Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has stepped up the campaign for the return of prized Benin artifacts looted from the kingdom, rallying the German Government to ensure return of the artefacts and the realization of the proposed Edo Museum of West African Art (EMOWAA).
The governor during a meeting with top diplomats from the German Foreign Office at the Government House, Benin City, advocated for the establishment of a trust fund to guarantee the completion of the project.
Obaseki noted, “As a government, we are preparing to launch an independent trust, which will constitute the Royal Family, Edo State Government, the Federal Government and international stakeholders.
“That trust should be transparently structured and properly resourced to take a whole series of actions relating to those works and other activities consequent therefrom.
“I am glad that we’ve been on that; we’ve set up the legacy restoration trust. We want to also thank some of our donors who are committed to have a few more excavations under the aegis of the trust.”
He continued: “As you know, culture is a living thing; the artifacts that we are dealing with today are a repetition of our culture at a certain point in time.
“We believe that our collaboration should transcend to not only returning the works but also understanding the significant and meaning of those works from our history.
“There are many things that we share in common. Yes, the objects are from Benin but today they are global. So, the idea of having a universal display is something that we cannot run away from,” Obaseki added.
Earlier, the Director – General, Culture and Communication, Dr Andreas Gorgen, hailed the governor for setting up a trust that is independent and open to international partners.
He pledged to collaborate with the state government to organise joint skills programmes, explore archeological sites and ensure the retrieval of objects.