Horniman Museum in London to return 72 looted Benin Bronzes to Nigeria


Horniman Museum in London to return 72 looted Benin Bronzes to Nigeria

London’s Horniman Museum and Garden said it would return 72 Benin artefacts, looted from Benin City by British soldiers in 1897 to the Nigerian government.

This is as the European institutions have been asked to return artefacts stolen during the colonial era.

Part of the items included 12 brass plaques, known as Benin Bronzes, a brass cockerel altarpiece, ivory and brass ceremonial objects, brass bells, and a key to the king’s palace.

German authorities last month returned the first of more than 1,100 priceless sculptures to Nigeria, following examples set by Jesus College at Cambridge University and the Quai Branly museum in Paris last year.

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Also, Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) had requested the return of the looted artefacts at the beginning of the year.

“The evidence is very clear that these objects were acquired through force, and external consultation supported our view that it is both moral and appropriate to return their ownership to Nigeria,” said Eve Salomon, chair of the trustees of the Horniman Museum and Gardens.

“The Horniman is pleased to be able to take this step and we look forward to working with the NCMM to secure longer-term care for these precious artefacts.”

NCMM Director-General Abba Tijani welcomed the decision, saying he looked forward to discussing loan agreements and collaborations with the Horniman.