Director-General of the National Museums and Monuments Yusuf Usman has incurred the wrath of the Benin Monarch, Oba Erediauwa, over the return of two Benin Bronze works by a great grandson of Captain Philip Walker.
Captain Walker was a British soldier who took part in the 1897 Benin massacre and the two bronze works were part of the loot from the war.
Oba Erediauwa, in a letter, warned Usman not to embarrass him by changing the venue of the reception from Benin to Abuja.
The Oba had planned a grand reception for the receiving of the Benin bronze works in his palace on June 22, but was surprised to receive a letter from Usman that the venue has been changed to Abuja.
Mark Walker is to present the bronze works to the Oba as gifts.
Palace sources told The Nation that Mark told the monarch’s younger brother, Prince Edun Akenzua, that he was not at peace holding onto the loot.
It was gathered that invitation was extended to the Minister of Culture and Tourism, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria and other dignitaries.
Usman’s letter said the reception would be held in Abuja where the two bronze antiquities will be handed over to the Minister of Culture and Tourism.
Oba Erediauwa, who faulted the change of venue, said: “Your unilateral attempt to scuttle the arrangement is an act of disrespect and embarrassment to the monarch.
“His Majesty has always turned over to the museum any antiquity that was previously brought to him.
“You are requested to cooperate with the palace in receiving the objects Mr Walker is bringing to Benin City instead of dissipating energy on bureaucracy or allowing it to over shadow our sense of history and scuttle the process initiated several months ago by the monarch.”
Source: The Nation


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