The Secretary to the Edo State government, Osarodion Ogie, in a statement on Monday said Obaseki will continue to work assiduously with the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, all local and international stakeholders for the return of the looted Benin artefacts for the benefit of the people.
The state government said the governor acted transparently and in consonance with existing Federal and State laws in all matters relating to the proposed return of the artefacts and monuments.
It said governor Godwin Obaseki will continue to display immense respect for traditional institutions and that the government will keep on making efforts to secure a private audience with the royal father to discuss his concerns.
“The attention of the Edo State Government (EDSG) has been drawn to the widely publicized media statement issued by the Palace of His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II.
“It is concerning that the statement appears to have created the impression that there is a major conflict between the interests of the Edo State government and His Royal Majesty with regards to having our highly valued artefacts returned home to Nigeria”.
“The actions of the government thus far on this issue have been driven by selfless, patriotic considerations and in the best interest of Edo State and its people,” the statement said.
The state government however warned that on no account should anyone, whether in government or acting independently, engage in disrespectful exchanges or altercation with the Oba of Benin and the palace.
It would be recalled that the Oba of Benin last Friday addressed a press conference where he declared that the artifacts are not property of Edo state government and should be returned to the palace.
He therefore urged the federal government to take custody of the artefacts pending when the Benin royal Museum is constructed.
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