Nigeria: Benin Artefacts – Obaseki Retreats, Promises to Work With Oba Ewuare

As controversy over who takes custody of the looted Benin artefacts rages between the Benin royal family and the Edo State government, governor of the state, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has promised to cooperate with the palace and the Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II over the over the return of the art works.

Governor Obaseki, who spoke in Benin City on Monday via a statement signed by the secretary to the state government (SSG), Mr. Osarodion Ogie, equally warned all government officials and aides, in and out of the government, not to have any altercation with the Benin royal family over the issue.

The governor, however, reiterated that his concern and efforts at getting the stolen artefacts back to the country were borne out of patriotism, selflessness and in the best interest of the state and the people.

The statement reads in part: “The attention of the Edo State Government (EDSG) has been drawn to the widely publicized media statement issued by the Palace of His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II.

“It is concerning that the statement appears to have created the impression that there is a major conflict between the interests of the EDSG and His Royal Majesty with regards to the laudable national milestone of having our highly valued artefacts returned home to Nigeria.

“The Government of Edo State and the Governor have always acted transparently and in consonance with existing Federal and State laws in all matters relating to the proposed return of the artefacts and monuments.

“The actions of the government thus far on this issue have been driven by selfless, patriotic considerations and in the best interest of Edo State and Edo people.

“The Governor of Edo State, His Excellency, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has displayed and will continue to display immense respect for our traditional institutions and therefore will continue to make effort to secure a private audience with His Royal Majesty to discuss his concerns.

“The Governor has consequently ordered that on no account should anyone, whether in government or acting independently, engage in disrespectful exchanges and/or altercation with our revered Royal Majesty and the Benin Royal Palace.

“Governor Obaseki, meanwhile, expresses his gratitude to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) and Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and other officials of the federal government for their patriotic and tireless efforts that have brought us to the verge of this eagerly anticipated achievement which has remained elusive for over a century.

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