Lagos Assembly Calls For Renaming Of Sites, Monuments Named After Colonial Masters

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The Lagos State House of Assembly has called on Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to direct the Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture to liase with the Attorney-General/Commissioner for Justice to look at the listed sites (Prevention) Law, 2015 with a view to removing all vestiges of slave trade and colonialism superiority.

This Motion was moved by the Deputy Majority Leader, Hon. Noheem Adams representing Eti-Osa constituency 01 at the planery on Tuesday 30th June, 2020.

In the Motion, the lawmaker recalled the gruesome killing of George Floyd, who was killed on Monday 25th May, 2020 at Minneapolis, Minnesota United States of America by a white man named Derek Chauvin.

“The Assembly further noted that this brutal and callous murder of Floyd triggered worldwide condemnations, demonstration, and protest against the continues police violence and racism of blacks in US and Europe without provocation.

“The House is aware that these protests further drew attention to the reality of systematic racism, oppression and domination of blacks by whites in spite of abolition of vexatious slave trade and related activities since the 18th century.

“This House is further aware that the demonstration brought about the pulling down of status of Edward Colston notable slave trade into a river in Bristol, London, while the British authorities removed from her museum status of another prominent slave master and promised a review of history pertaining to slave trade monement and sites,” he said.

In his comment, the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa stated that the intendment of the Motion was not about history, and that history could not be changed.

Obasa added that statues are not our history, and that Africans should give backing to the blacks that are fighting for the rights of blacks.

He added that the kind of treatments meted to George Floyd must be stopped and that we should support those who protest against such an act.

“South Africa got independence much later after the rest African countries and they are not talking about black lives matter campaign.

“We must protect the interest of our people all over the world. So many statues in London and other places are being brought down. We should change the names of some of these buildings. We cannot bring down the buildings because they were once used by colonial masters.

“We can change the names of some of these buildings and streets. Some of the names remind us of these people that enslaved our people. What do the names say to your minds.

“We need to change the names, but it does not affect our history. We should look at the history,” he said.

The Speaker further asked why the discovery of River Niger was being ascribed to foreigners, adding that the name Nigeria was said to have been given by the colonial masters.

“It is what you believe that says who and what you are. It is about what you believe and what you can do on your own.

“You need to exhibit your own beliefs and culture. Most times, we speak like foreigners and some of our children cannot speak our mother tongues.

“We are saying that our own language is inferior to their own language. We should let our children know that we are superior.

“The motion is about us, about Africans. We have to tell the world about our own civilization. The resolve is not broad enough. It is not about Lagos State alone. We have to tell African Union about reparation started by the late Chief M.K.O Abiola.

“The President can issue an Executive Order that all over Nigeria we should change the names of streets named after beneficiaries of slave trade.

“Those who dehumanized Africans should not be celebrated. Our people who were used negatively by the colonial masters should apologise to our people,” he said.

In his submission, Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu representing Eti-Osa constituency 02, who supported the motion said that history that makes the black to feel superior should be changed.

“This is a right step in a right direction and we need to change our phyche and history that will not make to feel as human being. We need to change the narrative that connotes superiority in our history. I want my colleagues to support the motion,” he said.

However, Hon Setonji David (Badagry 2) said, “I want to support the motion to some extent but we need to check ourselves especially the black man. We need to look at the way we treat ourselves. Do we really value ourselves? Why do we have to scratch the surface?”

He therefore stated that there was no need to remove the vestiges, “We should fight for a better government to value of people. Removal of vestiges does not address the main issue.”

Also toeing the same thought, Hon Bisi Yusuff (Alimosho 1) said, “What we are witnessing today is because of lack of justice. When there is no justice, there can’t be peace. I have not seen anything changing the monuments but what we have in our brains.

“Neo-colonialism is worse than colonialism, we should wage war agasint our own minds. History is ther, we can’t erase it,” he submitted.

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