The Horniman Museum in London, United Kingdom (UK) is set to return 72 artefacts looted from Benin Kingdom in the 19th century back to Nigeria.

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According to BBC, the looted artefacts include 12 brass plaques (Benin bronzes), a brass cockerel and a key to the king’s palace.

It is understood that the move followed a request by the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) in January.

The museum added that its decision followed widespread consultations with community members, visitors, schoolchildren, academics, heritage professionals and artists based in Nigeria and the UK.

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“All of their views on the future of the Benin objects were considered, alongside the provenance of the objects,” it said.

Eve Salomon, the museum’s board of trustees chairperson, said the artefacts were “acquired through force,” adding that it is moral to return their ownership to Nigeria.

“The evidence is very clear that these objects were acquired through force, and external consultation supported our view that it is both moral and appropriate to return their ownership to Nigeria,” Salomon said.

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“The Horniman is pleased to be able to take this step and we look forward to working with the NCMM to secure longer-term care for these precious artefacts.”

In recent years, there have been growing calls for the return of artefacts looted from Nigeria and other African countries.

Last year, Germany had announced it would return over 7,000 of such artefacts housed in its museums to Nigeria.

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