The Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, has advised Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, to review his present approach of using a private entity, Legacy Restoration Trust Limited and the Edo Museum of West African Art (EMOWAA) and collaborate with his palace to ensure the return of Benin artefacts from Germany.
Governor Obaseki and the Oba had been in disagreement over the destination of the artefacts when returned.
While the Oba favours the Benin Royal Palace Museum, Obaseki prefers the use of a private body.
In his address to palace chiefs yesterday on the repatriation of the looted artefacts, the Benin monarch strongly advised that anyone, group, organisation, or government – national and international that is dealing with any organisation or artificial group in the process of returning the looted artefacts from Benin Kingdom would be doing so at their own risk and against the will of the people of Benin Kingdom.
Oba Ewuare who thanked the German government for their interest and willingness to return the artefacts, disclosed that the advocacy for the return had been on for decades before the emergence of Obaseki as governor.
While also thanking the governor for joining the struggle and showing commitment to retrieve the stolen cultural heritage from Europe, the Oba however, made it clear that the artefacts are not the property of the state government or any private entity that is not a creation of the Benin Kingdom, adding that the only rightful and legitimate destination for the artifacts as already pronounced by his father under the aegis of the Benin Royal Museum would be within the precinct of the palace of the Oba from where they were looted, and also the proper traditional institution that is also the custodian of all cultural heritage of the Benin Kingdom.