WE WILL SHOW YOU LOOTED BENIN BRONZES BUT WILL NOT GIVE THEM BACK: SECOND DEFEAT AND PERMANENT HUMILIATION FOR BENIN?
“There was a dim grandeur about it all, and also
these seemed to a fate. Here was this head center
of iniquity, spared by us from its suitable end of
burning for the sake of holding the new seat of
justice where barbarism had held away, given into
our hands with the brand of Blood soaked into
every corner and …….. fire only could purge it, and
here on our last day we were to see its legitimate fate
H. R. Bacon, Benin the City of Blood. (1)
Readers will recall that in a previous article we mentioned that the so-called Benin Dialogue Group has so far not provided the public with any reliable detailed information on the proposed revolving exhibition of looted Benin artefacts in Benin City that is intended to be ‘loaned’ to Nigeria. This is a very interesting way of dealing with matters of interest to the public in Nigeria and elsewhere by public institutions financed by the taxpayer. (2) We are still waiting for information on the following:
- Which institutions will ‘loan’?
b) Who will appoint the curator/director of the exhibition, which nationality?
c) What are the number and names of the looted artefacts they will ‘loan’?
d) What are the costs of the ‘loan’ – any interests and fees- to be paid?
e) What are the costs of transportation from Europe to Benin City?
f) What are the costs of insurance?
g) Which insurance company or companies will be involved, Nigerian or Western?
h) What is the time-frame for the exhibition start?
It will be interesting to know how the Nigerian Government will explain to its people that it is making payments to the British regarding the Benin artefacts that the British stole in 1897 which are now being displayed in Benin City but continue to be under British ownership. The average Nigerian will think the world has been turned upside down. Instead of obliging those who steal to return the objects and pay a penalty, they are now being rewarded for displaying the stolen objects.
While waiting for more information, we continue our reflections on a project we think has not been carefully thought out and, in view of the historical background of looting, burning, destruction and general havoc caused by the British invasion of 1897, constitutes an insult to Nigerians and Africans.
Read complete text, including images, by Kwame Opoku at: