The Nigerian government has restated its commitment to ensure adequate protection and repatriation of its cultural relics carted away during colonial period.
The Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Muhammad gave the indication at the Exhibition of repatriated Nigerian Cultural property from abroad titled “Return of the Lost Treasure” which was held at the National Museum Lagos.
Mr. Muhammad explained that ancient arts tell stories of culture and serves as a document for prosperity, stressing the need for its importance.
“The importance of these artefacts as a source of education and enabler of tourism cannot be over emphasised. Nigeria traditional art, the work of our forefathers’ bear testimony of skilled craftsmanship and creative ingenuity of the great dynasties that once existed in our country,” the Minister said.
He maintained that the President Buhari-led government has been engaging and continues to partner with stakeholders in identifying and repatriating artefacts that were stolen away from the country.
He, however, commended the collaborative efforts of the United State of America, South Africa, Switzerland and France in ensuring that the artefacts are returned to their rightful home.
The Director General National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Mr. Yusuf Usman said the repatriation process is long overdue.
According to him, “Campaigns for repatriation of cultural objects of Nigerian origin, illicitly exported have been long and drawn due to the complex issues of law, politics and diplomacy guiding the different countries of the world”.
Usman reassured that these objects would be protected and pressure for others to return will be intensified.
Over one hundred objects repatriated were exhibited at the newly upgraded National Museum, Lagos.