The Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has said that his administration has commenced engagements with relevant stakeholders to ensure the return of stolen Benin artefacts.
Obaseki disclosed this when he received the publishers of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of Germany, a Frankfurt General Newspaper, working on a documentary to drum support for the return of the looted Benin artefacts, at Government House in Benin City on Monday.
He described the stolen artefacts as the cultural and social symbols of the Benin people and assured that the partnership with the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) and the Benin Palace to secure the return of the artefacts will yield the desired result.
“We want our property back and the artefacts represent our culture and social system, our history and political structure,” he said, and added that his administration was working on a tourism masterplan to boost tourism development in the state.
He commended the German journalists for finding the project worthy and assured of his administration’s support.
Earlier, Dr Lutz Mukke, leader of the team, described the 1897 Invasion of Benin Kingdom by the colonial masters as cruel, and stressed that the return of the stolen Benin artefacts will signify the restoration of its stolen identity.
Mukke said the team embarked on the project to ensure that justice is enthroned as the items were stolen from the Benin Kingdom.
He maintained that the Nigerian government has been supportive of the project and added that the team was working with some media organisations within and outside the country on a 10-page documentary of the project.