Nigeria

Jesus College returns Benin Bronze stolen from Nigeria 124 years ago

Jesus College, University of Cambridge, has returned to Nigeria an artefact that was stolen from the country over a century ago.

Jesus College, University of Cambridge, has returned to Nigeria an artefact that was stolen from the country over a century ago.

Thousands of artefacts were looted when British forces sacked Benin City during an expedition in 1897, and many of them have been scattered all over the world ever since.

Jesus College returned a cockerel artefact, the Okukur, to the Royal Court of Benin in a ceremony at the institution on Wednesday, October 27, 2021.

It was handed over to Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), led by Professor Abba Issa Tijani, and delegates from Benin.

The artefact had been gifted to the college by the father of a student in 1905, and a campaign to return it was fueled by the college’s student body.

“This is the right thing to do out of respect for the unique heritage value and history of this artefact,” Master of Jesus College, Sonita Alleyne (OBE), said.

Numerous museums and other institutions in the United Kingdom, United States, and Germany have recently announced plans to return other artefacts stolen from Benin City.

“We would like other museums and institutions across the world to take this opportunity and follow suit,” Prof. Tijani said at Wednesday’s ceremony.

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