Umm Sulaim's Thoughts

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ATTITUDE | African Slavemasters, African Slaves – Slavery In Nigeria: Series 1

ATTITUDE | African Slavemasters, African Slaves – Slavery In Nigeria Series: Slideshow



Slave-Owners Of Nigeria

Badagry: Whence Came The Slaves?

Business Of Slavery

Igbo Slave Traders

Slaves Of The North

Trauma Of Slave Trade

Who Knew Of The Brutality Of Slavery?

Slaves In Human Sacrifice

White Slavers Versus Black Culture

Cultural Check On Slave Trade

Notable Nigerian Abolitionists

Motives For Slavery

Slaves React

Culture Of Education Amidst Slavery




Appendix A: African Slaves Who Became Slave Traders

Appendix B: African Slaveholders In The US

Appendix C: African Abolitionists Across The World

Appendix D: Jewish Slavers Of Africans

Final Word



This treatise commences around the 16th century and shines a torch on the slavery of Africans by Africans in the part of the West African region that later became Nigeria.

How were slaves perceived in our cultures?

Why were slaves naked on the Trans-Atlantic Trade? Was nudity the mode for the general population and, hence, the culture of the land of origin?

Which actors, ethnicities, kingdoms, or regions were most culpable for the betrayal of Africans for cheap European goods?

It is curious that Muslims were transported as slaves to the Americas. Who facilitated such enslavement?

Slave-Owners Of Nigeria

This is a taste of the prevalence of slavery in Nigerian cultures and religions. Bear in mind that while these possessed enormous quantity of slaves, very few owned slaves for trade. Here, a slave trader is one whose income was the capture or purchase for forward resale of persons.

  • Seriki Faremi Williams Abass of Badagry, was born Faremilekun son of Fagbemi, an Egba child slave turned slave merchant whose freedom was conditioned on transacting slaves to Brazilians. He returned to Nigeria, and in collaboration with his former owner, constructed in 1840 a nine ~9 feet cubic slave holding prison cell, a baracoon.

The appalling condition in that prison included:

  1. Shackling of captives with chains, ankle cuffs, handcuffs, neck cuffs, and mouth gags;
  2. Overcrowding, such that slaves were made to stand throughout much of their 90-day imprisonment, before being transferred to slave ships;
  3. Slaves ate, emptied bowel and bladder, and slept on the same floor;
  4. Forcing slaves to drink water spiked with amnesia-inducing drugs.

Williams Abass left a hefty legacy: One named for his slavemasters, the first owner Abass the Dahomean and Williams the Brazilian master, and whose 144 children and numerous descendants bear the name of slavery subjected fellow Africans to such horrid circumstances.

Faremi Williams Abass was educated, smart and brilliant. Yet he readily bartered his freedom for the bondage of others. Where was the emotional intelligence?

  • Efunroye Tinubu of Abeokuta [1805-1887] name Efunporoye Osuntinubu Olumosa, another Egba slave trader attached to Badagry, who was thought to have 360 slaves in her service, at one point.
  • Chief Sunbu Mobee of Badagry, the traditional ruler of Boekoh, operated a slave baracoon at Marina in Badagry providing slaves to Brazilians. Among the horrors of these baracoons were the use of neck chains – and other abuse devices – on Nigerians, to form a stretch of a hundred [100] Africans, from the interior to the coast. This is a sample of the active participation of chiefs of the eight [8] quarters of Badagry in enslavement and torture of Africans. The others were:
  • Chief Akran of Jegba with Portuguese partners;
  • Chief Finhento of Whlakoh supplying to Portuguese;
  • Chief Jengen of Awhanjigoh and French merchants;
  • Chief Wawu of Ahovikoh partnered to the English;
  • Chief Bala of Badagry also with the English;
  • Chief Possu of Possukoh and the Dutch.

There were at least four baracoons operated at Possukoh, Ahovikoh, Awhajigoh and Jegba, respectively.

  • Alaafin Of Oyo
  • …Arogangan [1789-1796]…
  • Majotu [1802-1830]
  • Amodo [1830-1833]
  • Oluewu [1833-1835]

There were eight or ten strange-looking objects stuck upon stakes over the lagoon, with turkey buzzards hovering about. Curious to investigate, I found myself amongst a crowd of dead Africans, skewered like sheep in a butcher’s shop, with carrion birds pecking off pieces of flesh.

