Diverting Stolen Benin Artefacts: What Germany Minister Of Culture Told Us__Governor Godwin Obaseki
I led the Edo State Government delegation to a meeting between the Federal Government, the Benin Royal Family and the German Government in Germany, to finalise modalities for the return of stolen artefacts to Edo State.
The meeting in Berlin was attended by the German Minister of State for Culture, Professor Monika Grutters, and Foreign Minister, Mr. Heiko Maas, while the Nigerian delegation include the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
The Benin Royal Palace was represented by Crown Prince of Benin Kingdom, Prince Ezelekhae Ewuare.
I attended the talks to demonstrate the strong partnership involving the Federal Government of Nigeria, the (Benin) Royal family and the people of Edo State.
I noted that we are going to build a “transformational” museum in Benin City, to house the artefacts upon their return, as part of a new cultural district in the city.
At the meeting, Lai Mohammed insisted on a full and unconditional return of the 1,130 Benin artefacts domiciled in German museums, adding that the return should be whole rather than substantial.
He said this in the wake of remarks by Grutters that the European nation was ready to make ‘substantial return’ of the 1,130 looted artefacts.
The German Minister of State for Culture, Professor Grutters, said the way they deal with the issue of Benin Bronzes is important to addressing the country’s colonial past, describing the issues as “an important personal concern.”
She assured the 1,130 artefacts would be returned to Nigeria from the beginning of 2022, noting that Germany had twice sent delegations to Nigeria for talks over the planned repatriation.
She said such a move indicated that both sides had moved beyond mere talks, saying all the Museums in Germany stockpiling Benin Bronzes have agreed to cooperate.
@views exclusive rights: Godwin Obaseki, Edo State Governor, July 9, 2021.
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