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Sweden concludes plans to repatriate 39 pieces of Benin artefacts



Sweden concludes plans to repatriate 39 pieces of Benin artefacts
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The Swedish Government has concluded plans to repatriate 39 pieces of Benin artefacts in her possession to the custody of the Oba of Benin, Omo N’ Oba Ewuare II.

Coming on the heels of the return of a prized bronze cockerel, presently valued at two million pound sterling and the bust of Oba Uhunilao, which goes for 500,000 pound sterling in February 2022 by the United Kingdom, Oba Ewuare II assured that the federal government-backed Benin Royal Museum project is still on course.

The Benin monarch who spoke Wednesday in his palace in Benin during in a visit by the Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs. Annika Hahn-Englund, commended the foreign partners for their support and devotion towards the project, adding that the Federal Government Gazette No. 57, Volume 110 at pages A245-247 issued on March 23rd, 2023, clearly recognized ownership and vested custody and management of repatriated Benin artefacts on the Benin monarch.

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The royal father commended the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), which is an agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria, responsible for the preservation, promotion, and development of Nigeria’s cultural heritage.

Ambassador Hahn-Englund told the traditional ruler that following the cooperation between both countries in culture,m and education, Sweden decided to return the 39 artefacts to the Palace of the Oba of Benin, where they were looted during the British punitive expedition of 1897.

“So, your Majesty, I am very honoured to be here tonight,” Ambassador Hahn-Englund said.

The royal father, who expressed his deepest gratitude to the Swedish Government for the gesture, recalled how he made a request in Stockholm through the Swedish monarch in 1998 for the return of Benin bronzes in Sweden during a visit as Nigeria Ambassador to Scandinavian countries.

Oba Ewuare II, who recalled with fond memories his exploits as Nigerian ambassador to the different Scandinavian countries, noted the remarkable reign and his enduring affection for the Swedish monarch, His Royal Majesty, Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus, which remained indelible.

According to the revered traditional ruler, the demand for the return of thousands of looted Benin artefacts has been on since the reign of Oba Akenzua II, adding:

“You are here today telling us that it has been approved. This has been my request for a long time. God’s time is always the best.”

To underscore the significance of the historic visit to the palace, the Swedish envoy, who was accompanied by her husband and a member of the diplomatic mission, presented a souvenir to Oba Ewuare II, who in turn gave a copy of the federal government Gazette on all Benin artefacts to the ambassador in appreciation.


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