~>John Whitford, ~A slave trader, on plight of slaves at Lagos port

The leaders of Oyo Empire were in the initiation of slave trade as a critical economy in the regions that were later amalgamated as Nigeria. Incessant wars with neighbouring states sustained the flow of captured persons to the seacoast.

Moreover, the kingdom transacted slaves from the North for resale to European slaveship captains at the Bight Of Benin.

  • Obas Of Lagos
  • …Adele
  • Oluwole
  • Akintoye
  • Kosoko…
  • Idewu Ojulari, son of Oba Eshinlokun
  • Opo Olu once owned around 1,400 slaves. She, as her father Oba Eshinlokun and other kings and offspring, hoarded slaves for export.
  • Alakes Of Abeokuta
  • Sagbuwa
  • Okukenu [circa 1859]
  • Efunsetan Aniwura, an Ibadan extensive slaveholder known for brutality towards her slaves. She publicly beheaded her slave for non-compliance to her rules, in this case, for becoming pregnant.
  • Alli Balogun
  • Taiwo Olowo of Ibadan

If me go fight, and run away, then me caught and made prisoner and me go slave to buckra man; so man I take I sel to buckra, cause him coward.

~>Omoku, 1825 ~A slave trader, insistent on carrying on trading

  • Obas Of Benin
  • …Esigie [1504-1550]
  • Orhogbua [c. I550]
  • Ehengbuda [c. 1578]…
  • Ovonramwen [1888-1914]
  • The Ezomo Of Benin, [Defence Chief], circa 1778, possessed at least 10,000 slaves.
  • Nana Olomu of Itsekiri ~Olumu [1852-1916], slave supplier.
  • Olu Of Warri
  • Akengbuwa I, Eyeolusan Joao [1808-1848], slave trader.
  • Omoku, [Governor Of Benin River] c. 1825, was very defiant about continuing the slave trade with Europeans.
  • Obi Ossai of Aboh [c. 1826–1844], slave trader.
  • Chukwuma, eldest son of Ossai, slave trader, with a slave staff of 50 persons.
  • Aje, son of Ossai, slave trader, had 250 slave aides.
  • Okeyea, son of Ossai, slave trader, wealthiest and owned the most number of slaves, as of 1854.
  • King Boy of Brass, Amai Kuno [c. mid 1800s]
  • Obi Of Onitsha
  • Akazua [c. 1864]
  • Igwebe Odum of Arochukwu, also known as Omenuko, a slave trader who would trick his staff to aid him on his trading trips, only for him to sell the staff to slave merchants.
  • Mkpume Nwaugwudiekwuma, who talked his wife into going with him to purchase items for her traditional title. He sold his wife to slave traders.
  • Omemgboji of Bende
  • Igwe Nwaoruka of Amelu, Lejja
  • Nwala Iregbu of Ede Oballa, Nsukka, a slave trader and a herbalist who sacrificed his slaves for added ritual potency.
  • Ikeburuonwu Nwaeloke
  • Onodugo, son of Ikeburuonwu
  • Obute Nwasogwa, also called Nwaonyishi, a slave trader.
  • Ala Nwanadi of Ogurugu, nicknamed Akacha Nwoke, slave-raiding kidnapper.
  • Nwanikpa, a slave supplier.
  • Ugwuonah Nwaomashi of Ede, Oballa
  • Ogbuebo Nwasogwa of Opi
  • Unodiaku Nwaohenyi of Ozalla
  • Oko Nwamba of Nike
  • Okenyi of Abakalili
  • Asadu Nwaugwu of Nsukka
  • Ugwuja Onu of Okpuje, Ayogu
  • Idu of Itchi
  • Onah Nweze of Unadu

The last four were Nwanikpa’s partners for slave trade with the North of Igbo, namely the Igala. The preceding five before that were partners for slave trade to the South of Igbo, namely the ports.

