Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has renewed the call for the repatriation of all looted Nigerian artefacts, while commending those countries that have heeded the call by returning such antiquities.
In a statement in Abuja, yesterday, to mark the 2021 International Museum Day, the minister also appealed to the Nigerians, especially the elite, to join the ongoing campaign to repatriate all looted Nigerian artefacts.
He thanked individual Nigerians who have established private museums as well as those who support the various public museums with their hard-earned resources, saying the elite in particular can offer support by adopting museums in their neighbourhoods
Mohammed said the campaign for the repatriation of looted artefacts, which was launched by the federal government in October 2019, has yielded fruits, with the spate of return of stolen Nigerian antiquities from around the world.
He expressed appreciation to the German government and German museums, both of which are presently in the forefront of repatriating Nigerian antiquities.
Listing the efforts being made by the federal government to recover looted artefacts, the Minister said Nigeria has caused a claim to be instituted before the UNESCO’s mediation body, the Intergovernmental Committee for the Promotion of Return of Cultural Property (ICPRCP), for the return of an Ife bronze object to Nigeria, marking the first time ever that Nigeria will institute a claim before this international panel.
The Ife bronze head, which was stolen from the National Museum in Jos in 1987, was acquired by an art gallery owner in Belgium, who is now demanding money from Nigeria before releasing it.