The Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II has cautioned against any attempt to divert Benin artifact to be returned to the kingdom warning that Edo people would resist the move before it reaches a tipping point.
The Nigerian government is expected to temporarily take custody of 1,130 artifacts from Germany before they would be transferred to the kingdom.
Oba Ewuare ll gave the caution when members of the Benin Community in Abuja and the Principal officers of College of Education, Technical, Ekiadolor, Edo State, paid him a courtesy visit in his Oba palace in Benin City.
He noted that there is no controversy over the ownership or who should take possession of the repatriated Benin bronzes, which were produced on the mandate of his forebears in Benin Kingdom Centuries ago.
He said “We won’t lose our heritage. You remember our Benin artefacts that were looted during the invasion of Benin by foreigners. Some of them have agreed to return them. But, it should be returned to the Oba of Benin palace.
“Edo people all over the world should not allow anyone to bamboozle them to give up their heritage to strangers. Benin artefacts were made by the famous Igun Bronze Casters’ Guild in Benin on orders of our forebears. The palace gave them the enablement and approval to make them.
“Our artefacts will not go to another destination. It should come to the right destination, which is Oba of Benin palace. Edo people should not allow them to be either diverted or sold. Edo people will not allow that to happen. Our ancestors do not approve of it.
“Advice your supporters and others to counsel those who are making such moves to retrace their steps. You should insist that the right thing is done at the right time for the benefits of Edo people”, Oba Ewuare ll said while commending notable Nigerians that have taken up the agitation for the return of the art works.
On his part, President of Benin Community in Abuja, Mr. Lucky Odigie, commended the peaceful reign of the Oba of Benin and his proclamations that led to the abolition of Community Development Associations (CDAs) as was as visible respite in curbing social vices in the society, particularly prostitution and human trafficking