The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, today commissioned the refurbished ancient Slave Market Museum ‘Vlekete’ in Badagry.
Speaking at the commissioning, the Governor said the Museum project was executed by his administration to promote tourism in the State, just as it was well thought out to actualise the objectives of the Entertainment and Tourism pillar of the T.H.E.M.E.S. Agenda.
Sanwo-Olu, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Sherifat Folashade Jaji, gave an insight into the relics and artifacts in the newly commissioned Museum, explaining that it houses galleries as well as detailed information relating to slavery and slave trade.
In his words: “The Museum also houses a replica of the Slave Punishment Centre showing the manner of treatment and inhuman punishment that those captured and tagged as slaves were subjected to as a result of their disobedience against their owners and the slave masters. There is also the replica of slave tunnel where slaves were temporarily kept after capture before being shipped to their masters or owners”.
Earlier in her opening remarks, the Honourable Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Pharm. (Mrs.) Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf, expressed confidence that refurbishment of the slave market museum will better position Badagry as a major destination for tourism, relaxation and history education.
She appealed to the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Nigerian National Commission for UNESCO (NATCOM) and National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) to support the Slave Market Museum through Registration, Publicity and Worldwide recognition to boost the tourism sector in Lagos State.
Akinbile-Yussuf also implored the Chiefs and Leaders of the Badagry communities to jealously guard the monuments, artifacts and historical pieces, as well as the museum, to ensure the infrastructures are preserved while they continue to draw attention to Badagry.
Also speaking at the commissioning, the Director of the UNESCO Regional Office for West-Sahel Africa, who was represented by the Culture Programme Specialist UNESCO Regional Office in Abuja, Mr. Delanghe Philippe, said the organisation believed that ignorance or concealment of major historical events was an obstacle to mutual understanding, reconciliation and cooperation between people.
He noted that Museums play critical roles in the socio-economic development of member States ranging from sites of education to tourist destinations with the potential to generate revenue, just as he commended Governor Sanwo-Olu for the laudable project of establishing ‘Vlekete’ the Slave Market Museum.
In his contribution, the Director-General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), Prof. Abba Isa Tijani, stated the key functions of the Commission are to collect, document, conserve and preserve as well as manage heritage resources.
He explained that the organisation’s functions also include the presentation of the monuments and museums to the public for purposes of Education, Enlightenment and Entertainment.
On his part, the Secretary-General, Nigerian National Commission for UNESCO, Olagunju Idowu, congratulated the Lagos State Government for keeping history alive and assured the State of continued collaboration.
Idowu said the rehabilitation of the Museum would go a long way in linking history to the present in order to establish a better future for Nigerians.
The top government officials present at the event include the Honourable Chairman, House Committee on Tourism, Mr. Fatai Oluwa; the Special Adviser to the Governor on Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Olufemi Martins and the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Oyinade Nathan-Marsh, amongst others