Obaseki Vs Oba Of Benin: FG Reveals Who Will Take Possession Of Looted Benin Bronze.
NaijaNews reports that the Federal Government has stated that it will take possession of the 1,130 looted Benin bronzes expected from Germany in accordance with operative conventions and legislation.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, revealed this at a news conference in Lagos on Saturday about the federal government’s attempts to repatriate plundered smuggled treasures from around the world.
He was responding to the debate about who would take custody of the supposed artefact, which had erupted between Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki and Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II.
The Oba wanted the items taken from Benin Palace in 1987 to be returned to a museum to be established within the Palace grounds, and Obaseki preferred a private trust to take custody and administer the artefacts.
Mohammed, on the other hand, said that international law recognized Nigeria’s federal government as the power in charge of antiquities originating in the country.
“The Federal Government is aware of the highly publicized dispute over who will get the Benin Bronzes after they are repatriated from Germany.
“Let me state clearly here that, in line with international best practice and the operative Conventions and laws, the return of the artefacts is being negotiated bilaterally between the national governments of Nigeria and Germany.”
“Nigeria is the entity recognised by international law as the authority in control of antiquities originating from Nigeria.’’
“What we’re saying, in essence, is that the federal government will take possession of these antiquities, because it’s its duty to do so, in line with the extant laws,’’ he added.