No tussle over ownership of artefacts – Oba of Benin

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The Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II has said there is no dispute over the ownership of thousands of Benin artefacts taken from the palace of the Oba of Benin in 1897 during the British invasion of the kingdom which are now scattered across Europe, United States and other parts of the world.

The monarch stated this when the Chairman, DAAR Communications, Raymond Dokpesi paid a courtesy visit to his palace to celebrate the Oba’s birthday and his fifth coronation anniversary

Dokpesi also commended the efforts of the Oba to bring back the artworks to their rightful place.

He said: “The gods are behind you in all your efforts to ensure that all the artefacts that were taken away from here are brought back and restored.”

On his part, the Oba dispelled speculation that some of the works were not taken from the palace but elsewhere. He commended the federal government and the Director-General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments for their support.

While commending Dokpesi for taking the lead in private broadcasting in Nigeria despite unfriendly environments, Oba Ewuare II revealed that Cambridge University in the United Kingdom which his father, Oba Erediauwa attended would soon return some artefacts from Benin in its custody.

He said, “We hear that some researchers in Germany have said that some of them were produced here while some were produced there. What do they mean by here and there? Were any of the artefacts produced outside the Benin Kingdom? If they were all produced in the Benin kingdom, why would any researcher try to say some were taken out of Benin Palace and some were taken from elsewhere? All elsewhere or wherever they are talking about, are they not all under the authority of the Oba of Benin? Are they not all under the Benin empire?”

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