The Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, has reiterated his call on the British Government to return all artefacts stolen during the invasion of the Benin kingdom by British troops in 1897.
Oba Ewuare made the call when he received the Director of the British Museum, Hartwig Fischer, at his palace in Benin, Edo State.
The monarch, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Desmond Agbama, on Tuesday, emphasised the need for the items, comprising bronze artworks, to be brought back home due to their emotional connection with the Benin people.
“The Oba of Benin reiterated the need to return the stolen artefacts from the various museums across the world, pointing out that the Benin people are emotionally attached to it, even though they had been speaking for the Benin kingdom wherever they are in the world,” the statement read in part.
The Oba told the director of the museum that the palace was reviving the bronze casting guild responsible for producing the artwork in order to keep it alive.
He, however, welcomed the idea of the museum to collaborate with the palace to develop a world-class museum to accommodate the stolen artefacts, adding that it would not only be of benefit to Edo people but also to Nigerians and tourists.
Oba Ewuare II, who also informed the visitors of the forthcoming launch of a book, “The Red Book,” noted that the Benin culture was far from going extinct as erroneously believed by some historians and academics in some part of the world.
Earlier, Fischer told the monarch that he was in the palace to inquire about the possibility of the British Museum offering assistance, in terms of fundraising and training of personnel, for the proposed museum in the Oba’s palace.
He also expressed the support of the museum for the Oba Ewuare II Foundation.