Church Of England To Return Benin Bronzes Given To It By Ambrose Alli, UNN - IReporteronline
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Church Of England To Return Benin Bronzes Given To It By Ambrose Alli, UNN

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The Church of England has promised to return two Benin Bronzes, given as gifts to former Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie almost 40 years ago, to Nigeria.

“We have recently been contacted by the Digital Benin project at the MARKK (Hamburg) who enquired about our collection of gifts at Lambeth Palace and if we had received any Benin kingdom objects as gifts over the years,” the spokeswoman of Lambeth Palace, the official home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, said.

“In response, we have confirmed to the Digital Benin project that we have two bronze busts, given to us by the Benin kingdom in 1982,” she said.

She said the busts “were gifted to Archbishop Robert Runcie by His Excellency Chief (Prof.) Ambrose F. Alli and the University of Nigeria, Nusukka.”

“We have offered for the two busts to be included in the Digital Benin project and eventually, returned to our friends in Edo, Nigeria where they may remain. We are currently in discussions with the EMOWAA, via the Legacy Restoration Trust, to arrange this,” she added.

Benin was attacked by British troops in 1897 with around 5,000 works of art plundered and spread across the globe which are now being tracked by an online project gathering information about them.

This is coming amid growing pressure on institutions to return looted works of arts with the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill one of the latest to take steps to potentially hand back exhibits.

The museum worked with Nigerian Londoners to develop its policy and says it is open to the “possible return” of objects “acquired at different times and under a range of circumstances, some of which would not be appropriate today, such as through force or other forms of duress”.

The Horniman statement went on to say “We understand that for some communities – whether in countries of origin or in the diaspora — the retention of some specific objects, natural specimens or human remains is experienced as an ongoing hurt or injustice.”

Demands for the restitution of exhibits to their original countries is one of the biggest issues facing London’s major museums.

Mwazulu Diyabanza, a pan-African movement called Yanka Nku (Unity, Dignity and Courage), is on a mission is to recover all works of art and culture taken from Africa to Europe. He calls his method “active diplomacy”.

Last June, in between French lockdowns, Diyabanza and several others entered the Quai Branly museum in Paris, which has around 70,000 objects from sub-Saharan Africa. Shouting “We’re taking it home!”, they wrenched from its setting a 19th-century African funeral post that belonged to the Bari people of Chad. Police recovered the object and held Diyabanza in custody for three days. A judge fined him €1,000 for “attempted theft”.

On its website, the British Museum admits that some objects in its Africa collections have “difficult histories, including the contested means by which some collections have been acquired, such as through military action”.

“The British Museum is actively engaged in re-examining the acquisition histories of such collections and caring for them with appropriate respect, in close dialogue with African partners,” the website adds.

Guardian UK reported that the 900 objects from the Kingdom of Benin are particularly problematic. They include exhibits that were looted from Benin City by a British military force in 1897, most famous among them the mesmerising Benin bronzes, created from the 16th century onwards by specialist guilds.

“The Royal Palace was burned and destroyed,” the museum’s website explains.

“Its shrines and associated compounds were looted by British forces, and thousands of objects of ceremonial and ritual value were taken to the UK as official ‘spoils of war’, or distributed among members of the expedition according to their rank.”

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OPC Lambasts Dambazau For Linking Group With Boko Haram

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The O’odua Peoples Congress (OPC) said the former Chief of Army Staff and Minister of Interior, Lieutenant-General Abdurahman Dambazau, is suffering from acute dementia and gradually losing touch with reality.

OPC, in a statement on Saturday by its Publicity Secretary, Barrister Yinka Oguntimehin, reacted to the statement credited to the former minister that the OPC was the same as the dreaded Boko Haram.

The group condemned in strong terms the statement credited to the ex-minister, pointing out that such statements were capable of heating up the polity and disrupting national peace.

Oguntimehin also described Dambazau as a northern irredentist and extremist popularly noted for his unguarded statements and utterances.

“From his statement, it is obvious that the ex-COAS is suffering from acute dementia and he is gradually losing touch with the realities of this time.

 

“Dambazau’s statement that OPC and IPOB are very much the same as the dreaded Boko Haram was made in bad faith and such statements have raised some fundamental questions about his intentions, interests and morality as a former COAS and minister of Interior that have allegedly been supporting the bandits by offering both financial and technical support to the group.

“Such high profile ex-military officer cannot be trusted in the fight against insurgency because he had on several occasion pleaded on their behalf.

“In 2014, before the general election, Dambazau and four other top northern leaders had their hands in the recruitments of bandits into the country. And when he eventually became the minister of Interior, under President Muhammadu Buhari, he requested and pleaded that the Federal Government should raise over N800 billion to settle the bandits. A request which was opposed by Nigerians.

