Repatriated Benin artefacts’ custody settled, monarch tells envoy

The Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, says custody of the repatriated Benin artefacts has been settled by the Federal Government, stressing that there is no more controversy over the issue.

The Oba made the clarification at his palace on Friday during a meeting with the Ambassador of The Netherlands to Nigeria, Wouter Plomp, saying the Federal Government rightly recognised the significance of having the repatriated artefacts in the custody of the Oba of Benin.

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

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

The Oba said, “The ownership, custody, and management of the artefacts are clearly stated, which is vested in the Oba as an institution. That is the law.

“The ongoing plans for the construction of Benin Royal Museum Project, at the instance of the Nigerian government, is on course. It is a Federal Government project and we have been on it for some time now.”

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

He pledged his country’s support in strengthening Nigeria in the area of employment and cultural diplomacy.

“We are very interested in all the history of the Benin bronzes, some of which 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,” Plomp added.


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