Germany is expected to hand back stolen colonial-era cultural artefacts to Nigeria not later than October 2021. Nigeria has reached an advanced stage of discussions with Germany to return thousands of different pieces of Benin Bronzes to the country, says a government minister. The collections would go with the building of an ultramodern museum in Edo State along with the training of some curators.
German museums and art galleries are set to return no fewer than 7000 items taken from the Benin Kingdom in a move that experts say will make the country a leader in repatriating colonial-era objects. The Permanent Secretary, Gabriel Aduda, disclosed the information while speaking at the Inaugural Nigerian Cultural Show exhibiting Nigeria’s diverse cultural heritage, sites and traditional festivals held at the Cultural Centre, Nigeria House, New York.
According to him, the Federal Government of Nigeria is in an advanced stage of discussions with Germany on the return of thousands of different pieces of Benin bronzes back to the country. The reparation of the artefacts would go with the construction of an ultramodern museum in Edo State, Nigeria, as well as the training of some curators. Speaking at the cultural exhibition, Gabriel Aduda said, “We are working with relevant MDAs, we have had several high-level meetings with the Republic of Germany, and we are at the stage where thousands of artworks are to be returned to Nigeria.”
“There are over 7,000 different pieces of artefacts that the Republic of Germany wants to give back to Nigeria. We have talked deep into this that the reparation is not only at giving back, but they are coming to put a modern-day museum in Edo State, and they are training 25 curators that will man the museum for sustainability.”
“We have gone far, and we think that this will be concluded in October this year. We are hoping it will be a window to reach out to other European countries to return to us what was taken from us years back,’’ he added. Organised by the Consulate-General of Nigeria, New York, in collaboration with the New York African Chorus Ensemble, the African Tourism Board and the Nigerian-Americans Public Affairs Committee, the show was attended by the Consul-General of Nigeria in New York, Lot Egopija; his Atlanta counterpart, Amina Smaila; and Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, George Edokpa.