I recently visited the Benin heritage museum (3 floors) in Benin City and it was truly
outstanding! I was so proud to be Bini. I think that if the British government is willing to acknowledge that they were stolen, write a formal apology & possibly provide a yearly “rental fee” to keep them in the UK, I don’t see anything wrong with that. The problem is that, who would this rental fee go to? The government in Nigeria (& Benin City) is very corrupt. I went to the Bini museum, and it was literally only myself, my fiancé and my dad in the ENTIRE museum. When we arrived, we went to pay our entrance fee and the woman told my fiancé (who is white) that he had to pay more than my dad and I to enter. We paid without a fuss, but we made her aware of the discriminatory entrance practice. Even Bini people or Nigerians as a whole don’t always appreciate their own history or art work. If the British government can provide retrograde financial support for the arts and culture space in Nigeria/ Benin City, it might allow Nigerians in the UK and other people to appreciate the bronze statues within the UK. Yes, the best thing to do would be to return the statues, but I’d also love it if others can appreciate our culture and history within the UK. Just a thought, coming from a Canadian born Bini girl 😍.