The Lagos State government said on Wednesday that it pulled down the Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s statue at Allen Roundabout for the improvement of road infrastructure and to ease traffic gridlock in the state.
Gboyega Akosile, the Chief Press Secretary to Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Lagos State governor told PREMIUM TIMES that the roundabout had been identified as the cause of traffic gridlock in the area and there is need to reduce the roundabout and ultimately remove the statue.
“We are the ones that erected it as the Lagos State government, the only constant thing in life is change and the state government has decided to change it,” he said.
The statue was unveiled on October 15, 2017, by the immediate past governor of the state, Akinwunmi Ambode, to honour the late Afrobeat legend and freedom fighter.
The Liberation Statue, as it was named, was erected to mark the 79th posthumous birthday and the 20th anniversary of Fela’s demise, according to Mr Ambode, adding that he would forever be accorded his position in the global hall of fame of artistes.
While stating the reason for the removal of the statue on Wednesday, Mr Akosile said it would aid the expansion of the road and ease traffic gridlock.
“For the improvement of traffic situation, we realised there is a need to do junction improvement and about five junctions were identified.”
“The five junctions and roundabouts in Iyana-Ejigbo, Lekki-Epe Expressway, Allen Avenue, and Maryland will be reduced to pave way for road expansion and free flow of traffic,” Mr Akosile said.
“While Maryland and Allen roundabouts have artworks at the Centre, the statues and sculptures will be removed because of the road engineering work that needs to be done.”
Mr Akosile said the artworks and statues are being removed and relocated to a more appropriate place where they would not cause problems.
The official added that about 60 traffic gridlock points have been identified in the state and the government is working on them to bring relief to the populace.