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Sweden to return 39 artefacts to Oba of Benin palace

The Swedish government has disclosed its resolved to return 39 pieces of Benin Artefacts in its museum to the custody of the Oba of Benin, Ewuare II.

Daily Trust reports that the return followed the Federal Republic of Nigeria Gazette No. 57, Volume 110 issued on March 23, 2023, which recognized ownership and vested custody and management of repatriated Benin artefacts in the Oba of Benin.

The Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, Annika Hahn-Englund, conveyed the Swedish government decision when she paid a courtesy visit to Oba of Benin in his palace.

Ambassador Hahn-Englund informed the monarch that Sweden and Nigeria are trading partners in infrastructure, telecommunication, energy and other businesses that supported the economies significantly.

“Also, I would like to mention that with cooperation we have in culture, education with Nigeria, I would like to mention the decision of why the Swedish government has to return 39 artefacts to Benin Kingdom,” he said.

Responding, Oba Ewuare II expressed his deepest gratitude to the Swedish government for the intervention, saying “Edo people also welcome this decision”.

He disclosed that the federal government-backed Benin Royal Museum project was on course, and commended partners for their support towards the project.

The Oba also commended the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), responsible for the preservation, promotion and development of Nigeria’s cultural heritage.

He said  the demand for the return of looted Benin artefacts had been on since the reign of Oba Akenzua II,

“And you are here today (Wednesday) telling us that it has been approved. This has been my request long time ago. God’s time is always the best,” he added.

The Ambassador in the accompany of her husband and a member of the diplomatic mission presented a souvenir to

Oba Ewuare II, who in turn, gave a copy of the federal government gazette on all Benin artefacts to the envoy.

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