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Germany Returns Looted Benin Artefacts To Nigeria

Germany handed over 20 looted artefacts back to Nigeria on Tuesday.

Gatekeepers News reports that the German government said it was to “right a wrong” more than 100 years after the artefacts were stolen by British colonial troops.

Thousands of 16th to 18th-century metal plaques, sculptures, and objects, hailed as some of the finest African art were looted by British forces from the ancient Kingdom of Benin and ended up in museums and art collections across the US and Europe.

Tuesday’s return of some of the hundreds of bronzes comes as international momentum grows for the restoration of African artefacts from other former colonial powers Britain, France, and Belgium.

German Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock travelled to Nigeria’s capital Abuja to personally hand over the objects, which included figureheads and other artefacts.

Baerbock said at the ceremony with Nigerian officials, “What we are returning is a part of your history, what we are returning is a part of who you are

“We are here to right a wrong.”

In 1897, many of the Nigerian artefacts were taken when a British military expedition attacked and destroyed Benin City, making off thousands of metal and ivory sculptures and carvings.

A new online archive “Digital Benin” has started to provide a centralised hub of images and descriptions of more than 5,000 artefacts held in 131 institutions around the world.

In November, Digital Benin, which began planning and researching two years ago, was inaugurated in Benin, the Edo State capital.

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