Oxford University looking to return around 100 looted artefacts to Nigeria

The call for Britain to return valuables that their colonial forces looted has been gaining strength in the recent times and Oxford University has now taken a step that will surely be welcomed by people all around the world. The University is looking to return around 100 artefacts to Nigeria after the nation sent them an official request. The most important artefacts in the collection are the bronze ones that were taken by British forces from Benin during their occupation. While the artefacts were kept in the Pitt Rivers Museum and the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford till now, the University authorities are looking to return all of them to Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments.

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“On 7 January 2022, the Pitt Rivers Museum received a claim from the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Nigeria, for the return of 97 objects in the Pitt Rivers and Ashmolean Museum collections that were taken from Benin City by British armed forces in 1897,” the university said.

“The claim is now being processed by the university following its procedures for claims for the return of cultural objects. On 20 June 2022, the council of the University of Oxford considered and supported the claim for the return of the 97 objects to Nigeria,” the official statement read.

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The Oxford University has already forwarded their support to the Charity Commission that will be taking the final decision. According to The Guardian, the return should take place by autumn.

“As one of several UK museums that hold significant materials taken from Benin in 1897, the Pitt Rivers has been involved in long-term research and engagement projects in partnership with Nigerian stakeholders and representatives from the royal court of the Benin kingdom.”