US museums return trove of looted treasures to Nigeria
Museums in Nigeria will begin returning objects looted from ancient Egypt and Ghana to their rightful owners after a decade-long dispute.
In May, the country’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, announced the return of treasures from the country’s colonial past, saying the two countries had been “misled by lies”.
The two countries have been at odds over the returns of such items and have been unable to agree on what will be returned. Museums in Nigeria have been criticised over the way they have managed the process, with many saying they have not always returned the items in the best state – for example, in some cases, items are being returned to their original owners and the country has lost out on a revenue source.
The return of ancient artefacts from both countries to Nigerian government museums is likely to increase tensions between the two countries.
In a statement, Museums in Africa welcomed the return of the treasures and said it was confident that the return will “settle the issue”. “We are confident that the return of these ancient artefacts will ‘settle the issue’ between the countries,” it added.
“The return of these antiquities is a significant development in the search for the truth and will help to ensure that these invaluable treasures will be permanently housed in Nigeria museums and other appropriate destinations.”
In a statement, museums in Ghana said that it welcomed the removal of items seized from Nigeria’s colonial period, and that a “mutually agreeable” solution was being found to return items to Ghana.
“The return of these antiquities and the restoration of artifacts, once restored in such a way that will allow them to be used in the best way possible, is expected to help in the restoration of Ghana’s rich cultural heritage,” said museums in Ghana in a statement.
It added that there were many other items from colonial times in Ghana, and that it was only due to the Nigerian authorities’ “unfriendly behaviour” that the country was deprived of “a valuable