Artefacts: Benin Monarch Notifies Netherlands Of FG’s Gazette

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The Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, has notified the Netherlands Government about Nigeria’s Government Gazette recognising and vesting custody and management of repatriated looted Benin artefacts in the Benin monarch.

This is contained in a statement on Monday in Benin City by the Chief Press Secretary to Ewuare II, Mr Iguobaro Osaigbovo.

Ewuare II notified the Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Wouter Pomp, of the significance of the gazette and presidential declaration, when the diplomat paid a courtesy visit to the palace.

He explained that the future of the Benin Bronzes and artefacts were in the gazette, adding that the ownership, custody, and management of the artefacts were spelt out clearly in the gazette.

“They are spelt out clearly. The ownership, custody, and management are vested in the Oba as an institution. That is the law,” he noted.

He added that the ongoing plans for the construction of the Benin Royal Museum at the instance of the Nigerian Government were on course.

According to him, the building of the Benin Royal Museum is a Federal Government project and “we have been on it for some time now.”

He noted that the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Notice No. 25 in the official Gazette No. 57, Volume 110 at pages A245-247, dated March 23, 2023, laid to rest the simmering tussle between the Palace and Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State over who should be the custodian of the artefacts.

Earlier, in his remarks before the Benin throne, Pomp congratulated the Oba for redirecting the course of history.

He pledged his government’s support in strengthening Nigeria in employment, migration, and cultural diplomacy.

“We are very interested in all the history of the Benin Bronzes, some of which, as you are aware, are still in the Netherlands.

“Contacts are underway between the Netherlands Commission for Monuments and the Commission for Monuments of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“There have been meetings between the Commissions about the future of the Benin Bronzes,” he said.

NAN

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