Several artifacts were plundered from Nigeria by the British during the colonial rule, and the government has said they want them back.
According to The Art Newspaper, a group of European museums and Nigerian parties are pushing for a return of the artifacts to their home country.
The group, known as the Benin Dialogue Group, comprises of nine museums across London, Cambridge, Oxford, Berlin, Dresden, Hamburg, Vienna and Stockholm. It also includes a consortium of 4 Dutch ethnographic museums.
It has been reported that a royal museum will be built in Benin, Edo State, and while it isn’t certain if the loan will be made, the construction is seen as the first step.
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, said the state is open to bringing the artifacts back home. He said:
Whatever terms we can agree to have them back so that we can relate to our experience, relate to these works that are at the essence of who we are, we would be open to such conversations.
In some cases it could be a permanent loan and in some cases it (could) just be for temporary display. In other cases it could be a return of works.
The decision to establish a world-class museum will encourage curators across Europe to be confident to support the safe return.
Photo Credit: Michel Wal/ The Art Newspaper