Nigerian monarch asks UK to return Benin artifacts


By Rafiu Ajakaye

LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) – A Nigerian monarch has urged Britain’s Prince Charles to help repatriate age-old artifacts taken from the country, again calling into question the activities of European colonialists in the African continent.

“Nigerians in general and Benin people in particular will be most delighted to have your royal highness throw his royal weight behind our efforts to have some of our ancient artifacts that were taken in 1897 from the Royal Court of Benin returned to Benin to establish Oba Palace Museum for the promotion of tourism in Benin City, Edo State,” Ewuare II, the oba of Benin, told Charles on Tuesday.

The prince of Wales is in Nigeria on the last lap of his visit to British West Africa – accompanied by his wife, Duchess of Cornwall Camila. George met earlier with Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari.

Ewuare said stolen artifacts remain a major issue in relations between the countries.

British contact with the Benin Empire well predated its official colonization of Nigeria in the early 20th century, with locals often accusing colonial masters of not just slavery but also taking away prized artifacts from Africa.

The highly developed state of Benin, situated in present-day coastal Nigeria, dates as far back as the 11th century.