A French Museum, Quai Branly has commenced its final exhibition of the treasures looted from Benin ahead of the planned return of the objects to Nigeria. According to reports, 26 out of the many treasures looted during the colonial era are being displayed for a period of six days, starting from Tuesday.
These looted items which included the throne of the last king of Dahomey, three totemic statues, four palace doors, three warrior dance staffs among others were set for a return following a general outcry from concerned Africans mainly based on the value and relevance of these items to the history of the continent.
Calixte Biah, curator of Ouidah Museum of History told reporters that, “these art pieces are of essential importance for Benin. It has been more than a century that these pieces have been removed from their historical context …these artefacts are returning to the country today, it’s just historical for the people of Benin.”
Describing the exhibited treasures, Gaëlle Beaujean head of the Africa collections at the museum said, “these are quite exceptional works already in the history of African art and even more so in the history of world art, so they are quite singular and unique in that respect.”
Apart from France, other countries equally announced plans to return their looted treasures to Africa. Recall that, Cambridge University in recent times promised to return the Bronze Cockerel in the school’s possession, whilst other Western-European Museums and institutions equally promised to do same.
Whilst many people tagged the move as a good one, others are calling for a complete refund of all the revenues derived from these treasures by the western-Europeans.