By Ozioruva Aliu, Benin-City
The Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty (HRM), Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II has disowned some groups claiming to have the mandate of the palace to ensure the return of artifacts stolen from the palace by British soldiers during its expedition of 1897.
A statement yesterday signed by the Secretary, Benin Traditional Council (BTC) and Executive Assistant, Corporate and Legal Affairs to HRM and Secretary, Oba Ewuare II Foundation, Dennis Osaretin Esq. said the people in question are not known either do they have the authority of the Oba who is the custodian of the looted items to do such.
Part of the statement reads: “For the avoidance of doubt His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II, Oba of Benin, remains the custodia Legis of all insignia, symbols and such other artifacts depicting the rich cultural heritage of the Benin people.
“ Therefore only The Oba of Benin or his duly authorized representative or body corporate can interact or have any dealings with any foreign donors or missions or any other international institutions globally, in respect of these looted Benin artifacts, which have attracted a renewed global attention, due to the several calls made by His Royal Majesty for the return to their original place of abode.
“ The Oba of Benin in conjunction with the Benin Traditional Council have set up a very robust framework and body corporate to midwife and coordinate all efforts aimed at retrieving the looted and stolen artifacts from all over the world, and the only recognized legal entities for this remain the Oba Ewuare II Foundation and the Benin Traditional Council.”