Oxford Uni: 97 artifacts looted in 1897 to be returned to Nigeria
Earlier this year Nigeria requested the repatriation of the 97 artifacts, Oxford University supported the claim to return the looted artifacts and has started working on the process.
Artifacts amounting to 97 objects, looted from Nigeria by the British colonial forces in 1897 could be returned to Nigeria following the latter’s request for the repatriation of the culturally significant items earlier this year.
The 97 artifacts, which included bronzes, were stolen from Benin City and are presently housed at the Pitt Rivers Museum and the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. The National Commission for Museums and Monuments of Nigeria (NCMM) had filed a claim with the Pitt Rivers Museum for the restitution of the objects.
"As one of several UK museums that hold significant materials taken from Benin in 1897, the Pitt Rivers has been involved in long-term research and engagement projects in partnership with Nigerian stakeholders and representatives from the royal court of the Benin kingdom," the statement read. "Since 2017, the museum has been a member of the Benin Dialogue Group and has played a leading role in discussions on the future care of the collections."
The Oxford University council has chosen to back the claim, which will be reviewed by the Charity Commission before the artifacts are returned. The university stated that the "Charity Commission will consider the claim by autumn 2022."
This comes after Nigeria also signed an agreement with Germany for the return of other stolen artifacts from Benin. On July 2nd, the Nigerian government signed a statement in Berlin 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.