Nigeria receives stolen Benin, Ife artefacts from US museum

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Three Benin and Ife artefacts kept at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) in the United States have been returned to the consulate-general of Nigeria in New York.

The artefacts, two 16th-century Benin brass plaques and one 14th-century Ife brass head, were received by Abba Tijjani, director-general of national commission for museums and monuments (NCMM),and Lot Egopija, consul-general of Nigeria in New York.

Tijjani, who signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with MET, commended the museum for returning the artefacts to Nigeria. He asked other museums in possession of Nigerian artefacts to follow MET’s exemplary gesture.

“We are looking forward to collaborating with the MET because we cannot exist in an island, for example, the museum cannot be working in Nigeria without collaborating with partners outside the country.

So, we are looking forward to collaborating with MET now that we are friends and we understand each other and we want to see how we can work together. We have about 52 museums across the country under the commission, and we have 65 monuments and sites and staff working in the museums will require modern training.’’ Tijjani said.

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