10 Sep 2021

Nigeria’s battle to reclaim looted Benin Bronzes

To Nigerians, the Benin Bronzes are more than just sublime sculptures and carvings, they are spiritual diaries that tell the story of an ancient kingdom.

Looted by the British, the Bronzes have become highly-charged symbols in the debate around the legacy of colonial violence.

Hundreds are still held by the British Museum. Nigeria says it’s been asking for them back for decades. The museum says it’s never had a formal written request. Tonight, we show the letter sent by the Benin King to Queen Elizabeth requesting their return – back in 1996.

Our exclusive report starts in the heart of Benin, in the workshops of their world renowned bronze casters.

Producers: Solape Renner and Ashionye Ogene.

Filmed by Franklin Adegbie and Ugochukwu Nweke.