  • King Effiwatt [c. 1799]
  • Duke Abashy of Old Town [c. late 1700s], a slave trader.
  • Otto Ephraim of Old Town [c. late 1700s], a slave merchant.
  • Ekpeyong Offiong of Old Town [c. late 1700s], a slave supplier.
  • Grandy King George of Old Town [c. late 1700s], a slave supplier.
  • Eyo Nsa of Creek Town [c. late 1700s] other name Willy Honesty, a slave merchant.
  • Tommy Henshaw of Henshaw Town [c. late 1700s], a slaver.
  • Edem Ekpo of Duke Town [c. late 1700s] other name Duke Ephraim, a slaver.
  • Efiam Edem of Duke Town [c. late 1700s] other name Duke Ephraim, a slaver and Edem Ekpo’s son.
  • Sam Ambo [c. late 1700s], a slave supplier.
  • George Cobham [c. late 1700s], a slave trader.
  • King Of Bonny: As many as 20,000 slaves, chiefly Igbo, Ibibio and Efik, were sold to European slave traders in 1790.

We think this trade must go on. That is the verdict of our oracle and the priests. They say that your country, however great, can never stop a trade ordained by God Himself.

~>King Of Bonny, 1800s ~In opposition to abolition of slave trade

  • Trading Houses Of Bonny – for instance, Anna Pebble House and Manilla Pepple House. That was analogical to the trading houses of Old Calabar, identified in terms of towns named for key slave trading families – Duke, Henshaw, and so on, the other towns being Old Town and Creek Town.
  • Perekule
  • Allison Nwaoju, a slave turned slave supplier.
  • Halliday
  • William Perekule [c. early 1700s]
  • King Opubo Pepple [c. 1790s]
  • William Dappa Pebble and Frederick Pebble, sons of King Pepple [c. 1790s]
  • Trade Boy [c. 1790s]
  • Jacques Paul [c. 1790s]
  • Faine Bonne ~Fine Bone [c. 1790s]
  • Bonifesse ~Boniface [c. 1790s]
  • Affriqua ~possibly John Africa [c. 1790s]
  • Yongue Faubra [c. 1790s]
  • Allison, possibly connected to Allison Nwaoju [c. 1790s]
  • Juju Boy of Juju House
  • King Stu [Royal Steward]
  • Amayanabo Of Opobo King Jaja, [1869-1891] – lived 1821-1891 – was, in Amaigbo, Orlu, born Mbanaso OkwaraOzurumba [Mbanaso the son of Ozurumba].

When he was 12 years old, Mbanaso was sold by his parents for contravening Igbo culture by developing the upper teeth prior to the lower ones, according to one narrative.

Considering my mother threatened to sell me into slavery, when I was around the same age, for my stubbornness*, I am inclined to believe Mbanaso’s parents traded him.

Later known locally as Joo Joo, Mbanaso was purchased in Azumini by Kwokwoeze Family of Mkpumkpu Akanta.

Named Jubo Jubogha by his owner, Mbanaso, known locally as Joo Joo, was handed free to Madu, another Igbo slave and head of Anna Pepple House.

As a slave, Mbanaso entered the profitable transport enterprise and enhanced his financial status. On founding the Kingdom Of Opobo, Jaja sailed to Igboland, for example Azumini, to invite people to Opobo.

While this author is yet to find documents linking King Jaja of Opobo to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, he has been included here at the minimum as a slave-owner.

Nevertheless, the ruling houses of Bonny, King Jaja’s patrons, were massive slave traders. It is highly probable that he too indulged in the transport of humans to the coast for sale.

The wife of King Jaja also possessed war boats. She might well have played a dominant role in the export of Nigerians.


ATTITUDE | African Slavemasters, African Slaves – Slavery In Nigeria Series:

[Series 1] [Series 2] [Series 3] [Series 4] [Series 5] [Series 6] [Series 7]



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7 comments on “ATTITUDE | African Slavemasters, African Slaves – Slavery In Nigeria: Series 1

  1. Pingback: ATTITUDE | African Slavemasters, African Slaves – Slavery In Nigeria: Series 2 | Umm Sulaim's Thoughts

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This entry was posted on September 10, 2016 by in Attitude, E-Learning Expert, Education For All and tagged , , .


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