Horniman Museum in London have agreed to return a looted collection of 72 treasured artefacts, including 12 Benin Bronzes, back to Nigeria.
The museum said the artefacts, which were stolen from Nigeria by British troops in 1897, will be transferred to the Nigerian government because it is the right thing to do.
Confirming this decision on August 5, the chairwoman of the Trustees of the Horniman Museum and Gardens in Forest Hill, south-east London, Eve Salomon, said,
“The evidence is very clear that these objects were acquired through force, and external consultation supported our view that it is both moral and appropriate to return their ownership to Nigeria.”
The artefacts includes a brass cockerel altar piece, ivory and brass ceremonial objects, brass bells, and others.
This comes after the Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) asked that the artifacts be returned in January 2022.
Both parties – NCMM and the Horniman trustees – are currently in talks about the formal transfer of ownership and the chances of retaining some artefacts on loan for display, research and education.
The director general of the commission, Professor Abba Tijani, said,
“We very much welcome this decision by the trustees of the Horniman Museum and Gardens.
“Following the endorsement by the Charity Commission, we look forward to a productive discussion on loan agreements and collaborations between the national commission for museums and monuments and the Horniman.”