The program focuses on the recent return of Benin bronzes from Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art in Washington DC, United States to Nigeria. Smithsonian museum became the first institution in the United States to return Benin bronzes back to Nigeria. For the benefit of those who are not familiar with the controversial history of Benin artefacts in some Western countries. In 1897, a British colonial expedition looted vast quantities of Benin Artefacts from the palace of Benin. These artefacts were disseminated around different western countries. Hundreds were sold to private collectors, museums, and institutions in some Western countries. Many of these artefacts were also distributed across different states in the United states. However, the German museum has recently signed an agreement with the Nigerian govt to return more 1000 Benin artefacts back to Nigeria.
The program examines the ethical reasons behind the recent return of Benin artefacts by Smithsonian museum. We will also reflect on why Britain, the main country that looted Benin artefacts, has not yet responded or joined other countries to return Benin artefacts back to Nigeria. The British museum probably houses the highest number of Benin objects in the West. The reasons why Britain is reluctant to return Benin artefacts is still unclear.
10 panellists on the program, Prof Esohe Mercy Omoregbe from the Department of Linguistics Studies University of Benin, Barrister Ewaen Fred Ogieriakhi from Ireland, Barrister Kingsley Jesuorobo from Toronto canada. Lady Aghabiomon Ogbeiwi from New York, Dr. Patricia E. Fadaka-Igbinovia is joining us from New York, Mr. Michael Odeh president of BARCO, from Germany, Mr. David Goguile from Washington DC, Dr. Harris Enabulele from New Jersey, United States Mr. Akpojevbe Omasanjuwa, Geography Lecturer at the University of Gambia, and Prof Victor Edosa Omozuwa, from the Department of Linguistics Studies University of Benin.