The London’s Horniman Museum has chosen to send 72 priceless artefacts back to Nigeria. These priceless artefacts, which also comprise 12 Benin Bronze brass plaques, were stolen from Benin City by British soldiers in 1897.
African artefacts of the highest cultural significance include the Benin Bronzes. It dates back at least to the 16th century and was made of brass and bronze in the once-powerful Kingdom of Benin in what is now southwestern Nigeria.
In 165 museums and numerous private collections around the world, there are at least 10,000 priceless artefacts that were taken during the Benin raid. The greatest collection in the world, which is housed in the British Museum in London, has 900 items.
Germany repatriated more than 1,100 valuable statues to Nigeria this month after the Quai Branly Museum in Paris and Jesus College at Cambridge University were the first to do so last year.
The Horniman claimed that it made the decision after receiving requests to do so from Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) at the beginning of the year.
Reuters quoted Eve Salomon, head of the trustees of the Horniman Museum and Gardens, as stating, ‘The evidence is extremely clear that these artefacts were acquired through force, and external consultation backed our conclusion that it is both moral and acceptable to return their ownership to Nigeria.’
‘The Horniman is pleased to be able to take this step and we look forward to working with the NCMM to secure longer term care for these precious artefacts,’ he added.