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German govt returns looted ancestral stools to Oba of Benin

THE Oba of Benin, Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II, CFR, has received two looted Royal stools from the German government in a significant event.

These artefacts, a Bronze and a wooden Royal stool (Ekete), were taken from the Oba’s Palace during a punitive expedition in 1897.

They were returned to the Nigerian government by the German authorities in 2022 and were presented to the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) by Olugbile Holloway on behalf of the Federal Government on May 18, 2024 at the Oba of Benin’s Palace.

During the presentation, Holloway pledged to collaborate with the Benin Royal Court to promote Edo culture and heritage and create a suitable space for showcasing these artworks.

He revealed that as the Benin Bronzes and other Art works are gradually making their way home to Nigeria, saying “NCMM will join hands with the Royal Court to create a befitting destination for people around the world to come and appreciate these works.”

“What you see before us were originally taken away from the Royal family in 1897. We have a stool made of Bronze and a wooden stool. I speak for every member of my team, to say that we remain loyal to the Royal Court. And if there is anything we can do, we will do to support this laudable initiative.

“This heritage is not just Benin heritage, but Nigeria’s heritage. When we speak of Benin heritage, there is nobody that doesn’t know the great works of ours. I appreciate you, we will always do what we can do with our powers to make His Royal Majesty lineage in memory,” he said.

Following the exhibition of the repatriated Artefacts, Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II, CFR, Oba of Benin, danced happily to Benin traditional rendition in dramatic dance steps with ecstatic Chiefs and members of the Royal family, and offered prayers to Almighty God and his ancestors.

The first-class traditional ruler, overcome with excitement, thanked the German government, the Federal Government, and the NCMM leadership for their efforts.

In an uncommon but historic move, the Royal Father sat on one of the Royal stools (Ekete) and personally delivered a chunk of white, which represents peace and blessings, to Olugbile Holloway, Director-General of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments.

Oba Ewuare II also prayed for Holloway and his team, who were accompanied by the Curator of the National Museum of Benin, Mark Olaitan, and the Director of Legal Services, NCMM, Babatunde Adebiyi, on the visit, during which the Royal Drummers demonstrated their stewardship.

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