Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Saturday flagged off the first ever Lagos Sea Food Festival, describing it as an opportunity to showcase the enormous entrepreneurship, hardwork and resourcefulness of the people who live in the coastal areas.
The Governor who spoke at the Eko Atlantic City Beachfront in Victoria Island venue of the event which had in attendance participants in the Kuramo Conference 2012 and other notables including the First Lady, Dame Emmanuella Abimbola Fashola, traditional rulers and exhibitors said the seafood festival would be an opportunity to promote what is indigenous.
He wondered why residents of Lagos despite their closeness to the coastline and prevalence of fresh fish and seafood still prefer to eat frozen foods, stressing that Lagosians should promote what is their own.
“This Food festival will showcase the enormous opportunities and unlock the treasure box of 180 kilometres of Atlantic water, our lagoons and creeks which nature has invested in Lagos but which we are yet to optimize”, he added.
The Governor said in coastal areas like Ibeju Lekki, Epe, Eti Osa and Badagry, there are people who for generations have depended on the natural resources that water provides for Lagos to make a living, adding that the festival is aimed at showcasing them.
Governor Fashola said the timing of the Sea food festival to coincide with the ongoing Kuramo Conference Lagos 2012 is not an accident but one which was debated and decided upon by the members of the State Executive Council to showcase the rural areas in the State.
He explained that it was no accident that during his address at the opening ceremony of the Kuramo Conference 2012, he spoke about how Africa must unlock the opportunities which currently are not available to children of Cote D’ivoire thus leading to a situation where the country produces cocoa but her children do not know what chocolates tastes like.
The Governor noted that the Lagos Sea Food Festival is being linked with Kuramo because the present administration believes that the exportation of local Nigerian and African cuisines would be one of the milestones that would be recorded and exported to the world in a short while.
Governor Fashola expressed happiness that the festival has also provided opportunities to creative young people who have various items such as local ovens which could be used to smoke the sea foods and exhibited at the festival.
He added that the present administration in Lagos State is very passionate about the exposure of the potentials of the business in seafoods, adding that what is happening at the festival should be what happens on the various beachfronts.
The Governor said for a country like Nigeria, the promotion and encouragement of sea foods business and its economy should be what life away from oil should be.
Earlier, The State Commissioner for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Prince Gbolahan Lawal in an address of welcome said the Lagos Seafood Festival is aimed at showcasing what the local population have and can do.
He added that it would also be an opportunity for the various participants, exhibitors and visitors to the festival to network and expand the frontiers of their businesses.
The Festival was attended by participants at the Kuramo Conference Lagos 2012, traditional rulers, fish entrepreneurs and members of the State Executive Council. It featured exhibitions from various providers of delicacies made from sea foods.