The Dutch ambassador to Nigeria returned a valuable and priceless ‘Terracotta Head’ artefact to Information Minister Lai Mohammed in a ceremony in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.
The ‘Terracotta Head’ believed to be no less than 600 years old was said to have been taken from the Southern Western city of Ile-lfe and carried through Ghana to the Netherlands as confirmed by the information minister.
Information and Heritage Inspectorate of the Netherlands was informed after the Dutch customs seized the ‘terracotta head’ at Amsterdam Airport. Dutch officials then contacted their Nigerian counterparts, leading to the return of the “priceless and timeless.”
“The smuggler had obtained forged documents,” the Minister said.
During the precolonial era, hundreds if not thousands of African artefacts and valuable materials were stolen, and are on display in European and United States Museums.
Nigeria has been at the forefront in advocating for the return of all the artefacts that were illegitimately acquired from Africa, following auctions that took place in Paris earlier this year. The Minister continues to advocate for the return of other stolen artefacts despite the claims of legal acquisitions from the foreign Museums.