The French Government yesterday returned five stolen Nok statuettes to the Nigerian Government.
The French Ambassador to Nigeria, Jacques Champagne Labriolle, who presented the statuettes to the Minister of Culture and Tourism Edem Duke in Abuja, said the return was aimed at fighting the illegal import of cultural goods into France.
He said the statuettes were seized in Paris in August 2010 by the Gennevilliers Office of the General Directorate of Customs and Excise as part of the French Customs’ watch and fight against the illegal transportation of cultural goods.
“They were found in the personal luggage of a traveller coming back from Africa. It was established that these art works had been illegally taken away from the Nigerian territory, “he said.
Duke said the five Nok figures, which were illegally exported from Nigeria, were seized by the French Customs service and repatriated to Nigeria through the French Embassy.