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Mexico Returns Ancient Sculpture to Nigeria

The Mexican government, on Tuesday, delivered to Nigeria an ancient bronze sculpture seized by customs agents at Mexico City airport. The Nigerian sculpture is of Yoruba origin.

The sculpture, from the 6th century southwestern Yoruba city of Ile-Ife, shows a man wearing woven pants and a hat, sitting with his legs crossed and holding an instrument.

“Specialists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History determined that it was a piece of Yoruba origin,” Diego Prieto, head of the agency, told newsmen. “A beautiful bronze piece, and that being of Nigerian heritage, it should return to its home.”

“It was also determined that it had been illegally exported,” the Mexican foreign ministry said.

Nigerian Ambassador Aminu Iyawa acknowledged the work of the Mexican authorities in recovering the sculpture.

According to the Government of Mexico official website, the customs authorities of the International Airport of Mexico City detected it when its buyer tried to introduce it to the country.

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