Alex Enumah and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
Benin monarch seeks return of artefacts
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on Prince Charles to caution President Muhammadu Buhari on the continued violation of human rights, siege on democratic institutions, political intolerance and stifling of opposition and free speech in the country under his administration.
This is coming as the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare 11, has urged the heir apparent to the British Monarch and Head of the Commonwealth, Prince Charles to use his good office to facilitate the return of Benin artefacts to Nigeria.
The PDP in a statement yesterday in Abuja by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, further urged the British leader to counsel Buhari not to attempt to rig the 2019 presidential election but be ready to accept his imminent defeat in the polls, since it is clear that Nigerians have rejected him because of his incompetence and his administration’s apparent disdain for their safety and wellbeing.
The main opposition party also urged Prince Charles to take Buhari to task on his administration’s cavernous corruption, disobedience to court orders, as well as its divisive proclivities, aloofness and insensitivity to the plight of Nigerians leading to escalation of violence and killings in various parts of our country in the last three and half years.
The PDP said Buhari’s administration has completely eroded the values of freedom of association, personal liberty, free speech, national cohesion, free enterprise, political tolerance and the country’s stencils for economic growth.
It alleged that the administration has plunged the country into avoidable security challenges and the worst economic recession, with attendant daily bloodletting, acute hunger and starvation, escalated joblessness, high mortality rate and unprecedented stress on families.
The PDP therefore, called on Britain to take a decisive steps to caution this administration and assist in rescuing our country and returning it to the path of good governance and national stability, which has eluded her in the last three and half years.
Meanwhile, the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare 11, yesterday in Abuja, urged the heir apparent to the British Monarch and Head of the Commonwealth, Prince Charles, to use his good office to facilitate the return of Benin artefacts to the country.
The artefacts were said to have been carried away from the Royal Court of Benin in 1897.
Oba Ewuare said the gesture would support efforts at establishing the Oba Palace Museum, which when completed would enhance the tourism potential of Edo State.
He made the call yesterday during a meeting of traditional rulers with the visiting Prince of Wales.
Prince Charles, who along with his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla, arrived Abuja few minutes past 1p.m, in furtherance of their tour of three African countries.
As part of his schedule, Prince Charles who is seeking greater role for traditional rulers in nation building, held discussions on issues bordering on insecurity, climate change demographic explosion amongst others.
In a welcome address, the Benin Monarch, who relished the good relations between the United Kingdom and Nigeria, appreciated the Queen of England, Elizabeth 11, for sending representatives during his coronation as the 40th Oba of Benin.
“In my capacity as the Oba of Benin, I bring you special greetings from my people whom the British have had a long standing historical relationship particularly since 1887 which marked the turning point in Benin history.
“ Constraints of time would not allow me to give details here. Suffice to that Nigerians in general and Benin people in particular would 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 away that year in 1897 from the Royal Court in Benin returned to establish Oba Palace Museum for the promotion of tourism in Benin City, Edo State “, he said.
He however, appreciated the support of the British in Nigeria’s fight against human trafficking, adding that fight against human trafficking is still a work in progress.
Also speaking, Emir of Kano, Alhaji Lamido Sanusi, who described the meeting as fruitful, said it is high time Nigerians see some of the challenges confronting the country in global perspectives.
According to him, the current clashes between herders and famers in some parts of the country would be better appreciated if viewed from the challenge posed by climate change, desertification and others.
While he called on the government to consider the vertical model of building residential accommodations to tackle the issue of land, he argued that girl-child education would best address the issue of population explosion.
“The population of Nigeria today, is four, five times what it was in 1960; we are moving from 45 million to about 200 million; we are not looking at the level of desertification, the erosion in Niger Delta, the loss of the reserve in Chad Basin. Basically, there is population explosion and you got diminishing resources”, he said.
Other traditional leaders at the meeting with Prince Charles are the Obi of Onitsha, Nnaemeka Achebe; Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, Shehu of Borno, Gabai El-Kanemi; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi (Ojaja II) and the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III.