Sweden announce plans to return 39 Benin artefacts

The Swedish government has announced plans to return 39 Benin artifacts from its museum to the Oba of Benin, Ewuare II.

This decision was communicated by the Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, Annika Hahn-Englund, during a courtesy visit to the Oba’s palace in Benin, Edo State, on Tuesday night.

Hahn-Englund highlighted that trade between Nigeria and Sweden ranks as the second largest in Sub-Saharan Africa. She emphasized that their trade relations cover sectors such as infrastructure, telecommunications, energy, and other businesses, which play a crucial role in bolstering the economies of both nations.

She said, “I would like to convey the decision of the Swedish government to return 39 artefacts to the Benin kingdom. This is possible because of the cooperation between the two countries in the areas of culture, education and trade.

“So, Your Majesty, I am very honoured to be here tonight.”

The Benin monarch recounted his 1998 request to the Swedish monarch, Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus, during his time as Nigeria’s ambassador to Scandinavian countries.

He noted that the Federal Government-backed Benin Royal Museum project is progressing and thanked partners for their support.

The Oba also praised the National Commission for Museums and Monuments for its role in preserving Nigeria’s cultural heritage. He prayed for the diplomatic mission members and acknowledged the lasting impact of the Swedish monarch’s reign and affection.

The Oba added, “The demand for the return of looted Benin artefacts has been on since the reign of Oba Akenzua II. I am elated to hear that the return of the artefacts has been approved by the Swedish government. This has been my request for a long time. God’s time is always the best.”

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