FG moves to repatriate stolen Benin artefacts
Wednesday, 29 December 2010
There are strong indications that the Federal Government might have waded into the controversy surrounding the plan by Sotheby’s to auction some prized Benin artefacts, including a pendant mask of Queen Idia, that were stolen from the kingdom by British colonial officers.
This is as the Federal Government is seeking diplomatic option to end the controversy surrounding the reported planned sale of the prized art objects.
Sotheby’s, one of the famous art galleries, had announced the plan to put the Benin artefacts on sale on February 17, 2011.
The said artefacts were some of the items consigned by the descendants of Lionel Galway.
The announcement, however, caused uproar among Nigerians who felt the stolen artefacts should be returned to Nigeria, the rightful owner.
But, according to a source in the presidency, President Goodluck Jonathan had taken an interest in the matter.
The president was said to have been following the development and had already initiated moves to get the stolen artefacts returned to the country.
The source disclosed that President Jonathan had given instructions to the effect that no effort should be spared to get the Benin arts, as well as other such artefacts that symbolised the pride of Nigerians and their rich cultural heritage.
The president also ordered that machinery should be set in motion to get the artefacts repatriated into the country.
On the nature of the president’s intervention, the source said appropriate officials that would handle the matter had been contacted and were expected to take the matter to the highest level of authority in Britain, adding that “we are ready to pursue the matter to the highest level. http://tribune.com.ng/index.php/news/15387-fg-moves-to-repatriate-s...