.

The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Ambassador Gabriel Aduda, announced this at the inaugural Nigerian Cultural Show exhibiting the nation’s diverse cultural heritage, sites and traditional festivals at the Cultural Centre of Nigeria House in New York, United States of America (U.S.A).

Aduda also said the reparation of the artefacts would go with building an ultramodern museum in Edo State and the training of some curators to man the artefacts.

He said Nigeria had reached an advanced stage of discussions with Germany to return thousands of different pieces of Benin bronzes back to the country.

The Nigerian official said the ministry had been at the forefront, alongside relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), to facilitate the repatriation of thousands of Benin artefacts from the Republic of Germany.

“We are working with relevant MDAs. We have had several high-level meetings with the Republic of Germany and we are at a stage where thousands of art works are to be returned to Nigeria,”

“There are over 7,000 different pieces of artefacts that Republic of Germany wants to give back to Nigeria,” he said.

Aduda added: “We have talked deep into this that the reparation is not only at giving back, but they are coming to put a modern-day museum in Edo State. They are training 25 curators who will man the museum for sustainability.

“We have gone far and we are thinking that this will be concluded in October this year.

“We are hoping it will be a window to reach out to other European countries to return to us what was taken from us years back,” he said.