Benin monarch cautions against diversion of ‘Benin artefacts’
The Benin monarch, Oba Ewuare II, has cautioned against attempt by anyone or a group of persons to divert Benin artefacts, warning that Edo people will resist the move.
Oba Ewuare ll gave the warning, yesterday, when members of the Benin community in Abuja and the principal officers of College of Education, Technical, Ekiadolor, Edo State, paid him a visit in his palace.
The monarch, who also played host to leaders of Edo United Union in Rome, Italy, led by its President, Mr. Edwin Omoregie, 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.
The traditional ruler, who spoke in Benin language, charged his loyal subjects and concerned authorities not to succumb to pressure by unnamed individuals, who are treading on a lonely path to either divert or sell the priceless treasures for personal gains.
“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 either be diverted or sold. Edo people will not allow that to happen. Our ancestors do not approve it.
“Advise 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 benefit of Edo people,” Oba Ewuare ll said, while commending notable Nigerians that have taken up the agitation for the return of the art works.
Meanwhile, President of Benin Community in Abuja, Mr. Lucky Odigie, while addressing the Benin throne, commended the peaceful reign of the monarch and his proclamations that led to the abolition of Community Development Associations (CDAs), among other vices, particularly prostitution and human trafficking.
On his part, Provost, College of Education, Technical, Ekiadolor, Dr. Emmanuel Asagha, who gave a brief history of the college and the process of the smooth take-off of the institution, solicited for the monarch’s support towards the attainment of set goals in the tertiary institution.