Nigeria will loan seven Benin Bronzes to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art (NMAfA) in Washington D.C. for the next five years, multiple local media outlets reported on Wednesday.
The seven bronzes are among the 29 recently repatriated artefacts.
The decision was disclosed by the Director General of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), Abba Tijjani, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Tijjani said the move was important for Nigeria because the West African country wanted to send a message that some countries had responded positively to the calls to repatriate stolen artefacts.
“Many museums are responding positively, and it is the right thing to do for any museum of a country because you cannot illegally take artefacts away from their original place, display them in your museums,” Premium Times quotes the Director General.
“This will create unethical practice for the profession, (you) don’t have moral attitude to display objects stolen and you expect visitors to comfortably visit the museums, go round, and enjoy them.
“So, they are doing the right thing to portray these objects to turn them back to Nigeria,’’ he said.
Tijjani pointed out that Nigeria was willing to partner with other museums or institutions willing to repatriate stolen artefacts, to give some of those objects on loan for a certain period.