Three Nigerian artifacts have been repatriated back to the country by the Consulate General of Nigeria in New York, Ambassador Lot Egopija
Amb. Egopija handed over the artifacts to the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama in Abuja, Nigeria.
He said that the three artifacts were a plaque of a warrior chief in the 16th/17th century Benin Kingdom, a junior court official with a sword, and a zinc brass head of Ife of the 14th or mid-15th century.
The artifacts according to the Ambassador should be utilized to encourage tourism as they did in the New York museums to enlighten Nigerians on the artifact’s history.
“People will now know the importance and Nigerians also will learn and get acquainted with some of these artifacts that were taken away at some point in our national history”, he said.
The Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, commended the Director General of National Commission of Museum and Monuments, Professor Abba Isa Tijani for negotiating the return of these artifacts to the country.
Mr. Onyeama said that the Foreign Affairs ministry would work to ensure that every artifact outside the country is returned despite foreign arguments that Nigeria is incapable of maintaining these artifacts.
“We also have to make more of an effort to ensure that we have appropriate places to keep them.
Very often these are artifacts that date centuries, old and are fragile, and need to be kept in certain conditions.
So that our people can have the benefit of seeing them and our children learn of our history and culture”, he said.
The Minister called on the National Commission of Museum and Monuments to sensitise and enlighten the public on the artifacts to impede theft, adding that they are assets that can contribute to the economy, education, and tourism of the country.
Professor Abba Isa Tijani who notes that the Nigerian government is making efforts to see that all artifacts outside the country are returned to Nigeria added that the government was making sure that proper housing is constructed for the artifacts with consideration for the artifacts to be put into international exhibitions to generate revenue for the country.
He said that negotiations were ongoing to ensure that all artifacts in Germany, Glasgow, Britain, and other countries are returned to Nigeria.
Three Artifacts returned to Nigeria