Nigeria has taken delivery of an ancient Ife Terracotta head from the Kingdom of Netherlands.
Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, received the artefact from the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Nigeria, Harry van Dijk, on Thursday.
Mohammed said the return of the terracotta head after hundreds of years was a milestone in seeking the return of other antiquities taken away from the country.
He said, “It gives me profound joy to receive this very important antiquity, an Ife Terracotta, which is dated to be at least 600 years old. I am even more delighted that our efforts at pursuing the return of Nigerian antiquities, which we launched last November, have started yielding fruits.
“One way of generating income for the country is if our cultural properties are exhibited around the world to a fee-paying audience, on the basis of the proper agreement that acknowledges us as owners and confers the right benefits on us.
“But this is not possible for as long as most of them adorn the museums and private collections of others, who describe them as their properties.
“Let me state here that Nigeria believes in joint international efforts to put a stop to illicit export and import of cultural goods. The issue of cultural property should not be a ground of rancour and discord among nations.
“That is if nations choose to tow the path which the Kingdom of The Netherlands has chosen by insisting on justice, fairness and amity.”