Germany: 1130 looted Nigerian artefacts will be returned
German minister of state for culture, Monica Grutters has stated that the country will return 1,130 Benin bronzes that were looted from Nigeria in the 19th century and domiciled in German museums.
This was contained in a statement released on Thursday by spokesman to the minister of information and culture, Segun Adeyemi
Grutters said this in Berlin, Germany, on Wednesday, during a meeting with Mohammed and a Nigerian delegation.
According to Adeyemi, Grutters, while describing the issue as “an important personal concern”, said ”the way we deal with the issue of Benin bronzes is important to addressing our colonial past”.
He said Grutters disclosed that Germany was ready to make “substantial return” of the 1,130 looted artefacts.
“She disclosed that the 1,130 artefacts would be returned to Nigeria from the beginning of 2022,” the statement said.
“Prof. Gutters noted that the fact that Germany has twice sent delegations to Nigeria for talks over the planned repatriation is an indication that both sides have moved beyond mere talks, saying all the Museums in Germany that are holding Benin Bronzes have agreed to cooperate.”
The spokesman said Mohammed, who led the Nigerian delegation to the talks, “said the return should be whole rather than substantial”.
“He also said the issue of provenance, which has to do with the place of origin of the artefacts, should not be allowed to unduly delay the repatriation of the art works, adding that they are known as Benin Bronzes is already a confirmation of their source of origin (which is Benin),” he said.
The statement said later at a meeting with Heiko Maas, German foreign minister, Mohammed said there should be “absolutely no conditions attached” to the return of the artefacts, which he described as an idea whose time has come.