Germany has entered an agreement with the Nigerian government to transfer the ownership of the remaining Benin Bronzes in its possession.
The Bronzes were part of Africa’s most culturally significant artefacts which were looted by the European empire in the 19th century.
In July 2022, Germany made a move to send the first batch of the sculptures and but with their most recent agreement signed on Thursday, Germany agrees to send the rest of the pieces.
Following the agreement which was done between the Foundation of Prussian Cultural Heritage (SPK) and Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), the artefacts would be moved from the Ethnological Museum collection in Berlin to Nigeria.
The SPK described the Thursday agreement as the most extensive transfer of museum artefacts from a colonial context as about 512 objects which were looted by the Britains in 1897 but ended up in Berlin would be transferred.
However, only part of the artefacts would be transferred to Nigeria before the end of the year. About a third of them would remain in Berlin for at least 10 years. They would be exhibited at the Humboldt Forum, Berlin.
“This represents the future concerning the artefacts issue; a future of collaboration among museums, a future of according respect and dignity to the legitimate requests of other nations and traditional institutions,” said NCMM’s Abba Isa Tijani.
He also urged museums outside Germany to emulate the agreement.