The Edo State Government, on Monday, said it has finalised plans to use the 2018 Edo Festival of Arts and Culture (EDOFEST) to promote advocacy, leading to the return of original stolen Benin artifacts.
The Festival tagged, ‘Harnessing Arts and Culture for Sustainable Economic Development’, which will present an opportunity to showcase the rich cultural heritage, tourism asset, and create patronage for the hospitality and transport sectors, is slated between November 17 and 22, 2018.
Benin artefacts were forcefully stolen during the invasion of Benin empire by British soldiers in 1897.
Briefing the media, on Monday, ahead of the activities to mark the Festival, Commissioner for Arts, Culture, Tourism and Diaspora in the state, Mr. Osaze Osemwegie-Ero, said the programme would attract large array of visitors from within and outside the shores of the country.
He explained that the event will kick-start with “a photo exhibition of stolen original artefacts at their locations across the world” after a carnival parade of participants across the 18 Local Government Areas of the state.
“We will push for advocacy that would ensure the recovery and repatriation of stolen Benin artefacts” which is closely woven around Benin monarchy, the Commissioner said.
He stated that the bus terminal at Oba Akenzua II Cultural Centre will be relocated before the end of the year when the proposed Central motor park project is completed before the Centre will be handed over to the owner.
He also said that Edo State masterplan to reclaim the Benin moat is ready while the famous Bronze Casting Guild in Igun Street will get a facelift soon.
On his part, President of the Benin Cultural Heritage Centre, Mr. Ehi Ighile, charged the EDDOFEST planning Committee to pay due attention to local content in practice and principle in order to promote home-grown talents.