The return of the stolen Benin artefact and putting it under the care of the pace would bring diverse benefits to the people and city of Benin.
Minister of State for Budget and National Planning Clem Agba made this known in message to the Oba of Benin, Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II.
Agba also disclosed the Federal Government’s approval of the sum of N1.9billion in the 2023 budget for the housing of these artefacts in the Benin Royal Museum.
He said that the initiative would restore the lost glory of Benin as the centre of art and culture as well as provide employment for the teeming youths in the city.
“The return of all the artefacts, when completed, will be a great balm and relief to everyone as historically, Benin had no formal system of writing other than the stories told in cast brass and carved ivory.
“Art was the kingdom’s culture, its wealth, its literature, and its memory. When these artefacts were pillaged, it left behind only ashes where palaces and temples had stood for centuries.
“I am also elated that the returned artefacts will be domiciled in a new museum on the premises of the great Benin palace which will elevate Benin City into a global destination for art and culture.
“New hotels will rise; new businesses will flourish. Underemployed young people will discover productive futures in art, archaeology, tourism, and other services and the trauma of the past will be converted into resources for the glory of all Edo people and the entire citizens of Nigeria.
“I wish to affirm that His Royal Majesty, over the period of my assignment as a Minister has been a great pillar of support, and his majesty’s wise counsel and prayers have given me strength and inspiration, leading the country into a sure path of greatness under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.”
Agba said that the Oba has played a great role in the whole process leading to the return of the artefacts as well as it’s being domiciled in the royal museum.
“May you live long on the throne, and may your reign continue to bring sustainable peace and more development to Benin in particular and Edo State in general and may the love and bond your subjects have enjoyed under your reign be enduring.”
Agba said that the Federal government has gazetted that the Oba is the custodian of the artefacts, adding that the National Museum and Monument Commission would collaborate with palace to determine where the Royal Museum would be built.
Source: News Agency of Nigeria