Stolen Artifacts: No Conflict Between Edo, Oba of Benin, State Government Claims

Stolen Artifacts: No Conflict Between Edo, Oba of Benin, State Government Claims

  • Governor Obaseki's government has downplayed the reported rift between it and the Oba of Benin
  • The conflict is believed to be in respect of the proposed return and storage of the 1,130 stolen artefacts belonging to the state
  • According to the Obaseki-led government, it would continue to respect the traditional institutions of the state

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Following allegations that the Edo government and the Royal palace of Benin are having issues over the proposed return and storage of the 1,130 stolen artefacts belonging to the state, the Obaseki government has come out to deny such reports.

The denial was contained in a statement issued on Monday, July 12, by the Secretary to the Edo state government, Osarodion Ogie, Premium Times reports.

There is no conflict in Edo state over stolen artefacts, state government claims
The Edo state government has insisted that there is no conflict with the palace over stolen artefacts. Photo Credit: Ministry of Information and Culture
Source: Facebook

In fact, the Edo government ordered that no one, whether in government or acting independently should engage in “disrespectful exchanges” with the Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, over stolen artefacts, Channels Television added.

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The two institutions were reported to be having issues over where the repatriated artefacts will be. The government wants them housed in a government-built museum while the Palace of His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II wants it at the Benin Royal Museum, inside the palace.

The Oba of Benin was reported to have also asked the federal government to temporarily take custody of 1,130 stolen Benin artefacts that are about to be repatriated from Europe.

In the statement, the government claims there is no conflict, adding that Governor Obaseki will maintain his immense respect for the monarch.

The statement read in part:

“The governor of Edo State, His Excellency, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has displayed and will continue to display immense respect for our traditional institutions and therefore will continue to make effort to secure a private audience with His Royal Majesty to discuss his concerns.

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“The Governor has consequently ordered that on no account should anyone, whether in government or acting independently, engage in disrespectful exchanges and/or altercation with our revered Royal Majesty and the Benin Royal Palace."

Britain set to return Nigeria's Benin Bronze

Earlier, reported that the University of Aberdeen disclosed plans to return the Benin Bronze, a historical artefact stolen from Nigeria by the colonial imperialists.

The disclosure was made on Thursday, March 25, by Neil Curtis, Aberdeen's head of museums and special collections, who said the Bronze representing an Oba, or ruler of the Kingdom of Benin was "blatantly looted."

Thousands of artworks, sculptures, metal castings and historical artefacts were carted away by British soldiers from the old Benin Kingdom in 1897.

We want artefacts stolen from Nigeria back

Meanwhile, the Nigerian government has demanded the return of some of the historical artefacts including 1,130 Benin Bronzes stolen from the country in the 19th century by the Germans.

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This appeal was made by Nigeria's information and culture minister Lai Mohammed during a meeting on Wednesday, July 7, in Berlin.

Addressing the German state minister of culture, Monika Grutters, and the German foreign minister, Heiko Maas, in a separate meeting, Mohammed demanded a “full and unconditional” return of the artefacts saying there is no controversy over their origin.


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