President Muhammadu Buhari has directed Nigeria’s High Commissioner in the UK to commence repatriation of artefacts Britain looted in 1897 from the palace of the Oba of Benin.
Two of the bronzes handed over by Jesus College, Cambridge, and the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, are to be personally handed over to Ewuare II, according to a December 3 press statement from the palace.
“This very unique and auspicious occasion would take place December 13 in the Oba’s palace, Benin City,” the statement added.
“This very traditional and royal event will also be an occasion to mark the celebration of the fifth coronation anniversary of His Royal Majesty which came up on October 20, but was postponed.”
Thanking the president, the royal family emphasized the constitutional role of the federal government to receive the repatriated artefacts.
Before now, the royal family and Edo government had a standoff on the role the state wanted to play in taking custody of the artefacts, by-passing the original owner of the ancient artworks.