Jan. 30, 2017 (GIN) – A living monument to Nigeria’s slave trade past was destroyed this month by developers of Lagos Island – the site of a wave of new luxury homes built in recent years.
The nearly two centuries old “Olaiya House” had been declared a national monument in 1956.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, as he inspected the site of the demolished building at Nos. 6 and 2, Alli and Bamgbose streets, warned that the perpetrators would be dealt with decisively. The Federal Government and the developers have since instituted cases in court over the property, it was reported.
The minister was accompanied on the inspection by the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, and Director General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Yusuf Abdallah, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.
According to the minister, the structure was built by one of the returned slaves who came back from Brazil.
“This building in particular was unique because it chronicled the historical, cultural and social relationship between us and Brazil,” he said.
“It is like a living monument of our slave trade past. It was a monument that exhibited the Brazilian architecture at that time which is rare to come by anywhere in the world.”
Nigeria’s government will not tolerate the destruction of national monuments, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, warned.
“Because they wanted to develop this place, they have broken so many laws,” said Mohammed. “Fortunately, this is a country of laws and we are ready to meet them in court.”
“No amount of skyscrapers can replace this history and all important monument that has been demolished, and I want to assure you that nobody can profit from his crime.
“I want to assure Nigerians that we are going to pursue whoever has destroyed this place. It may take time, but the hand of the law is long and the wheel of justice grinds slowly but surely.”