Nigeria expectant of 96 Benin bronzes from Germany

The Federal Government has affirmed confidence that 96 Benin bronzes stashed in Cologne, Germany will soon be returned to Nigeria.

The government declared the Benin cultural properties, forcibly taken by the British Colonial forces barely 125 years ago, shall be returned to their rightful home.

Ambassador of Nigeria to Germany, Yusuf Tuggar, spoke at the “Missing, Giving Back and Remembering Exhibition” in the historic city of Cologne, Germany.

Tuggar said: “In the same vein, Nigeria remains confident that the 96 pieces in Cologne from the Benin cultural properties forcibly taken by British Colonial forces barely 125 years ago, shall be returned to their rightful home.

“The return of the Benin bronzes promises to catalyze the colonial healing process like no other before, because of the exceptional nature of how they were acquired. Unlike many other stolen cultural properties that were taken from archaeological dig sites, here is an open-and-shut case of colonial power with superior weapons sacking and pillaging a city, killing its citizens, and even taking pictures with the looted items- the modern equivalent of sending a postcard back home. Even the Oba of Benin was not spared; he was taken away the same way the bronzes were.”

He added: “It is our fervent hope that the return would also become a salubrious genesis for a re-examination of the teleology of museums as a whole, particularly ethnological and archaeological museums that could do with ontological adjustments in the 21st century. The debate around restitution and colonial reappraisal has recharged cultural diplomacy around the world, with Germany and Nigeria as role models.”



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