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UK citizen returns stolen Benin artefacts after 117 years

Oba of Benin Omonoba Erediauwa has received two bronze works of art looted by British soldiers when they ransacked the city in 1897 in what was the most brutal massacre of the colonial era

Two of the stolen artefats were returned to great jubilation within the palace, which became merry as happy chiefs gathered to view the pieces. Dr Adrian Mark Walker, great grandson of Captain Philip Walker, one the soldiers who participated in the invasion 117 years ago, returned the bronze works to the Oba Erediauwa, whose great grandfather, Oba Ovenramwen, was the Oba of Benin during the British invasion.

An ecstatic Oba Erediauwa thanked Dr Walker for his gesture which he described as greatest birthday gift he has ever received. He also took a moment to urge the UK and others who were still in possession of stolen Benin artworks to return them to the west African country.

At a dinner held for him and his entourage, Dr Walker said he had no idea the returned items would cause so much excitement and that made feel that returning them was “the right thing to do”.

In January 1897, Rear-Admiral Harry Rawson, commander of the squadron at the Cape of Good Hope was appointed by the British Admiralty to lead an expedition to capture the Benin king and destroy his city. A month later, the operation, named the Benin Punitive Expedition, began during which about 2,500 religious and mnemonic artefacts were plundered and sent to the UK.

Source: Nigerian Watch

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