The artefacts were believed to have been stolen hundreds of years ago from the old Benin Kingdom.

Germany has handed over 20 looted artefacts back to Nigeria, more than 100 years after they were stolen by British colonial troops.

During the 16th to 18th century, thousands of metal sculptures, objects and plaques were stolen from the old Kingdom of Benin by British forces. These artefacts were believed to be Africa’s finest art which ended up in museums and art collections across the US and Europe.

With many of these artefacts still yet to be returned, Germany’s return of some of these items serves as a form of reminder to other former colonial masters- Britain, France and Belgium.

The artefacts which were returned included figureheads and they were handed over personally by the German Foreign minister Annalena Baerbock.


According to her, the return of these artefacts was to ‘right the wrong’ dating far back as 100 years ago.

“What we are returning is a part of your history, what we are returning is a part of who you are.

“We are here to right a wrong,” Baerbock said at the ceremony with Nigerian officials.

In 1897, British military expedition attacked and destroyed Benin Kingdom and carted away thousands of sculptures, metals and carvings.

Several attempts have been made to get back these artefacts, including a new online archive known as “Digital Benin” which provides a centralised hub of images and descriptions of thousands of artefacts held in institutions around the world.

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