Sweden to Repatriate 39 Benin Artefacts

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The Oba of Benin, Ewuare II

The Swedish government has announced its decision to return 39 Benin artefacts currently housed in its museum to the custody of Oba of Benin, Ewuare II. This significant move was conveyed by the Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, Annika Hahn-Englund, during her courtesy visit to the Oba’s palace in Benin, Edo State, on Tuesday night.

Ambassador Hahn-Englund highlighted the strong trade relations between Nigeria and Sweden, noting that Nigeria is Sweden’s second-largest market in sub-Saharan Africa. She emphasized that these trade partnerships span various sectors, including infrastructure, telecommunications, and energy, which bolster the economies of both nations.

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“I am honoured to convey the decision of the Swedish government to return 39 artefacts to the Benin Kingdom. This outcome is the result of the cooperation between our two countries in the realms of culture, education, and trade,” Hahn-Englund stated, showing respect to Oba Ewuare II.

In response, the Oba expressed his gratitude to the Swedish government on behalf of the Edo people. He reminisced about his request made in 1998 through the Swedish monarch, His Royal Majesty, Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus, during his tenure as Nigeria’s ambassador to Scandinavian countries.

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The Oba reassured that the Federal Government-backed Benin Royal Museum project remains on track, commending the partners for their unwavering support and dedication to the initiative. He also praised the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, the federal agency responsible for preserving and promoting Nigeria’s cultural heritage.

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The traditional ruler offered prayers for the diplomatic mission members and acknowledged the lasting influence and affection of the Swedish monarch.

“The demand for the return of looted Benin artefacts dates back to the reign of Oba Akenzua II. I am overjoyed to learn that the Swedish government has approved the return of these artefacts. This has been a longstanding request of mine, and it’s clear that God’s timing is perfect,” the Oba added.

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