The Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, has notified the Ambassador of the Netherlands to Nigeria, Ambassador Wouter Pomp, on the significance of Nigeria’s presidential declaration in the recognition of ownership and an order vesting custody and management of repatriated looted Benin artefacts to the Oba of Benin.
Recall that the Federal Government in Notice No. 25 in the official gazette No. 57, Volume 110 at pages A245-247, dated March 23, 2023, laid to rest, the simmering tussle between the monarch and Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki over who should be the custodian of the artefacts.
Oba Ewuare II, who was reacting to comments by the Ambassador of the Netherlands on the future of repatriated Benin bronzes, said the gazette has taken care of the future of the Benin bronzes and artefacts.
“They are spelt out clearly the ownership, custody, and management, which is vested to the Oba as an institution. That is the law,” he said.
According to the monarch, the ongoing plans for the construction of the Benin Royal Museum Project at the instance of the Nigerian government is on course. “It is a federal government project to build the Benin Royal Museum. We have been on it for some time now,” the Oba said.
Earlier, the Ambassador pledged his government’s support in strengthening the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the area of employment, forced migration and cultural diplomacy.
“We are very interested in all the history of the Benin bronzes, some of which as you are aware are still in the Netherlands. Contacts are underway between the Netherlands Commission for Monuments and the Commission for Monuments of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
There had been meetings between the Commissions about the future of the Benin Bronzes”, he said.
He however congratulated Oba Ewuare II for redirecting the course of history.