Germany hands first of Benin Bronzes back to Nigeria

STORY: Location: Berlin

Germany is returning more than 1,100 'Benin Bronzes' to Nigeria

one of the largest ever repatriations of historic artifacts

The priceless sculptures were looted by Europeans in the 19th century

They ended up in museums around Europe and the U.S.

[Annalena Baerbock, German Foreign Minister]

"Today we have reason to celebrate because we have reached a historic agreement: The Benin Bronzes are returning home. This is the story of European colonialism. We should not forget that Germany played an active role in this chapter of history. Today, more than 120 years later, we state clearly: the Head of a King belongs to the people of Nigeria."

The first two bronzes will be taken back personally

by Nigeria's foreign and culture ministers

[Zubairu Dada, Nigerian Foreign Minister]

"I am delighted to be part of this auspicious event, which in my opinion will go down as one of the most important days in the celebration of African cultural heritage as epitomised by this historic declaration that our two countries are about to sign."

Germany will help finance a museum in Benin City

to house the repatriated bronzes