The artefacts, with the least weight of 30kg, looted by British troops in 1897, are to be repatriated from Germany to Nigeria this year.
The Government of Egypt has offered to help Nigeria preserve 1,130 looted Benin bronzes expected to be repatriated from Germany to the West African country this year.
The offer was made by Egypt’s Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled El-Anany when the Nigerian Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed met with him in Cairo.
Mr. Mohammed had led some private sector stakeholders involved in Digital Switch Over (DSO) to Afreximbank to assist them in sourcing funds to complete the wholly private sector financially driven project.
What Egypt is proposing:
While proposing to help Nigeria preserve the 1,130 looted Benin bronzes billed for repatriation later this year, El-Anany pointed out that Egypt has wealth of experience in antiquity preservation management.
According to him, tourism contributed not less than 30 per cent to Egypt’s GDP, and the Department of Antiquity alone under his ministry employs 32,000 personnel to manage their museums, monuments and archaeological sites.
The Minister who went on to note that Egypt has more than 2,000 tourist sites, and 60 per cent of the tourists visit historical sites, museums and operas, offered to help Nigeria in capacity building, .museum management and tourism statistics.
He said Egypt suffered a similar fate, and they had successfully repatriated a lot of their antiquities stolen and transported outside the country’s shores.
The Minister urged Mr Mohammed to work with the Nigerian Ambassador to Egypt, Malam Nura Rimi and some key staff members to develop the framework to actualise the offer for assistance.
He extended an invitation to Mr Mohammed to attend the African conference on antiquities and tourism, organised in June in Cairo.
Responding, Mohammed said Nigeria was willing and ready to learn from the rich experiences of Egypt in tourism development and management.
The Minister who said he was at the ministry to compare notes, acknowledged that Egypt was one of few countries with the world’s richest and oldest historical and religious sites.