The palace of the Oba of Benin, Oba Erediauwa, was excited at the weekend, following the return of two Bronze works looted from the Palace of the Oba during the British invasion of Benin Kingdom in 1897.
Dr. Adrian Mark Walker, great grandson of Capt. Philip Walker, one the soldiers who participated in the invasion, returned the bronze works to the Oba of Benin whose great grand father, Oba Ovonramwen, was the Oba of Benin during the British invasion.
Making the presentation, Dr. Walker said of his decision to return the Bronze works, “I have no idea it would cause so much excitement. Seeing this, I feel this is the right thing to do.”
He confessed that most of the looted artworks are in private hands overseas and in Nigeria.
According to him, “There was a tusk sold by my grandmother to Jos Museum here in Nigeria. Efforts should be made to trace its present whereabouts.”
Receiving the items, the elated Benin monarch, described Walker’s gesture in returning the two artifact as the best birthday gift he had ever received, as the historic event was just a few days before his birthday.
He called on Britain and other countries still in possession of Benin looted bronze works to emulate Dr. Walker and return them to Benin, their home of origin.
In his remarks, the Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole while commending Dr. Walker for having a heart of gold by returning the bronze works, expressed joy that the historic event was taking place during his time as governor.
Amidst the euphoria, the Minister of Culture and Tourism and officials of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) expected at the event, were conspicuously absent.
Their absence, as gathered, had to do with the disagreement that ensued between NCMM and the palace of the Oba of Benin over arrangements for the return of the items, with the commission insisting that they be presented at Abuja. But Dr. Walker was said to have preferred presenting them in Benin, the original home of the artworks.