OREANDA-NEWS   Germany and Nigeria signed a deal on Thursday to transfer ownership of the Benin Bronzes - valuable metal and ivory sculptures that were taken from Africa during the colonial era – to the African nation.The Foundation of Prussian Cultural Heritage (SPK) and Nigeria's National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) agreed that Germany will return 512 works in total.The cultural artifacts ended up in Berlin after 1897, when the British Empire conquered Benin - a West African kingdom located in the territory of the modern-day Edo state of southern Nigeria. The artifacts were looted and purchased by European museums after being sold by European and African businessmen and dealers.The first batch of the priceless statues is expected to be returned to Africa this year.