Early Saturday morning, I packed a few drinks, some naira notes and was headed for the historic town of Badagry. The journey was a straight and long one (no connotation of a s**ual kind). The bus conductor was strictly about his business, didn’t care if his passengers were seated comfortably. He managed to just pack us all in that restricted space regardless of size, which is typical of Lagos. Let me also mention that my partner in crime for this trip was my brother – Osblake. I am not a first-timer to the Lagos hustle, so I am “used” to that lifestyle.
My previous article on Badagry highlights some of the expectations I had for the voyage. Looking out the window of the bus was nice as I got to see some nice expanse of land that could pass as good residential quarters. The green vegetation was also nice; it suggested Nigeria takes advantage of agriculture in the midst of its fuel scarcity. Long queues at filling stations on this route were a major feature.
When we arrived at the popular Badagry roundabout, we jumped on a bike to take us to Slave museum. The bike took us to Mobee family Slave Relics Museum. First of all, the “Mobee” name came as a result of the white man’s inability to pronounce “Obi” (Kolanut). We had neck chains, hand chains, waist chains and leg chains (and I’m not talking about jewelry). It was sad to find out that slaves were exchanged for umbrellas, bottles and even plates. The next time you see a large umbrella, you should remember it was synonymous to 40 slaves.
From there, we visited the first storey building in Nigeria (we could also refer to it as the most iconic “skyscraper” in Nigeria, UNO). It was nice to chill in the room where Bishop Ajayi Crowther translated the English bible to Yoruba. Climbing the stairs, the creaky sounds of the woods easily slapped some self-consciousness into my head. Another thing I would love to point out was the quality of materials used in the construction. The roofing sheet was very heavy to lift, I felt I added a few pounds of muscle in the process.
All the slave relics, in my opinion, should be gathered and placed in the Badagry Heritage Museum for proper sighting. I didn’t find any clear distinction between the artefacts in the Mobee Family Slave Relics Museum and the Heritage Museum. I got a piece of souvenir here though but the experience was not as memorable as my visit to Calabar Slave Museum albeit it was even more expensive.
On our way to Seriki Abass Slave Barracoon (aka Brazilian Barracoon), we passed through the District’s Officer’s Residence (Lord Frederick Lugard’s house) currently under renovation. At this point I felt like a dumb student who had failed in his promotion exams. The same story was told over and over but the unique thing about the Barracoon was the rooms where slaves were kept before they were shipped to “The Point Of No Return”. The rooms were small with little ventilation and slaves who died here were tossed out like spoilt meat in a refrigerator with no electricity.
The Agia Tree monument was my last stop but the man we met there was kind enough to show us some old naira notes from years before I was born. Naira notes we could exchange for their “actual” dollar equivalent. I even got to see a Biafran pound. I honestly suggest that Christians should visit this monument since it is a historic voyage of how Christianity came into Nigeria.
I could not visit the Vlekete Slave Market, I passed through the First Primary School in Nigeria, I wished I had crossed the water to get to the Badagry Slave Route, I’m happy I didn’t get to the Early Missionaries Cemetery (What would I do there, die?) and I wonder what chilling on the Ar-Rakhab Beach Resort would feel like but my experience was worthwhile. Other articles on my Badagry trip would be published in due time but make sure you visit Badagry because “If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree”.