Obaseki, German govt discuss return of stolen Benin artefacts


Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has stepped up the campaign for the return of prized Benin artefacts looted from the kingdom, rallying the German Government to ensure their return and the realisation of the proposed Edo Museum of West African Art.


The governor, during a meeting with top diplomats from the German Foreign Office at the Government House, Benin City, advocated the establishment of a trust fund to guarantee the completion of the project.

Obaseki stated, “As a government, we are preparing to launch an independent trust, which will constitute the Royal Family, Edo State Government, the Federal Government and international stakeholders.


“That trust should be transparently structured and properly resourced to take a whole series of actions relating to those works and other activities consequent there from.


“I am glad that we’ve been on that; we’ve set up the legacy restoration trust. We want to also thank some of our donors, who are committed to have a few more excavations under the aegis of the trust.”

He added, “As you know, culture is a living thing; the artefacts that we are dealing with today are a repetition of our culture at a certain point in time.


“We believe that our collaboration should transcend to not only returning the works, but also understanding the significant and meaning of those works from our history.

“There are many things that we share in common. Yes, the objects are from Benin, but today, they are global. So, the idea of having a universal display is something that we cannot run away from.”


Earlier, the Director-General, Culture and Communication, German Government, Dr Andreas Gorgen, hailed the governor for setting up a trust that was independent and open to international partners.


He pledged to collaborate with the state government to organise joint skills programmes, explore archaeological sites and ensure the retrieval of objects.

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