The Benin monarch, His Royal Majesty, Oba Ewuare II has disowned two group of impostors fronting the return of stolen artifacts that were looted from the palace of the Oba of Benin by the British in 1987.
A joint statement on Monday by the Secretary to Benin Traditional Council (BTC) and the Secretary, Oba Ewuare II Foundation, Mr. Dennis Osaretin, said the individuals and persons who parade themselves as official representatives of the ‘Legacy Restoration Trust’ and ‘Legal Restoration Trust’ were neither known nor authorized by the Oba of Benin.
The statement which affirmed the Oba of Benin as the original owner of the looted artifacts and, the Custodian of Benin Customs and Tradition, cautioned that anyone caught further either engaging such unwholesome activities or dealing with the ‘Legacy Restoration Trust or he Legal custodians of the Benin Heritage, particularly one Enotie Paul Ogbebor or his agents, privies or pseudo, would be treated as a fraudster and perceived as an enemy working against the interest of the great Benin kingdom and the Benin people.
The statement marked BTCA40/VOL.LVIV/134 and titled: “The renewed call for the return of looted Benin artifacts: The official position of the palace of the Oba of Benin and dated May 10, 2021, noted that the Oba of Benin or his duly authorized representatives or body corporate can interact or have any dealings with any foreign donors or missions or any other international institutions globally, in respect of these looted Benin artifacts, which have attracted a renewed global attention, due to the several calls made by His Royal Majesty for the return of their original place of abode.
According to the statement, “For avoidance of doubt, His Royal Majesty, Omo N’ Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II, Oba of Benin remain the custodia Legis of all insignia, symbols and as such other artifacts depicting the rich cultural heritage of the Benin people”.
The statement emphasized that “the Oba of Benin in conjunction with the Benin Traditional Council have set up a very robust framework and body corporate to midwife and coordinate all efforts aimed at retrieving the looted and stolen artifacts from all the world, and the only recognised legal entities for this remains the Oba Ewuare II Foundation and the Benin Traditional Council”.
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