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Members of the Igun Bronze Casters Guild, who claimed to be descendants of Igun Community in Edo State, on Monday protested over the looted Benin artifacts expected from Germany.

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The protest was in view of the face-off between Governor Godwin Obaseki and Oba of Benin, Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II.

The protesters, armed with placards bearing various inscriptions, visited the palace of the Oba of Benin and Edo Secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the Government Reservation Area (GRA), Benin.

They condemned the claim by members of Europe and America-based Igun-Igbesanmwan-Owina Descendants Cultural Movement they were part owners of the about-to-be-returned artifacts and should be part of negotiations for their return.

The protesters, led by Ine of Igun, Chief Osarenren Inneh, who was accompanied by some chiefs, said: “We have never in any way been the owners of the artifacts that we were ordered to do by the palace.

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“There is no member of this Igun that will say that as at 3,000 years ago, they could buy a kilo of manila. So, all the works that were done were done inside the palace and were done for the monarch.

“We do works for the beautification of the palace. We do works to keep the history of the Benin Kingdom in the forms of plaques and art forms. So, we duplicate the history of the kingdom.

“We have never in any way been privileged to do these works for ourselves until when we were given our royal charter in 1280 AD by Oba Oguola. They gave us that charter for commercial purposes and the artifacts were long in existence, even before the royal charter.

“We are servants to the palace. We are servants to the Oba of Benin and nobody should pitch us against the palace because we cannot go against the palace. We are grateful to the Oba of Benin for all that he has been doing for us over the years.

“Those who thrive in making mischief just for the fun of it had better be warned to look elsewhere for their game.”

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