Caption: Mr Walker presenting a diary of his great grand father on the British invasion to Benin kingdom in 1897 to the Oba
From Jefferson Ibiwale, Benin
The palace of the Oba of Benin, Oba Erediauwa, was agog with jubilation on Friday, as two bronze artefacts looted by British soldiers from the palace during British invasion of Benin in 1897 were returned.
The great grandson of Philip Walker, a captain of the US army who participated in the invasion, Adrian Mark Walker, let the team that returned the bronze works to the Palace.
The elated Benin monarch, while receiving the treasured items, described Walker’s gesture in returning them as the best birthday gift he has ever received, as the historic event was just a few days to his birthday.
He called on Britain and other countries still in possession of Benin Bronze works to emulate Walker’s gesture and return them to their home of origin.
Speaking later at a reception held for him and members of his entourage, Walker said he had no idea the return of the works would cause so much excitement.
“Seeing this, I feel this is the right thing to do,” he added.
In his remarks, the Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole, equally commended Walker for the move and expressed joy that the historic event was taking place during his time as governor of the state.
The minister of Culture and Tourism, Edem Duke and officials of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, NCMM, were absent at the event.
It would be recalled that there had earlier been disagreement between NCMM and the palace of the Benin Oba over arrangements for the return of the items, with the commission insisting that they be presented at Abuja, with the minister receiving them.
However, it was gathered that Walker chose to present them in Benin, the original home of the items.