Senator wants history of slavery taught in Nigerian primary, secondary schools

The Senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, has advocated for the inclusion of the history of slave trade in Nigerian schools’ curriculum.

Mr. Sani spoke on Saturday during a visit to some historic sites in Badagry, Lagos.

“I would say this in clear terms, that the best we can do for the memories of those who perished along these very lines, to this journey to the unknown, I think the most we can do is to constantly remind ourselves,” Mr. Sani said.

“We must teach the history of slavery to our young ones in primary schools and secondary schools. It is distressful and disappointing to see our young people in our schools, in our country, being taught history according to how Europeans wrote it. I think the best thing we should now is we must inculcate the lessons and the lectures and experiences of slavery in our curriculum.”

Mr. Sani’s bill at the National Assembly, the Historic Sites Preservation and Protection Bill, has passed the first reading at the Upper House.

His visit to Badagry came months after he climbed the historical Kufena rock in Zaria, and promised to sponsor a bill that will promote tourism in the country.

He said the bill is aimed at drawing the attention of the federal government on the need to protect and preserve historic places that have formed part of Nigeria’s memory and history.

“My visit to the slave port here is in that very process. And since I have gone round, I have seen a number of things. I have seen treasures of our history, I’ve seen treasures of our memory, I’ve seen well preserved artefacts, documents, and facts that form the component of where we came from and where we are today,” said Mr. Sani.

“My bill was informed by the fact that many historic places are now facing serious danger of being eroded, either they were neglected, ignored, or they were threatened by modern developmental activities.”

Mr. Sani’s visit took him to several heritage sites in Badagry.

At the Badagry Heritage Museum, he was shown a receptacle where slaves drank water from, their hands chained behind their back.

At the First Storey Building in Nigeria, which was built in 1845, he saw the room where Ajayi Crowther slept in, as well as the bibles he used in translating the English Book to a Yoruba version.

He also visited the High Chief Mobee Slave Relics Museum and the Slave Route (Point of No Return) in Gberefu island.

“This very place must be well preserved and must be well funded, and I believe there’s no better way to do that than to have a bill that will ensure that,” said Mr. Sani.

“The current bill on historic places was established almost about 4-5 decades ago. It has lost its relevance, it has lost its value and it cannot play very much in today’s Nigeria.

“With the very fact that oil era is coming to an end, and government is working hard towards diversification, tourism is one important area that should receive the necessary attention it deserves.”

He also said his visit to Badagry had given him a practical experience of what those who passed through the slave route experienced.

“And I believe that the communities here in Badagry deserve all the support they need from the federal government,” he added.

“For the very fact that they have been able to eke out from the little they have to keep this piece of our history that could have easily been lost. The danger of this country not coming to the aid of the people of Badagry in this kind of project is that we will tend to lose it.”

Mr. Sani advocated that the developed world pay reparation to Africa and the people of African descent that are in the United States, Caribbean, and also Latin America.

“It’s sad and unfortunate that since the death of Chief MKO Abiola, the campaign for reparations has lost its vigour and virility; we must constantly remind those whose wealth was founded from the seed of Slave Labour that there’s an eternal dividend to pay,” he said.

“The ideology of racism, apartheid, colonialism and neo-colonialism has its roots in the master-slave experience while it lasted. Without slavery there could not have been colonialism. Today racists whether Caucasians, Arabs, Indians or Chinese use the history of slavery to scorn Africans or black people.”

Peter Mesewaku, the Curator of Badagry Heritage Museum, said Mr. Sani’s visit would enable the senator make the right judgment towards pushing his Bill in the National Assembly.

“I feel very happy because we are in the industry and we know how it feels, and we are not too happy looking at the way some of those sites are,” said Mr. Mesewaku, who has worked as a curator for 15 years.

“Although, the Lagos State government is trying its best but at least the federal government should as well show interest. Because now that we are looking at diversifying, I want to believe that we have enough to stamp our authority in the tourism industry.”

Menu Toyon II, a traditional ruler in Badagry, described the senator’s visit as “unquantifiable.”

“He came at the right time, the time Badagry was clamouring for change, for tourism, for anything that can make our economy to come up,” the monarch said.

