Jesus College, Cambridge, has pledged to return to Nigeria, a bronze cockerel taken by British colonial forces, which was donated to it in 1905.
According to UK’s Guardian, the bronze cockerel, called ‘The Okukor’ has been described by the college as a “royal ancestral heirloom” and will be one of the first Benin bronzes to be returned to Nigeria by a major British institution.
The return of the bronze cockerel was recommended by Jesus College’s Legacy of Slavery Working Party, a group dedicated to looking at the institution’s connections to slavery, which confirmed the piece was donated in 1905 by the father of a student.
An expedition in 1897 by British colonial forces saw thousands of bronzes stolen from Benin City, the Edo State capital.
Although no specific date has been fixed for the return of The Okukor, Jesus College has said that the bronze cockerel “belongs with the current Oba at the Court of Benin.”
Sonita Alleyne, the master of Jesus College, said the decision was not taken to “erase history” but came after “diligent and careful” work that looked into the wider legacy of slavery at Jesus College.
“We are an honest community, and after thorough investigation into the provenance of the Benin bronze…our job is to seek the best way forward,” she said.
The cockerel had been removed from public display in 2016.
Source: Punch News