Federal Government through the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Geoffrey Onyeama has received a stolen Ile-Ife artefact recovered from Mexico.
The minister while receiving the artefact called for a more secured border to prevent future occurrence of theft.
Onyeama collected the artefact from Dr Yakubu Dadu, Charge d’Affaires of the Nigerian Mission in Mexico.
He hailed the Embassy’s efforts in recovering the artefact noting that interventions of Nigerian Envoys in recovering stolen possessions of the country shows the important works they were doing as against negative reports of Nigerian missions on social media.
“This Ife bronze was stolen from Nigeria and it was intercepted in Mexico and our Ambassador at the time, Amb. Aminu Iyawa, was very dynamic when he noticed it displayed at the Airport in Mexico and was a little bit suspicious.
“Due to his enterprise, detective work and his diplomatic skills, after a year he was able to find out the origin of the work and the fact that it was stolen and he engaged with Mexican Authorities.
“And was able to get the Mexican authorities after proving that it was of Nigerian origin to hand it over to the Nigerian people.
“It was initially to be delivered home last year but because of the COVID-19 lockdown, he was not able to do so. This is all part of the excellent works that our diplomatic missions abroad are performing.
“Sometimes on social media, we have negative narratives about our diplomatic missions but I think it is also important to recognise the important works they are doing as Envoys of Mr President.
“Delivering such things back to the country requires a lot of negotiations, a lot of time to achieve this kind of results.
“There also need to be sensitisation of Custom officials to let them know there is a black market in these artefacts so as to have border measures.
“We do not want to be negotiating when they are outside our territory but what we can also do is to secure them from within and ultimately it is going to be about intelligence and Customs and border measures.”