The German Government will no later than October 2021 repatriate about 7,000 artefacts stolen from the Benin Kingdom to Nigeria, an official has said.
Amb. Gabriel Aduda, the Permanent Secretary, Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, disclosed this at the inaugural Nigerian Cultural Show which exhibits the country’s diverse cultural heritage, sites and traditional festivals.
The programme was held at the Cultural Centre, Nigeria House, New York, USA.
He added that an ultramodern museum would be built in Edo State, South-South Nigeria and some curators trained to man the artefacts.
Discussions between Nigeria and Germany are at a very advanced stage regarding the return of thousands of different Benin Bronze sculptures to Nigeria.
He disclosed the ministry is working with relevant MDAs, and they have had several high-level meetings with the Republic of Germany. They are now at the stage where thousands of artworks are to be returned to Nigeria.
There are over 7,000 different pieces of artefacts that the Republic of Germany has to return to Nigeria.
Reparation is not only about giving back, Ambassador Aduda says, but Germany will have to establish a modern-day museum in Edo State and train 25 curators who will man the museum for sustainability.
The Ambassador hopes this will be a window to reach out to other European countries to return to Nigeria what was stolen years back.
The permanent secretary commended the Consulate-General in New York for inaugurating in April, a Culture Centre and Library, equipped with books, cultural artefacts, research materials and historic documents on Nigeria for public use.
The Argungu International Fishing Festival and the Osun-Osogbo Festival, two of the many festivals that characterise Nigeria, were promoted at the event.
Also Speaking, Amb. Cuthbert Ncube, Chairman of the African Tourism Board, said culture is a viable tool for development and should not be underestimated as the colonial masters did.
Ncube says the board is open to engaging like-minded stakeholders as Africa re-writes its own narratives and starts identifying the capacities God had deposited in its citizens.
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