Nigeria has received an ancient priceless terracotta head that was taken from Ile-Ife, a city in the southwestern state of Osun.

The minister of information, lai Mohammed said, that the 600-year-old artifact, had been smuggled through Ghana into the Netherlands, where it was flagged as suspicious.
The Dutch ambassador to Nigeria, Harry Van Dijk, on Thursday, returned the artifact to the minister in a ceremony in the Nigerian capital of Abuja.

The information minister in a statement said that the “The smuggler had obtained forged documents” with which he carried the artifact out, passed it through ghana but was intercepted by Dutch customs at the Amsterdam airport.

Mohammed said hundreds of Nigerian artifacts, including Benin bronzes that were stolen during the pre-colonial and colonial period, are in museums in Europe and the United States, and Nigeria would continue to seek their return.

He noted that with the repatriation of the “priceless and timeless’’ artifact, the federal government’s efforts at pursuing the return of Nigerian antiquities had started yielding results.


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