The Chief Imam of Benin, Edo State, Alhaji Abdulfatai Enabulele, has pledged the support of the Muslim community in Edo State to the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, over the alleged intention of the state government to take custody of the potential return of looted artifacts by some Europeans countries.
Enabulele, who was at the Oba palace in Benin-city with some Muslims faithful to pay homage to the monarch as part of their tradition to mark the Eid-Mubarak celebration, said the Muslims were behind the Oba over the return of the looted artifacts.
According to the chief Imam, “We Muslims do not support what is not right and what will cause problems. But we will support what will bring peace and development in our community as Muslims.
“That is why we are praying that anyone who will want to do anything that is not right, may God should change that person. You don’t challenge nor contest with the Oba in Benin Kingdom.”
The Muslim cleric said they decried the intention of the state government to possess the artifacts through a third party when they are returned, pointing out that the Oba of Benin is the chief custodian of “our revered culture and tradition as well as the stolen artifacts wherever they are in the world.”
He lamented over the “double standard of some persons in the state over the proposed return of the looted artifacts because of their personal interest and executive positions,” which he described as greed and an attempt to fuel crisis in the Benin Empire.
“What the Oba wants is what we the Muslims will support. All the artifacts should be returned to the Oba Palace,” he stated.
Enabulele, who chronicled the return of the stolen artifacts within 1938 to 2013 during the reigns of Oba Akenzua II, Oba Erediauwa and now, stated that those artifacts were returned to the palace, and not somewhere else.
In his response, the Oba of Benin thanked the Muslims faithful for the visit, and tasked them to continue to pray for peace and development of the state.