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Elated Oba of Benin dances as Germany returns stolen artefacts

The Oba couldn't contain his excitement after receiving the two artefacts, which were stolen from his forbearers.

Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, dancing at a press briefing on Friday, to the songs his grand father, Oba Akenzua II sang and danced to in 1938. This was joy over the return of the first set of artefacts said to have been worn by Oba Ovonranmwen Nogbaisi when he went on exile. [Vanguard]

The two national treasures, including wooden and bronze stools, were handed over to the monarch by the National Commission for Museum and Monument (NCMM) on Friday, May 17, 2024.

They were said to have been used by Oba Esigie and Oba Eresonye between the 15th and 17th centuries.

In 2022, the German authorities handed over the two items to the Nigerian government through the NCMM.

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While presenting the repatriated items to the monarch, the commission's Director-General, Olugbile Holloway, pledged to collaborate with the Benin Royal Court in promoting and displaying the Edo heritage.

The artefacts, among others, were looted by the British when they invaded the Benin palace in 1897.

“NCMM will join hands with the Royal Court to create a befitting destination for people around the world to come and appreciate these works. What you see before us was originally taken away from the Royal family in 1897. We have a stool made of Bronze and a wooden stool. I speak for every member of my team when I say that we remain loyal to the Royal Court. If there is anything we can do, we will do to support this laudable initiative.

”This heritage is not just Benin's heritage, but Nigeria’s heritage. When we speak of Benin heritage, there is nobody who doesn’t know the great works of ours. I appreciate you, we will always do what we can do with our powers to make His Royal Majesty lineage in memory," Holloway said.

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Meanwhile, the elated Oba, alongside his excited chiefs and members of the royal family, danced to Benin's traditional rendition in dramatic dance steps, after unveiling the returned artefacts.

They also offered prayers to God and their ancestors.

The monarch expressed appreciation to the German and Nigerian governments for ensuring the return of the valuable items.

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