The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has formally released the transfer documents of the Presidential Marina Lodge to the Lagos State Government, four months after the keys were released to the state.
Mr. Fashola, at the handover ceremony on Tuesday in Abuja said the release of the property to the state was in fulfilment of the promise made by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said that the journey to handover had taken over two decades in spite of the request by the Lagos State Government.
The minister said that the state government had taken possession of the property under the present federal government administration.
“We are here to formally sign and exchange documents that will make the state government rights to the property unimpeachable.
“I congratulate the government and people of Lagos State on this asset and hope that it will have many beneficial purposes to the state,” he said.
He said that the release of the property was in line with the president’s promise to respond to things that were left undone by previous administrations.
On August 17 this year, the federal government took the first step in transferring the property to Lagos, when Jalal Arabi, the Permanent Secretary, State House, Abuja, handed over the keys to Tunji Bello, secretary to the Lagos State Government.
Mr. Arabi urged the state to judiciously use the edifice, maintain it and protect its structural and historic integrity.
President Muhammadu Buhari had in 2016 approved the handing over of the State House to Lagos.
Governor Ambode had made a formal request to the presidency to have the presidential lodge released to Lagos to enable the state transform the Marina-Onikan axis into a world-class arts and tourism hub.
The edifice built before independence in 1960 had housed several Presidents and Military Heads of State, before the relocation of the nation’s capital to Abuja.
Mr. Ambode at the signing of papers in Abuja commended the Federal Government for releasing the property, adding that it would bring positive change to the state.
“We believe strongly that this singular gesture is part of what will improve the economy of Lagos.
“Our intention is to turn that particular asset into a national monument where we can christen a national heritage centre for leadership.
“The idea is to use it as a tourist centre to attract Nigerians and foreigners and by extension, improve the economy of Lagos State,” he said.