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Monarch Warns against Attempt to Divert Benin Artefacts



A Benin Monarch, His Royal Majesty, Oba Ewuare II has warned against attempts by anyone or a group of persons to divert Benin artefacts, saying Edo people would resist such move before it reaches a tipping point.



Oba Ewuare ll made the assertion when members of the Benin Community in Abuja and the Principal officers of College of Education (Technical), Ekiadolor, Edo State, paid him a courtesy visit in his Oba palace in Benin City.


The monarch also played host to leaders of Edo United Union in Rome, Italy led by its President, Mr. Edwin Omoregie.Oba Ewuare noted that there was no controversy over the ownership or who should take possession of the repatriated Benin bronzes, which were produced on the mandate of his forebears in Benin Kingdom Centuries ago.



The traditional ruler who spoke in Benin Language, charged his loyal subjects and concerned authorities not to succumb to pressure by unnamed individuals who are treading on a lonely path to either divert or sell the priceless treasures for personal gains.


“We won’t lose our heritage. You remember our Benin artefacts that were looted during the invasion of Benin by foreigners. Some of them have agreed to return them. But, it should be returned to the Oba of Benin palace.


“Edo people all over the world should not allow anyone to bamboozle them to give up their heritage to strangers. Benin artefacts were made by the famous Igun Bronze Casters’ Guild in Benin on orders of our forebears. The palace gave them the enablement and approval to make them.“Our artefacts will not go to another destination. It should come to the right destination, which is Oba of Benin palace. Edo people should not allow them to be either diverted or sold. Edo people will not allow that to happen. Our ancestors do not approve it.


“Advice your supporters and others to counsel those who are making such moves to retrace their steps. You should insist that the right thing is done at the right time for the benefits of Edo people,” Oba Ewuare ll said while commending notable Nigerians that have taken up the agitation for the return of the art works.


The monarch had asked the federal government to temporarily take custody of the expected 1,130 stolen Benin artifacts in Germany when they are repatriated, pending the completion of the Benin Royal Museum where the artifacts which have created a wave of public support would be kept.Following the request, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed had promised that the federal government would take possession of the Artefacts while awaiting the completion of the royal museum.


Addressing the Oba, President of Benin Community in Abuja, Mr. Lucky Odigie, commended the peaceful reign of the Oba of Benin and his proclamations that led to the abolition of Community Development Associations (CDAs) as was as visible respite in curbing social vices in the society, particularly prostitution and human trafficking.


On his part, the Provost, College of Education (Technical), Ekiadolor, Dr. Emmanuel Asagha gave a brief history of the colleges and the process of the smooth take-off of the institution.


He, therefore called for Oba Ewuare ll support towards the attainment of set goals in the tertiary institution.

Culled from THISDAY

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