Israel Wekpe, Director of the stage play, Idia, an African Queen, written by Don Pedro Obaseki, has called on the British Government to return the Idia Mask which was one of the artefacts stolen by the British from Benin Kingdom several years ago.
“Idia means a lot to Benin. It means a lot to Nigeria. It also means a lot to Africa and the world. For me, it is the most beautiful mask in the world. And I think we begin to talk about reparation which is the thing as it were.
“We have to also establish the fact that the British actually stole it and they have to return it. It is not for them to tell us ‘we are holding it for you.’
“That’s stealing. They’re also corrupt. It is not theirs. They should bring it back. The mask is ours. This is also part of telling people that we can make beautiful things. The mask was made 14 centuries ago by the skilled craftsmen at Igbesamwan,” he disclosed.
Starting from Boxing Day 2020, Thursday, December 26th, 2020, the play, Idia, was staged for three days at the SIO Event Centre, GRA, Benin to a large crowd of funseekers.
When Popular News sought the opinion of Israel Wekpe, a acting teacher, on why the play was given such recognition. He said: “One of the reasons that we are staging this performance is to create a platform for young people, train them.
“What you’re seeing here is a mixture of young, old and veterans. The essence is to bring live stage performance back to Benin.
“We intend to be consistent by doing it three times every year. This is just the first outing and we are coming out strong.
“We need to generate. We have done a lot of work. We are learning from the process. What we need is support, sponsorship and all that. We know that it is a journey and we are going further.”