By Osa Amadi, Arts Editor
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, yesterday, April 5, 2021, celebrated the annual Brazil Descendants Festival with the offspring of Nigerians, especially the Yoruba, who were carried to Brazil as slaves but returned many years ago and resettled on the Lagos Island.
The minister, in identifying with Nigeria’s century-old heritage relationship with Brazil, noted that time has come to give the initiative an economic boost through cultural tourism.
The minister said the window of relationship sustained by the thriving community of Brazilian Descendants in Lagos Island will get Federal Government necessary assistance through factoring its iconic festival into Nigeria’s cultural festival calendar.
Lai Mohammed appreciated the support and recognition of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to ongoing efforts by the Brazilian Descendants Association in preserving the history and architecture of Brazilian Nigerians in diaspora in Lagos Island.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, represented by the Director-General of National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Segun Runsewe, explained that the first generation of Nigerians who were taken by the Portuguese slave merchants, left an enduring legacy of Yoruba culture which today has become a veritable platform for the cultural and historical relationship between Nigeria and Brazil.
Speaking at the unveiling of the Afro Brazilian Cultural Centre in Brazilian Quarters, Popo Aguda, Lagos Island, on Easter Monday, the minister noted that the centre will not only preserve the historical narratives of Nigerian descendants in Brazil but will also encourage and foster deep relationship with the government and people of Brazil.
“I want to thank the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for the support and encouragement to the Brazilian Descendants Association and for preserving the architecture of Brazilian descendants’ community in Lagos Island, dating centuries-old,” Lai said.
The wife of Lagos State Governor, Dr (Mrs.) Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, who cut the tape to open the Afro Brazilian Descendants Center, praised the efforts of the association said the carnival festival celebration in Lagos and Nigeria generally, was made manifest by the Brazilian Descendants community in Lagos Island.
Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu commended the cultural presence of Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, and his representative in the person of Otunba Segun Runsewe whom she recognized as the pivot of Nigeria’s cultural diplomacy.
Honourable Lawal Pedro, Chairman of Brazil Descendants Association and former Solicitor General of Lagos State, explained that a museum of Brazilian descendants’ community will be opened soon at the Lagos State University as a way of encouraging studies and research in Lagos descendants in Brazil.
Honourable Lawal Pedro also said that the Popo Aguda Lagos Island Center of the Brazilian Descendants Association is geared towards bringing close to the community, easy access to all that needs to be known about historical narratives of Nigerian descendants in Brazil.
The event was witnessed by Brazil Consul General in Nigeria, Mr Francisco Luz and other diplomats. A mini carnival festival was also on showcase with COVID-19 protocols fully observed