Oba receives Benin artefacts from Germany, expects more from Sweden

By Ozioruva Aliu, BENIN CITY

The Oba of Benin, today, evoked memories of old as he danced to the songs of his forebears, when he received two artefacts from Germany through the National Commission for Museum and Monument, NCMM.

The artefacts include wooden and bronze stools said to have been used by Oba Esigie and Oba Eresonye between the 15th and 17th Centuries.

They were looted alongside other works in the British 1897 invasion of the Benin palace.

The two items were handed over to the NCMM on behalf of the Nigerian government by the German authorities in 2022.

The Director-General of the NCMM, Mr Olugbile Holloway, made the presentation on behalf of the federal government today, Saturday.

Addressing the Benin throne, Holloway pledged on behalf of NCMM to work hand-in hand with the Benin Royal Court in uplifting and displaying Edo heritage.

He revealed that as the Benin bronzes and other art works are gradually making their way home (Nigeria), “NCMM will join hands with the Royal Court to create a befitting destination for people around the world to come and appreciate these works.

“What you see before us were originally taken away from the Royal family in 1897.

“We have a stool made of Bronze and a wooden stool.
“I speak for every member of my team, to say that we remain loyal to the Royal Court. And if there is anything we can do, we will do to support this laudable initiative.

“This heritage is not just Benin heritage, but Nigeria’s heritage.

Oba dances

After unveiling the repatriated Benin artefacts, Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II, Oba of Benin, danced to Benin traditional rendition in dramatic dance steps, with excited chiefs and members of the royal family.

He then offered prayers to almighty God and his ancestors.

He appreciated the German government and the federal government and the NCMM leadership for their efforts.

It would be recalled that the Swedish government has resolved to return 39 pieces of Benin artefacts in her museum to the custody of Oba Ewuare II.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Oba, Osaigbovo Iguobaro said the Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, Her Excellency Annika Hahn-Englund, conveyed the Swedish government decision when she paid a courtesy visit to Oba of Benin Palace in Benin City, Edo State.

He said Ambassador Hahn-Englund informed the Royal father that Sweden and Nigeria, which is the second largest market in Sub-Saharan Africa, are trading partners, including infrastructure, telecommunication, energy and other businesses that supported the economies significantly.

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