1st Seminar – Benin Artifacts’ Restitution By Barnaby Phillips (Author & Former Correspondent at BBC & Al Jazeera)
This program is a part of our efforts to promote the history of Benin and culture in the diaspora. It focuses on overseeing the trend and research done by some private and academic (Europeans) researchers on Benin Artifacts, (how these Artifacts were disseminated across the globe) the return, compensation, and more! From our findings thus far, most of the research and information about Benin Artifacts are accessible to a few Edo citizens worldwide. There is a need to educate and update a vast majority of Edo citizens about the latest news regarding the whereabouts and return of these artifacts. The program’s facilitator is an author, former correspondent at BBC, and Al Jazeera, Mr. Barnaby Philips. The theme of the program: Restitution of Benin Artifacts. Nine panelists: Professor Esohe Mercy Omoregbe from the Department of Linguistics Studies University of Benin, Barrister Ewaen Fred Ogieriakhi from Ireland, Prof Alex Igbineweka from California United states, Chief Efosa Samson Ezoba, United States, Dr. (Mrs.) Gladys Amenze Ikhimwin, Associate professor at the University of Benin, Dr. Patricia E. Fadaka-Igbinovia from New York, Mr. Michael Odeh president of BARCO, Germany, Mr. Sunday Okoro, Hartford Connecticut, and Prof Victor Edosa Omozuwa, the Department of Linguistics Studies, University of Benin.
In 1897, a British colonial expedition looted vast quantities of Benin Artifacts from the Oba palace in Benin. These artifacts were carted around different western countries. Hundreds were sold to collectors such as the Ethnological Museum in Berlin, which has one of the world’s largest groups of historical objects from the Benin Kingdom. The Berlin museum has recently signed an agreement to return hundreds of Benin artifacts that were looted from the Benin Palace more than 120 years ago. During the accord in Germany on July 1st, 2022, two pieces held by the Berlin museum were handed over to the Nigerian officials as they signed their “joint political declaration” at the German foreign ministry in Berlin. The discussion session examines the recent agreement between the German museum and the Nigerian federal government to return Benin Bronzes back to Nigeria.
Oct 23rd, 2022 Program
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.