In Abuja on May 18, French Ambassador to Nigeria Denys Gauer turned over two fragments of a Nok statuette that had been illegally exported to France to Yusuf Abdallah Usman, director-general of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments.
In so doing, France is abiding by the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.
Nok civilization statuettes, the most ancient known terra cotta sculptures in Sub-Saharan Africa, are on the Red Lists of the International Council of Museums (ICOM).
This is the fourth time in three years that objects seized by French customs have been returned to Nigeria in accordance with the 1970 UNESCO Convention. In 2015, customs services intercepted a total of 20,800 cultural objects.