Artifacts Rescuers Association of Nigeria, (ARAN) a body responsible for rescue of Nigeria artifacts and its patrimonies has commended Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed over his recent call for all artifacts looted from Nigeria by foreigners to be returned.
The President, Obalosa Bamidele made the commendation in Abuja on Monday while speaking with journalists saying that Alhaji Mohammeds’ call is yielding fruitfulness with some foreign institutions with the nations’ patrimonies agreeing to negotiate with the country for possible returns.
He said with the renewed calls for the repatriation of all looted Nigeria artefacts, with passion and commitment of the Minister, there is hope that “most stolen riches of the country will find its way back.”
Recall that the Federal Government launched campaign for the repatriation of looted artefacts from the country in 2019 which yielded fruitfully with spate
of return of stolen Nigerian antiquities from around the world.
The German Government and Museums, both of which are currently at the forefront of repatriating the nations’ antiquities set the stage for a global movement to restitute colonial loot with its March announcement that it planned to hand over some Benin bronze to Nigeria.
The treasures were said to have been looted in a British military attack on the royal palace of Benin Kingdom in 1897, scartered as many as 25 German museums, part of bilateral deal that will also involve Germany in archaeological excavations and the construction of a new museum in Benin City.
Also, the Jesus College at the University of Cambridge has pledged to return a bronze cockreal along with the University of Aberdeen in Europe, committed in returning a Benin bronze, head of an oba (king) in its possession, acquired in a way that is considered extremely immoral.
Listing the efforts made by the Federal Government to recover looted artefacts, the National President said;
“Nigeria had caused a claim to be instituted before the UNESCO’s mediation body, the Intergovernmental Committee for the Promotion of Return of Cultural Property (ICPRCP), for the return of an Ife bronze object to Nigeria, marking the first time ever that Nigeria would institute a claim before this international panel.”
He also noted that the nations’ àntiquities scattered all over the world, including the United Kingdom and Belgium, where an Ife bronze head, stolen from Jos museum in 1987 will be recovered.
Obalosa reiterated committment of his associations’ readiness to continue working with the Federal Government and all security agents in the country, assuring that all Nigeria’s treasures will be returned.
The President also eugolised the Director General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Prof Tijani Isa Abba describing him as a ‘square peg in a square hole’ adding that his emergence has wittnessed tremendous positive turn arround in affairs of the Commission.