Africa is a productive hub with rich history, enviable heritage and proud human existence: a self-sustaining and respectable continent living in peace and plenty within its own civilization and sovereignty before it became an abode of brutal colonialism due to the negative focus on it by colonialists: avaricious controllers who viciously tore into its sovereignty, shattered its identity and livelihoods, robbed and ravaged its assets (persons and properties) and diminished its pride thus setting its wheel of forwardness backward for many centuries.
Obviously, the dark seasons of slavery, robbery, tyranny and under-development launched by these task masters have caused Africa and its inhabitants’ untold penury, perplexlessness and pains. But the renewed resilience, reformed minds and rising up of true residents (sons and daughters of the soils) to reset and rebuild, and move the Land beyond the negative impact of suppression and servitude to enviable success and sustainability are increasing and inspiring. While the continent leaders and managers may not have reached its desired destination yet, they have definitely left the mark and path the imperialists once charted, and are rapidly pursuing contacts and networks for their lands prosperity and perpetuity.
“What would it mean for us to be deprived of our cultural heritage?”, … “To not be able to marvel at the Gutenberg Bible in Mainz? To be unable to admire Martin Luther’s writings? To stand in front of a sculpture by Käthe Kollwitz in Berlin or at Goethe’s desk in Weimar? It evokes a sense of loss I can hardly imagine. To you here in Nigeria, however, this loss has been your reality.”….Foreign Minister Baerbock
Nonetheless, so many factors are now in play for New Paths and Promotions for Africa’s greatness and sustainability: among these include internal and external practitioners, players and partners genuinely interested in a better Africa: where wrongs doings are set aright, moribund structures and systems becoming modern, inefficiency headship and leadership becoming functional and a disadvantaged dais now turning to a podium of global impact…and one of these productive partners is GERMANY.
Though not without its blemishes, nationhood crises and conflicts, Germany has risen above its many challenges to become a tested and trusted partner of proven growths in Africa and around the world. And, its efforts and endeavours are hugely supporting many African countries in their pursuits of progress making it a reliable, helpful and blessed nation.
Nigeria is also a valued ally of Germany and beneficiary of its vast roles and valuable reachouts, even as both countries continue to enjoy over 60 years of great and good friendship in several areas of interests, sectors and advancement. And, in bolstering this bilateral bond established so many years now, Germany took the revered relations to an unprecedented level by becoming the first European nation to restitute and repatriate stolen artefacts taken from Nigeria back to the rightful owner. Some of these historical and priceless items known as the ’Benin Brozens’ are now finally and peacefully back to base. This extraordinary feat has endeared Germany dearer to Nigerian hearts and further earned her a status of ‘Treasured Friend’ in the nation’s exclusive list of cherished partners. For Nigeria, it was the first time a European country had entered into this kind of deal, as public outcry grows to return artefacts stolen from Africa back.
‘Nigeria is a valued ally of Germany and beneficiary of its vast roles and valuable reachouts, even as both countries continue to enjoy over 60 years of great and good friendship in several areas of interests, sectors and advancement.’
As many European nations and museums still struggles on how they came into the possessions of these indigenous artworks from African (many of which) were looted by British soldiers during the colonial invasions and shipped abroad. Bolder nations among them are now doing the right things, returning back the things that were not legitimately acquired. In Germany some of these historical items were bought by private collectors who were aware they were stolen.
It is wrong to take things that don’t belong to you and it is wrong to keep them in your custody, worst of all, when the original owners are now clamouring and making frantic pleas that their stolen and those forcefully taken items be restored. Buying stolen items anywhere in the world is enabling the thief and acts of stealing and this is wrong and must be stopped by responsible nations, leaders and stakeholders
And, this is what Germany has openly exhibited and is now leading by example, telling the world that it is wrong to take what DOES NOT belong to you and keep them, especially against the owners wish. By this act, Germany has further proven that it is a global leader of trust and compassion and Chancellor Olaf Scholz Administration is hugely commended for this exemplary and courageous leadership.
At the handover ceremony of the looted art items comprising sculptures, carvings, metals objects, plaques among others, the German delegation led by its vibrant and dynamic foreign minister, H.E. Ms Annalena Baerbock, it was a time of joy and justice, a time of promised made and promised fulfilled a time of courage and hope.
The German Foreign Minister noted that this was an opportunity to right some of the past wrongs, acknowledging that these efforts were also part of dealing with a dark colonial history and returning back to the rightful owners what originally belonged to them,
The occasion thus witnessed 22 artefacts looted more than 100 years ago (19th century) in the old Benin Kingdom of Nigeria back to the government at the nation’s capital in Abuja. The return of these sets of Benin Bronzes follows an earlier agreement made by both countries to handover ownership of more than 1,000 of these prized objects.
“This is not the end of a process but the beginning,” “It marks a turning point in international cultural policy.” …Claudia Roth (Germany’s culture commissioner).
Speaking at the ceremony, the nation’s Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed while receiving the items in the company of Nigeria’s Foreign Minister, H.E. Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama and other top government officials expressed happiness at the development and the strengthening of bilateral ties between Nigerian and Germany, noting that what was transpiring could not have been imagined 20 or 10 years ago. He thanked the German Government for this initiative and gesture, while using the opportunity to further urge the British Government, who currently houses majority of the looted items to take a cue from the German authority and act likewise, even as formal and informal requests and pleas to the former colonial masters are still ongoing to fully restore the country cultural heritage in this area.
The Edo State Governor, H.E Mr Godwin Obaseki also called on the British government which is still holding more than 900 of them to show leadership in championing the moves to return the artefacts (which held a lot of significance in many ways) taken from them during the invasion of the empire.
Furthermore, many thanks to the following Envoys:
H.E. Mrs Annett Gunther, Head of Mission and German Ambassador to Nigeria for providing invaluable and impactful leadership at the Embassy of Germany in Abuja and across the nation.
His Excellency Amb. Yusuf Tuggar, Nigerian Ambassador to Germany at the German Embassy in Berlin for his crucial development roles in strengthening the bilateral cord between both countries.
H.E. Ambassador Wahab Akande, Consul General, Consulate of Nigeria in Frankfurt for salutary services and profitable relations between the two nations and people.
Consul General Weert Borner for the marvellous works going-on at the Consulate under his headship which are translating to rapid national development and hugely benefiting Nigerians.
LONG LIVE NIGERIA–GERMANY FRIENDSHIP!