28.2 C
Friday, June 9, 2023

Legacy flays demolition of 161-year-old Lagos monument

Lagos-based historical and environmental interest group, Legacy, has kicked against the demolition a week ago of Olaiya House (or “Ilojo Bar”), which was in 1956 declared a national monument by the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM).

The Casa do Fernandez before demolition. The building was in 1956 declared a national monument
The Casa do Fernandez before demolition. The building was in 1956 declared a national monument

Located on 6, Alli and 2 Bamgbose Streets, CMS on the Lagos Island, the structure, which overlooked the Tinubu Square, was built as a bar and restaurant in 1855.

It was initially named Casa do Fernandez before being renamed Ilojo Bar. The building was referred to as Olaiya House after it was sold to the Olaiya patriarch, Alfred Omolana Olaiya in 1933.

But the 161-year-old monument came tumbling down on Sunday, 10th Spetember 2016, a move believed to have been influenced by the property’s change of ownership.

Legacy, however, is enraged over the development, insisting that the developers have broken the law and thus should be brought to book.

In a petition posted on its website and signed by its head, Desmond Majekodunmi, Legacy stated: “This is a petition against people who have literally taken laws into their own hands. This is a fight for the sovereignty of the laws that form the basis of this country called Nigeria.

The Casa do Fernandez after demolition
The Casa do Fernandez after demolition

“Sunday, 10th September 2016 marks a dirty taint on the history of Lagos and Nigeria as a whole. It was the day ‘developers’, acting in total disregard for the constitution, tore down a 161-year old beauty that carried immeasurable value for the life and soul of a people. The building was the epitome of the Lagos Brazilian Style of architecture brought in by returnee slaves.

“Ilọjọ Bar (Casa do Fernandez) was declared a national monument in 1956 by the National Commission for Museums and Monuments and is protected by National Commission for Museums and Monuments Act. The National Commission for Museums and Monuments has it boldly listed (No. 44) on their Monuments and Sites page – http://ncmm.gov.ng/?page_id=442. So, what happened?”

Legacy the made the following demands:

  • The perpetrators of this dastardly act must be brought to book. We will not rest until they face the full wrath of the law.
  • Legacy has the full measured drawings of the original building to enable it to be reconstructed exactly as it was. And this is exactly what should be done.

Legacy is inviting visitors to the site to electronically sign the petition which, according to Majekodunmi, will be sent to the NCMM.

Besides identifying and singling out historical buildings, monuments and areas of the built environment for their contribution to the evolution, history and culture of Nigeria, Legacy also aims at preserving, restoring and reconstructing such monuments to ensure their continued enjoyment for the public.

A former occupant, Olasupo Awobuyide, who claimed to have operated a lottery shop in the building, said the residents were not notified on the demolition day.

Awobuyide, whose grandmother was a member of the Olaiya clan, disclosed that the property has been in dispute for some time.

He said: “They did not call our attention to the fact that the house had been leased to developers. The developers just came one day and said they wanted to demolish, promising to settle those who live there. That was since April, we did not agree. We don’t like the way they drove away those people occupying the building.”

He noted that his father, Eric Awobuyide, an elder in the family, was not informed that the demolition would be carried out on Sunday, lamenting the destruction of his property, which he claimed was worth over N150,000.


  1. The very person who ordered the demolition of a building listed in the National Commission of Museums and Monuments must be held responsible for his/her criminal act. There must not be any cover-up for such unpatriotic individual. If no action is taken against him/her, a precedent would have been set for others to follow. It may not be in Lagos again but in Badagry where there are other relics of history. For example, the first Storey Building built by the foremost missionary Bishop Ajayi Crowder of blessed memory, can be demolished in the same manner the historic Iloja House was knocked down at the dead of the night. There wont be an end to the lawlessness.

  2. I want to show my appreciation to Lagos state government and legacy group for their pro-active steps in ensuring that illegal actions by the so-called developers are nipped in the bud. Several of the listed buildings and monuments have been previously demolished. The Ilojo bar was demolished during the holidays. I will advice the Lagos state government to notify all and sundry by sign- posting all listed buildings and monuments so that they are aware they are no- go areas for them.

Comments are closed.

Latest news

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you

%d bloggers like this: