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00:00:00
>> The Benin Bronzes, often considered to be among Africa's most valuable ancient artworks. But this collection is thousands of miles away from home, in London's British Museum. Most of the artifacts are now spread across Europe and the US, after the British Empire took them from the Kingdom of Benin in 1897.
00:00:17
Now part of modern day Nigeria. Their ownership is fiercely contested, and over a century later, a potential solution has been found. Nigeria might be allowed to borrow back its own collection. Reuters' Alexis Akwagyiram explains from Lagos.>> A group of curators from European museums and Nigerian campaigners known collectively as the Benin Dialogues.
00:00:39
Said that a possible solution would be to lend these artworks, a number of Benin Bronzes, to Nigeria on a long term loan basis. But it was clear that it would be a loan. And the stipulation was that Nigeria had to build a world class museum. With world class security in which these artifacts could be housed.
00:01:01
>> The UK has long resisted calls for the permanent return of the looted treasures. Arguing there's a public benefit in keeping them so more people can see them. But the Governor of Nigeria's Edo State, where Benin City is now located, says both sides are considering their return on loan.
00:01:16
>> That we are forcefully taking from here. And whatever terms we can agree to bring them back, we would be open to such conversations.>> It's a compromise that could settle all the bitter disputes over colonial era loot.>> So for example, we have artworks that were taken by the British that involve Ethiopians, or most famously of all, perhaps, Elgin Marbles.
00:01:39
Which the Greek authorities still say should belong to them, but are being held by the British.