Hundreds of youths in Benin City, under the name, Coalition of Benin Socio Cultural Organisation, have protested the planned establishment of the Edo Museum of West African Arts (EMOWAA), by the state government and called on Benin sons and daughters, and the palace of the Oba of Benin to commence the construction of the Benin Royal Museum (BRM), which the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, has proposed to house the artefacts looted by the British in 1897 and expected to be returned to the palace.
The group, led by its Coordinator General, Osaze Amos-Edobor, started the march from the ancient Benin Arousa Church, along Akpakpava Road, to the palace of the Oba of Benin and then the proposed site for the museum, which is opposite the palace.
With placards carrying several inscriptions, the group said Obaseki’s EMOWAA was alien to them.
Speaking, Secretary of the group, Osaro Culture Iyamu said, “Today we are here to inform our great Oba, the Oba of Benin Kingdom to appeal to him not to be deterred, not to be disturbed, we are here to appeal to him to commence work on the proposed Benin Royal Museum, we are appealing that work should commence next week. We have great sons and daughters who have the wherewithal and we are also using this medium to advise them and appeal to them to join the palace to commence the construction of Benin Royal Museum. It is only the Benin Royal Museum that we the Edo people know.
“We are at the permanent site for the museum to show to the world that Omo N’Oba already has a place for the construction of the Benin Royal Museum which is just opposite the palace. We don’t know any other museum for our artefacts apart from this.
“We want to also thank President Muhammadu Buhari for giving his nod to ensure that our artefacts are given the rightful recognition and the necessary support. We call on all Benin to support this project as we expect more to be returned because we are aware some have been returned and taken back to where they were stolen from. We are expecting more than 1000 more from the German government.”