“The bill will give Badagry a very big name, and it will change our economic potentials, and it will turn Badagry to a tourist haven because from what I heard from him, I know he’s a man that talks and maintain his speech.”


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  • Galantman

    Not only slave trade, our kids also need to know those who put us in this modern day slavery by blowing all opportunities that could have made this country the pride of the Blackman.

    • Karl Imom

      Why is this Senator NOT demanding that History and Prevention Corruption be taught in Nigerian Secondary Schools?

      • Galantman

        Very correct

  • Watch man

    The slave trade should just be a part of the history. Our children should know how our society evolved over time. Such knowledge would go a long way in helping the various ethnic groups to respect and accommodate one another. The white man is already falsely rewriting history. We should not allow them to tell us how we got where we are. Go to Louisiana and you will see how slaves from west Africa developed that place. A large chunk of Texas was developed with slave labour;same applies to so many other US and British cities. I went to town searching for ‘History of West Africa, by Onwubiko (vows 1&2)’ for my children and I could not find it. Even the ‘Story of Nigeria, by M. Crowther’ was nowhere to be found. The white man came to tell us that Mungo Park discovered Niger River but then it was Issaco or so (a local chap) that took him round the river lest he get lost. So, this is an instance of how the white man is trying to tell us our own history. The federal govt should ensure that history is made a core subject in our secondary schools.
    Senator Sami, I encourage you to take this matter up and seriously.

  • Watch man

    The slave trade should just be a part of the history. Our children should know how our society evolved over time. Such knowledge would go a long way in helping the various ethnic groups to respect and accommodate one another. The white man is already falsely rewriting history. We should not allow them to tell us how we got where we are. Go to Louisiana and you will see how slaves from west Africa developed that place. A large chunk of Texas was developed with slave labour; same applies to so many other US and British cities. I went to town searching for ‘History of West Africa, by Onwubiko (vols.1 & 2)’ for my children and I could not find it. Even the ‘Story of Nigeria, by M. Crowther’ was nowhere to be found. The white man came to tell us that Mungo Park discovered Niger River but then it was Issaco or so (a local chap) that took him round the river lest he get lost. So, this is an instance of how the white man is trying to tell us our own history. The federal govt should ensure that history is made a core subject in our secondary schools.
    Senator Sani, I encourage you to take this matter up and very seriously.

    • un spkn

      exactly, when they tell d story from a victimization perspective i get angry. We must work hard n not sit complaining about slavery. lets move on plz

    • FEMI A

      You are marvelous.

  • International games

    Congratulations to Senator Shehu Sani! This is what a Senator is supposed to be doing. Thank you sir!
    I will also like him to uncover more of the Trans Saharan Slave trade routes. and which countries in Arabia they went to.
    Who is helping the descendants of those Nigerians there now?
    Information says over One Million people in Saudi Arabia speak Hausa. They have been there for hundreds of years but Saudis still do not give them citizenship. Why?

    • Karl Imom

      When have they stopped teaching History of Slave Trade in Nigerian Secondary Schools? At my time it was in Secondary School curriculum

  • thusspokez

    The Senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, has advocated for the inclusion of the history of slave trade in Nigerian schools’ curriculum.

    Nigeria is truly a nation of mørøns. It is shocking beyond disbelieve that the history of slavery is not taught in Nigerian schools. Nigerians should hold their heads in shame. No wonder, many Nigerians are so ignorant about slavery in Africa, not to mention the civil right movement in USA.

    • un spkn

      plz 4 God’s sake. that is pat. Why cant we move on? Why must we continue to stigmatize ourselve with slavery. Please they shouldnt bring that hate into our school systems abeg. Everyone in history was enslaved. Yes Africans had it d worst an it was d de-humanization of an entire people. but plz we cant keep forcing our children to carry that burden let’s bury it ones n 4 all

      • FEMI A USA

        You can forget your history not many people will do so. We love where we are coming from and going. It’s imperative for our children to learn or know their History. We should not allow the colonizers to write or dictate about our history to serve their purpose. They are still justifying it that we are poor and deserve aids. Talk more about our stolen crafts and arts.

        • thusspokez

          We should not allow the colonizers to write or dictate about our history to serve their purpose.

