At least 7,000 artefacts plundered from Benin Kingdom are expected to be repatriated by Germany to Nigeria not later than October, Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said.
The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Ambassador Gabriel Aduda, announced this at the inaugural Nigerian Cultural Show exhibiting the nation’s diverse cultural heritage, sites and traditional festivals at the Cultural Centre of Nigeria House in New York, United States of America.
Aduda also said the reparation of the artefacts would go with building an ultramodern museum in Edo State and the training of some curators to man the artefacts.
He said Nigeria had reached an advanced stage of discussions with Germany to return thousands of different pieces of Benin bronzes back to the country.
The Nigerian official said the ministry had been at the forefront, alongside relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), to facilitate the repatriation of thousands of Benin artefacts from the Republic of Germany.
He said: “We are working with relevant MDAs. We have had several high-level meetings with the Republic of Germany and we are at a stage where thousands of art works are to be returned to Nigeria.
“There are over 7,000 different pieces of artefacts that Republic of Germany wants to give back to Nigeria.”
Aduda added: “We have talked deep into this that the reparation is not only at giving back, but they are coming to put a modern-day museum in Edo State. They are training 25 curators who will man the museum for sustainability.
“We have gone far and we are thinking that this will be concluded in October this year.
“We are hoping it will be a window to reach out to other European countries to return to us what was taken from us years back.”