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ABUJA,An artifact which represents the goddess of fertility which was reluctantly released by the Nupe people of the Middle Belt and northern Nigeria to the Niger State Museum and stolen some decades ago has been found in Italy, says the Executive Director of the Council for Arts and Culture of Niger State, Emmanuel Zhiri,

This artifact was found in Italy recently by the Commissioner for Information, Mr Jonathan Vatsa”, Zhiri said Thursday in Minna, the capital of Niger State in western Nigeria.

Speaking on the sidelines of the 2017 Commemoration of World Museum Day? being marked under the theme “Museum and Contested Histories: Saying the Unspeakable in Museums”, Zhiri told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that it would cost the state a huge fortune to retrieve the artifact.?

Zhiri said the Niger State Museum was one a well-organized premier museum with experienced professional staff and the state government was working to expand the museum by bringing in more exhibits to enrich it.

We are working strategically to bring in more artifacts to uphold our cultural heritage. We have identified artifacts we are going to bring in, like the musical strings of the late Walo Shatan Gwari and late Nupe musicians’ musical strings used in the course of their musical careers,” he added.?

“We are going to pay the custodians of these musical strings and bring them to the Niger State Museum. It is going to cost us about 2.0 million Naira (about 6,370 US dollars) to bring them from the Niger Zone A, Zone B and Zone C.”

Zhiri said Niger State wished bring such artifacts to ?the museum to preserve their history and enable the people to learn the history of different artifacts. “We keep them safe for posterity.”