Germany to return stolen Nigerian Benin Bronzes
Nigeria's Minister of Information and Communication calls the planned return the ''single largest repatriation of artifacts anywhere in the world."
The Nigerian government signed a statement in Berlin on Friday stipulating the return of 1,130 Benin Bronzes from Germany.
According to a news statement issued by Nigeria's Ministry of Information and Culture, the historic joint proclamation would pave the way for the repatriation of bronzes plundered from the ancient Benin Kingdom during the Benin Expedition of 1897, 125 years ago.
Lai Mohammed, Nigeria's Minister of Information and communication, hailed the intended return as the ”single largest repatriation of artefacts anywhere in the world," during the signing ceremony.
According to Mohammed, Germany has taken the lead in righting historical wrongs by offering to restore plundered artifacts.
Although Nigeria was never a German colony, he claims that many of the artifacts in German public institutions came from there through commerce and contributions.
“I have no doubt in my mind that this pace-setting action by the Federal Government of Germany will become a harbinger of more repatriation of cultural property to their place of origin, as other museums and institutions are expected to take a cue from what Germany has done,” Mohammed stated.
In the same context, Glasgow officials held talks with a delegation from Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) last week about the return of 19 Benin objects.
Earlier this year, two British colleges repatriated to Nigeria two Benin bronzes plundered by British colonialists in the nineteenth century.
In total, Glasgow plans to restore 51 objects to their original owners' descendants from India, Nigeria, and the Cheyenne River and Oglala Sioux tribes in the US state of South Dakota.