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The President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari has made a case for the return of stolen assets and artifacts stolen from Africa by the West.
The President made the demand in an article he wrote on Wednesday, saying the clamour for the repatriation of looted treasures is becoming irresistible.
According to the Nigerian leader, Nigerians were delighted by the news this summer that 72 artefacts, known as the Benin Bronzes, held by the Horniman Museum in London were returning home, 125 years after being plundered by British troops.
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Meanwhile, Germany signed an agreement on Friday to begin sending hundreds of Benin bronzes back to the Federal Government, rubber-stamping the biggest effort yet by a European country to return the looted artworks.
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Culture Minister Claudia Roth signed the deal with their Nigerian counterparts in Berlin after Germany first announced that it would begin returning the bronzes last year.
Minister of Culture, Lai Mohammed, thanked Germany for having “taken the lead in correcting the wrongs of the past”, hailing ‘the dawn of a new era of cooperation.
‘This will go down as one of the most important days in the celebration of African cultural heritage,’ Minister of State for Foreing Affairs, Zubairu Dada added.
The first two artworks — the head of a king and a plaque depicting three warriors — were on Friday handed over to representatives from Nigeria.
He submitted that even before the artefacts were taken away from the Benin Kingdom in 1897, their sovereignty was vested in the Benin Kingdom under the leadership of the then Oba of Benin Ovorame Nogbasi hence they are being referred to as Benin bronze.
He added that sovereignty is now vested in the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by the constitution under President Buhari who now transferred them to the palace of the Oba of Benin.