BENIN — OBA Ewuare II, the Oba of Benin, has appealed to the British Government to return the artifacts carted away from the kingdom by the British during the Benin invasion of 1897, saying that the artifacts belong to the Benin Museum.
He also expressed his readiness to partner the British Embassy to fight human trafficking in Edo State and Nigeria as a whole, asserting that the trade is inhuman and must be stopped.
The Oba, who spoke when the British Deputy High Commissioner, Laura Beavfils, paid him a courtesy visit in his palace, described human trafficking as evil and inhuman, which according to him, affected everyone negatively.
The royal father commended the British government for its effort at fighting the menace, assuring the envoy of the investment opportunities in the state such the Gelegele Export Processing Zone project as well as the Art, Culture and Tourism potential in Benin Kingdom.
He said such investments would help create jobs for the youths and divert their attention from seeking to travel illegally to Europe.
Responding, Laura Beavfils said the delegation was in the palace to show friendship and partnership, with a view to strengthening trade and commercial relationships, increasing investment and business opportunities.
“We are particularly here to provide support to the state government in the fight against human trafficking, because it is of great concern to us. Over 33 million pounds have been set aside by our home government to prosecute the fight against human trafficking and for providing support to victims,” she said.
According to her, over 5 million pounds would be spent in Nigeria, adding, “we will need your support in ensuring that we succeed”.