by Badejo Oluwaseun Samuel
The United Kingdom has offered to assist Nigeria in recovering the ancient Ife Bronze Head stolen at National museum, Jos in 1987 and later found with a Belgian collector in London, about thirty years after.
The Minister of Arts, Heritage and Tourism, Helen Whatley, made the pledge on Thursday in London when the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed paid her a visit in her office.
Mohammed is in London to engage with international media and think tank and as well seek diplomatic way to resolve the issue of the stolen cultural object.
Speaking after a closed door meeting with his counterpart, Mohammed said they resolved to explore amicable resolution to the matter to avoid possible collateral damages among Nigeria, United Kingdom and Belgium. “UK authority is ready to assist us, but they want further documentation as to the report made to UNESCO and they also want a closer study of the report we made to UNESCO over the matter.
Mohammed explained that the matter dates back to 1987, specifically, on January 14, when the National Museum in Jos was bugled and several valuable objects of arts and artifacts were stolen. The antiquity surfaced almost 30 years later in the UK when a Belgian vendor came to ask for it to be evaluated.
Mohammed said they were impressed with the cooperation received so far from UK Metropolitan Police since the matter started.