Benin Bronze ”permanently removed” from Jesus hall

Stevie Hertz 8 March 2016

The bronze cockerel, or Okukor, which had previously stood in Jesus College’s hall has been removed, following protests from students.

The cockerel was looted from Benin, in modern-day Nigeria, in the 19th century. It is yet to be decided if it is to be repatriated.

In February, the Jesus College Students’ Union unanimously passed a motion that the student body would suggest to the master that they supported the repatriation of the Benin Bronze.

Today’s announcement follows a meeting of the college council at Jesus. A University spokesperson said “Jesus College acknowledges the contribution made by students in raising the important but complex question of the rightful location of its Benin Bronze, in response to which it has permanently removed the Okukor from its hall.”

The spokesperson also said that the college will work to create new initiatives with Nigerian heritage and work with “museum authorities to discuss and determine the best future for the Okukor, including the question of repatriation.”

The Okukor was one of hundreds of artifacts stolen from the Benin Empire in the Punitive Expedition of 1897. The cockerel is the emblem of Jesus, appearing on its college crest.

The Cambridge Student understands that the Benin Bronze Committee will soon be releasing a statement on today’s decision.