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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.

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Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage via Getty.

Michaela Coel Joins the 'Black Panther' Sequel Cast

The upcoming film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, is shaping up.

The sequel to the Oscar-winning Black Panther is only due to debut in July of 2022, but the production is well on its way.

The latest news out of the camp is that Michaela Coel, of I May Destroy You and Chewing Gum fame, has officially joined the cast of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Her character details are still under wraps but according to Variety, Coel has already joined director Ryan Coogler at Atlanta's Pinewood Studios, where production started in late June.

Coel joins original cast members Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Lupita Nyong'o, Florence Kasumba, and Angela Bassett all reprising their roles. Following the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman, Marvel reportedly chose not to recast the role of T'Challa.

Read: How Michaela Coel's 'I May Destroy You' Makes Space For Black Creators

"It's clearly very emotional without Chad," Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige mentions. "But everyone is also very excited to bring the world of Wakanda back to the public and back to the fans. We're going to do it in a way that would make Chad proud."

Michaela Coel's highly-lauded 2020 series I May Destroy You — which she wrote, directed, produced and stared in — received four Emmy nominations.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is scheduled for wide release on July 8, 2022.

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