The Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II has renewed the
call for the repatriation of all Benin artifacts carted away during
the European expedition to Benin Kingdom many years ago.
Oba Ewuare II made the call when he received the American Ambassador
to Nigeria, His Excellency, Ambassador Stuart Symington and the
Director Emerita of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Arts,
Dr. Johnetta Cole in his Palace in Benin City.
His Royal Majesty said it was a great privilege to have Smithsonian
National Museum of African Arts Exhibition in Benin City, which goes
to demonstrate that Benin culture is number one in Africa.
The Oba of Benin informed his guests that Benin Kingdom has rich work
of arts and a cultural center, and request Smithsonian to partner with
the Palace to revive and improve on the facilities in the Cultural
Center, so that it would have the capacity to host world class
cultural and art exhibition.
The Benin Monarch informed the American Ambassador to Nigeria that the
Palace would require economic and technological support from American
government to develop Edo State, and explains that there is vested
interest to open up the Gelegele Export Free Zone for economic gains.
Oba Ewuare II called for twinning of Benin City with an American City
for mutual economic and cultural benefits.
The Oba of Benin used the opportunity to draw America government
attention to the effects of environmental pollution in Nigeria and the
world at large and calls for greater caution on the part of American
government regarding the offensive in North Korea and the Peninsula.
The American Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency Amb. Stuart
Symington said the cultural and arts exhibition to be held in Benin
City would further cement the bond between Nigerian and America.
Ambassador Stuart said the images to be exhibited would create
surprises in the minds of people around the world, pointing out that
the images reflects the Benin people.
On her part, the Director Emerita of the Smithsonian National Museum
of African Arts, Dr. Johnetta Cole expressed satisfaction that the
dream of Smithsonian Institution has become a reality as, the
photographs taken over 60 years ago by the official photographer to
the Royal Court of Benin Kingdom, Chief Solomon Osagie Alonge are
brought to the people of Benin.
She said they had to collaborate with other agencies to stage the
exhibition in Benin City because they love Africa with its work of
Arts, pointing out that the Art exhibition would be quite memorable
for Smithsonian Institution.