Nigeria: Artefacts - Benin Monarch Notifies Netherlands of Nigeria's Gazette On Custody

23 April 2023

In a bid to ensure that the looted Benin artefacts were returned to their rightful place, His Royal Majesty, Ewuare II, the Oba of Benin, has notified the Ambassador of Netherlands to Nigeria, Wouter Pomp, on the significance of Nigeria's presidential declaration in the recognition of ownership and an order vesting custody and management of repatriated Benin artefacts in him.

Recall that the Federal Government of Nigeria had in a Notice No. 25 in the official Gazette No. 57, Volume 110 at pages A245-247, dated March 23, 2023 laid to rest the simmering tussle between the Benin Monarch and the Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, over who to be the custodian of the repatriated artefacts.

Reacting to comments by the Ambassador of Netherlands on the future of repatriated Benin Bronzes, Oba Ewuare II said the future of the Benin Bronzes and artefacts were in the official gazette.

The Oba noted that, "they spelt out clearly the ownership, custody, and management, which is vested in the Oba as an institution. That is the law."

He emphasised that the ongoing plans for the construction of Benin Royal Museum Project at the instance of the Nigerian government was on course.

According to him, "It is a federal government project to build the Benin Royal Museum. We have been on it for some time now."

Addressing the Benin throne earlier, the Ambassador congratulated Oba Ewuare II for redirecting the course of history.

He pledged his government's support in strengthening the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the areas of employment, forced migration and cultural diplomacy.

"We are very interested in all the history of the Benin Bronzes, some of which as you are aware are still in the Netherlands. Contacts are underway between Netherlands Commission for Monuments and the Commission for Monuments of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

"There has been meetings between the Commissions about the future of the Benin Bronzes," Ambassador Wouter stated.

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