Egypt to assist Nigeria in preserving looted Benin artefacts

The Egyptian Government has offered to assist Nigeria in the preservation of the 1,130 looted Benin bronzes being expected in the country from Germany.

The artefacts, with the least weight of 30kg each, looted by British troops in 1897, are to be repatriated from Germany to Nigeria this year.

Egypt Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Khaled El-Anany, made the offer in Cairo, Egypt when the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, paid him a visit.

The meeting was on the sidelines of a bilateral discussion with Africa Export-Import Bank on how Nigeria can access funding to support its growing creative industry.

Mohammed had led some private sector stakeholders involved in Digital Switch Over, to Afreximbank to assist them on how they can source funds to complete the wholly private sector financially driven project.

The Egyptian minister said they were willing to deploy their wealth of experiences in antiquity preservation management to assist Nigeria in preserving the treasure being expected from Germany.

El-Anany disclosed that tourism contributed not less than 30 per cent to Egypt Gross Domestic Product and the Department of Antiquity alone under his Ministry employs 32,000 personnel to manage their museums and Monuments and archaeological sites.

According to him, Egypt has more than 2,000 tourist sites and 60 per cent of the tourists visit historical sites, museums and operas.

The minister also offered to help Nigeria in the areas of capacity building, museum management and tourism statistics.

He said Egypt suffered a similar fate and they had successfully repatriated a whole lot of their antiquities stolen and transported outside the shores of the country.

The minister urged Mohammed to work with the Nigerian Ambassador to Egypt, Malam Nura Rimi and some key members of his staff to develop the framework to actualise the offer for assistance.

(NAN)

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