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Looted Benin bronzes: FG to take possession of when returned – Minister

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Benin Bronze
Benin Bronze
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The Federal Government says, in line with operative conventions and laws, it will take possession of the 1,130 looted Benin bronzes being expected from Germany.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed disclosed this on Saturday in Lagos at a news conference on the efforts by the federal government to repatriate looted smuggled artefacts from around the world.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports Mohammed was reacting to the controversy that had trailed who will take the possession of the expected artefact between the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II and Edo state Governor, Godwin Obaseki.

NAN reports that while the Oba wanted the artefacts stolen from Benin Palace in 1987 to be returned to a museum to be built within the Palace premises, the governor showed preference for a private trust to take custody and manage the artefacts,

The Minister however said the federal government was the entity recognised by international law as the authority in control of antiquities originating from the country.

“The Federal Government is aware of the widely-reported controversy when on who will take possession of the Benin Bronzes when they are returned from Germany.

“Let me state clearly here that, in line with international best practice and the operative Conventions and laws, the return of the artefacts is being negotiated bilaterally between the national governments of Nigeria and Germany.

“Nigeria is the entity recognised by international law as the authority in control of antiquities originating from Nigeria.

“The relevant international Conventions treat heritage properties as properties belonging to the nation and not to individuals or subnational groups,’’ he said.

The minister cited the 1970 UNESCO Convention, in its Article 1 which defines cultural property as property specifically designated by that nation.

He said the provision allows individual nations to determine what it regards as its cultural property.

He, however noted that the provision notwithstanding, his ministry had been working over the past years to repatriate looted artefacts in partnership with traditional institutions and state governments

“What we are saying in essence is that the federal government will take possession of these antiquities, because it is its duty to do so, in line with the extant laws.

“We have always exercised this right in cognisance of that culture that produced the art works.

“That is why the Ministry of Information and Culture and the National Commission for Museums and Monuments have always involved both the Edo State government and the Royal Benin Palace in discussions and negotiations that have now resulted in the impending return of these antiquities,’’ he said.

The minister said the federal government was not just involved in the repatriation of Benin artefacts.

He said his ministry was also working on repatriating Ife Bronzes and Terracotta, Nok Terracotta, Owo Terracotta, the arts of the Benue River Valley, the Igbo Ukwu and the arts of Bida, Igala, Jukun etc.

Mohammed commended the Government of Germany for taking the lead in the global efforts to repatriate all artefacts that were looted from Nigeria and from the African continent.

“As I said during the meeting in Berlin, we see Germany as a leader in the efforts to take practical steps to repatriate our stolen artefacts, and we hope Germany will sustain that lead.

He also applauded the development that the repatriation of the artefacts would be the beginning of a new vista of stronger relations and cultural diplomacy between Nigeria and Germany.

He disclosed that there would be archaeological training for Nigerians among other benefits accruing from the ongoing talks.

“The Nigerian side and the German side agreed to Nigeria’s proposal to use the repatriated artefacts and other works of art to inspire Nigeria’s Creative Industry towards realising its high potential.

“For this and other purposes, it was agreed that the Germans will facilitate the establishment of an academy in Nigeria,’’ he said.

The minister equally thanked Gov. Godwin Obaseki for his commitment as well as the Oba for sending the Benin Crown Prince, His Royal Highness Ezelekhae Ewuare, to be a part of the Nigerian delegation to Berlin. (NAN)

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Sanusi Reinstated As Emir Of Kano

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Four years after Muhammadu Sanusi II was deposed as the Emir of Kano, Governor Abba Yusuf of Kano State has reinstated him to the throne.

“With the full support of the kingmakers, I have approved the reappointment of Malam Sanusi Lamido,” the governor said to cheers at the Art Chamber of the Kano State Government House around 5:16 pm on Thursday.

He announced the decision right after signing the Kano State Emirate Council (Repeal) Bill 2024 into law.

The new law replaces the Kano State Emirates Council Law, 2019, and dissolves the emirate councils created by Governor Yusuf’s predecessor Abdullahi Ganduje.

It was based on the law that Ganduje split the Kano Emirate into five in December 2019 and deposed the 14th Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II on March 9, 2020. The emirates created by the Ganduje administration were Karaye, Bichi, Rano, and Gaya, in addition to Kano.

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FG Offers 2-Month Free Ride On Abuja Light Rail

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Nyesom Wike
Nyesom Wike
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The federal government has offered 2-month free ride services to passengers on the Abuja Light rail after its inauguration on Monday.

Nyesom Wike, The FCT Minister, disclosed this in Abuja on Thursday at a ministerial press briefing on the one year in office of President Bola Tinubu.

He said President Tinubu would inaugurate the rail project on Monday, while it would start commercial services on Tuesday.

“For those who are saying that the rail system had already been commissioned, don’t make a mistake. What was earlier commissioned was the building. What we want to commission on Monday is commercial operations.

“If you are going to the airport, from here to airport is 20 minutes. Seeing is believing. Go on Tuesday. We are going to allow for free rides for two months.

“You know, Mr. President, he can even say extend it to six months just to reduce the pain of our people. That is renewed hope agenda. When you say something, you do it,” Wike said.

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Sanusi II To Be Reinstated As Kano Emir …..As State Assembly Dethrones Emir Bayero, Others

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Former Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II
Former Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II
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Sanusi Lamido Sanusi II has been reinstated as the Emir of Kano, according to a report by LEADERSHIP newspaper.

This decision followed the Kano State House of Assembly’s resolution to dethrone the current Emir and also dismantle the four new Emirates in the State established under a controversial 2019 law.

Though it has not been officially announced, LEADERSHIP reported that it had it on a good authority that Sanusi II had been reinstated, and was expected in Kano on Friday.

“According to credible inside sources, ‘So certainly with the passage of the Bill, Sanusi automatically stands reinstated. No need for confirmation, the thing to is wait for the Governor to assent to it’.

“The then restructuring of the Kano Emirate is seen as a political manoeuvre to diminish the influence of then Emir Sanusi II, a vocal critic of the former Governor Abdullahi Ganduje administration. The creation of the new emirates fragmented the authority of the old Kano Emirate Council, diluting its power and influence.

“Meanwhile, the Majority Leader of the Kano State House of Assembly, Lawan Hussaini Chediyar Yan Gurasa, who sponsored the Amendment Bill, shortly after Thursday’s session, revealed to journalists that, “the bill has been sent to the governor for assent, now there is no longer an active Emir in Kano in all the five Emirates; Kano, Bichi, Gaya, Rano and Karaye. The law now provides the governor to call on the traditional kingmakers to choose a new king.”

“Our correspondent also reports that all the district heads elevated or appointed under the repealed law are to revert to their previous positions.”

 

 

 

Source: Leadership

 

 

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