Germany to return 1,030 Benin bronzes looted from Nigeria 125 years ago

Nigeria will receive no fewer than 1,030 Benin artefacts from Germany in 2022, Prof. Abba Tijani, Director-General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) has said.

Three bronzes from Benin in the Hamburg Museum of Arts and Crafts [Daniel Bockwoldt]

Tijani told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan on Tuesday that many artefacts had been received from Germany but the commission would receive at least additional 1, 030 in 2022

The objects were taken from the country during the punitive expedition of Benin in 1897.

According to him, when the artefacts are received, it will give the commission the opportunity to build new museums and attract more tourists across the world.

Tijani said this would also give them opportunities to view the cultural objects from the Nigerian context.

“It will make the foreigners to understand the significance of the artefacts better and give them added advantage which they might not get when they visit museums in Europe,’’ he said.

Tijani said the commission had called for the expansion of National Museum in Abuja and that of Benin so that the objects could be displayed.

He said the commission had partnered corporate organisations to fund museum activities, adding it had renovated many museums across the country.

“The Federal Government is ready to take possession of many of these Benin bronzes being repatriated to the country.

“Nigerians should also support us by appreciating these heritages being cherished globally, we should respect them and visit museums to understand them better.

“Also, individuals, philanthropists, culture, science and technology sector and all relevant agencies should work together with us to invest in tourism.

“Tourism makes great impact on our economy, many countries rely on tourism for their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth because it is a thriving sector.

“There will also be investment for our local communities because they will benefit when tourists start trooping in from all over the world,’’ he said.

Tijani said the commission would continue to partner the private sector, adding “we are not relying 100 per cent on government funding’’.

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