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Lagos to open ‘Door of Return’ to Africans during Diaspora Festival in Badagry

The ‘Door-of-No-Return’ made popular during the transatlantic slave trade in Africa will become the ‘Door- of-Return’ during the Diaspora Festival slated for between Aug. 23, 2017 and Aug. 25, 2017 in Badagry.

The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on the Diaspora, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said this at Alausa, Ikeja, during the unveiling of Diaspora Festival’s logo.

She was assisted by Prof. Ademola Abbas, the Special Adviser to the Lagos State governor on Overseas Affairs and Investment (Lagos Global) during the unveiling.

The two-day event would be jointly hosted by the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on the Diaspora and the Lagos State Government.

According to her, the festival will showcase Africa to the world in good light and on a positive note.

She said that it was specifically aimed at hosting Africans in the Diaspora, with Lagos partnering the organisers for the first time.

Dabiri-Erewa said the time was right for a festival of “this magnitude because Africans in the Diaspora are clamouring to come back home now, more than before.’’

Also, Prof. Ademola Abbas, the Special Adviser to the Lagos State governor on Overseas Affairs and Investment (Lagos Global),said that the ‘door of no return’ was leading to a ‘door of return’.

He said that when Dabiri-Erewa led a delegation to the state government to ask for support regarding the project, the governor bought into it because it was in line with Lagos’ agenda of ensuring that the state becomes investment destination.

Abass said that this was in the case of the deep seaport in Badagry, and showcasing the state via the acronyms: T.H.E.S.E meaning; Tourism, Hospitality, Entertainment, Sports for Excellence) project.

The marketing partner for the event, Mr Rufai Ladipo, said the festival would be similar to FESTAC 77, but is expected to be more elaborate in terms of the tourism potential that would be on display.

He said that a lot of activities had been lined up for the festival.

“After the opening ceremony, there will be a carnival procession. There will also be a boat regatta, fishing competition, beauty pageant, international music festival, Diaspora dinner, among others,” he said.

Ladipo said that his main job was to ensure there were good financial returns regarding the project.

He said he would be reaching out to prospective investors and corporate bodies to support the festival, saying it would mark a turning point in tourism development in Lagos state.


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