The monarch of Benin Kingdom, Oba Ewuare II has called on the British Government to return all artefacts stolen from the Kingdom during the 1897 invasion by British troops.
He made the call during a visit by the Director of the British Museum, Hartwig Fischer, who was at his palace to inquire about the possibility of the British Museum offering support with fundraising and personnel training for the proposed museum in the Oba’s palace.
Speaking on the need for the items which include bronze works, to be brought back home due to their emotional connection with the Benin people, a statement by the Oba’s Chief Press Secretary, Desmond Agbama, said, “The Oba of Benin reiterated the need to return the stolen artefacts from the various museums across the world, pointing out that the Benin people are emotionally attached to it, even though they had been speaking for the Benin kingdom wherever they are in the world.”
The monarch told Fischer that the palace was reviving the bronze casting guild responsible for producing the artwork as a way of keeping the craft alive.
While welcoming the idea of the museum collaborating with the palace to develop a world-class museum which will accommodate the stolen artefacts, he also said it is something that would benefit Nigeria and not just the State.
He also hinted at the launch of ‘The Red Book,’ noting that the Benin culture was far from going extinct as erroneously believed by some historians and academics in some part of the world.