The reaction from BARCO, Benin Artefacts Repatriation Campaign Organisation.
There have been a lots of reactions to the news of the university of Aberdeen willingness to return one of the Benin Artefacts, stolen by the British forces during their 1897 invasion of Benin empire. The excitement within the Edo people, Nigerians and Africans has been enormous, to some it's a long enduring pains that have finally found its medicine.
But while the appetite to celebrate the return of a piece out of the thousands of artefacts that are still in captivity, it makes much sense to know the architecture of their miseries.
In 1897, 124 years ago the British forces with the help of soldiers from some Africans neighbours marched into Benin Kingdom with heavy military hardware (now Edo state in Nigeria), they violently took over the kingdom and destroyed the thousand years old Benin empire.
Unspecified numbers of Benin soldiers were killed, many civilians were slaughtered, thereafter the king, Oba Ovonramwen ( Uku Akpokpolor) was sent to exile in Calabar, today Cross River state in Nigeria.
After the fall of Benin city to the British forces and a full capitulation of Benin soldiers an act of arson was carried out throughout the kingdom, Benin city was completely burnt down and all its beautiful architectural design were left in ruins.
Months after the fall of Benin Kingdom the plundering of the Benin Kingdom valuable artworks held on, the palace of the Oba of Benin was ransacked and all the thousands years artworks of Benin sculptors were deliberately looted by the British forces and their Africa collaborators. House to house search was carried out throughout the entire kingdom, villages were not spared. Benin Artefacts were violently seized from the chiefs, businessmen and businessmen, prominent Edo citizens, local priests. Anybody in possession of Benin Artefacts that refused to bring them forward, they were either killed or their houses blunt down.
Thousands of Benin Artefacts were gathered in Benin city, they were subsequently shipped to England in what is today known as the Benin bronzes.
These Benin bronzes and plagues that were unlawfully looted from Benin, they were sold in England to many countries, institutions of higher learning, private individuals and different companies.
While we are holding on to the hype of anxiety, waiting for the university of Aberdeen willingness to return this piece, we must also remember the remaining thousand of Benin Artefacts still languishing in captivity.
BARCO, the Benin Artefacts Repatriation Campaign Organisation is a committed organization campaigning for the unconditional repatriation of the remaining artefacts back to Benin Kingdom. "If all are not return no one is returned"
BARCO none violent campaign will make sure these artefacts are repatriated back to their original ancestry homeland, to rest in spirit and quietness.
Mr. M.L. A Odeh
President of BARCO