Curator of National Museum, Benin, Edo State, Theophilus Umogbai, has said that he and some group of Nigerians had intensified efforts to recover the country’s stolen artefacts from Western nations.

Since the departure of British and Portuguese colonialists, several historical artefacts belonging to numerous Nigerian tribes have been lying fallow in museums across dozens of Western countries.

Speaking to SaharaReporters on the sidelines of the 2019 National Festival for Arts and Culture in Benin, Edo State, Umogbai said the people of Benin Kingdom believes that every artefact taken away in by Europeans and others in the West represents an ancestor in captivity.

He said, “I’m one of the members of Benin dialogue group. That group comprise of curators in European countries like Austria, Netherlands, England, Germany among others.

“We’ve been holding meetings since 2010 to look at possibilities of repatriating these artefacts.

“For over a century, there has been this stringent call for the return of stolen artefacts.

“We’ve been crying and shouting but these things never came.”

According to Umogbai, discussions about repatriations are always held between government of both countries, adding that the only option left for curators was to get these artefacts on loan from Western countries and exhibit in Nigeria.


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