Benin monarch cautions against diversion of Benin artifacts

The Benin monarch His Royal Majesty Oba Ewuare II Ogidigan, has warned against attempts by anyone or group to divert Benin artifacts and declared that “Edo people would resist the move before it reaches a tipping point”.

The monarch gave the warning when members of the Benin community in Abuja and the principal officers of College of Education Technical, Ekiadolor, Edo state, paid him a courtesy visit in his palace in Benin City.

The royal father had asked the Nigerian government to temporarily take custody of the 1,130 stolen Benin artifacts in Germany after they are repatriated, pending the completion of the Benin Royal Museum where the artifacts would be kept.

Oba Ewuare, who also played host to leaders of Edo United Union in Rome, Italy noted that there is no controversy over the ownership or who should take possession of the repatriated Benin bronzes, which he said were produced on the mandate of his forebears in Benin Kingdom centuries ago.

He charged his subjects and concerned authorities not to succumb to pressure by unnamed individuals who according to him, are “treading on a lonely path to either divert or sell the priceless treasures for personal gains”.

According to him, “we won’t lose our heritage. You remember our Benin artifacts that were looted during the invasion of Benin by foreigners. Some of them have agreed to return them. But, it should be returned to the Oba of Benin palace.

“Edo people all over the world should not allow anyone to bamboozle them to give up their heritage to strangers. Benin artifacts were made by the famous Igun Bronze Casters’ Guild in Benin on orders of our forebears. The palace gave them the enablement and approval to make them.

“Our artifacts will not go to another destination. It should come to the right destination, which is Oba of Benin palace. Edo people should not allow them to be either diverted or sold. Edo people will not allow that to happen. Our ancestors do not approve it,” he stated.