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Oba Hails US Museums Over Repatriation Of Artifacts

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The Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, has commended three American museums for the repatriation of 31 Benin Bronze artifacts, which were violently taken away from the Royal Palace of Benin by British forces in 1897.
Ewuare II, represented by his brother, Aghatise Erediauwa, gave the commendation at the Benin Bronzes repatriation ceremony in Washington DC on Tuesday.
The Tide source reports that 29 Benin Bronze artifacts were returned by the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, one from the National Gallery of Art, and another from the Rhode Island School of Design Museum.
The traditional ruler said the decision of the Smithsonian was now being emulated by numerous other Museums around the world who had continued to hold onto heritage art.
“The accepted narrative is that works which were looted or acquired in ethical ways should be returned to their places of origin,’’ he said.
According to him, there is no moral or legal basis for persistently retaining cultural property which was looted during military expeditions or in unequal negotiations for that matter.
He said the position of the Government of Nigeria was that all returned artifacts should be handed over to the Head and Custodian of the community from where such works were taken.
The Oba recalled the relationship between the Smithsonian and the Royal Court of Benin, noting that the relationship dated back to the reign of his father, Oba Erediauwa, whose portrait has adorned this museum for many years.
“It was Oba Erediauwa who started the agitation for the return of our bronzes. His father before him, Oba Akenzua II, had written to Queen Elizabeth of England II to request the return of a beaded ceremonial robe.”
“The request was granted, and we have this robe, and it forms part of coronation regalia. We are expecting soon from Germany some bronze stools which are also used in some palace rituals.
“The clamor and struggle for our religious works started very many years ago and we are grateful to those, on side of truth, acknowledge where these works truly belong.’’
He, however, called on the management of Smithsonian to fulfil its promise to assist in training, capacity building and possibly establishing a foundry in Benin for the benefit of the youth.
“I request the Smithsonian, in conjunction with philanthropist benefactors, assist with financing the construction of the Benin Royal Museum which is the primary abode of our returned artifacts and for which we have a site close to the Palace.
“The museum will be overseen by the Board of Trustees headed by Professor Wole Soyinka and other eminent Nigerians.
“The National Commission for Museums and Monuments have requested and obtained my written mandate to negotiate the return of our Bronzes on our behalf,’’ the Oba said.
The source reports that the ceremony featured cultural performance by Edo Association of DC.
In 1897 during a British raid on Benin, the royal palace was torched and looted, and the oba (ruler) was exiled.
The British confiscated all royal treasures, giving some to individual officers and taking most to auction in London.
The estimated 3,000 objects eventually made their way into museums and private collections around the world.

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Niger Delta

Edo 2024: Sen Okpebholo Promises Inclusive Govt

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The candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State, Sen. Monday Okpebholo, has said he will run an inclusive government when elected in the September 21 governorship election.
He stated this on the sideline of a flag-off of medical mission by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in Akamkpa, Cross River State on Monday.
The Senator, representing Edo Central in the 10th Assembly and a member of the Senate Committee on NDDC, also noted that he will adopt bottom-top approach in running the affairs of the state.
According to him, unlike what is currently obtainable in the governance of the state, his administration will be practically driven.
‘‘It will be a governance that the people can relate with, a true people’s government in the real sense”, he said.
The APC candidate, who bemoaned the lack of infrastructural development across the 18 Local Government Areas of Edo, promised to re-enact Adams Oshiomhole’s infrastructural revolution.
He said emergency would be declared on roads, schools and health infrastructure in the state.
“We are set for that. We will be taking a holistic approach to correct the decayed roads, schools and health infrastructure that have been left unattended to.
“If the Obaseki-led administration had built upon what the government of Adams Oshiomhole did, Edo would have been competing with a state like Lagos in terms of development.
“Our mission is to, from day one, hit the ground running and make Edo a better place.
‘‘A place we can actually call our own, a place that everybody will be happy to see”, he stated.
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Niger Delta

UniCal Demonstration School Wins SAGE 2024 … To Represent Nigeria In Tokyo

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The University of Calabar International Demonstration Secondary School has won the 2024 edition of the Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship (SAGE) competition.
By coming tops at the national competition, the School will represent Nigeria at the global level in Tokyo.
The school presented a solar-powered Chi ECOSOL Freeze Storage System, equiped with off-grid capacity for areas with limited or unreliable traditional electricity.
The system uses high efficiency cooling storage unit to preserve fresh produce and vegetables.
The Tide’s source reports that Federal Government Girls College (FGGC) Abuloma, finished second with a project on Bio Fortification of Cassava Flour at the finals held in Calabar.
The source also reports that FGGC Benin came third with their project on Tomato Powder.
It would be recalled that Nigeria has won 12 out of the 17 international SAGE completions held in different parts of the world after its premier edition in 2002 in America.
The theme for this year’s edition of the competition is: “Mobilising Education for Food Security”.
Speaking during the award ceremony on Monday in Calabar, Mr Peter Odey, the Cross River State Deputy Governor, said the theme for the 2024 edition of the competition was apt and well thought-out.
Represented by Hilary Bisong, the member representing Boki Constituency II at the State House of Assembly, Odey, said the theme touched on a major challenge in todays human society.
Noting the need for a multifaceted global campaign against hunger and food scarcity, he said, “nobody who has access to three square meals in a day will start thinking of crimes and violence.
“Our state has very fertile soil, the winning school has proffered solution to the challenge of food storage and preservation.
“For example, in Boki, we always have so much food after harvest, but a lot of the foods get wasted due to poor storage, so this project gives us a solution”.
Also speaking, the President, SAGE Nigeria, Mr Agwu Amogu, said the essence of the initiative was to make young people to become solution providers through entrepreneurship and community service.
Amogu stated further that the initiative had directly and indirectly impacted on no fewer than 200,000 people since 2005 when it took effect in Nigeria.
“Also, no fewer than 8,000 students have passed through the initiative, many of them have graduated, and are now alumni of SAGE.
“Our goal is to move the mindset of young Nigerians from entitlement to being solution and innovation providers.
“This new mindset will not only create jobs for them, it will even make them to become job creators and self-reliant”, he said.
On her part, 15 year old Miss Victory Idiku, the team lead of UniCal International Demonstration Secondary School, expressed her team’s joy after  wining the competition.
“It took us several weeks of research to create that innovative project, it also took a lot of hard work to effectively present it.
“We are happy to represent Nigeria at the global event in Tokyo, we promise to make our nation proud”, she said.
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Niger Delta

Eid-el Kabir: NSCDC Mobilises 1,210 Personnel In Edo

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Edo Command of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has deployed 1,210 personnel to ensure maximum security during the forthcoming Eid-el Kabir celebrations.
The command’s Public Relations Officer, Efosa Ogbebor, in a statement on Friday in Benin, said NSCDC would provide maximum security at various Eid praying grounds, palaces, monuments and recreational centres across the state during the festivities.
Ogbebor stated that the NSCDC Commandant in the state, Mr Gbenga Agun, assured residents of security of their lives and property before, during and after the festival.
“I have directed all commanders, heads of tactical units, Area Commanders and Divisional Officers to ensure smooth, crime-free and secure celebration before, during and after the Eid-el Kabir festival.
“The personnel deployed have been tasked with critical responsibilities of safeguarding national assets and infrastructure, a core mandate of the corps, protection of lives and property and crowd control, amongst others.
“NSCDC personnel will work in collaboration with other sister-agencies”, he said.
The NSCDC boss appealed to members of the public to give maximum cooperation to the personnel and support them with useful information about criminal elements.
The Commandant felicitated with all Muslims and wished them joyous Eid-el Kabir celebrations.

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