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Obaseki earmarks N500m for Benin Royal Museum

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…as efforts on retrieval of stolen artefacts yielding results

Edo State government has proposed N500 million for the construction of the Benin Royal Museum, stating its intentions to make Benin the culture capital of West Africa with the planned return of the artefacts stolen from the state in the colonial era, which is yielding positive results.

Governor Godwin Obaseki said this while presenting the 2019 Budget proposal on Monday before a session of the House of Assembly.

Addressing the legislators, he said, “To fulfil our commitment towards making Edo the culture capital of West Africa, we have earmarked N500 million in 2019 proposed Budget, to commence the development and construction of the Benin Royal Museum. This will be done in collaboration with the Palace of His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II, Ogidigan”

Efforts by the Edo State Governor and the Benin Monarch, Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II, to retrieve artefacts stolen from the state in the colonial era are yielding results as European governments have set modalities in place for either permanent or temporary return of the artworks.

Oba of Benin, Eheneden Erediauwa Campaign for the return of the prized heritage objects has raged for decades, with Nigerian authorities mounting pressure on European governments and museums to return them, while the Europeans argue that holding the work was best for the preservation of the artefacts, as there were no structures in Africa to properly hold them.

The French government recently approved the return of 26 artefacts stolen from the Benin Republic after a report recommended the move, raising the prospect of more of such moves from the European country.

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