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Looted artifacts from Oxford museums might be sent back to Nigeria

Looted artifacts from Oxford museums might be sent back to Nigeria

Following a request from Nigeria, nearly 100 artifacts that were looted by British colonial forces in 1897 might be returned. The Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers museums in Oxford currently house the items that were seized from Benin City.  The Oxford University Council has chosen to back an argument made by the Nigerian Museums Commission.  Before it can be approved, the Charity Commission will review it. 

The university acknowledged in a statement that the National Commission for Museums and Monuments of Nigeria had filed a claim for the repatriation of the 97 artifacts, including bronzes, with the Pitt Rivers Museum (NCMM).  The university is currently processing the claim following its Policy for Claims for the Return of Cultural Objects.  The Pitt Rivers has been involved in long-term research and engagement projects in conjunction with Nigerian stakeholders and representatives from the Royal Court of the Benin kingdom. The Pitt Rivers is one of several UK museums that house major artifacts retrieved from Benin in 1897. 

The university is currently submitting the case to the Charity Commission and recommending that the NCMM receive legal title to the artifacts, according to the statement.

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