BADAGRY SLAVE TRADE
My Walk Through Life:
Badagry is a small coastal town located between Lagos and Seme Border, Benin Republic. The town has a personality of its own. Its proximity to Lagos has always made it more significant than some small towns in Nigeria. Although, Lagos has a hassled and rugged atmosphere, Badagry has a quiet vibe with laid-back locals. The town seems to have a blustery relationship with modernity; however, anything unattractive was counterbalanced by far more irrepressible beauty surrounding it.
On August 26, 2019, Big Time Africa went on a tour. I was eager to not only explore the town but to learn more about its history. It was an educative and inspiring tour; it left me with anticipation for my next adventure.
Badagry serves up the most relating blend of incredible art, momentous history and amazing town lifestyle. It was incredible and I was lucky to have, Mr Femi, as my guide tour, it was like having my favourite history teacher on board. He so distilled history into such an entertaining storyline – full of unforgettable hilarity and anecdotes. They were so friendly, well-informed and accommodating.
The Badagry tour began with a visit to the Mobee family. I learnt about the slave trade history which took place in Badagry around 19th century. It was amazing to see comprehensive collection of slave trade history and relics. I marvelled at the untamed energy of the slaves and some of them were able to survive all they went through. There are jaw-dropping images that describe what really happened during the slave trade era.
I was showed the first storey building in Nigeria and the building were Lord Lugard lived during his stay in Nigeria.
We continued our tour by visiting the Chief Seriki Williams Abass Slave Museum, Brazilian Slave Barracoon and Mobee Family Museum where we learnt more about the history of Badagry Slave Trade. The Brazilian Slave Barracoon is located opposite the Slave Port and within the Seriki Abass Court. The Slave Barracoon used to be a prison where slaves were kept before they were sold and then taken to the slave ships and shipped from Badagry. There were two tiny Slave Barracoon rooms, one of the room was for males and the other one for females; what baffles me the most was that, 40 males stayed in one room and 40 females stayed in the other room, whether pregnant or not. The museum features relics and antiques gained from slave trading with the European slave dealers, such as Umbrella, Ceramic plates, Jugs, Kettle, Gin etc. It was an inspiring experience for me and the local guide made the history come vividly to life.
I was told that Chief Seriki Williams Abass was married to 128 wives and bore 148 children. I was also showed the clothes Chief Seriki Williams Abass wore.
The most interesting part of the tour was our walk through the Slave Route; we had to board a boat at the Slave Port and cross the lagoon to walk through the slave route to the Sea where the large ships were docked. The Slave Port used to be where the slaves were loaded into boats for shipment to Europe or America via the Atlantic Ocean. We boarded a boat to cross the Lagoon and started walking along the route the slaves walked through in times of yore.
At the beginning of the route, we saw a sign post that says “This is the route of the journey to an unknown destination”, at this stage, I was so almost tearful, I wondered what would have happened or run through the minds of those slaves whenever they got to that place. Along the way, we saw the Attenuation Well, we were told that the water from the well may have been ‘jazzed’ with charms to make the slaves forget whatever they have gone through or whatever life they have lived in the town or make them forget who they are. We walked about 5 km before we got to the seashore.
When we got to the seashore, there was another sign post that says “Point of no return”, it was so depressing but I’m glad we returned. The sea was calm and serene. I breathed in the chilly sea air and gaped at the stunning coastline and wondered why most Nigerians have not discovered this hidden gem. Even though, I wasn’t really happy with the history behind the sea, I was at the same time calculating the beauty of the place and how many resorts and developments could actually be put together to improve Badagry tourism and partially erase the painfulness of its history, if not completely. (After all, I’m a Nigerian and we love the way forward!)
From there we visited an historic place, where Christianity was first preached in Nigeria. There used to be an Agia Tree and Christianity was first preached under the tree by Rev. Birch Freeman of Methodist Church. Discreetly, everyone said a silent word of prayer here because we were told that prayers said here always get answered.
We visited the slave market after that.
Badagry is a city of secrets but its charm is far more than its natural beauty. I looked beyond the painful stories and allowed myself to appreciate the natural beauty the town offers. Lush green plants and trees surrounding us in every direction, it was a sight to behold.
If you are really eager to experience from Badagry appropriately, I highly recommend that you choose Big Time Africa. It really is value for money, and truly the best way to experience Badagry in a unique way.
You will walk through life with Big Time Africa assure you.