Nigeria and Germany signs agreement of returning of over 500 looted Benin bronze artifacts

An agreement of the returning ownership of over 500 looted Benin bronze artifacts has been signed between Germany and Nigeria.

Nigeria: An agreement of the returning ownership of over 500 looted Benin bronze artifacts has been signed between Germany and Nigeria. Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments and Foundation of Prussian Cultural Heritage signed the deal on Thursday.

In the agreement, it was stated that German museums would get almost a third of the artifacts on loan, while the rest would be given back to Nigeria, which will be starting later this year.


“This represents the future concerning artefacts issue; a future of collaboration among museums, a future of according respect and dignity to the legitimate requests of other nations and traditional institutions,” said Abba Isa Tijani, director general of Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments.

Further, German Culture Minister Claudia Roth stated that similar views on the agreement while adding “further agreements to return such collections will follow over the coming months. This return will serve as an example for all museums in Germany which hold collections from colonial contexts.

All the pieces and sculptures were made of bronze which was an important genre of art around 13 century ago. The Kingdom of Benin stole the artifacts situated in modern-day Nigeria and soldiers in 1897. It ended up in museums all across Europe, and thousands of objects were also shipped to London as war booty and sold.

European countries were under pressure from campaigners, and former colonies were all to return looted artifacts for decades. As per the estimates, around 80-90 percent of Africa’s cultural heritage is currently in European museums.

Berlin’s Humboldt Forum has been at the center of a debate surrounding the colonial-era items – some 20,000 African and Asian artifacts – in its exhibition halls.

France also signed a deal last year to start repatriating some artifacts stolen during its colonial rule over the West African country of Benin.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


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