Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has reacted to a statement last week by the Oba of Benin Kingdom, His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II.
Recall that the Oba of Benin had in a statement last week kicked against plans by the Edo State Government not to give the returned artifacts back to the Palace.
A delegation led by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had met with officials of Germany to facilitate the return of artifacts stolen from Benin kingdom by colonial masters.
Indications had emerged that the Obaseki-led government had planned to place the returned artifacts in a soon to be established state museum.
In a statement on Monday sent to Naija News and signed by the Osarodion Ogie, Secretary to the Edo State Government, the governor vowed to continue engaging His Royal Majesty to secure the final return of the artifacts.
The statement read: “It is concerning that the statement appears to have created the impression that there is a major conflict between the interests of the EDSG and His Royal Majesty with regards to the laudable national milestone of having our highly valued artifacts returned home to Nigeria.
“The Government of Edo State and the Governor have always acted transparently and in consonance with existing Federal and State laws in all matters relating to the proposed return of the artifacts and monuments.
“The actions of the government thus far on this issue have been driven by selfless, patriotic considerations and in the best interest of Edo State and Edo people.
“The Governor of Edo State, His Excellency, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has displayed and will continue to display immense respect for our traditional institutions and therefore will continue to make effort to secure a private audience with His Royal Majesty to discuss his concerns.
“The Governor has consequently ordered that on no account should anyone, whether in government or acting independently, engage in disrespectful exchanges and/or altercation with our revered Royal Majesty and the Benin Royal Palace.
“Governor Obaseki, meanwhile, expresses his gratitude to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) and Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and other officials of the federal government for their patriotic and tireless efforts that have brought us to the verge of this eagerly anticipated achievement which has remained elusive for over a century.
“While thanking and congratulating the Federal Government, the President, the Minister, the Royal Palace of the Oba of Benin and all stakeholders who have contributed to the successes so far recorded in this endeavor, the Governor assures that he will continue to work assiduously with all local and international stakeholders for the eventual and final return of these valued records of our great and glorious heritage back to Benin City for the benefit of ALL Edo people, Nigerians and the black race.”
Source: Naija News