German govt firms collaboration with FG, Obaseki, Oba of Benin on return of Benin artefacts – Nigerian Observer
The Director General for Culture and Communication in the German Foreign Ministry, Dr. Andreas Gorgen, has maintained that the German Government has acknowledged the looting of Benin artefacts and is committed to its return and restoration.
Gorgen said this while briefing newsmen at the National Museum in Benin City, on the collaboration between the Edo State Government, Federal Government, German Government, National Commission for Museum and Monument (NCMM), Legacy Restoration Trust and the Benin Royal Court on the return of the looted objects.
He said: “I am here today with an important delegation to acknowledge the loss and subsequent looting of Benin City and its artwork in 1897. We also testify to the joint willingness duly mandated for five Federal States in Germany and the Federal Government and five museums holding Benin bronze to proceed in the return and restoration of these artworks to Benin.”
The DG expressed his appreciation to President Muhammad Buhari and Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki for their efforts in ensuring the return of the artefacts to Benin City.
“We are happy with our talks with the Federal Government and the National Commission for Museum and Monument NCMM and also testify to the efforts of Governor Obaseki and the Legacy Restoration Trust to return the objects to Nigeria.
“We express our gratitude to Governor Godwin Obaseki, the Federal Government and the Oba of Benin who have granted us an audience on this issue. We are looking forward to talking with Nigerian stakeholders and finding a common approach between the German and Nigeria Government to support the effort of the Federal Government, NCMM, Legacy Restoration Trust, the Royal Court of Benin in the return of the artworks.”
“We support, effectively, the Nigeria efforts to build a museum for the 21st Century here in Benin where these artefacts will be kept, as it will honour and part a way for the future,” he added.
On his part, President of Parzinger of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation in Germany, Prof. Parzingr Herrmann, noted that the return of the artefacts will open a new chapter in the relationship between the German and Nigeria Government.
“It’s a historical day for the cultural relations of the Republic of Germany and Nigeria. It’s a historical day for me as well, as I saw the tradition and culture of the Benin people. I am happy that we want to return the artworks back. It will also open a new chapter in our relationship, which includes cooperation.
“We are deeply impressed with the Benin cultural heritage and the plans to develop the museum. We are happy that the objects will return to this museum and back to Nigeria. We want to support you in capacity building, training, education, and learn from you the knowledge of the Benin Bronze.”
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