The Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, has notified the Netherlands Government about Nigeria’s Government Gazette recognising and vesting custody and management of repatriated looted Benin artefacts in the Oba of Benin.
This is contained in a statement on Monday in Benin, by Mr Iguobaro Osaigbovo, Chief Press Secretary to Ewuare II.
Ewuare II, notified the Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Wouter Pomp, of the significance of the gazette and Presidential declaration, when the diplomat paid a courtesy visit to the Palace.
He explained that the future of the Benin Bronzes and artefacts were in the gazette, adding that the ownership, custody and management of the artefacts were spelt out clearly in the gazette.
“They are spelt out clearly. The ownership, custody, and management, is vested in the Oba as an institution. That is the law.”
He noted that the ongoing plans for the construction of Benin Royal Museum at the instance of the Nigerian Government was on course.
According to him, the building of a Benin Royal Museum is a Federal Government project and we have been on it for some time now.
He recalled that the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Notice No. 25 in the official Gazette No. 57, Volume 110 at pages A245-247, dated March 23, 2023, laid to rest, the simmering tussle between the Palace and Gov Godwin Obaseki of Edo, over who should be the custodian of the artefacts.
Earlier, in his remarks before the Benin throne, Pomp congratulated the Oba for redirecting the course of history
He pledged his government’s support in strengthening Nigeria in the area of employment, migration and cultural diplomacy.
“We are very interested in all the history of the Benin Bronzes, some of which as you are aware, are still in the Netherlands.
“Contacts are underway between Netherlands Commission for Monuments and the Commission for Monuments of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“There has been meetings between the Commissions about the future of the Benin Bronzes,” he said.