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Germany signs deal to return stolen Benin Bronzes to Nigeria

African news. Germany and Nigeria signed an agreement paving the way for the return of hundreds of artefacts know as ‘Benin Bronzes’ that were stolen from Africa more than 120 years ago.

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Culture Minister Claudia Roth of Germany, signed the deal with their Nigerian counterparts in Berlin on Friday after the country first announced that it would begin returning the bronzes last year.

Minister of Culture, Lai Mohammed, thanked Germany for taking the necessary actions in correcting the wrongs of the past and this was to be the dawn of a new era.

She added that there was a new reason to celebrate because the two countries had reached a historic agreement.

“These pieces are not only magnificent artefacts, they are some of Africa’s greatest treasures. But they are also telling a story of colonial violence,” wrote tv360nigeria quoting the German minister.

READ MORE: ‘You have a year’s deadline to return artefacts’ – Nigeria warns Germany on return of Benin Bronzes

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Thousands of Benin bronzes, metal plaques and sculptures that once decorated the royal place of the Kingdom of Benin are now scattered around European museums after being looted by the British at the end of the 19th Century.

Negotiations are still ongoing regarding the bronzes as to which will be going back to Nigerian and which will be staying in Berlin on loan.

The Nigerian government is coordinating the return of the Benin Bronzes which are mostly held by the state and private museums. Of the 6,600 museums in Germany, less than five percent are owned by the Federal Government.