Nigeria to Britain: It is time for our looted artefacts to return home

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Nigeria's Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

By Rotimi Ijikanmi

The Federal Government of Nigeria said it is time for the British authorities to return its looted artefacts, especially the cultural and historical works of art, home.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, stated this on Monday during a working visit to the British Museum.

Speaking after a meeting with officials of the museum, Mohammed thanked them for their passion and for taking care of the artefacts for so long.

“Before now, they said we did not make a demand, but in October last year, almost nine months ago we made a formal request for the return of the artefacts especially the Benin bronzes, for which we have not got any response.

“We made them understand that our quest and clamour is for the return of the Benin bronzes and all other artefacts that were stolen and looted to their origin.

“I said they should take a cue from Germany which was neither our coloniser nor the one that looted the artefacts but which has yielded to pressure and signed an agreement to return 1,130 Benin bronzes to us.

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“We also made it clear to them that they cannot hide under the legislation and no Act of Parliament will make what you have stolen to become yours,” he said.

Mohammed claimed that he reminded the officials that the Universities of Aberdeen and Cambridge had each received the looted artefacts in their possession back.

He continued by saying that, in addition to Canada’s guarantee, other nations throughout the world, including France, Belgium, and Germany, were returning artefacts to their respective nations.

The minister said the bureaucrats who listened to him with rapt attention said nothing because they did not understand the situation.

Mohammed vowed that they would not stop until Britain repented of its century-old wrongdoing and returned the country’s treasure.


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