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In December, 1970, the British Museum put on show a large selection of bronzes from the city of Benin, Nigeria. Shortly after the opening Mr. Chukwuma Osugi, General Secretary of the All Africa Students and Workers Union, publicly asked Lord Eccles, British Minister for the Arts, "to instruct the British Museum to explain when and how they acquired the bronzes, now worth a fortune to western collectors." I have written the following paper in answer to Mr. Osugi' s request.