The university of Oxford in the United Kingdom has decided to repatriate 145 artefacts belonging to the Benin kingdom back to Nigeria which were originally taken by British troops during a military raid on Benin City in 1897.
These looted artefacts include bronzed figures, musical instruments, and many more several of which date as far back as the 13th century.
In returning these stolen artefacts, the University follows in the footsteps of Cambridge and Aberdeen Universities, who returned Benin bronzes to Nigeria last month.
The Nigeria’s minister of information and culture Lai Mohammed responded saying that “We look forward to a similar return of our artefacts by other institutions that are in possession of them.”
However, the artefacts held by the University are reportedly said to be just about 1.5% of at least 10 000 looted objects from the raid. 900 of these artefacts are currently kept at the British Museum in London. The British Museum has stated that they are “collaborating with the Legacy Restoration Trust in Nigeria and Adjaye Associates on a major new archaeology project, linked to the construction of the Edo Museum of West African Art (EMOWAA)”, which seeks to “reunite Benin artworks from international collections”. According to the Legacy Restoration Trust, the museum will be located in Benin City and serve to “collect, preserve, study and exhibit West African artworks and artefacts, past and present.”