A group of Independent Travel Companies has called on the government to harness its tourism potential toward recognition of the role Nigeria played in the global slave trade.
The group coordinated by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Travel Next Door Ltd., Pelu Awofeso, on Tuesday said that the role Nigeria played in the global slave trade could also be linked to the independence anniversary.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that 40 independent Travel Agencies and Companies came together to commemorate the 400 years of the slave trade in Africa.
The travel companies used the occasion to visit the Badagry Slave Trade points such as Heritage Museum, Malam Seriki Abass Slave House, First Storey Building in Nigeria, Point of no Return Harbour and others.
Speaking on the significance of Badagry to the global slave trade, Awofeso said that about two-third of the global slave trade was carried out in Nigeria through Badagry.
“What we are doing is to commemorate the 400 years anniversary of slave trade in Africa and Nigeria. If we recall, the first set of slaves from Africa arrived in the U.S. in the year 1619.
“This year 2019 marks the 400 years of that trade and since then, there has been continuous slave trading along the coastal and hinterlands of Africa.
“We also know that Nigeria contributed to about 25 per cent of the slaves taken away from the west coast of West Africa, that is about a quarter of the whole slave trade.
“The total number of slaves taken away from Africa was put approximately12.5 million, whereby about 3.5 milion of those slaves are from Ghana,” he said.
Awofeso said that Ghana had tapped into the tourism potential from the slave trade anniversary thereby calling on Nigerian government to do same.
“The 400 years anniversary is significant and Ghana had already tapped into the tourism potential in it, they have capitalised on the anniversary by calling on African Americans to come to their country.
“They are promoting Ghana as the homeland for the descendants of slaves so they brought so many tourists to Ghana, African Americans who have their roots here.
“The have turned the history of slave trade to a business model which the country is now hugely benefiting from, so Nigeria which had contributed more to the slave trade should benefit more.
“The history of our independence will not be completed without going back to the root of slavery which can be found in Badagry,” he said.
Awofeso advocated that Badagry with the relics of slave trade memories should be made an integral part of the independence anniversary.
“This part of the country (Badagry) should not be neglected in the independence anniversary, the city should be recognised for not only for its tourism potential but, historically.
“The problem with Badagry is about lack of infrastructure, government needs to turn this place to a tourist haven where they can realise huge revenue for the country,” he said.
(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)https://nnn.ng/400-years-slave-trade-anniversary-independent-travel-companies-advocate-for-harnessing-of-tourism-potential04/