- Artefacts which were reportedly stolen from Nigeria were put up for sale in Paris with one of them going for as much as $1m (N386,303,500)
- Before the sale happened, Nigeria's National Commission for Museum and Monument had asked they halt the sales
- The head of the commission, Theophilus Umogbai, said that the treasures were taken during the civil war and must be repatriated with interests
According to Aljazeera, Christie’s house auctioned the ‘stolen statues” which Nigerian officials claim were taken during the civil war in the 1960s.
This was after Nigeria’s National Commission for Museum and Monument asked that Christie stop the sale of the artefacts collected by art dealer and adviser of late French President Jacques Chirac.
But in June, the house sold Igbo statues for $239,000 (N92,326,536.50). However, a very popular Urhobo statue which was valued at $1m (N386,303,500) did not sell.
The head of the National Museum in Nigeria’s Benin City, Theophilus Umogbai, said that the works have to be given back to Nigeria and interest paid.
A Princeton scholar, Chika Okeke-Agulu, earlier in June said the objects were indeed looted and they are a very significant part of Nigeria’s heritage.
Aljazeera reports that Mallam Abdu Aliyu of Nigeria’s commission said they are very sure that the objects were taken illegally from Nigeria.
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"We have written a letter of protest to Christie's ... and are going to engage Christie's and museums in the UK, Germany and other nations where our artefacts had been allegedly taken,” he said.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng earlier reported that France, on Wednesday, officially presented to Nigeria the Nok Terracotta that was repatriated after it was intercepted in France while in transit from Togo to the United States in 2008.
French Ambassador to Nigeria, Denys Gauer, officially presented the artifact, a Terracotta figurative sculpture, to the minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, at a ceremony to mark the 2016 International Museum Day in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city.
In his address, the minister thanked the French government for demonstrating the will to fight illegal trafficking of cultural artifacts and urged other countries to emulate France.
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