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British University to return ‘looted’ Benin Bronze to Nigeria

The University of Aberdeen has announced on Thursday, its decision to return Benin Bronze, which was part of the numerous historical objects looted by the British power and auctioned to European Museums, collectors and other public institutions.

The school said, these items shall be returned “within week.” This follows growing pressure mounting on British Museum and Pitt Rivers to return these stolen sculptures to their rightful places.

According to the University, the sculptures depicting the image of the ruler of the Kingdom of Benin left Nigeria under “extremely immoral” conditions. The school’s head of museums, Neil Curtis said the Bronze was “blatantly looted.” Adding that, “It became clear we had to do something.”

George Boyne, vice-chancellor of the school said, “It would not have been right to have retained an item of such great cultural importance that was acquired in such reprehensible circumstances.”

Prior to this announcement by the University, Germany was already in talks with Nigerian authorities to repatriate over 500 historical objects including 440 bronzes looted from the Kingdom of Benin.

Aberdeen University which falls within first public institutions to return such stolen items stated that the move was “one of the most notorious examples of the pillaging of cultural treasures associated with 19th-century European colonial expansion”.

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