Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State says Africa deserves to be compensated by the European nations for centuries of Trans-Atlantic slavery which saw many Africans sold out as slaves.
He spoke at the weekend during the Diaspora Festival at Badagry, saying despite the challenge of slavery, the black race still stands firm.
This is just as the popular Dr Julius Garvey, son of legendary Marcus Garvey, was given a new name by the Akran of Badagry during the festival.
He is now called “Ajigo” of Badagry Kingdom which means the Child returns home.
The governor who was represented at the grand finale of the event by the Secretary to the state government, Bimbola Salu-Hundeyin, emphasised that the challenge of slavery had not dissuaded the black man from waxing stronger.
He said, “I welcome our brothers from the diaspora led by Dr. Julius Garvey. We are glad that you are back home. We welcome you to Badagry, we welcome you to Lagos. We celebrate the resilience, enterprise of the black man.
“After centuries of Trans-Atlantic slave exploitation we are happy to see African descendants who are back and described it as a new dawn of renewed hope and freedom. Your welcome is symbolic.
“In technology, creative arts, music, entertainment, the black man is recognized. We thank God that our past has not put us in the past. We have built nations, we are committed to building a better world.”
Sanwo-Olu vowed to realise the construction of Diaspora Palace in Badagry.
We are going to provide land where a diaspora palace would be built, where every son and daughter of African will have a room to themselves, bringing your wealth of experience to bear on your return home,” Sanwo-Olu added.
On her part, Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, disclosed that the festival in 2017 to celebrate the identity, culture, history, heritage and tradition of a given people in a given destination usually in the primordial homeland at a given period.
“Diaspora Festival aggregates the tangible and intangible cultural resources as expressed in the history, artifacts, monuments, places of memory, religion, topographical attraction and environmental ambiance of the homeland as an instigator for homeland nostalgia or pull factors for the diaspora temporal or permanent return.
She said some of the returnees were coming for the first time and they have indicated interest to invest in Nigeria and build Diaspora Palace in Badagry.
Dr David Anderson of the United States of America who has been to Badagry for three consecutive times and with a revered title of Jogbo of Badagry Kingdom, which means Mountain said it is always refreshing and heartwarming coming home, his motherland, Badagry.
The 20-member historic African Diaspora to the Badagry Door of Return Festival visited historical sites and monuments revealing the true perspectives of the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade.
First point of call was the Seat of the British Canon donated to King Aholu Wawu of Badagry in 1843.
At the Lagos State Heritage Museum, it was a sad recollection of horrendous pictorial presentation of the evils of slavery, showing chains used in tying slaves.
The delegation was also at the Mobee Family Museum Relics, depicting the height of man’s inhumanity to man through the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade.
At the Seriki Williams Abbas Slave Museum, relics of the Brazilian Barracoon of 1840 and Point of No Return, Gerefu-Badagry, were visible.
On Day Two of the Badagry Door of Return Festival ended with an emotional re-enactment of the boisterous African continent, blessed with rich flora and fiona, showcasing the evils of Slavery, the renaissance and renewed hope of the historic African Diaspora reconnecting with homeland.