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Nigerian dispute over who should be subjected to colonial robbery

It’s an ongoing debate since independence in the 1960s – a debate about returning hundreds of thousands of items looted by European colonizers during their invasion of Africa in the late 19th century.

Taxes that were economically and culturally invaluable were shipped from Africa to Europe. Some of the artifacts ended up in museums, but many were distributed as compensation to the officers who took part in the expeditions.

The latter category of objects is considered elusive, but in recent years more and more museums have realized that it is morally difficult to defend objects hanging on a white wall in London or in a pavilion in Berlin.

DN wrote about it in several articles discussions. Many European countries would like to see a new beginning in relations with African countries, and from the French, British and German parties that have indicated their willingness to return the elements.

The question is who will receive them?

In Nigeria, where thousands of bronze masks were stolen by a British expedition to the then Kingdom of Benin (which was named the city of Benin in Nigeria and neighboring Nigeria), a foundation was formed for this. The Legacy Restoration Trust has been trusted by both European museums and the Nigerian government.

The museum building was designed by David AdjayeThe star architect behind it The Amazing Museum of African American History In Washington, DC the idea is to place the building in Benin City. The city does have a national museum, but it is too small to house a larger collection.

Theophilus Omogbai is the director of the museum and Kate Akhedilor is the curator at the National Museum in Benin City, Nigeria. Today’s museum is supposed to be replaced by a much larger museum that will deal with many stolen items that can be returned in the future.

Photo: Eric Espornson

But the current king Benin, Iwari II, whose great-grandfather was king during the catastrophic pillage, believes that the only “legitimate destination” of bronze castings is a royal museum in the palace district, under his protection. British author Barnaby Phillips writes for BBC.

The confusion is great because the king’s own son sits on the board of directors of the institution he sees as a competitor. According to Phillips, who wrote a book on the subject, the rivalry between Iwari II and Governor Godwin Obaske in Benin City escalated.

They accuse each other of caring more about making money from the museum and its construction contracts than about managing cultural heritage. A European government official tells Philips that anyone who thinks they can make money from this is wrong – museums are something that costs money, not money.

The quarrel that caused the operation to be lost Orientation velocity illustrates how colonization not only penetrates theft but also returns.

On the one hand, it is very reasonable that these things fall under the protection of a democratically elected regime. But the king has an argument: when things were stolen, Nigeria today did not exist. The whole country is a colonial heritage.

Read more: African victory in the battle of colonial theft

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