Updated: Dec 29, 2021
The journey to the repatriation of Benin Artefacts:
3 days ago I had the opportunity to ask Herr Andreas Görgen few questions concerning the Benin Bronze Restitution Andreas Görgen is the Germany Director General for Cultural Affairs, Communication and information, he is also the man responsible for the negotiations towards the return of the Benin Artefacts back to Benin City.
The information to join the discussion was sent to my by BARCO Germany coordinator, Mr. Osaze Aiyanyor.
During that debate which involves 4 panel of speakers I ask Herr Görgen why Edo citizens living in Germany or Europe are not involve in the negotiations, I asked him why organisations with Edo backgrounds are not carried along in the whole process.
In his respond to my question, he said he is dealing with Governor Obaseki because he was democratically elected by his people, and the Nigeria government that was democratically elected too. He said he is also dealing with some groups that are connected with EMOWAA, Edo Museum Of West Africa Art.
In the course of the discussion and explanation I notice his unwillingness to engage Benin citizens with tough questions, he wants his team of negotiators to be celebrated rather than be confronted.
After listening to him in disgusting mode I started asking myself some frustrateming questions like, why should we celebrate people who have stolen our heritage, our identities, our cultural values, our valuable artworks for over a century?
My last comment was the last they could take before they end the show, and I may have been rude to write this "We in BARCO cannot see genuine or truthfulness in the whole process, all we can say is thank you"
I don't know if I was rude or not with that comment but we are the victims here, we are the ones whose Kingdom was invaded and destroyed, plundered and looted, while for over a century they have made billions of dollars from the stolen items they stole from us and they are still making millions of pounds from it till these present days.
Why must we celebrate them with photo shooting, hugging and posing instead of demanding accountability for the evil and atrocities they committed against our people?
Should laugh and dance to celebrate the genocide that was carried out against Benin people during the British illegal invasion of Benin in 1897?
These are the questions I would have loved our people in the negotiations board to be asking, unfortunately our internal fighting against financial interests has made us a weak negotiators.
My name is Mr. Odeh
The President of BARCO (Benin Artefacts Repatriation Campaign Organisation)