Returned artifacts will boost Edo’s tourism potential – Obaseki

Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo has said that the stolen Benin artifacts recently returned to the state would boost its tourism potential .

‘The artifacts will bring back our status as the tourism hub of the country,’ Obaseki told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.

According to him, the returned artifacts are ‘still within the federal realm, while the state is facilitating the storage infrastructure for the relics’.

He said his administration had invested much in infrastructure development and facilities for storing, research and preservation of the cultural artifacts.

‘Building of the infrastructure will not only help preserve Edo’s cultural heritage, but also provide a safe and proper environment for exhibiting these delicate artifacts.

‘These measures are put in place so that when these artworks eventually come into the state , we will have a safe place where they can be properly stored.

‘As you know, many of them are very old and very fragile and need to be specially handled.

‘That is
why the Edo government has to invest in infrastructure for proper storage of these artworks.

‘We have also collaborated with experts and investors to build the infrastructure so that when the artifacts come, the state can professionally handle them,” he said.

According to the governor, the tourism potentials of the artifacts and relics will strategically position the state as a tourism hub for both local and international visitors.

‘As we speak, part of the strategy for developing Edo is the strategic plan to make the state a tourist hub for Nigerians and foreigners, given its natural beauty and strategic location.

‘Edo, by its nature and location, is a tourist place where you cannot move from the West of the country to the East and the South-South, without passing through.

‘The government is also going to create facilities to showcase the beauty of Edo, its culture, food, arts, and history that will attract visitors and promote economic growth.

‘The world is tilting toward tourism as an income generat
ing sector and Edo is poised to tap on that,’ Obaseki said.

NAN recalls that in December 2022, Germany returned 22 artifacts looted during the 1897 Benin invasion.

Former President Muhammadu Buahri, in his respect for Benin Kingdom, told the German government that the artifacts would be returned to the traditional ruler and not to the Nigerian state, as Germany had expected.

Buhari named the Oba of Benin as the recipient of the items.

The traditional ruler is a descendant of the sovereign chief, who reigned over the Kingdom of Benin, when the Bronzes were looted by the British at the end of the 19th century.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria