Hello Presh nation,
It’s time to enlighten you on some historic sites in Badagry, landscapes, cultural artifacts and relics of human slavery.
Badagry has buildings sites and memories of the iniquitous period. The town was annexed by the United Kingdom and incorporated into the Lagos colony in 1863.It became one with Nigeria in 1901.
Badagry is a coastal town by the lagoon,was established in 15th century. The name Badagry was said to have been evolved from the dual corruption of Agbedegreme (which means Agbedeh’s farm in “ogu” language) to Agbedagari to Badagry by Yoruba settlers and European slave trades respectively. Agbedeh was the famous farmer who founded the town.
Badagry is a few kilometers from Seme,a border town to the republic of Benin and officially generates the highest Nigeria customs duties income till date. The official estimate of course notably excludes car and frozen food smuggling. But before the slave trade era, it was a place of subsistence farming and fishing due to its proximity to the ocean. If fishing and accessibility to the ocean was a blessing ,it was also a curse. Badagry was the keyport for export of African slaves to the Americas.
There is a small museum in the building of the first Christian mission that showcase the mancles and other relics of the hugely lucrative and barbaric trade in humans.
Badagry has a place as one of the “first” in Nigeria’s colonial history.The first primary school (1st Thomas primary school) was established in 1845.The Agia Tree was the first place Christianity was preached by Rev.Birach Freeman of Methodist church. The local myth is a place for saying answered prayers.The title of Badagry royal father is oba Akran a kinship which has an avenue in Ikeja ( Oba Akran avenue) named after it .
Beyond the Badagry marina is a historic Island where slaves were held before being sold during the dark days of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. The shoreline has become a relaxation spot for visitors while speedboat drivers wait eagerly to take curious tourists on a voyage across the lagoon that relives the most inhumane slave trade ever recorded in the continent.
It takes about three minutes to get to the other side of the lagoon by speedboat and it’s a different world entirely from the ancient town of Badagry.
The Point of no Return holds the record of one of the most brutal act meted out to the slaves during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.
Over 400 years ago, dispirited men, women and children plied the slave route now dubbed Point of no Return to an unknown fate. After spending some time in the Brazilian Slave Baracoon they were conveyed across the lagoon to an indefinite destination where their fates were finally sealed. At the Baracoon, a minimum of 40 slaves were confined in a cell with little or no ventilation and lived under terrible conditions until the next shipment.
From the jetty, it takes approximately 25 minutes by foot to get to the Atlantic shore. The road is characterized by loose sand. Back then, the slaves were made to walk the journey as they are being led to the Point of No Return where middlemen waited to ferry them by canoe to the middle of the sea where the slave raiders who would be the final buyers in Europe and the Americas will further transport them to other parts of the world by ship.
Bound by chains on hands and feet, these weary souls started their harrowing journey to the land of no return. Their masters used large rocks on both sides of the road to prevent them from escaping into the surrounding forest. Thus they formed a straight file in the middle. Surrounded by so much greenery, they tread on, sometimes chanting songs of freedom, while others wore a forlorn look, and some a mask of death. Their tormentors cared less as they pushed them on with whips and sticks, their minds set on delivering the “goods” and getting paid.
These helpless souls bemoaned their fate, cursed the gods probably. Those who could not survive the torture gave up the ghost before they got to their destination. As human-less as the tormentors were, they dug graves along the slave route in which dead bodies were buried. None was given the privilege of a befitting burial.
Today, a number of graves can be seen at this horrific site which is close to the Slave’s Spirits Attenuation Well. History has it that the slaves on getting to this spot, were forced to drink from this well which erased the memory of their homeland and made them less aggressive and submissive to their supremacists as they sailed into the new world. Families were separated and many did not make it back to their homeland but assumed another personality at their new destinations. At the Atlantic shore, the middlemen separated the male from the female and boarded them on a canoe to the ship after much bargaining.
Presently, the Point Of No Return is under construction and plans are underway to transform this historic site to a tourist centre. The slave route is being transformed to an expressway by the Lagos state government to aid easy of movement of motorists to the Atlantic Ocean. Asidex that, the Atlantic shore has become a praying ground for people. Though churches along the shore have been demolished, individuals still converge at this spot for prayers.
Meanwhile, Gberefu Island is popularly known for fishing which is the predominant occupation and is evident by the number of canoes lined up at the shore. As early as 5 am, the fishermen set out to sea where they spend an estimated 5 or 6 hours catching fishes in the sea. They can only go for two trips in a day.
Once they return from the sea, it is the duty of the women to clean these fishes and sell them to tourists or take them to the Badagry market for sale. Since the market day is every five days, they depend mostly on visitors who tour the site. There is no electricity in this village thus there is heavy reliance on generator and this inadvertently affects the selling price of the fishes.
The community can only boast of two schools but there are number of churches in this community.
There is also a linking bridge to the Nigeria and Benin Republic expressway which serves as an access point to this settlement.
Though quite small in population, the settlers pride themselves in their fishing occupation and peaceful environment. They are hospitable and speak the Yoruba language fluently. It is hard to differentiate them from the Yoruba speaking Eguns on the Island. Other individuals earn a living by being tour guides at the mythical slave route; others are engaged in transportation services, either by motorcycle or speedboat.
Badagry locals comprising of the Aworis, Egun, Yoruba and ogu people are known for their hospitable disposition
Badagry has a very interesting place which include the Palace of Akran of Badagry and its mini ethnographic museum, the early missionaries cemetery, the first storey Building in Nigeria and whispering.
Badagry is of proud warriors in the ancestral savanna.
Badagry, your beautiful ancient stories lingers in our memories.
Badagry a place full of tribulations in the early stage but at the end has a beautiful story that generations upon generations keep longing to see the beautiful city.
Long live Badagry
Ogunbewon Adebukola Oluwakorede