- The Nigerian Senate has made a move for the upgrade of the Akassa Slave Trade Centre to a National Museum
- This call was made by the lawmakers of the Senate through a motion sponsored by Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo (Bayelsa East)
- Degi-Eremienyo said it is important for the Senate to help preserve the centre as Nigeria's national heritage
Lawmakers of the Nigerian Senate have urged the National Commission for Museum and Monuments to upgrade the Akassa Slave Trade Centre in Bayelsa to a National Slave Trade Museum.
In a resolution reached by the Senate on Wednesday, April 27, the lawmakers considered a motion to that effect.
The motion was titled, 'The need to establish National Museum at the Akassa Slave Trade Centre in Bayelsa State to preserve National Heritage', was sponsored by Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo (Bayelsa east).
The lawmaker, in his presentation, said that Akassa is a settlement at the southernmost tip of Nigeria in Bayelsa state where the Nun River estuary meets the Atlantic Ocean, with a lighthouse that had stood since 1910.
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Further making his presentation, Degi-Eremienyo said that due to the proximity of Akassa to the Atlantic, the settlement had always been a traditional trading site in Nigeria, especially in the business of palm oil trade during the colonial era.
He also reiterated that before the abolition of the slave trade, it was one of the major centres in the country where the harrowing effects of the transatlantic slave trade took place.
The lawmaker added that during the British colonial years, it was the site of an outpost of the Royal Niger Company.
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"The Akassa settlement, in the seventeenth century, now a sprouting Town, was where the Nembe People in today’s Bayelsa State waged a war valiantly against the British in 1895 with twenty-two war canoes and one thousand, five hundred foot soldiers due to the high-handedness of the Royal Niger Company and the obnoxious taxes imposed on the local people by the company.”
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He also noted that in 1899, the charter of the Royal Niger Company was revoked, an act is seen as partly a consequence of the war with the effect that from January 1, 1900, the company sold all its possessions and concessions in Africa to the British government for £865,000.
In his speech, Degi-Eremienyo said that some of the relics of the slave trade such as slave houses; slave masters' administrative blocks and quarters; slave jetty; slave transit tunnels; white-men graveyard, can still be found, even though erosion of past decades had eroded some of the antiquities.
"With the current efforts made by the government to diversify our economy, the Akassa Town is a veritable historical/heritage centre which will boost our tourism potentials and consequentially earn us foreign exchange if its heritage is well preserved.”
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