A bronze statue that was looted from Nigeria more than a century ago will be returned by the Cambridge University, UK.
The decision follows Nigeria’s government renewed campaign for the return of the country’s stolen artefacts from around the world.
The cockerel was taken in 1897 from the Court of Benin and given to the university several years later. The statue was removed from public view in 2016 after students protested, saying it represented a colonial narrative.
Hundreds of Benin Bronze pieces were taken after Benin City was occupied by British imperial troops in 1897. Many other Nigeria’s cultural properties were stolen from the country in the 19th century during colonial era
They are now scattered all around the world. Artifacts are critical components to leverage on the culture and tourism sector.
Governments and institutions in the West are under growing pressure to return artifacts taken decades or centuries ago, especially from Africa. Some have begun assessing their collections and discussing next steps to take
Last year, a report commissioned by French President Emmanuel Macron recommended that French museums give back works taken without consent, if African countries request them.
Experts who presented the report estimated that up to 90 per cent of African art is outside the continent, including statues, thrones and manuscripts.
Thousands of works are held by just one museum, the Quai Branly Museum in Paris, opened in 2006 to showcase non-European art — much of it from former French colonies.