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Edo Govt, Benin Dialogue Group to raise $100m for Royal Museum, Benin Moat restoration projects

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By Peterson Ibi

The Benin Royal Museum, a project of the Edo State Government in collaboration with the Benin Dialogue Group, the Benin Royal Court and top Museums in Europe, among other stakeholders, is set to raise $100 million.

The iconic project, on completion, would hold restituted Benin artefacts.

Representative of Benin artists in the Benin Dialogue Group, Enotie Ogbebor, said in a chat with journalists, said the project is the greatest advancement made since the call for restitution of Benin artefacts in the history of Nigeria.

He said stakeholders on the project have set a target to raise $100 million for the project which includes the building of a world-class museum and an urban regeneration work to reclaim the Benin Moat.

Ogbebor said it was impressive that Governor Obaseki is leading the charge on the project, saying, “The Governor wants anything we design and build to be ranked world-class, so that people can fly in from different parts of the world to see what we have here. The building has to be art before its functionality as a museum.”

He said partners on the project have commissioned Sir David Adjaye, a renowned architect and contemporary thinker, to design the museum, noting that an ensemble of experts have been lined up to lead the project.

“Sir Adjaye designed the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC, United States of America. He has designed some of the most iconic museums across the world. For financing, the governor recruited Philip Iheanacho as one of the fundraisers. He raised the funds for the Edo Azura Power Plant.

“The project would cost about $100 million. This is not only for the building. There is a plan for a large-scale urban regeneration project. There are plans to reclaim the moat. It is our heritage. We plan to have a walkway going around the moat so that tourists can see how deep it is.

“They can follow the circuit and along the path, you can have a walk to all the landmarks in the city. This will take you to Ibiwe, Oba Market (Emotan), Igbesanmwan and other places. It is a huge project, like an ice-berg; 99 per cent of it is underwater and only one per cent is up for you to see for now.”