Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki has ordered his aides and associates not to engage in “disrespectful exchanges” with the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, over the returned stolen artefacts.
This is contained in a statement issued on Monday by Osarodion Ogie, secretary to the Edo state government.
Recall that Ewuare II had asked the federal government to take custody of the stolen artefacts after they are repatriated.
He stated that the stolen bronzes are not the property of the Edo state government but that of the Benin kingdom.
Reacting to the monarch’s statement on Monday, Ogie said, “the attention of the Edo State Government (EDSG) has been drawn to the widely publicized media statement issued by the Palace of His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II.
“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 artefacts 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 artefacts 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.”