Germany to Return Benin Bronzes

Museums in Germany that own Benin Bronzes, which were looted from Nigeria in the 19th century, will be returned beginning from 2022.

The German Minister of State for Culture, Monika Grutters, disclosed this while meeting with Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in Berlin, Germany.

On Thursday, the minister stated that his Special Assistant, Segun Adeyemi, revealed that 1,130 artefacts would be returned to Nigeria from the beginning of 2022.

During the meeting, Mohammed urged the country to release the 1,130 Benin Bronzes that were looted in the 19th century and abode German museums.

Grutters noted that: “the way we deal with the issue of Benin Bronzes is important to addressing our colonial past.” She assured that the artefacts “would be returned to Nigeria from the beginning of 2022”.

She noted further that Germany had sent delegations to Nigeria twice for talks on plans to repatriate the bronzes shows that it has moved beyond mere negotiations. She stressed that all the Museums in Germany in possession of Benin Bronzes have decided to cooperate.

Speaking with the German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, Nigeria’s Information and culture minister, noted that there should be ”absolutely no conditions attached” to the repatriation.

Mohammed said the ongoing discussion between Nigeria and Germany on the return of the artefacts is not just the end of an era but the beginning of a new vista of stronger relations, pivoted by cultural diplomacy, between the two countries.

He thanked the Germany Government for its effort in leading the repatriation of all artefacts looted from Nigeria and indeed from the African continent.

Meanwhile, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, a member of the Nigerian delegation, stated that a ”transformational” museum is under construction in Benin city to house the artefacts upon their return new cultural district in the city.

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