The FG will take custody of the plundered Benin bronzes.

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The Federal Government has stated that it would take custody of the 1,130 plundered Benin bronzes that Germany is scheduled to hand back.

Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, revealed this at a press conference in Lagos on Saturday.

According to NAN, Mohammed was responding to the debate over who would receive the anticipated artefact from the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, and Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki.

The Oba desired that the artefacts taken from Benin Palace in 1987 be returned to a museum to be erected on Palace grounds; however, the governor prefered a private trust to assume possession and administer the artefacts.

The Minister however said the federal government was the entity recognised by international law as the authority in control of antiquities originating from the country.

“The Federal Government is aware of the widely-reported controversy when on who will take possession of the Benin Bronzes when they are returned from Germany.

“Let me state clearly here that, in line with international best practice and the operative Conventions and laws, the return of the artefacts is being negotiated bilaterally between the national governments of Nigeria and Germany.

“Nigeria is the entity recognised by international law as the authority in control of antiquities originating from Nigeria.

“The relevant international Conventions treat heritage properties as properties belonging to the nation and not to individuals or subnational groups,’’ he said.


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