Swedish govt to return 39 stolen Benin artifacts - Envoy


Oba Ewuare II with Ambassador Annika Hahn-Englund

By Jethro Ibileke

The Swedish government has resolved to return 39 pieces of Benin artifacts being kept in various Museums in the country to the Benin palace,
custody of Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba of Benin.

The Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, Her Excellency Annika Hahn-Englund, made this disclosure when she paid a courtesy visit to the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II (CFR) in his palace in Benin City, Edo State.

Hahn-Englund informed the royal father that Sweden and Nigeria, its second largest market in Sub-Sahara Africa, are trading partners, including infrastructure, telecommunication, energy and other businesses that supported the economies significantly.

The Swedish envoy, said, “With the cooperation we have in culture, education with Nigeria; I would like to mention the decision of of the Swedish government to return 39 artefacts to Benin Kingdom.

“Your Majesty, I am very honoured to be here tonight,” she said.

Oba Ewuare who welcomed the decision to repatriate the artifacts, expressed his deepest gratitude to the Swedish government for the intervention.

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He recalled that during his courtesy visit to the Swedish Monarch as Nigeria Ambassador to Scandinavian countries in 1998, he made a request for the return of Benin Bronzes in Sweden.

The traditional ruler disclosed that the Benin Royal Museum project which has the backing of the federal government, is still on course.

According to Oba Ewuare II, the demand for the return of looted Benin artefacts has been on since the reign of Oba Akenzua II, adding: “and you are here today telling me that it has been approved. This has been my request long time ago. God’s time is always the best”.

The Oba commended the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), an agency of the federal government of Nigeria and other partners for their support and devotion towards the project.

Oba Ewuare II with Ambassador Annika Hahn-Englund

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