Germany returns looted Ancestral stools to Oba of Benin

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Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II, CFR, Oba of Benin, has acquired possession of two seized Royal stools from the German government, marking a symbolic milestone.

According to historical records, the artefacts — Bronze and wooden Royal stools (Ekete), made during the reign of Oba Eresoyen and Oba Esigie several centuries ago, were looted from the Oba’s Palace during the punitive expedition in 1897.

In 2022, German authorities turned them over to the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) on behalf of the Nigerian Government.

Mr Olugbile Holloway, Director-General of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, delivered the presentation on behalf of the Federal Government on Saturday, May 18, 2024, at the Oba of Benin Palace in Benin City.

Addressing the Benin throne during the presentation of the artefacts, Mr Holloway, pledged on behalf of NCMM, to work closely with the Benin Royal Court in uplifting and displaying Edo culture and heritage.

He revealed that as the Benin Bronzes and other Art works are gradually making their way home to Nigeria, saying “NCMM will join hands with the Royal Court to create a befitting destination for people around the world to come and appreciate these works.”

“What you see before us were originally taken away from the Royal family in 1897. We have a stool made of Bronze and a wooden stool. I speak for every member of my team, to say that we remain loyal to the Royal Court. And if there is anything we can do, we will do to support this laudable initiative.

“This heritage is not just Benin heritage, but Nigeria’s heritage. When we speak of Benin heritage, there is nobody that doesn’t know the great works of ours. I appreciate you, we will always do what we can do with our powers to make His Royal Majesty lineage in memory,” he said.

After unveiling the repatriated Artefacts, Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II, CFR, Oba of Benin, who danced joyfully to Benin traditional rendition in a dramatic dance steps, with excited Chiefs and members of the Royal family and offered prayers to almighty God and his ancestors.

The first-class traditional ruler, who overwhelmed with joy, appreciated the German Government and the Federal Government and the NCMM leadership for their efforts.

The Royal father thereafter in a rare, but historic move, sat on one of the Royal stools (Ekete), and personally presented a chunk of white, which symbolizes peace and blessings to the Director-General of National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Mr Olugbile Holloway.

Oba Ewuare II also prayed for Mr Holloway and his team, accompanied by the Curator, National Museum, Benin, Mark Olaitan, Director, Legal Services, NCMM, Babatunde Adebiyi on the visit where Royal Drummers gave a good account of their stewardship.