          Some Western revisionists are getting away with the vexing claim that slavery was the fault of Africans; yet others claim that Africans actually initiated and led the trade themselves. They also try to belittle the effect of African slavery by claiming that slavery is a normal occurrence and that not only Africans, but many other races, in history, had also experienced slavery.

          The sad thing is that unlike Jews, one can hear almost no African voice to counter this most annoying shifting of blame to Africans by the Western revisionists. For example, denying the Jewish holocaust in some western countries is a criminal offence as British historian David Irving found out. In 2006 — he was found guilty in Vienna of denying the Holocaust of European Jewry and sentenced to three years in prison.

          African countries should make it a criminal offence for anyone to blame Africans for slavery or claim that Africans had initiated or led it.

      • thusspokez

        You don’t deserve a serious response!

  • Kudo

    I could not believe that Nigerain education system were not teaching slave trade. Pathetic

    • Karl Imom

      I do not know what the Senator is talking about. I studied History of Slave Trade in Form 1. Maybe, they have stopped teaching now.

  • un spkn

    plz 4 God’s sake. that is pat. Why cant we move on? Why must we continue to stigmatize ourselve with slavery. Please they shouldnt bring that hate into our school systems abeg. Everyone in history was enslaved. Yes Africans had it d worst an it was d de-humanization of an entire people. but plz we cant keep forcing our children to carry that burden let’s bury it ones n 4 all!!

  • Papajoh

    Mr. Senator wants the history of slave trade taught in schools. It is good but who will be the teachers? We should begin by teaching the history of independence and the Civil war so that the youths of this country will truly know about the nation Nigeria. This is what is done all progressive countries including America. We cannot continue to avoid to tell the story of Nigeria and hoping that it will not continue to haunt this county.

  • Rommel

    The worst slavery ever experienced on the continent of Africa incidentally is never talked about which is the trans saharan slave trade,a situation where human beings are marched on foot from Northern Nigeria to Saudi Arabia by Muslim slave traders,why does it appear that when slavery is mentioned today,we talk only of middle passage,why not the more primitive and worse kind? how well did the black slaves in Arabia fare?

    • Peter_Edo

      Rommel, Trans Saharan slave trade which existed for several centuries before the Atlantic Slave trade was even more humane by comparism going by historical recollection. the Slaves in the trans Saharan route up till destination and even after could buy back their freedoms in some destinations and in some others live in systems where the caste has a special place for slaves and they are above some other castes. the trans Atlantic and its attendant destinations bred the most evil in men. google “gator bait” and see what they used babies of black children to do. THAT IS EVIL!!!! And it deserved being mentioned. Most of the victims of the Saharan trade were castoffs, debt ridden etc, while for the Atlantic, whole scale raids were carried out by marauders/slavers.

      • thusspokez

        Rommel, Trans Saharan slave trade which existed for several centuries before the Atlantic Slave trade was even more humane by comparism going by historical recollection. the Slaves in the trans Saharan route up till destination and even after could buy back their freedoms in some destinations

        The Rommel’s mantra, assuming the poster has one is: “talk good shit with the greatest of confidence”.

        I hate to defend anything Arab, but in addition to what you have said, not all Africans who went to Arabia ans Asia were slaves. Many, due to their prowess as excellent fighters were highly sought after just like the Senegalese mercenaries fighting in Yemen today, on behalf of the pusillanimous Saudi Arabia and its military.

    • thusspokez

      The worst slavery ever experienced on the continent of Africa incidentally is never talked about which is the trans saharan slave trade,a situation where human beings are marched on foot from Northern Nigeria to Saudi Arabia…

      As usual, you talk a good shit with alacrity! As short as the distance between biblical Egypt and Israel, the bible tells us that many Israelites had perished in the desert on their return journey from Egypt to Israel due to the harsh terrain and weather. Now, use your critical thinking and try to imagine how it would be possible for hundreds or thousands of African slaves from what is now Northern Nigeria to trek all the way to Saudi Arabia (founded in 1744) .

      Further, do you have any idea how much food and water the slaves would need on the journey to Saudi Arabia (that did not even exist at the time)? You are also probably confusing East Africa with West Africa.

  • I agree with the senator. Information about our history is something we owe our young.

    For the people who don’t know anything about themselves will be told who they are from predators whose narratives suit their very selfish and merciless agenda.