Germany and Nigeria have signed an agreement that paves the way for the return of hundreds of artifacts known as the Benin Bronzes that were looted and removed from Africa more than 120 years ago – an accord that Nigerian officials hope will prompt other countries to follow suit.
A British colonial expedition looted vast quantities of treasures in 1897 from the royal palace of the Kingdom of Benin, in what is now southwestern Nigeria, including numerous bas-reliefs and sculptures.
This accord comes few days after Germany had equally agreed to restitute the Ngonnso statue to the Nso people in the North West Region of Cameroon.
The female figure, known as ‘Ngonnso’ will be returned to the kingdom of Nso in northwestern Cameroon.
Ngonnso was taken by colonial officer Kurt von Pavel and donated to Berlin’s Ethnological Museum in 1903.
‘The Ngonnso has a central role for the Nso’, as she is considered a mother deity.
The German government has decided to return a goddess statue to its rightful owner, the African country of Cameroon, 120 year after it was stolen.
As per a civil society initiative, named “Bring Back Ngonnso”, which has been campaigning for the statue’s return for years, the Ngonnso’ has a central role for the Nso’, as she is considered a mother deity.
The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation said that the Nso people have suffered numerous calamities since the statue was stolen.
The goddess Ngonnso’ is believed to be the founder of the Nso dynasty.
In her honor, the Ngonnso statue was made (the symbol of peace and hope).
“For as long as the people had the Ngonnso beside them, there was hope. Hope for peace, hope for a better tomorrow.”
Germany is also mapping plans to return stolen artifacts from Namibia and Nigeria.
“The victory is ours,” says Vernyuy, a social media user after news of the restitution of Ngonnso.
Vernyuy is not the only one who reacted positively.
Mbinglo Gilles Yumo Nyuydzewira, an Nso kingdom prince, said the news was received warmly in Cameroon.
Mimi Mefo Info