The Baale of Topo Island, Badagry, Lagos State, Chief Oluwadami Avose, has called on the Lagos State Government to utilise coconut plantation in the area for tourism.
The Topo-Badagry monarch made the call during the Marathon Walk by youths to commemorate the 2018 Coconut Heritage Festival, tagged: “AGUNKEFEST.”
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the marathon walk took off from Badagry Roundabout to Topo Island ahead of the 7th Coconut Heritage Day holding at Badagry Suntan Beach on Sunday.
The theme of the festival is: “Harnessing Coconut Production for Economic Empowerment and Tourism Development in Lagos State.”
According to the monarch, coconut tree was first planted in Topo Island by the Roman Catholic Missionaries in 1845.
Avose said: “This is where we have the first teachers training college in Nigeria, where great teachers passed through.
“Roman Catholics all over Lagos come to this island every November 2 to pray every year.
“There are many historical sites here that government should utilise and add value to this island.”
Avose urged Nigerians to always drink coconut water because of its health benefit.
The Coordinator of the marathon walk, Oke-Tojinu Setonji, said the exercise was to make the residents fit for the festival.
Setonji said: “The walk is to remember the way our forefathers used to walk to their farms in those days.
“So, the memory is alive as we walked from Badagry to Topo Island where the coconut was first planted in 1845.
“Coconut is now our cash crop, we do not want to forget our culture of coconut farming.
“By coming together today, we are bringing culture into entertainment.”
In his remark, Doheto Mesi, President, African Coconut Heritage Initiative, said the festival was aimed at creating awareness on the invaluable economic and health benefit that coconut offers.
Mesi said that this year’s festival was organised by Lagos StateState Council for Art and Culture in collaboration with African Coconut Heritage Initiative.