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ICYMI: Oba Of Benin, Obaseki Differ On Repatriation Of Looted Artifacts

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The Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, has said the looted artifacts from Benin Kingdom awaiting repatriation from Europe are not the property of the Edo State Government but the palace of the traditional ruler.

Oba of Benin Art and Obaseki 1 600x375 1

He said since the artifacts were the property of the palace, the state government could not take custody of them upon repatriation as being proposed by Governor Godwin Obaseki.

He, therefore, urged the federal government to take custody of the artifacts when returned, on behalf of the palace until the proposed Benin Royal Museum is ready to take them.

Oba Ewuare said this yesterday in his palace through Chief Sam Igbe, the Iyase of Benin Kingdom, during a meeting with palace chiefs, the enigies,  market women and others, on the repatriation of the looted artifacts.

He said the right destination for the artifacts to be repatriated as already pronounced by his father was the Benin Royal Museum that would be sited within the palace of the Oba of Benin, from where they were looted.

According to him, there are no controversies on the return of the stolen artifacts from Europe, but only communication gap between the palace and the Edo State Government over the repatriation.

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“I do not believe the move by a privately registered company, the Legacy Restoration Trust Ltd and the purported establishment of Edo Museum of West African Arts (EMOWAA) are in consonance with the wishes of the people of the Benin Kingdom.

“Shortly after my ascension to the throne, I had several discussions with the governor on the plan for the Benin Royal Museum and pledged to work with the palace. I made efforts and acquired additional plots of land from different families within the Adesogbe area near the present day palace for this purpose,” he said.

He said he was, however, surprised to read from the governor’s letter to the palace, where reference was made to the fact that a new museum to be known as EMOWAA is now being proposed, which would be funded and executed through  the  “Legacy Restoration Trust.”

“So it now behoves the federal government to be the only level of government that can take custody of the artifacts, with a view to transferring them to their original owner and place of abode,” he said.

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