National & International

Stolen cockerel from Cambridge University college handed back to Nigeria

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The stolen statue known as “Okukur”, which is a cockerel had been taken by British colonial forces in 1897 and been given to the Jesus College in 1905 by the father of a student at the university.

It had been said that the students campaigned in 2019 for it to be returned.

Sonita Alleyne ,the master of Jesus College said : “It’s massively significant,” and that “It’s a momentous occasion.”

She said returning the artefact was the “right thing to do” to and said the bronze piece was of “cultural and spiritual significance to the people of Nigeria”.

She said “It’s part of their ancestral heritage”

In 2019, the college’s Legacy of Slavery Working Party concluded that the cockerel “belongs with the current Oba at the Court of Benin”.

It’s been said that once the documents are signed, the ownership will be transferred to a delegation from Nigeria.

The ceremony of the handover of the cockerel, which will include speeches and music, will be streamed online in Nigeria.

In 2016, the statue had been removed from display  and will be given to Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments.

The Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II, had said it was hoped others would therefore “expedite the return of our artworks, which in many cases are of religious importance to us”.

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