A group, Great Benin Descendants worldwide (GBD), Saturday, appealed to the Federal Government not to yield to any pressures from any angle to hand over the yet to be repatriated Benin artefacts to the Edo State government for safekeeping.
The coordinator of the group, Imasuen Amowie Izoduwa said this while briefing newsmen in Benin City on their stance on the artefacts and other sundry issues as they relate to the history of the Kingdom.
Izoduwa said even when it is crystal clear that the Oba of Benin needs the support of the state government to build a world-class museum to house the yet to be repatriated artefacts, the federal and the state government must first acknowledge that the items are owned by the Oba, noting that they were carted away from his palace.
“On no account, we will allow the Edo State government to be handed over those artefacts.
“What we are saying is that, first, there supposed to be a dialogue on what the collaboration between any of these, whether federal or state government, first, the palace of the Benin Kingdom has to be acknowledged.
“The owner of the things should be hand over what belong to him first. Then he will now say, the state government you can now come, let us sit and talk.
“That is where the collaboration comes. The palace will need the state government to build a world-class museum, no doubt about that but one thing that we first of all agree is that the palace owns those artefacts and after that is done, there can now be a round table discussion between the owner and the state government on how they can build a museum and make it economically viable for the entire good of Edo people.
“So, the collaboration is after the property must have been handed over to the owner (Oba of Benin). That is what we stand as a group on,” he said.