Sunday, 5 May 2013

Smuggled Nok objects returned to Nigeria by France

In August 2010, French  Custom officials intercepted five Nok Artefacts  in the luggage of a French citizen returning from Africa through Charles De Gaulle airport, Paris. The artefacts have now been handed over to the Nigerian National Commission for museums and Monuments (NCMM) in Abuja after they were examined and authenticated by  the Musee du Quai Branly, French Museums Directorate in the Directorate of Culture as well as Research and Restoration Laboratory of Louvre Museum.
The French Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Jacques Champagne de Labriolle , stated that the repatriation of these Nok artefacts was:
in accordance with international law and French policy on illegal importation and exportation of cultural objects. “This return is made in accordance with International law and within the framework of a French policy aiming at fighting illegal imports and especially illegal imports of cultural goods. Within the framework, the French Customs and French Ministry of Foreign Affairs worked together so that the seized items are returned to Nigeria as the country of origin”. 
The Director General, NCMM, stressed the efforts that were being made to train Nigerian customs officers in the detection of smuggled antiquities, and announced that the Minstry was going to employ "six hundred security personnel and craftsmen to police the heritage sites, he further revealed the approval of Special Repatriation Unit in the commission to handle issues of illicit trafficking, repatriation and restitution". While the looting of heritage and archaeological sites had reached epidemic proportions in the 1990`s, the security of sites and collections was now much improved .

Chika Okeke, 'Jubilation As France Returns Intercepted Nok Artefacts To Nigeria', Leadership magazine  May 5, 2013

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