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More Benin Bronzes Return Home

These stools were taken during the punitive expedition of 1897 and date back to the 17th century.

The Benin Bronzes are a group of several thousand metal plaques and sculptures that decorated the royal palace of the Kingdom of Benin, in what is now Edo State, Nigeria.

The Director-General Olugbile Holloway had the supreme honor of paying a courtesy visit and presenting some royal stools to his Royal Majesty, The Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II.
These stools were taken during the punitive expedition of 1897 and date back to the 17th century. The Oba was extremely moved by this gesture and NCMM reassured the royal court of our renewed commitment to work hand in hand to preserve, protect and showcase our collective cultural heritage to the world

mostly created in the 13th to 16th centuries

Journey back home

In March 2002, the Benin Royal Palace, the National Commission for Museums and Monuments and the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in Nigeria formally requested that “all the cultural property belonging to the Oba of Benin illegally taken away by the British in 1897 should be returned to the rightful owner, the Oba of Benin.”

The NCMM approached many museums and institutions using different methods and has recorded success in most cases. The Netherlands in October 2020 returned a 600 years old Ife Terracotta. In March 2021, the University of Aberdeen Scotland agreed to return a Benin Bronze from its collection. In April, 2021, NCMM received a bronze piece from Mexico. The University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom has also agreed to return a disputed Benin bronze. NCMM will be commencing the procedure for the repatriation of this piece soon. We have also secured a date in October 2021 in which we shall repatriate antiquities from the Metropolitan Museum, New York.

After many discussions commenced by the NCMM under the Benin Dialogue Group (BDG), a group that has members cutting across representatives of the Federal government, the Edo State government, the Royal Benin Palace and representatives of many important museums in Europe, it has finally been agreed that the Benin Bronzes in many of these museums will be returned.  A Trust was formed with representation from all parties including the NCMM, Royal Benin Palace, Edo government and the Foreign Museums. The Edo State Government took further interest in the agitation to return these antiquities to Benin City. The Governor also introduced into Edo State annual appropriation, money towards constructing this museum.

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