The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Sunday, inspected the site of the demolished 190-year old building at Nos. 6 and 2, Alli and Bamgbose streets, CMS, Lagos Island popularly called “Olaiya House” which was declared a national monument in 1956.
According to the reports, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, and Director General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Yusuf Abdallah were also present at the scene.
The minister who expressed his displeasure with the demolition, said the building, 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.
“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.
“As far back as 1956, the Federal Government acquired this property as a national monument and it was gazetted.
“The idea was that the building was so unique and the government would not want the family to change or rebuild it because it is history itself.”
He said there was an arrangement with the family on how to maintain the place, and debunked claims that the structure was weak.
The minister noted that there is no reason, except greed, why the building should be demolished by any developer.
“We cannot equate money with our past, history and legacy because a people without history will perish very fast.
“It is worth billions of dollars because it symbolised our past.
“We have the responsibility to preserve our past and culture so that our children unborn will come here and see what they are like.
“I want to assure that we are going to pursue whoever had destroyed this place.
The minister added that, the government would take over the defence of the civil suit filed by the developer.
Written by Okolo Ezinne