Benin bronzes

By Musa Ubandawaki

After decades of atrocities, enslavement, exploitation and massacre committed on the people of Sokoto Caliphate in 1903 by colonial masters, the caliphate now seeks return of all its looted historical artefacts from France and United Kingdom.

The looted intellectual, literary works, artefacts and relics of the caliphate are said to be deeply rooted in the minds of the descendants of those who were killed indiscriminately or executed for their resistance to the colonial invasion.

In a letter of declaration on the looted relics, copied to the Minister of Information and National Orientation  Lai Mohammed, signed by a member of the   National Assembly, Dr Balarabe Shuni, and leaders of five Non-Governmental Organisations, NGOs, in Sokoto, a request  for quick intervention of the minister on return of the looted artefacts was made.

The letter read:  ‘’There was deliberate colonial policies made to subvert and deny people of the caliphate contextual fictional education, healthcare, commerce and housing as well as scanty employment opportunities through deliberate strangulation of the Caliphate cottage industries.”

The concerned group, acting under the aegis of the project, tagged ‘’SokotoDNA,” placed on notice the countries responsible for the invasion and in possession of the caliphate’s intellectual, literary works, artefacts and relics.

The letter further requested the unconditional return for restitution of all historical objects to the the caliphate.

It also sought apology from the colonial masters for unwarranted and unjustifiable atrocities committed against people of the caliphate.

The letter accused the two former colonial masters,  Republic of France and United Kingdom, as mainly responsible for the invasion and illegal possession of the looted caliphate historical artefacts.

The letter read further: “The literary works are our irrevocable, unchangeable and distinctive DNA, an important part of our past, our history, our heritage, our pride and symbols of heroism and sacrifice of our forefathers and allowing them to relinquish in the museums of other nations robs us of our history, our pride and our divinity as a people.

“Our resolve in launching this campaign is powered by the good people of the caliphate and its Emirates and further strengthened by UNESCO and ECOWAS conventions.”

According to the letter, the historical relics were at various points looted or seized in place such as Sokoto, Gwandu, Sifawa, Argungu, Zazzau, Adamawa ,Kano, Katsina, Gombe, Katagum, Binji, Kilgori , Yabo and Rikina/Dabagin Ardon Shuni, among many other libraries of the caliphate.

and staff of office? The answer is they are priceless and timeless pieces of high intellect, science, technology and craftsmanship and advance social administrative and structure of governance of the people of the Caliphate, now and forever.’’

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