The New York-based Restitution Study Group, which runs legal campaigns to secure reparations for the descendants of slaves, has written to the Charity Commission to request that it keeps the Benin Bronzes in UK museums.
The letter states: “We ask that you reject any request to transfer them to Nigeria.
“The Kingdom of Benin, through Nigeria, would be unjustly enriched by repatriation of these relics.
“Black people do not support slave trader heirs just because they are black. Nigeria and the Kingdom of Benin have never apologised for enslaving our ancestors.
“We ask that you not approve the transfer of these relics.”
The Kingdom of Benin grew wealthy by capturing men, women and children and selling them as slaves to European and American buyers. Many of the thousands of Benin Bronzes – artworks which decorated the kingdom’s royal palace – were made from melted-down currency earned from the trade in African slaves.
They are right too but it still doesn’t mean they’ll win.