By Simeon OSAJIE
The Benin Monarch, His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolor, Oba Ewuare II N’Ogidigan, has warned against attempts by anyone or a group of persons to divert Benin artifacts, saying that Edo people would resist the move before it reaches a tipping point.
Recall that the Benin Monarch had asked the Nigerian government to temporarily take custody of the 1,130 stolen Benin artifacts in Germany after they are repatriated, pending the completion of the Benin Royal Museum where the artifacts which have created a wave of public support would be kept.
Oba Ewuare ll made the assertions when members of the Benin Community in Abuja and the Principal officers of College of Education, Technical, Ekiadolor, Edo State, paid him a courtesy visit in his palace in Benin City.
The monarch also played host to leaders of Edo United Union in Rome, Italy led by its President, Mr. Edwin Omoregie.
Oba Ewuare noted that there is no controversy over the ownership or who should take possession of the repatriated Benin bronzes, which were produced on the mandate of his forebears in Benin Kingdom Centuries ago.
The traditional ruler who spoke in Benin Language, charged his loyal subjects and concerned authorities not to succumb to pressure by unnamed individuals who are treading on a lonely path to either divert or sell the priceless treasures for personal gains.
“We won’t lose our heritage. You remember our Benin artefacts that were looted during the invasion of Benin by foreigners. Some of them have agreed to return them. But, it should be returned to the Oba of Benin palace.
“Edo people all over the world should not allow anyone to bamboozle them to give up their heritage to strangers. Benin artefacts were made by the famous Igun Bronze Casters’ Guild in Benin on orders of our forebears. The palace gave them the enablement and approval to make them.
“Our artefacts will not go to another destination. It should come to the right destination, which is Oba of Benin palace. Edo people should not allow them to be either diverted or sold. Edo people will not allow that to happen. Our ancestors do not approve it.
“Advice your supporters and others to counsel those who are making such moves to retrace their steps. You should insist that the right thing is done at the right time for the benefits of Edo people”, Oba Ewuare ll said while commending notable Nigerians that have taken up the agitation for the return of the art works.”
Addressing the Benin throne, President of Benin Community in Abuja, Mr. Lucky Odigie, commended the peaceful reign of the Oba of Benin and his proclamations that led to the abolition of Community Development Associations (CDAs) as was as visible respite in curbing social vices in the society, particularly prostitution and human trafficking.
On his part, Provost, College of Education, Technical, Ekiadolor, Dr. Emmanuel Asagha gave a brief history of the colleges and the process of the smooth take-off of the institution.
He therefore sued for Oba Ewuare ll support towards the attainment of set goals in the tertiary institution.