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Oba Of Benin Takes Delivery Of Looted ‘Okpa,’ ‘Ilahor’ Returned From UK

Kingsley Osazee and Ronke Idowu  
Updated February 19, 2022

 

The Bronze cockerel known as ‘Okpa’ and the Oba head bronze known as ‘Ilahor’ have been returned to the palace of the Oba in Benin City, Edo State capital.

The artefacts were returned in a ceremony held on Saturday at the Oba Palace.

The bronzes were accompanied by the Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Sarafa Tunji Ishola and other officials from the UK.

 

The officials were received at Benin Airport on Saturday at 11:00 am.

The delegates later headed to the palace and presented the artefacts which were neatly packaged in a red-colour parcel.

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Earlier in October, last year, Jesus College, University of Cambridge returned a Benin Bronze, Okukor, making history as the first institution in the world to do so.

The Okukor statue was looted directly from the Court of Benin, as part of the punitive British expedition of 1897 and was given to the College in 1905 by the father of a student.

 

More than a hundred years later, the institution finally handed over the elaborately carved cockerel known as ‘Okukor’ to a Nigerian delegation at a ceremony in 2021.

Also in October 2021, the University of Aberdeen handed over a Benin Bronze to Nigeria after over 100 years since it was looted by British forces.

The sculpture, which depicts the head of an Oba (king), is one of the thousands of religious and cultural artefacts looted by British forces in 1897 during the destruction of Benin City in present-day Nigeria by a British military expedition.