Written by David Ugbabe
Following recent conversations around the return of the looted 1,130 Benin artifacts being expected from Germany, the Muslims in Edo have reiterated their support for the repatriation of these arterfacts.
While on a visit to the palace of the Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II on Wednesday, the Chief Imam of Benin, Alhaji Abdulfatai Enabulele who spoke on behalf of the Muslim community on Wednesday, pledged its support and backing for the Oba of Benin as rifts arise over the custody of the Benin cultural heritage looted in 1897.
Accompanied by other Muslim leaders, Enabulele said, “We, Muslims, do not support what is not right and what will cause conflicts, problems and crises.” He argued that some artifacts were returned in 1938 and 2013 during the reigns of Oba Akenzua II and Oba Erediauwa, and were brought to the Benin palace and not somewhere else.
He therefore stressed that, “We are not in support of the plan by the Edo State Government to house the artifacts at the proposed Edo Museum of West African Arts (EMOWAA), instead of the Benin Royal Museum, since the Oba of Benin is the chief custodian of our revered culture and tradition, as well as the looted artifacts, wherever they are in the world.
Meanwhile, he condemned what he described as double standard by some persons in Edo State over the proposed return of the looted artifacts. “Any other move outside the proposals of the Oba of Benin will only be for personal interests, which can fuel crisis in Benin Kingdom,” he said.
Enabulele reiterated that no one challenges or contests with the Oba of Benin Kingdom and “Anyone who will want to do things that are not right, God should change the person. The Muslim community declared its support for whatever will peace to the state.