———- demands instant of disbandment of EMOWAA Committee
———the Royal Museums be built directly opposite the Oba of Benin Palace.
By Ikhili Ebalu Benin City
A Socio-cultural groups , COALITION OF BENIN YOUTH GROUPS, ( CBYG),and the BENIN SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT, (BSM) WORLDWIDE, have called on Edo State Government to ensure that Benin Traditional council and the Oba of Benin to oversee every activities as it concerns the return of the Benin Artifacts).
The groups gave this statement in
Benin City today while briefing journalists about the return of Benin Artifacts
According to them, the groups wish to express their utmost desire to the general public and to whom it may concerned, particularly Edo State Government and the Federal Ministry of Culture and tourism, that the History of Invasion by the European Government in collaboration with few elements who betrayed the Kingdom based on what they felt, they stand to gain are still very fresh in our memories.
” to remind you, the 19th Century saga which started as a result of trade dispute between the Benin Kingdom and the British colony, which escalated as the European powers decided to invade the kingdom in 1897 and this unholy act was led by the then consul- General in the region, James Philip.
” By January, 12th there was a saga which took place without the Oba Ovonranmwen approval, however February, 18 there was a total invasion of the Kingdom which brought about the capturing of the Oba of Benin Kingdom (Oba Ovonranmwen and was sent to exile in Calabar.
“we the Benin Youth wish that no one remind us, of the genesis of the unholy act that lead to the invasion of the Benin Kingdom in the 19th Century, which was encouraged and facilitated by an unfaithful subject who claim to be loyal to the then Oba of Benin, Oba Ovoranmwen. (name withheld) to further state that the Benin Art works (Artifacts) where stolen and catered away by the European forces.
“The Benin Artifacts became an envy of many nations which includes Europe and America, some were sold out and some were kept in the British museums and that of German, however European and America museums played host
to this stolen artifacts of the Benin people, sadly our Reverend Oba, Oba Ovonramwen died 1914 while in exile same year, gladly the son returned to Benin and was crowned Oba Eweka II.
More importantly we wish to remind those behind the unholy act of wanting to divert the return of the Benin artifact from coming straight to where it was stolen from, which is the Oba of Benin Palace, reference to this was the event of (1938) in a gesture of great significance to the Edo People, the British returned pieces of Oba Ovonramwen’s corals regalia and some Artifacts and was dully returned to the Palace of the Oba and was received by Oba Akenzua II, in an act of celebration, Oba Akenzua II thus restoring some of the sacred force of his ancestors upon receiving the regalia which was led by the Early of Plymouth and Sir John Macpherson, the then Governor General of Nigeria.
The poisonous arrow has killed the elephant a reference to long awaited for; at this point, Nigeria already existed and this artifacts was not returned to Nigeria Government but was returned to the Palace were it was stolen from which is the Oba Palace (Benin Kingdom).
Over the years Oba Erediawa of Blessed memories use his National contact and international contact, diplomatically using all other legal means to making sure the European invaders were intervened upon.
Gladly for the good people and true sons and daughters who had pray day and night to our God and ancestors Oba Eware II became an ambassador to many countries including European countries and our Royal father made good use of his relationship both locally and internationally to ensuring that we the (Benin people) will see a day like this where the European will returned back the stolen artifacts.
Finally they have agreed to return back what they took forcefully from where it was taken (Oba Palace), and some element in the name of Government are trying to make dollars and euro from this by trying to use the Federal Government through the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in the name of building a National Museum, any structure that must be erected must get an approval and must be guided by the Royal home (Oba of Benin).
“we the Benin youth reject in totality any act of wanting to be smart by Edo State Government headed by Mr. Godwin Obaseki, to reintroduced the invasion of the Benin Kingdom for the second time, we are known for peace and wish to maintain peace, but wish that the good people of Benin Kingdom is not taking for granted, and not be forced on a war path, quickly to remind Edo State Government that Oba market as since be razed down by fire for over two and half years.
” the market is part of our history not even a block has been layed on the market, same goes with our own Urokpota Hall, which today Edo State Government as now turn to Motor park, till date nothing was done, our history is going down in the face of Edo State Government, but because of the assumed dollars and euro as to be benefited along with the return of the artifact, they have suddenly become cultural and tourism friendly. Edo State Government is in a hurry to prove a point that is certainly pointless.
However we wish the Government of Edo State do not bring politics into this as the Royal home cannot be political and will never be political.
We are freeborn of the Benin Kingdom and will not allow any ugly history to repeat itself, as the Kingdom (Benin Kingdom) is known all over the World. The Palace and its environs are big enough to store any kind of artifacts that we will be repatriated from the Europe/British Government. We use this medium to call on all Edo Son’s and daughters to speak out now, as the silence of our friends will be the strength of our enemies, for those who are behind some funny publications in wanting to act as if the criminal plans of some persons are justifiable, you are known and be sure your sons and daughters will be reminded on the role you have played in wanting to bring about a second invasion in the Benin Kingdom. We demand as follows:
• That the Royal Museums be built directly opposite the Oba of Benin Palace.
• The major stakeholders in the affairs of Benin Kingdom have agreed and designed/proposed in place that will store the Benin artifacts.
• That the board set up by the Godwin Obaseki (EMOWAA) is an attempted to reloot and steal the artifact for the second time and we demand the dissolution with immediate effect.
• And that the Benin Traditional council (The Oba of Benin must oversee every activities as it concerns the return of the Artifacts). Obakha to Kpere Ise.
• We also demand for financial records/detail received by Edo State Government and the LRT in respect of the Benin bronze from across the World within two weeks.
• We also state that LRT which is called Legacy Restoration Trust, is a private company set up by some persons who are struggling to reloot Benin Artifacts by this they cannot be trusted.
• Oba market and Urokopta Hall must and should be rebuild by Edo State Government within 3 months as they are part of our heritage.
To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
The release was signed by the following groups.
Comr. Osaghae Collins Elder Curtis Eghosa
President, National Union of Edo Ugbor President, Benin Solidarity
South Youth (Nusey) Movement, (BSM) Worldwide
Chief Patriot Patrick Osagie Elohor Comr. Raymond Ogieriakhi
President One Love Foundation. Benin Cultural/Human Right Activist