The United States of America, USA government says it has so far repatriated 63 Benin bronzes on the occasion of signing a  Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)  on cultural heritage preservation project in Adamawa State with  Nigerian government

The MoU project involves the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, American University of Nigeria, Yola, Adamawa and International Council on Monuments and Sites-Nigeria and the USA under the implementation of Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation grant.

The U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, has provided $1.5 million for 14 projects across 21 States of Nigeria since 2001.

Only recently, in 2020, the embassy awarded the U.S. non-profit organisation CyArk a $125,000 grant to digitally survey and document the Busanyin Shrine within the Osun Osogbo Sacred Grove. 

The latest project is aimed to document, conserve and improve the cultural heritage of the Sukur UNESCO World Heritage Site in Adamawa State.  

Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony in Abuja, Ambassador David Greene said "We are so proud that, with our Nigerian partners, we have been able to preserve culturally significant art, sites, and other heritage items." 

The US Charge D’Affairs also added that: "Our latest AFCP grant will support ICOMOS-Nigeria and its local partners to help preserve Sukur cultural heritage through infrastructure enhancements, revival of threatened traditional crafts, and documentation and preservation of the Sakun language.

"This will require a collaborative effort amongst each of your organizations, so I am proud and pleased to witness your signing today of the Memorandum of Understanding covering the planned project. 

"We truly appreciate your unwavering dedication to conserve, protect, and preserve Nigeria’s cultural heritage.  My government and I eagerly anticipate building upon this partnership in the years to come, and I can tell you that I personally hope to have an opportunity to visit the Sukur site. " 

Building on twenty years of AFCP grants, the ambassador said "In 2021, the United States and Nigeria signed the bilateral Cultural Property Agreement. With that, we intensified joint efforts to identify, intercept, and repatriate looted, or other displaced cultural property and related heritage works. 

"These efforts paved the way for the official transfer in October 2022 of twenty-two Benin Bronzes back to Nigeria.  I am pleased to report that since 2022, the number has grown, and now a total of sixty-three Benin Bronzes have been successfully repatriated to Nigeria."

Minister of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy, Hannatu Musawa in her remarks said, "The project aims at undertaking a 2-year conservation and preservation work in the Sukur Cultural Landscape, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is regarded as a place of Outstanding Universal Values. The work also involves the conservation of the tangible and intangible heritage of Sukur Cultural Landscape, enhancing community capacity, strengthening local, national and international links and networks for conserving the site’s Outstanding Universal Values and buttressing the resilience of the Sukur community in the face of insurgency and climate change.