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Stolen Benin Artifacts found in British Museum (photos)

A Nigerian man visited the British Museum to request that the
Benin kingdom artifacts which were allegedly stolen since the
1980’s, be returned.

The entrepreneur and philanthropist,
Ambassador Dion Osagie from Edo state – revealed that his visit
to the museum on the quest of recovering the items was worth
more than anything to him.

The British museum boasts the second largest collection of art
from the Benin kingdom after the Ethnological museum in Berlin.
It has been reported that the British Museum will host a summit
along with other European museums to discuss the return of
bronze artifacts looted in 1897 from the kingdom of Benin, now
southern Nigeria.

It will conduct negotiations with Nigeria and
Benin about returning the items which are expected to go on
permanent display in Benin City.

In the late 19th century, Britain sought to wipe out the kingdom
of Benin in what became known as the “punitive expedition.”
When Oba Ovonramwen, then ruler of Benin, imposed customs
duties on goods leaving the territory, Britain sent 1,200 soldiers
to destroy the kingdom as a form of reparations for the colonial
power.
The city was set on fire and hundreds of trinkets, bronze
sculptures, and valuables were stolen and later handed to the
British government. Through trade and art dealership, these
artifacts have mostly ended up in Germany and the United
States.

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