The Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare 11, has appealed passionately to the heir apparent to the British throne and Head of the Commonwealth, Prince Charles to use his exalted office to facilitate the return of stolen Benin artefacts.
The said Artifacts were said to have been stolen from the Royal Court of Benin in 1897.
Oba Ewuare the 2nd who pleaded with Prince Charles to ensure the quick return of what he described as the symbol and heritage of Benin Kingdom said, if done, the gesture would support efforts at establishing the Oba Palace Museum and thus, enhance the tourism potential of Edo State.
He made the call during a meeting of traditional rulers with the visiting Prince of Wales.
Prince Charles, arrived Nigeria in the Company of his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla as part of their tour of three African countries: Gambia, Ghana and Nigeria.
As part of his scheduled, Prince Charles who seeked greater role for traditional rulers in nation building held discussions on issues bordering on insecurity, climate change , demographic explosion amongst others.
The Benin Monarch, who relished the good relations between the United Kingdom and Nigeria, appreciated the Queen of England, Elizabeth 11 for sending representatives during his coronation as the 40th Oba of Benin.
The Oba who acknowledged that Benin has had a long standing historical relationship with the British since 1887, said, the friendship marked a turning point in their history.
He said, Nigerians in general and Benin people in particular would be most delighted to have your Royal Highness throw his Royal weight behind our efforts to have some of our ancient artifacts that were taken away from our Royal Court returned.
This is because, we intend to establish Oba Palace Museum for the promotion of tourism in Benin City, Edo State “.
He however, appreciated the support of the British in Nigeria’s fight against human trafficking, adding that fight against human trafficking is still a work in progress.
Also speaking, Emir of Kano, Alhaji Lamido Sanusi, described the meeting as fruitful . He advised Nigerians to see some of the challenges confronting the country in global perspectives.
According to him, “the current herders /famers clashes in some part of the country would be better appreciated if viewed from the challenge pose by climate change, desertification and others.
While he called on the government to consider the vertical model of building residential accomdations to tackle the issue of land, he argued that girl child education would best address the issue of population explosion.
“The population of Nigeria today, is four times what it was in 1960, we are moving from 45million to about 200m, we are not looking at the level of desertification, the erosion in Niger Delta, the loss of the reserve in Chad Basin. Basically, there is population explosion and you got diminishing resources”, he said.
Other traditional leaders who attended the meeting are, the Obi of Onitsha, Nnaemeka Achebe; Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, Shehu of Borno, Gabai El-Kanemi; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi (Ojaja II) and the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III.