An ancient Afro-Brazilian building located in Onikan area of Lagos State has been converted to a tourist hub and renamed `Loving Lagos’ by a tourism enthusiast, Lawon Adams.
A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, who visited the place, reported that the duplex was transformed to a tourist site that would showcase Lagos history such as art, craft, slavery, fashion, culture, music, and festivals.
Mr Adams told NAN that he decided to transform the edifice into a tourist hub because of his interest in tourism.
He said that he had observed there were no museums exclusively showcasing the history and culture of Lagos State.
Mr Adams also said Lagos State as a cosmopolitan city/state with diverse rich cultural practices and history across all fields of life is capable of attracting tourists from across the globe.
According to him, the tourists’ site referred to as ‘Loving Lagos’, will be opened to the public next month to promote the beauty and culture of the state.
He said that the building was constructed by a Nigerian, the late Joseph Olumilade Holloway in 1939 who had also been immortalised.
Mr Adams referred to Holloway as a skilled draughtsman whose design was highly influenced by the Brazilian/Portuguese style, imported into colonial Lagos at that time.
“Sixty per cent of Nigerian population is completely disconnected from history; this is what propelled me into doing what I am doing today.
“We need to create a repository of the history of Lagos where different things are exhibited to tell the story of the state across ages.
“This is also a platform for everyone living in Lagos to come and tell their stories; being a Lagosian is unique because everyone has a root that can be linked somewhere.
“Tracing the history of Lagos to a lot of ethnic background makes it unique and beautiful for people to indicate interest in visiting the state.
“People from different places can hold exhibitions within the premises based on their cultures and history.
”I have retained the structure of the building but renovated it, putting safety into consideration,” he said.
Mr Adams said the tourists’ hub would be loaded with a lot of contents to educate people on the history of the state.
He said the hub had 400 books but with plans to increase to 10,000 with focus on the history of Lagos, Nigeria and Africa before it becomes operational.
According to him, there will be choreographic displays of Lagos history from the 18th Century for all to see.
He identified some tricycles and unique commercial buses peculiar to the state as some of the attractions the hub would capitalise on.
“It is important to harness history before people who remember them die totally. At the end of the day, this place will be a place to really explore when it comes to Lagos history.
“Our ‘Keke Marwa’ and ‘Danfo’ buses are some of the things the Europeans want to explore. That is why I am training people on how they can convey tourists with our ‘Keke’ and ‘Danfo’ buses to tourist sites in Lagos.
“We all need to tell our stories to enliven our history and culture.
“We all have a duty to groom tourism well enough to be able to generate revenue from it because it is a good money spinner for all and a veritable tool for job creation,” he said.
NAN reports that the Onikan area accommodates tourist sites such as the Tafawa Balewa Square, National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Musical Society of Nigeria, City Mall, Onikan Stadium and the Freedom Park.