“So for such a person to have said that OPC is the same as Boko Haram is not only derogatory, but it is most unfortunate to say the least.”

Oguntimehin said: “Boko Haram is adjudged globally as the third most dreaded terrorist groups in the world. And up till today, it remains as such with various cases of killings across the North.

“For instance, presently, Boko Haram and bandits have taken over four states in the North and Danbazau had never condemned their atrocities, he didn’t raise a finger.

“It is no doubt that he is one of their sponsors. That is why he had, rather than offering lasting solution to the insurgency in the north and across the country, remained an ardent promoter of bandits and other terrorist groups in Nigeria.

So, from his statement, it shows that the ex-minister is not in his right frame of mind, because when bandits killed a foremost Oba in Ondo, he didn’t talk. When other respected leaders from the north held a meeting on the critical security situation in the country,he didn’t attend.”

The OPC publicity scribe stated further that the group has since its existence in 1994 remains one of the most dependable organizations that have been defending the interest of the people of the south west.

“OPC has never involved in any act of insurgency, including kidnapping or killings. Our group have been at the vanguard of supporting the police and providing information that can help the police in ensuring effective security at the grassroots.

“For instance, during the END SARS protests, OPC came to the rescue in the southwest and we protected the police stations and the police formations against unscrupulous rioters that had hijacked the peaceful protests.

Recently, the OPC under our amiable leader, the Aareonakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Abiodun Ige Adams, apprehended the notorious Kidnap kingpin, Abdullah Iskilu Wakili that had been terrorising the people of Ibarapa and its environs, and we handed him over to the police.

“So for somebody of Dambazau status to say such a group is like the Boko Haram truly shows his mindset and level of thinking. Such a person has truly lost touch with the realities of the present time because today, OPC has been reorganised, repackaged, and re-orientated in such a way that it has become a thorn in the flesh of bandits, kidnappers and terrorists. And today, the fear of the OPC has truly become the beginning of wisdom for people like Danbazau and his allies

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You Need UTME To Gain Admission Into Our Academy – NDA

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The Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) has announced that the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) is a basic requirement for admission into the academy.

This was made known in a statement by Maj. Bashir Jajira, the NDA Public Relations Officer, on Saturday in Kaduna.

He said the academy had nothing to do with fake news speculating that academy suspended UTME for the incoming members of 73 Regular Course.

Part of the statement read: “The academy wishes to inform the general public that UTME is one of the basic requirements for entry into the academy.

“All interested applicants into the academy must have passed the UTME and attained an acceptable minimum national standard as determined by JAMB annual policy meeting before gaining entry into the 73 Regular Course.”

He advised the general public to ignore any information on social media purporting the suspension of JAMB exam for 73 Regular Course.

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No Oil Money Again, FG Printed N60bn To Share In March – Obaseki

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Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo has warned that there would soon be no crude oil revenue for Nigeria to spend, adding that the federal government had to print extra N60 billion for states to share in March.

The governor made this statement on Wednesday during a meeting with the state’s Transition Committee in Benin.

Mr Obaseki noted the Nigerian economy can no longer rely on global oil prices because major oil-producing companies are now investing in alternative sectors, Channels news reported.

The governor further expressed his concern over the habitual borrowing system of the government, he explained that by the end of the year that there would be additional N16 trillion debt owed by the Nigerian government.

He mentioned that the situation may cause a collapse in the economy of the country and the value of naira because there is no way of paying back borrowed loans.

“In another year or so, where will we find this money that we go to Abuja to share every month? Last month, we got FAAC for March. The federal government printed an additional ₦50 to ₦60 billion to top-up for us to share,” he said.

“We say remove subsidy, they say no. This April, next week again, we will go to Abuja and share. By the end of this year, the total borrowing is going to be in excess of ₦15 to ₦16 trillion.

“My worry is that we will wake up one day like Argentina, the naira will be ₦1,000, ₦2,000 and will be moving because we don’t have money coming in. You are just borrowing, borrowing and borrowing without any means or idea of how to pay back.”

Speaking further, the governor explained that the people are concerned about the 2023 election while they keep blaming the president for the current state of the nation’s economy.

Also, the governor commended the effort of the Independent National Electoral Committee for adopting technology to bring a change to the voting system in the country so it will be difficult to rig election results.

“INEC itself had also begun its own process of change. They have been worried, scandalised by what happened in Kogi and Bayelsa and were trying to redeem themselves.

“So using technology, they made sure that as soon as you finish voting in the polling unit, that result was uploaded straight into a portal so they can see the pattern which makes it difficult to change results at the collation centers.’’

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