May 29, 2024

Edo People Celebrates with Oba Ewuare II, as Sweden Sets to Repatriate Benin Artefacts

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Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, Her Excellency Annika Hahn-Englund

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By Correspondent

The people of Edo State are in jubilant mood with the news of a monumental decision by the Swedish government to repatriate some Benin Court Arts from the Scandinavian country.

The good news is that the Swedish government has pledged to return 39 cherished Benin Artefacts housed within its museums to the custody of Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II, CFR, Oba of Benin.

Selected Benin Court Arts

The announcement comes in the wake of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Gazette No. 57, Volume 110, issued on March 23rd, 2023, officially recognizing the rightful ownership and vesting custody and management of repatriated Benin Artefacts in the esteemed Oba of Benin.

Her Excellency Annika Hahn-Englund, the Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, conveyed this pivotal decision during a courtesy visit to the historic Oba of Benin Palace in Benin City, Edo State.

During the meeting, Ambassador Hahn-Englund highlighted the longstanding bilateral ties between Sweden and Nigeria, emphasizing their collaboration across various sectors, including infrastructure, telecommunications, energy, and culture.

“I am very honored to be here tonight,” expressed Ambassador Hahn-Englund, paying respects to Oba Ewuare II, while elucidating Sweden’s decision to return the artefacts.

In gracious acceptance, Oba Ewuare II, on behalf of the Edo people, welcomed the decision and extended profound gratitude to the Swedish government for their intervention.

He reminisced about his previous plea for the return of Benin Bronzes during his tenure as Nigeria’s Ambassador to Scandinavian Countries in 1998.

Highlighting the ongoing Benin Royal Museum project, backed by the federal government, Oba Ewuare II commended all stakeholders for their unwavering support and dedication.

The monarch also lauded the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), a federal agency responsible for preserving Nigeria’s cultural heritage, for its role in safeguarding the nation’s treasures.

In a poignant moment, Oba Ewuare II shared anecdotes of his diplomatic endeavors, recalling his diplomatic tenure in Scandinavian countries and acknowledging the enduring bond with the Swedish monarch, His Royal Majesty, Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus.

Reflecting on the historic significance of the visit, Ambassador Hahn-Englund, accompanied by her husband and a diplomatic colleague, presented a symbolic souvenir to Oba Ewuare II, who reciprocated by gifting a copy of the federal government Gazette detailing the ownership of Benin Artefacts.

The return of these artefacts marks a significant step towards rectifying historical injustices and fostering cultural cooperation between nations.

As the world continues to reckon with colonial legacies, Sweden’s gesture underscores the importance of acknowledging and rectifying past wrongs, paving the way for a more equitable future in cultural heritage preservation.

Oba Ewuare II

The discordant tune by Edo State Government over the custody rights of the priceless world-class artifacts was permanently put to rest by former President Mohammadu Buhari when he Gazetted the custody and management to the Oba of Benin.

This initial brick bats between Governor Godwin Obaseki and some cultural defenders created doubts and have slowed the return of the artifacts, especially from Germany.

Read Also: Exclusive: How Money, Politics, Lust Led to The ‘Coup’ to Overthrow Oba Ewuare II

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