The Federal Government calls for the “full and unconditional return” of 1,130 Benin bronzes stolen from Nigeria in the 19th century and stored in German museums.
This was the request made by the Minister of Information and Culture lai Mohammed during separate talks with the German Minister of State for Culture Monika Grutters and the German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Berlin on Wednesday.
According to Segun Adeyemi. Muhammad responded to Grutters’ statement that Germany is preparing to “essentially return” 1,130 stolen cultural relics.
Grutters allegedly said that “the way we deal with Benin’s bronzes is important to solve our colonial history”, calling these problems “serious personal problems.”
He assured his Nigerian counterparts that 1,130 cultural relics “will be returned to Nigeria from the beginning of 2022.”
Grutters said that the fact that Germany sent delegations to Nigeria twice to discuss the planned return “shows that the two sides have gone beyond simple negotiations.”
Mohammed, head of the Nigerian negotiating delegation, said that the return should be complete, not substantive. Origin issues related to the location, The place of origin of cultural relics, and the return of artworks shall not be unduly delayed.
”That they are known as Benin Bronzes is already a confirmation of their source of origin (which is Benin),” the Minister said.
Mohammad said that it is necessary to complete all necessary negotiations within a short time.
According to him, discussions between Nigeria and Germany on the return of artworks are ongoing.
This is not only the end of an era but also the beginning of a new perspective to strengthen the relationship between the two countries based on cultural diplomacy.