Hornimam Museum and Gardens has agreed to return 72 historical objects to the Nigerian government following the endorsement of their trustees decision by The Charity Commission on August 5.

The artefacts, which were stolen more than hundred years ago, include 12 brass plaques with origins from Benin Kingdom. They were looted in 1897 by the British.

Most of the Benin Kingdom pieces to be returned are deemed to be over 600 years old; as experts backdated their creation to the 15th and 16th century, when they were made by artists for the Oba (king).

In January 2022, Hornimam Museum, located in South London, had received a request from Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) for the repatration of the artefacts. Two Benin Bronzes were also returned by two British universities earlier in the year; a cockerel sculpture and the Oba head sculpture were returned by Jesus College, Cambridge, and the University of Aberdeen respectively.

Chairperson of Hornimam Museum, Eve Salomon confirmed the agreement.

‘The evidence is very clear that these objects were acquired through force, and external consultation supported our view that it is both moral and appropriate to return their ownership to Nigeria.

‘The Hornimam is pleased to be able to take this step and we look forward to working with the NCMM to secure longer-term care for these precious artefacts,’ Salomon said.

The london-based museum are looking to make an agreement with the NCMM to retain some artefacts on loan for display, research and education.

Hornimam Museum joins a host of other European institutions; who have agreed to return artefacts looted by British forces during a punitive expedition to Nigeria many years ago.

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