72 Benin Bronzes that were stolen from the former country that is now known as Nigeria will be returned by Horniman and Gardens in South East London to Nigeria.
This occurs as European institutions are under pressure to hand over artifacts that were taken during the colonial era.
Additionally, early this year, the National Commission for Monuments and Archaeology of Nigeria requested the return of the plundered items.
According to a statement on the Horniman’s website, “Ownership of 72 artefacts, which forcefully seized from Benin City during the British expedition in February 1897, will be passed to the Nigerian, followed by the Horniman’s Board of Trustees.”
Part of included 12 brass plaques, known as Benin Bronzes, a brass cockerel altarpiece, ivory and brass ceremonial objects, brass bells, and a key to the kings.
According to a statement by the Chairman of the museum’s board of trustees, Eve Salomon, returning the items is both moral and appropriate.
“The Horniman is pleased to take this step, and we look forward to working with the NCMM to secure longer term care for these precious artefacts,” Salomon said.
“The evidence is very clear that these objects acquired through force, and external supported our view that it is both moral and appropriate to return their ownership to Nigeria,” he added.
The was welcomed by the NCMM Director-General, Prof Abba Tijani.
He said, “We very much welcome this by the Trustees of the Horniman Museum and Gardens. Following the endorsement by the Commission, we look forward to a productive on agreements and collaborations between the National Commission for Museums and Monuments and the Horniman.”