At a handover ceremony on Thursday, October 28, 2021, the University of Aberdeen in Aberdeen, Scotland, will complete the return of a looted Benin Bronze.
The university announced in a media release on Wednesday that the ceremony will begin at 5.30 p.m. in the King’s College Conference Centre.
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The sculture will be given to Prince Aghatise Erediauwa, Chief Charles Uwensuyi-Edosomwan, the Obasuyi of Benin; Professor Abba Isa Tijani, Director of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments; Babatunde Adebiyi, the Legal Adviser of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments; and Abdul Mohammed Gimba, Director, Museums, National Commission for Museums.
Prince Isa Bayero of the Kano emirates and Mrs Edith Ekunke, retired director of the National Museum of Lagos State, will accompany them.
In March, the university became the first institution to commit to the full repatriation of a Benin Bronze from a museum, and the Bronze will be returned on Thursday evening.
Thousands of religious and cultural relics were taken by British forces during the devastation of Benin in present-day Nigeria by a British military expedition in 1897.
The University of Aberdeen bought it at an auction in 1957.
Following a request from the Nigerian Federal Government for the return of the looted Benin Bronze, the university unanimously approved the request in March 2021 after a deliberation by an expert panel.
Professor George Boyne, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, said in a press release:
“Over the last 40 years, the Benin Bronzes have become important symbols of injustice.
“It would not have been right to have retained an item of such great cultural significance that was acquired in such reprehensible circumstances.
“The university took a proactive approach to identify the appropriate people to discuss what to do and we are extremely grateful for the collective approach taken by the partners in Nigeria, which has facilitated this return.
“We are delighted to welcome our guests representing Edo State, the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Kingdom of Benin, and the National Commission for Museums and Monuments and commend their spirit of cooperation in making this possible.”