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Oba of Benin frowns at third-party negotiations for return of artifacts

Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, has expressed displeasure that some groups of individuals, using pseudo names, are negotiating the recovery of stolen Benin artworks on behalf of the throne.

The Oba made this known on Friday in his palace in Benin, when Dr. Andreas Görgen, the Director-General of the Directorate of Culture and Communications of the German Embassy in Nigeria, led a German delegation on a tour of the Oba’s palace in Benin.

The Benin Traditional ruler frowned at the development, saying that the palace would not fold its hands to see such abominable development take place.

According to the Oba, prestigious Benin artefacts were largely looted from the Oba’s palace during the invasion of 1897 by British and other foreign nations.

He said “These artefacts should be returned to the original owner,” insisting that no third party must negotiate or receive the materials on behalf of the Benin kingdom.

Ewuare said that the Benin artworks have deep spiritual, traditional and cultural significance to the kingdom.

He noted that when returned, they would boost the tourism sector in the state.

“The throne will collaborate with relevant stakeholders, including the Oba Ewaure foundation and the government, in the struggle to recover all the Benin looted artefacts from various countries” the monarch noted.

In his response, Görgen told the traditional ruler that the German government acknowledged some objects from Benin in its custody, adding that Berlin is seeking ways with relevant stakeholders, especially with the Oba, on how to return the Benin artworks.