Statements made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (Paris, January 29, 2013)


Handing over of statuettes to Nigeria

In accordance with the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, France will today hand over to Nigeria 5 unlawfully imported statuettes. This property was seized in 2010 by the Directorate-General for Customs and Indirect Duties.

The expert assessment conducted under the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture and Communication and the Quai Branly and Louvre museums made it possible to accurately determine their origin. These are statuettes from the Nok civilization which is credited with the earliest known terracotta sculptures in sub-Saharan Africa. 

These pieces will be returned to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and handed over to Mr. Yusuf Abdallah Usman, Director General of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments.