By Chinelo Obogo
THE Federal Government has said that the stole Benin artifacts which the German government promised will be repatriated back to Nigeria next year, will be located within the palace of the Oba of Benin, Ewuare 11.
Director General of the Commission Prof. Abba Tijani who revealed this on Arise TV on Wednesday, said the setting up of a royal museum is already underway in the palace but is yet to be completed due to lack of funds.
This disclosure came after the dispute between the Oba and the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki over where the artifacts would be domiciled when they are returned. In July, the Oba addressed press conference saying he was surprised to read from the Governor’s letter to the Palace that a new Museum to be known as EMOWAA is being proposed, which will be funded and executed through the vehicle of another body now referred to as Legacy Restoration Trust.
But the Oba said he informed the governor that Oba Ewuare II Foundation has been registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and has worked out a framework for not only receiving the artefacts but also building a modern structure – The Benin Royal Museum – within the precincts of the Palace and that land has been secured for the building of the Benin Royal Museum under the supervision of the traditional institution. But for reasons best known to him the Governor has gone against the understanding, given recent events.
However, Prof. Tijani said from July next year, the process of bringing back 1,030 stolen Benin bronzes would commence and that while some of them will be kept in the royal museum which would be completed by next year, others would be kept in a museum the Federal Government plans on building in Edo State in collaboration with international donors.