Church of England to return 2 Benin Bronzes to Nigeria after 40 years

The two bronze busts were gifted to the Archbishop of Canterbury decades ago.

Two Benin Bronzes left Nigeria nearly 40 years ago [Lambeth Palace]

Pulse Nigeria

The Church of England has committed to returning two Benin Bronzes to Nigeria, according to a report by UK-based Evening Standard.

The bronze statues were gifted to the Archbishop of Canterbury by the former governor of the defunct Bendel State, Ambrose Alli, and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) in 1982.

"We are currently in discussions with the Edo Museum of West African Art (EMOWAA), via the Legacy Restoration Trust, to arrange this," Lambeth Palace said in a statement.

The announcement follows the recent decision of the University of Aberdeen to return to Nigeria a Benin bronze sculpture stolen over a century ago.

The bronze sculpture depicting an Oba of Benin was acquired by the university in 1957, decades after it was looted.

The university said the theft of the sculpture was one of the most notorious examples of the pillaging of cultural treasures associated with 19th century European colonial expansion.

There have been calls over recent years to have African artifacts transported abroad via colonial exploitation or illegal looting returned to the continent, but success has been rare.

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