Students have called for a bronze statue adorning a Cambridge college to be returned to Nigeria after it was looted from the country in the 19th Century. The students at Jesus College, Cambridge have voted in favour of telling their master the statue should be returned. The cockerel statue is a Nigerian Benin Bronze, of which more than 2,000 sit in museums and collections across the globe.
But Nigeria itself has only 50 pieces of the artworks and the statue remains in the college’s dining hall despite the country’s requests for the bronzes to be returned. It was given to the college as a reference to the surname of founder John Alcock, the bishop and architect who constructed the college.
A spokesperson for Jesus College said, “Recognising that ethical issues are of great importance, Jesus College has structures in place through which these matters can be raised by its members. The request by students is being considered within these processes.”
Sarah Atayero, one of the campaign organisers, said: “We are not backing down and we will be redoubling our efforts to take the struggle to the university as a whole. We continue to believe that the removal and relocation of the monument to Cecil Rhodes is critical for Oxford to reckon with its past, and for Oxford to acknowledge the present-day issues it faces around racism and representation.”