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Lagos Assembly debates on renaming colonial masters’ buildings, monuments, others 

By Idowu Abdullahi

Worried by continued violence and systemic racism against blacks globally, the Lagos State House of Assembly has begun plans to ensure buildings, streets, monuments among others named after colonial masters across the state are renamed.

This is coming as they lawmakers unanimously called on the state’s Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to direct the Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture to liaise 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.

Debating on renaming of all the vestiges after a motion was moved by the Deputy Majority Leader, Hon. Noheem Adams representing Eti-Osa constituency 01 at the plenary session on Tuesday, the lawmakers argued that it is pertinent that black nations rise and collaborate in uprooting the systemic racism and rewrite its history.

While moving his motion, Adams recalled the gruesome killing of George Floyd, an American who was killed on Monday 25th May, 2020 at Minneapolis, Minnesota United States of America by a white policeman named Derek Chauvin.

He added that since the murder triggered worldwide condemnations, demonstrations, and protests against continued police violence and racism of blacks in the US and Europe without provocation, Africa must act in unison to support fellow blacks globally.

“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, a notable slave trader 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 monument and sites,” he said.

In his comment, the Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa stated that the intendment of the Motion was not about history and that history could not be changed, adding that Africans all over the world should give backing to blacks fighting for the rights of blacks.

He, however, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to issue an Executive Order mandating all tiers of governments change the names of streets named after beneficiaries of the slave trade across the country

According to him, those who dehumanized Africans should not be celebrated and that Africans, particularly Nigerians who collaborated with the colonial masters should be made to apologize.

“South Africa got her independence much later than the rest African countries and they are not talking about ‘Black Lives Matters’ 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. We need to change the names, but it does not affect our history. We should look at history.

“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 the African Union about reparation which was started by the late Chief M.K.O Abiola,”

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