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Prince Edun Akenzua (L) speaks with retired hospital consultant Mark Walker (R) holding two bronze artefacts he returned to the Benin kingdom during a ceremony in Benin City, Nigeria, on June 20, 2014. Two statues from among thousands of works of art looted by British soldiers in the 19th century have been returned to Nigeria, prompting calls for other "stolen" treasures to be repatriated. For more than a century, the artefacts from the "Benin Bronzes" collection had been in the family of retired medical consultant Mark Walker, whose grandfather was involved in a 1897 British raid in which they were taken.

The Netherlands Returns Nigeria's Centuries-Old Stolen Artefact

The Netherlands has returned to Nigeria a 600-year-old stolen artefact, the Ife Terracotta, which has been received by Nigeria's Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

According to The Guardian Nigeria, the Netherlands has returned a 600-year-old artefact to Nigeria. This comes after the artefact was reportedly smuggled using fraudulent papers through Ghana to the Dutch country. Netherlands ambassador to Nigeria, Harry van Dijk, handed over the Ife Terracotta to Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Nigeria's Minister of Information and Culture. The repatriation of the small but "priceless" Ife Terracotta has been a long journey considering it was reportedly smuggled out of Nigeria in 2019.


Read: Black Activists Attempt to Remove Congolese Statue from Dutch Museum

According to Al Jazeera, the artefact was stolen from Nigeria's South Western city of Ile-Ife then smuggled into Ghana where the unnamed suspect then boarded a plane to the Netherlands. Africa CGTN reports that the Ife Terracotta was seized at customs at a Dutch airport where officials suspected that "the object might be illicitly imported" and alerted the antiquity protection office.

Following this news, Nigeria had to prove and appeal to the Dutch government that the artefact in fact belonged to the West African country. The long process ended when the Netherlands handed over the artefact to the Hague on November 2nd of this year. Nigeria received the artefact this past Thursday in a public ceremony.

Mohammed reportedly said that the hand-over was made public so that other countries would follow in the same manner and return previously stolen artefacts to African countries. Mohammed also expressed satisfaction and relief from the process saying, "It gives me profound joy to receive this very important antiquity, an Ife Terracotta…I am even more delighted that our efforts at pursuing the return of Nigerian antiquities, which we launched last November, have started yielding fruits."

The return of the Ife Terracotta reportedly coincides with the UNESCO's 50-year anniversary. Hundreds of Nigerian artefacts stolen during the pre-colonial and colonial period continue to be displayed in several European countries. Senegal is one country that is particularly militant about the return of stolen artefacts and have created hugely successful Museum of Black Civilisations for repatriated artefacts.

The Ife Terracotta has been placed at Nigeria's Conservation Laboratory where it will be cleaned and treated before being put on public display.

Interview

Interview: Terri Is Stepping Out of the Shadows

We talk to the Wizkid-signed artist about the story behind the massive hit "Soco" and his latest Afro Series EP.

Certain afrobeats songs have made in-roads in international markets and paved the way for the genre's ceaselessly-rising widespread recognition. Among these history-defining songs were D'banj's "Oliver Twist," Tekno's "Pana," Davido's "If" & "Fall," Runtown's "Mad Over You," and of course, Wizkid's "Soco." Wizkid released "Soco" under his label imprint, Starboy Entertainment in March 2018, and the song spread like wildfire across Africa and beyond. "Soco" was an Afro-pop wonder delivered at a time when the 'afrobeats to the world' movement was gathering steam, further cementing its electric nature. The Northboi-produced song was co-signed by celebrities across the world like Rihanna, Cardi B, and Paul Pogba and has accrued well over a hundred million streams across streaming platforms worldwide.

"Soco" was not only a trailblazer amongst mid-2010s afrobeats records, it was also the introduction of the first Wizkid-signed artist, Terri. Just weeks before "Soco" was released, Terri was discovered by Wizkid's longtime producer, Mutay, who saw him covering the song "Oshe" on social media.

Before "Soco," Terri Akewe was well on his way to fame. At fifteen, he had performed at street carnivals in his neighbourhood and, one time, was carried all the way home by neighbours after winning a Coca-Cola sponsored singing competition. Before his life-changing meeting with Wizkid, Terri had a seven-track EP ready for release, as well as a viral song titled "Voices." "One time I was on set with the video director T.G Omori, he told me that 'Voices' was the first time he heard of me" Terri tells me as we settle on a plush couch at his home in Lagos.

Regardless of Terri's initial career trajectory; signing to a label headed by afrobeats' biggest superstar was bound to accelerate his musical journey, and at the same time, cast a huge shadow of expectation on his career, especially given a debut as spectacular as "Soco." With his latest EP, Afro Series, powered by the sensational single "Ojoro," one thing is clear: Terri is stepping out of the shadows into his own spotlight and he is doing it on his own terms.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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Interview: JAE5 Is Crafting London's Distinct Diasporic Sound

We talk to the buzzing producer about his Grammy win alongside Burna Boy, his work with J Hus and the ever-looming influence of Ghana.