The Horniman Museum in London, UK, is to return 72 prized antiques to Nigeria, including its collection of Benin bronzes. This decision came following a unanimous accord among its board of trustees. Once the transfer has commenced, the said artifacts will be under the ownership and care of the Nigerian government.

Many consider this historical event a monumental moment in today’s society and culture. Reportedly, Horniman is the first government-funded organization to return antiquities looted by the British army in Benin City in 1897.

Altogether, 10,000 artifacts pillaged during the Benin invasion were housed in at least 165 museums and several private collections worldwide. The British Museum in London houses 900 artifacts, making it the world’s most extensive collection.

Moreover, the Head of the Horniman Museum, Eve Salomon, mentioned that the evidence is undeniable that these artifacts were acquired via force. And it was decided after much external consultation and judgment that it is both moral and right to reinstate the ownership to Nigeria. The returned bronze artifacts will be housed and celebrated at the Edo Museum of West African Art, which is set to open in 2025.

There are 12 antique brass plaques known as Benin bronzes in the collection. A brass cockerel altarpiece, ivory and brass ceremonial artifacts, brass bells, daily used items like fans and baskets, and a key “to the king’s palace” are among the other items. There have been debates that some are for the return of the artifacts, believing that Nigerians are the rightful owners and caretakers. In contrast, private collectors and art museums in some countries are reluctant to give back the bronzes. As some of these ancient items are the most viewed and prized collections in the world, some were gifted, passed on, or illegally smuggled and bought by their current owners and are too attached to their ‘belongings’. The sense of entitlement hinders them from relinquishing the artifacts to their rightful owners.

Hence, hurry and answer the survey on the British Museum to return 72 artifacts to Nigeria on the Real Research app from August 11, 2022. After that, you will receive 25 TNCs as a reward.

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