London, Feb 20 (ANI): Pop singer Michael Jackson's brother, Marlon, is working on a controversial project that will see a former slave port turned into a memorial for Africa's former slave trade.The Badagry Historical Resort, located near Badagry's former slave port, will include a luxury resort that will house a Jackson Five museum, five-star hotel, and a life-size replica of a slave ship.
It is to be built in Nigeria, and American developers have announced that it will be part of a 3.4 billion dollars luxury resort that will include concert halls, golf courses, and casinos.
"The Jackson family had been looking for a place to site their memorabilia collection," the Guardian quoted Gary Loster, chief executive of the Motherland Group, as telling the BBC.
"We visited the site of the slave port in Badagry and Marlon turned to me and said: 'Let's put it here, this is right'," he said.
The development will cater to the country's growing tourism industry, particularly African-American tourists who wish to trace their Nigerian roots.
Besides promising to attract 1.4 million visitors in the first year, the Motherland Group has also pledged to "enhance the quality of life for millions of people across Nigeria", by creating more than 150,000 jobs by the end of their fifth year.
"It's such an emotional place, and I think we all felt that it was the right place to have the Jackson family memorial," Loster said.
But their plan to create a historical monument has not been met with favour from all.
"It is not appropriate from a cultural or historical point of view," Nigerian historian Toyin Falola said.
"Moneymaking and historical memory are allies in the extension of capitalism. You cry with one eye and wipe it off with a cold beer, leaving the other eye open for gambling," he stated.
But Loster, Jackson, and the other developers have dismissed these criticisms.
"We know the problems facing us. We have visited Nigeria several times," Loster added. (ANI)