Nigeria: Protest in Benin Over Obaseki’s Planned Museum

Hundreds of youths in Benin City , the Edo State capital under the aegis of Coalition of Benin Socio Cultural Organisation yesterday defied the early morning rain to protest the planned establishment of the Edo Museum of West African Arts (EMOWAA) by Governor Godwin Obaseki.

They called on Binis and the Benin Palace to commence the construction of the Benin Royal Museum which the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, proposed to house the artefacts looted by the British in 1897 which are expected to be returned to the palace.

The group led by its coordinator-general Osaze Amos-Edobor started the march from the ancient Benin Arousa Church along Akpakpava Road to the palace of the Oba of Benin and then the proposed site for the museum which is opposite the palace.

With placards bearing several inscriptions, the group said Obaseki’s EMOWAA was alien to them.

The group’s secretary, Osaro Culture Iyamu, said: “Today we are here to inform our great Oba, the Oba of Benin Kingdom to appeal to him not to be deterred, not to be disturbed, we here to appeal to him to commence work on the proposed Benin Royal Museum, we are appealing that work should commence next week.

“We have great sons and daughters who have the wherewithal and we are also using this medium to advise them and appeal to them to join the palace to commence the construction of Benin Royal Museum. It is only the Benin Royal Museum that we the Edo people know.

“We are at the permanent site for the museum to show to the world that Omo N’Oba already has a place for the construction of the Benin Royal Museum which is just opposite the palace. We don’t know any other museum for our artefacts apart from this. We want to also thank President Muhammadu Buhari for giving his nod to ensure that our artefacts are given the rightful recognition and the necessary support.

“We call on all Benin to support this project as we expect more to be returned because we are aware some have been returned and taken back to where they were stolen from. We are expecting more than 1,000 more from the German government,” he said.

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