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Nigeria welcomes back ancient artifacts

July 27, 2012

American authorities seized a number of ancient carvings at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport earlier this week, and now these statue pieces will make the long journey home to Nigeria. According to The Associated Press, more than two years ago, French authorities informed the U.S. that the statues had been spotted heading to the U.S.. It took a while for the package to arrive, but when it did American officials were waiting.

The terracotta statues are estimated to be between 2,000 and 2,500 years old, from the Nok culture, and each figure has distinct facial characteristics, LiveScience reports. There are a number of Nigerian laws in place to control the export of Nok artifacts, but that has not stopped people from smuggling many pieces over the border.

"Many of them are at museums all over the world, some were taken out legally," said Nigeria's Consul General Habib Baba Habu. "From what we know, the items were stolen from the national museum in Nigeria."

Those who want to find out more about the smuggled artifacts' journey home can make calls to Nigeria with phone cards to discuss the story with their friends.

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