By Raji Rasak
Badagry (Lagos State), Sept. 20, 2020 A tourism expert, Mr Babatunde Ajose, on Sunday urged the Lagos State Government to declare the historical monuments of the ancient town of Badagry protected structures.
Ajose made the appeal at the Tourism Stakeholders’ Meeting organised by the Badagry Media Group in Badagry.
The meeting was tagged: “On the Proposed Delisting of Heritage Sites and Attractions by Lagos State House of Assembly’’.
The expert said that this would protect the historical monuments from destruction or delisting by any agent in the state.
According to Ajose, the recent call on the state house of assembly by a lawmaker for the removal of all historical monuments in Lagos State had put fear in the minds of the residents of the town.
“When the issue of delisting of historical monuments in Lagos was mentioned by a lawmaker during a sitting of the Lagos assembly, residents of Badagry started running from pillar to post.
“The local media in the town were writing different stories on the social media, people started castigating the people in the assembly.
“Even when the LASEMA was coming with their vehicles to access the extent of damage done by rainstorms in some communities in the area, they started crying, “they have come to destroy our sites’’.
“What I expect from them in Badagry is organise themselves on how to meet the people in authority and explain things to them on the implications.
“The stakeholders should find a way of meeting the lawmaker in question and educating him more on what we have in Badagry.
“We will tell him that all these monuments are still in existence in the U.S., where the protest started from.
“What they are only pulling down is the monuments of slave dealers; all slavery museums in America are still there,” he said.
Ajose urged the stakeholders in Badagry to engage the council Chairman, Mr Olusegun Onilude, on the potential of tourism in the town.
“We need to meet the chairman of the council on the need to make bylaws that will protect the monuments from external attacked.
“Then, move to engage the lawmakers at the state level on the need to protect the structures,” he said.
Pastor Sunday Humyinbo, the Coordinator, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Badagry Chapter, urged the organisers of the meeting to work in unity to achieve it aim.
According to Hunyimbo, always speak with one voice in whatever you are doing.
He said no historical monuments from Badagry should be removed or destroyed by the state government, adding they serve as tools for revenue generation for some people.
Also speaking, Pastor Senahu Mofinleun, the Convener, Badagry Christian Heritage Festival, said that the town was waking up from its slumber, urging the organisers to be transparent in whatever they were doing.
He said that they are ready to mobilise people to support the cause so that the historical monuments of the land would be protected.
Mr Kehinde Avoseh, a representative of Zangheto from Ajido community, commended the media group for their efforts in organising the meeting.
According to him, we need one voice to be the bringer of good omen to Badagry heritage.
Mr Sewede Akande, the Founder, Citymood Communications, said the meeting was to brainstorm on the issue of delisting of historical monuments in Lagos.
He said that the stakeholders meeting would come up with ways to engage the Lagos State Government on best ways to tackle the issue.
Akande commended the critical stakeholders that attended the meeting, adding that they would meet again to present their take on the proposed delisting of historical monuments in the state.
Naija247news reports that on July 1, the Lagos State House of Assembly urged Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to direct the Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, as well as that of Justice to look at sites and monuments in the state, to remove all vestiges of slave trade and colonial superiority.
Naija247news also reports that many local group and associations in Badagry, however, disagreed with the move.