Cambridge returns looted Benin bronze to Nigeria, setting precedent
In an act of ‘respect’, Jesus College has handed over the artefact, but other institutions are yet to follow
On Wednesday, the UK’s Cambridge University handed over to Nigeria a sculpture that was looted by British troops in 1897, setting a precedent that will put pressure on other institutions to return stolen artefacts.
The sculpture of a cockerel was one of hundreds of Benin bronzes pillaged from the once-mighty kingdom of Benin, in what is now Nigeria. They are among Africa’s most culturally significant artefacts and Nigerian authorities have been calling for years for their return.
“This is the right thing to do out of respect for the unique heritage and history of this artefact,” said Sonita Alleyne, master of Jesus College, Cambridge, in a statement ahead of a ceremony to hand over the cockerel to a Nigerian delegation...