Sweden Announces Return of Benin Artefacts to Nigeria

Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City 

The Swedish government has resolved to return 39 pieces of Benin Artefacts to the National Commission for Museum and Monuments, NCMM.

The Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, Annika Hahn-Englund, conveyed the Swedish government decision when she paid a courtesy visit to the Oba of Benin’s Palace in Benin City, Edo State.

Hahn-Englund informed the Royal father that Sweden and Nigeria, which is the second largest market in Sub-Sahara Africa, are partners in the areas of infrastructure, telecommunication, energy and other businesses that supported the economies significantly.

The Swedish envoy said, “also, I would like to mention that with cooperation, we have in Culture, Education with Nigeria; I would like to mention the decision of why the Swedish government has to return 39 Artefacts to NCMM.

“So, your Majesty, I am very honoured to be here tonight,” Ambassador Hahn-Englund said while paying respect to Oba Ewuare II.

Responding, Oba Ewuare II on behalf of Edo people also welcomed the decision and expressed his deepest gratitude to the Swedish government for the intervention.

The Benin monarch recalled how he made a request through the Swedish monarch in 1998, to return Benin Bronzes in Sweden during his courtesy visit to him as Nigeria Ambassador to Scandinavian countries.

The traditional ruler disclosed that the federal government-backed Benin Royal Museum project was still on course and commended partners for their support and devotion towards the project.

The Oba also commended the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), which is an agency of the federal government of Nigeria, responsible for the preservation, promotion, and development of Nigeria’s cultural heritage.

The traditional ruler who prayed for members of the Diplomatic Mission, shared a captivating tale of his Diplomatic exploits as Ambassador in the Scandinavian Countries, noting that the remarkable reign and enduring affection of the Swedish monarch, His Royal Majesty, Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus remain indelible.

According to Oba Ewuare II,  the demand for the return of looted Benin Artefacts has been on since the reign of Oba Akenzua II, “and you are here today telling that it has been approved. This has been my request long time ago. God’s time is always the best.”

To underscore the significance of the historic visit to the Palace, the Ambassador in the accompany of her husband and a member of the Diplomatic Mission, presented a souvenir to Oba Ewuare II, who in turn gave a copy of the Federal Government Gazette on all Benin Artefacts to the envoy in appreciation.


This story above has been updated:

The earlier published version with the headline: Sweden Announces Return of Benin Artefacts to Oba of Benin has been corrected.

We have been made aware that the statement attributed to the Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, Annika Hahn-Englund was a misrepresentation of what she actually said during her visit to the Oba of Benin.  The correct statement was that, the artefacts will be returned to the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, NCMM and Not to the Oba of Benin as erroneous reported.

The mix-up is regretted.

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