An African-American, David Anderson, who is the founder and president of the Bridge Leader Network (BLN), a diversity consulting firm, is set to build a multimillion dollar Diasporan Royal Palace and Resort in Badagry, the ancient Lagos Town and centre of the Transatlantic slave trade.
The gigantic project estimated to cost between $30m to $50m would be sited at Gberefu, a community known as the ‘Point of No Return’, where the European slave merchants took their captors to board ship to unknown destinations.
Anderson who is also the Jogbe (Returner) of Badagry disclosed this at the Third Diaspora Festival and Door of Return Ceremony taking place in Badagry between 14th and 19th.
He said the Royal palace would serve as unification and attraction to all the people in Diaspora with African descent.
Daily Trust reports that the festival organized by the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) had in attendance no fewer than 15 African-Americans as well as Jamaicans who had come to have a sense of their roots and heritage.
Seven of them were re-christened with different names by the Akran of Badagry, De Whenu Ahole Menu.
The visitors included Pastor Angel Cartagena; David Dimas, Bishop Marcus Johnson, Marian Edmonds Allen, Janise Fonseca, Cecily Cooper, Linda Lindquist, Dr. George Miller, Mike Perez and Chief Melvin Russell who is Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police in The Baltimore Police Department.
The participants with the help of tour guides re-enacted the slave trade experience taking a long walk through the routes taken by the captured slaves to join a waiting ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Chairman/CEO of NIDCOM, Abike Dabiri-Erewa who became emotional at the Point of No Return decried the inhuman treatment meted out to the forefathers of Nigeria and other African countries.
Dabiri-Erewa said it was a challenge for Africa to strive for greatness to compensate for the agony, torture and inhumanity experienced by the ancestors of Africa who were victims of the dark days of slave trade.
She said the Federal Government would partner with relevant stakeholders especially the people in the Diaspora to grow and strengthen the festival to attract more people in Diaspora to come home and develop the land.
Anderson who had already been allocated with land to build the Diasporan Palace said no fewer than two Multinational Hotel Firms had indicated interest in supporting the Palace and Resort.
He explained that the Resort would turn the hitherto ‘Point of No Return’ to a Point of Unification of people in the Diaspora with African descent.
Earlier, the Akran of Badagry urged the people in the Diaspora to tap on the vast opportunities in the land to invest and contribute to the socioeconomic development of Badagry in particular and Nigeria at large.
Permanent Secretary, Lagos Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Babatunde Olaide-Mesewaku said the state government had marshalled out plans to turn around Badagry as a foremost tourist destination not only in the state but the country at large.
In a chat with our correspondent, Secretary of Gberefu Community, Samson Hungbe said the absence of infrastructure and long neglect of the community had reduced the visibility of the community as a foremost tourist destination.