Nigeria has reached an agreement on the return of Benin Bronzes with the German Government.
During the visit of a German delegation to Abuja on Wednesday, a Memorandun of Understanding was signed on museum cooperation, between the Director-General, National Commission For Musuems and Monuments (NCMM), Professor Abba Isa Tijani, and the German Director General, Culture and Communication of the German Federal Foreign Office, Dr Andreas Gorgen.
The agreement reached by the parties was preceded by the delegations’s visit to Nigeria in May 2021, a visit by a Nigerian delegation to Berlin in July 2021, and the current visit by German Government to Abuja.
Members of the delegation included Director of the Musuem at the Rothenbaum, Professor Barbara Plankensteiner – Cultures and Arts of the World in Hamburg (MARKK) and spokesperson for the Benin Dialogue Group, as well as the President of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, Professor Hermann Parzinger.
The MoU stipulated that the return of Benin bronzes fromGerman musuems will be embedded in a broad collaboration in the areas of archaeology, museum facilities and museum cooperation.
It was agreed that the Benin Bronzes will continue to be exhibited in German musuems, with continuos cooperation on exhibition projects.
The German Ambassador to Nigeria, Brigitt Ory said:
‘’I am delighted that the German delegation achieved so much progress. This underlines again our commitment to the Nigerian –German cooperation in this field.
‘’We commend our Nigerian partners for their cooperation and looking forward to the next steps’’.
The head of the German delegation, Dr Andreas Gorgen, expressed delight that ‘’after the previous meetings, we were able to create a reliable basis for the return of Benin bronzes and for further cooperation. I am sure that our joint engagement will put Nigerian-German cultural relations on a new foundation’’.
The next meeting is scheduled for December 2021 in Germany.