From Tony Osauzo, Benin
The Palace of the Oba of Benin is expected to be agog today as all is set to receive a Benin bronze cockerel named “Okukor” stolen from the Palace during British invasion of Benin in 1897 when thousands of other bronzes and artefacts were looted by British forces.
Two other artefacts looted from the Palace were similarly returned to Oba Erediauwa in 2014 by the grandchildren of British soldiers whose parents took part in the looting of 1897.
Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, had revealed last week Wednesday that Cambridge University in the United Kingdom which his father, Oba Erediauwa attended, would soon return some artefacts from Benin in its custody.
He disclosed this when he hosted Chairman of DAAR Communication Ltd, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, who visited him (the Oba) as part of activities to mark his 70th birthday.
The bronze cockerel was looted by British colonialists from the palace of the Oba and given to Jesus College, a college of Cambridge in 1905 by the father of a student.
According to reports, Cambridge University handed over the statue of the cockerel to a delegation from Nigeria, led by Professor Abba Issa Tijani from Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments in a ceremony that took place at Jesus College.
Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments received the Benin bronze from Jesus College on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Royal Court of Benin.
A decision for it to be returned was said to have been made in 2019 after students campaigned, following which the statue was removed from display at the college in 2016.
The Oba had also explained during Dokpesi’s visit that the artefacts would be domiciled in a museum planned to be built opposite the palace.