Information minister Lai Mohammed says Nigeria has signed an agreement with Germany to repatriate over 1,130 looted Benin Bronze artefacts back to the country.
Mr Mohammed disclosed this on Tuesday after three museums in the U.S. repatriated 31 Benin Bronze artefacts to Nigeria.
In 1897 during a British raid on Benin, the royal palace was torched and looted, and the monarch was exiled.
The British confiscated all royal treasures, giving some to individual officers and taking most to auction in London. The estimated 3,000 objects eventually made their way into museums and private collections around the world.
“This is important for the British Museum to understand and for the British government to know because I was also in the British Museum to ask them to return thousands of the artefacts in its custody.
The standard response is that until the British Parliament changes the status, they are not in (a) position to do so,” the minister stated.
“The U.S. and Germany are now seeing that this matter is not of law but of morality, is about doing the right thing. I hope that the British government will also learn from the two countries and do (the) same.’’
According to him, Nigeria plans to sign an agreement with the British government on November 28 to return about 86 other artefacts from various museums in the UK.
He said in January, Nigeria and the U.S. signed the bilateral cultural property agreement to prevent illicit import into the U.S. of some categories of Nigerian artefacts.