By Benjamin Omoike
Lagos State Government has described as false, the news making the rounds in some quarters of the social media, claiming that it has destroyed the statues of Nigerian music legend and social crusader, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and the late politician, Chief Obafemi Awolowo – both erected at the roundabout on Allen Avenue in Ikeja.
Speaking to journalists on Thursday, the State’s Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, who debunked the social media story said contrary to the malicious claims being spread by ill informed individuals, the statues were removed for the purpose of development.
Oladeinde said the need to carry out Junction improvements in some identified locations necessitated the removal of street furniture, statues of very notable personalities, art works and billboards.
The Commissioner noted that Lagos State Government holds the nation’s heroes in very high esteem and would not do anything to bring down the exalted heights they have attained during their lifetime directly or indirectly.
He said: “the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration, in a bid to finding a lasting solution to traffic gridlocks in the State, identified about 60 congestion points and have started work to improve traffic experience in five major locations.
Oladeinde said the government duly informed and consulted the Fela Anikulapo-Kuti family before the action was taken, noting that the whole process is for the benefit of Lagos residents.
The Commissioner said the Fela statue will be relocated to the roundabout between Allen Avenue and Opebi-Toyin Street.
“We are in the process of erecting the beautiful work of art, depicting Fela Anikulapo-Kuti at the Opebi-Toyin street junction. The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture is also working on a befitting location to erect the old Obafemi Awolowo statue,” he said.