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No Conditions Attached To Benin Bronzes Returned From Germany – Parzinger

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) -President of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, Hermann Parzinger has said that there are to no conditions attached to the Benin Bronzes that were returned to Nigeria from Germany.

The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation is a German federal government body that oversees 27 museums and cultural organizations in and around Berlin, the German federal capital city.

Its purview includes all of Berlin’s State Museums, the Berlin State Library, the Prussian Privy State Archives and a variety of institutes and research centers. As such, it is one of the largest cultural organizations in the world, and also the largest cultural employer in Germany with around 2,000 staff as of 2020.

The organization was established in 1957 with the mission to acquire and preserve the cultural legacy of the former State of Prussia. Its current operations include the preservation and care of the museum collections and the continuation of academic and scientific research to encourage learning and understanding between different peoples.

Parzinger noted that the Nigerian government was at liberty and free to decide on the bronzes’ future.

This is coming after Nigeria’s outgoing President, Muhammadu Buhari handed the artefacts over to over to the Oba of Benin, a traditional ruler of Nigeria’s Edo people.

Last December, Germany returned 20 Benin Bronzes to Nigeria in a ceremony in Abuja. The artefacts had been held in museums in Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Stuttgart and Dresden/Leipzig.

Around 20 German museums held a collection of more than 1,100 artefacts looted from the palace of the Kingdom of Benin, part of modern-day Nigeria, during a punitive expedition conducted by British troops in 1897.

He said the fate of the collection of Benin Bronzes Germany recently returned to Nigeria is up to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

He further explained that Germany’s decision to return the artefacts was based on the fact that they had originally been seized by “violent looting”, adding that “this context of injustice has always been undisputed”.

“The return of ownership rights to Nigeria is not in doubt as a result”, he stressed.

Parzinger said he had no doubt that the returned bronzes would be displayed in a museum and he noted that much of the German collection would remain in Berlin on long-term loan.

He also pointed out that there was still no clarity regarding the legality of Buhari’s decision, as the role of Nigeria’s National Commission of Museum and Monuments, to which the artefacts had been returned, had not been mentioned.

“There would be a new government following elections, he said, and the role of the oba had still to be clarified”, he added.

Short URL: https://www.africanexaminer.com/?p=87747

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