French President Emmanuel Macron recently announced that his country will return 26 artefacts taken from Benin in 1892.
The thrones and statues, currently on display at the Quai Branly museum in Paris, were taken during a colonial war against the then Kingdom of Dahomey.
The statement comes a few months after Macron announced that a commision had been set up to look into the issue of returning looted artefacts to their rightful African countries during a joint press appearance with the President of Benin, Patrice Talon.
The announcement by France that the artefacts should be returned “without delay” has sparked discussions about the return of all African artefacts in European museums, especially with information that the U.K. had decided in October to return Nigerian artefacts on a temporary basis.
According to the CNN the collection of priceless artefacts taken by British soldiers from the Kingdom of Benin (in present-day Nigeria) more than a century ago and on display at the British Museum are set to head back to Nigeria but only for three years.
An agreement between the Benin Dialogue Group (BDG) and the British Museum in London, reached in October 2018, indicates that “some of the most iconic pieces” will head to Nigeria for an exhibition at the Benin Royal Museum in Edo State for three years and then be returned to the British Museum, which currently houses some of the most valuable Benin Bronzes in the whole of Europe.
There is no information yet on the exact type and number of bronzes that will be returned to Nigeria for the three-year duration but the two committees are set to meet in 2019 in Nigeria to discuss the agreement in detail.