National Day. July 14, 2013.
Marked in Paris by the participation in the military parade of West African troops representing Mali, MISMA and MINUSMA, including the presence of 18 Nigerian military, the celebration of the National Day in Abuja was an opportunity to return to the authorities of the country an ancient Esie statue, which had been stolen from Nigeria and seized by French customs in 2011.
This statue, dated to the period XIth-XIVth century and belonging to the collections of the Esie Museum in Kwara State in southern Nigeria, had been placed on the checklist of the International Council of Museums.
It was restored to the Nigerian Commission for Museums and Monuments, in front of a large audience and many journalists, on July 14, 2013 during the National Day reception, whose main guests were the President of the ECOWAS Commission and the Minister of Interior of Nigeria.
In line with the French policy against trafficking of art objects, this return was made pursuant to the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of cultural property (UNESCO, November 14, 1970).
In January 2013, France had already handed over to Nigeria five statues (also seized by French customs) of the Nok civilization, to which we owe the first known terracotta sculptures in sub-Saharan Africa, also under the UNESCO 1970 Convention.
The following companies have contributed to the organization and the success of this celebration:
Total Exploration et Production
Bouygues Nigeria Limited
Bolloré Africa Logistics