20 June 2014

Nigeria: Lancelot's Invasion 1897

Photo: ChannelsTV
Benin artefacts.

Although, the film is still in its post-production stage, Lancelot Imasuen's highly anticipated historical film, "Invasion 1897" which is being adopted as a means to re-open agitation against the injustice meted to the Benin people during the dark era of British expedition in Africa in 1897, has started breaking grounds.

Just yesterday, as part of the campaign ignited by the film, two stolen Benin artifacts were ceremoniously received at the palace of Benin monarch, Oba Omo N'Oba N'Edo Uku Akpolopolo from Britain. The bronze carvings, which were voluntarily returned to the country by Mark Walker, a great grandson of one of the soldiers that participated in the British invasion of Benin Kingdom in 1897, Captain Philip Walker, after over 117 years in private custody in Britain.

This feat was, however, made possible after the hype generated while shooting, "Invasion 1897" in the streets of London early this year. We gathered that, while the shooting of the film lasted in London, Mark Walker granted an interview to Ms Evelyn Obahor of BET TV, where he admitted being in custody of some of the looted artifacts, disclosing that his great grandfather was a soldier who fought in Benin in 1897, and he has some of those things in his house. He later sought to meet with the cast and crew of the film, before the Benin indigenes under the aegis of Benin Union in London stepped in to facilitate the reparation of the stolen artifacts.

The film focuses on the invasion of the Benin Kingdom by the British Empire in 1897, and how they carted away ancient artifacts belonging to the kingdom under the reign of Oba Ovonramwen Nogbaisi who was deposed and later, died while on exile in Calabar.

Parading stars such as Segun Arinze, Paul Obazele, Mike Omoregbe who played the lead character, with special appearance by late Justus Esiri, the film which has been endorsed by the Benin monarch, Oba Omo N'Oba N'Edo Uku Akpolopolo is indeed, a bold attempt by Lancelot to open up the hidden truths behind the invasion of the Benin Kingdom from the Nigerian Perspective to the rest of the World.

Recently, the Crown Prince of Benin, His Royal Highness, Eheneden Eradiauwa paid a royal visit to the Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi, all in the bid to reconnect with the storyline of the film. The visit, which was facilitated by the Benin Royal Dynasty Trust was part of the move to strengthen the aged-long ties between the Efik Kingdom and that of Benin.

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