"Germany found it imperative to return the bronzes to where they belong after they were looted by the British colonists over 120 years ago," German Foreign Affairs Minister Annalena Baerbock said while handing over the 22 looted artifacts to her Nigerian counterpart Geoffrey Onyeama.
Nigeria's plea to have the looted bronzes returned was ignored for a very long time, she said, calling the decision to return the stolen artifacts a move aimed at righting "a wrong", because officials from Germany once bought the bronzes knowing they had been "robbed and stolen."
Baerbock said Germany would be funding the construction of an art pavilion in the southern Nigerian state of Edo, where the historical kingdom of Benin was located.
In 1929, one of the first major acts of protest against British colonialism in West Africa broke out in Nigeria. In colonialist terms, the conflict became known as the Aba Riots. In the Igbo language, it is Ogu Umunwanyi – the Women’s War.#blackhistoryhttps://t.co/ZuoJEAiivN
The returned cultural pieces are part of a set of plaques and metal sculptures that decorated the royal palace of the Kingdom of Benin in what is now Nigeria.The objects represent the best-known examples of Benin art and were created in the 13th century by the Edo people.
Most of the plaques and other artifacts were looted by British forces during the "Benin Expedition" of 1897, while British imperial control in southern Nigeria was being consolidated.
The British Museum still has about 900 Benin pieces, while other collections of this art are kept in countries like Germany and the United States.
4,000 women and girls in Nigeria have been kidnapped, beaten, and forced to be sex slaves by the terrorist group Boko Haram. pic.twitter.com/z3nKMJ4MCG