CONFIRMED reports say three of the Benin and Ile-Ife artefacts stolen from Nigeria but domiciled in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Met, in New York, is now in the custody of the Consulate-General of Nigeria.
Reports monitored by the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, say the Director-General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments, NCMM, Prof. Abba Tijjani, alongside the Consul-General of Nigeria in New York, Amb Lot Egopija, received the items from the US museum.
The agency also reports that currently, the American museum, MET, is still domicile to about 160 works of Nigeria arts most of which were donated by individuals who reportedly acquired them in the open art market.
“We are looking forward to collaborating with the MET because we cannot exist in an island. For example, the museum cannot be working in Nigeria without collaborating with partners outside the country.
Tijjani signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, with Met for development partnership, particularly in the area of exhibition, scholarship and capacity building of the staff and getting the required curators with the National Commission for Museums and Monuments.
Tijani also commended MET for returning the artefacts to Nigeria, urging other museums in possession of Nigerian artefacts to follow its exemplary gesture.
“Nigeria is very passionate about the way it exhibits its artefacts and we feel that it will be good if we collaborate and rob minds when it comes to joint exhibitions.
“We have about 52 museums across the country under the commission, and we have 65 monuments and sites and staff working in the museums will require modern training.
“So, we are looking forward to collaborating with MET now that we are friends and we understand each other and we want to see how we can work together,’’ he said.
“We at the MET are so pleased to establishing the framework of exchange with Nigeria and we are looking forward to collaborating together,’’ MET Director, Max Hollein said.