Jesus College returns Benin Bronze stolen from Nigeria 124 years ago

The artifact had been gifted to the college by the father of a student in 1905.

Benin Bronze artifact, the Okukur, returned to Nigeria [Jesus College]

Jesus College, University of Cambridge has returned to Nigeria an artifact that was stolen from the country over a century ago.

Thousands of artifacts were looted when British forces sacked Benin City during an expedition in 1897, and many of them have been scattered all over the world ever since.

Jesus College returned a cockerel artifact, the Okukur, to the Royal Court of Benin in a ceremony at the institution on Wednesday, October 27, 2021.

It was handed over to Nigeria's National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), led by Professor Abba Issa Tijani, and delegates from Benin.

The artifact had been gifted to the college by the father of a student in 1905, and a campaign to return it was fueled by the college's student body.

"This is the right thing to do out of respect for the unique heritage value and history of this artefact," Master of Jesus College, Sonita Alleyne (OBE), said.

Numerous museums and other institutions in the United Kingdom, United States, and Germany have recently announced plans to return other artifacts stolen from Benin City.

"We would like other museums and institutions across the world to take this opportunity and follow suit," Prof. Tijani said at Wednesday's ceremony.

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