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Historic Return: Oba of Benin Welcomes Home Looted Ancestral Stools

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In a momentous occasion at the Palace of the Oba of Benin, Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II, CFR, two looted Royal stools have been ceremoniously returned to their rightful place after being seized during the punitive expedition of 1897.

Representatives from the German government handed over the artifacts—a Bronze stool and a wooden stool—to the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) in 2022.

On Saturday, May 18, 2024, the Director-General of NCMM, Mr. Olugbile Holloway, presented the artifacts to the Oba of Benin, signifying a significant step towards the restoration of Edo culture and heritage.

During the presentation, Mr. Holloway pledged NCMM’s commitment to collaborating with the Benin Royal Court in preserving and showcasing the rich cultural heritage of Edo.

He emphasized the importance of these artifacts, not only to Benin but to Nigeria as a whole, promising to create a fitting destination for people worldwide to appreciate these treasures.

“What you see before us were originally taken away from the Royal family in 1897. We have a stool made of Bronze and a wooden stool. I speak for every member of my team, to say that we remain loyal to the Royal Court. And if there is anything we can do, we will do to support this laudable initiative,” said Mr. Holloway.

In his remarks, Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo, Ewuare II, expressed profound gratitude to the German and Federal Governments, as well as the NCMM, for their efforts in repatriating the looted artifacts.

“This heritage is not just Benin heritage, but Nigeria’s heritage. When we speak of Benin heritage, there is nobody that doesn’t know the great works of ours. I appreciate you, we will always do what we can do with our powers to make His Royal Majesty lineage in memory,” said Oba Ewuare II.

Overwhelmed with joy, the Oba of Benin danced joyfully to traditional music and offered prayers to God and his ancestors.

In a remarkable gesture, Oba Ewuare II personally sat on one of the returned Royal stools and presented a symbol of peace and blessings to Mr. Holloway, symbolizing unity and reconciliation between the Benin Royal Court and the NCMM.

The event, marked by cultural performances and heartfelt gratitude, stands as a testament to the ongoing efforts to restore Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage and strengthen ties between nations.