The amazing revelations I heard at the first storey building gave me more ginger to push peter into driving straight to the Mobee royal family slave museum and he gladly obliged.
On getting to the quiet environment which housed the museum, we met them at the entrance, all adorned in white and black branded t-shirts. What caught my attention the most were the girls in their midst. These girls rocked different colours and designs of bum shorts but in spite of this diversity, one thing unified them all- “their fresh laps” these laps could distract even the holiest man in that vicinity on that sunny afternoon.
While I stared at the laps, myriads of thoughts flooded my mind but I was called to order when Peter slammed the car’s door. I never knew that was the beginning of my woes. Peter had already parked the car, so he joined me by the narrow corridor which served as the entrance of the museum. We were welcomed by a group of guys whose eyes were too scary because it looked as though smoking was their habit. This marked the first turn off for me but I tried masking my disappointment with a straight face.
We greeted as expected and immediately requested for the cost of gaining entrance, which one of them replied #200 per head. Since we were two, I had to pay #400 for our heads, so we could gain access to the monument.
On getting inside, my second woe embraced me as I looked on in anger how these branded guys and girls we earlier saw were wasting too much time taking unnecessary pictures. I doubted if they really came for tourism.
They continued this for over 45 minutes while I hoped they’d soon finish, but I was running out of patience when it though seemed they weren’t going to stop, so I shouted at the guy who was supposed to guide us through the museum to hasten them up before he told me they came for a photo shoot and not for tourism. I kept my cool but was still visibly furious.
They kept begging me to give them some more time but I didn’t even answer till they finally left. It pained me a little that they were leaving because all along, I stole few glances at the girls’ seductive laps while I faked an unhappy countenance.
Then the museum attendant (one of those scary guys) interrupted my though of tapping one of the girls on her back side when he rushed in to run us through the history behind the Mobee Royal Family Slave Museum.
he started by telling us that During the slave era, Badagry as a whole served as a slave corridor where slaves were brought from all over the country e.g oyo, Ibadan, Ogun etc to be exported to different parts of Europe.
In Badagry was also a market called Blekete slave market (established in 1502). On every Blekete market day, 300 slaves were being sold on the average per day and 17,000 yearly.
So anyone bought by the whites will immediately be branded using a hot iron to crest the name of the owner on the slave’s body, before being chained around the neck and feet for the minimum of 18hours daily (depending on how long a slave will stay before being shipped out) and marched on a single file to the point of no return (a location across the lagoon where the shipment will take place).
Material That Can Be Found Inside The Mobee Royal Family Slave Museum
We were firstly shown different sets of chains:
• A mouth-lock which was used in preventing the slaves from talking to each other and from eating the sugarcanes in the plantation.
How this works is that these metals will be inserted into the fire to make them red-hot before being inserted In between the lips of the slaves, leaving them to growl in pain while they work on the plantation.
• A hand chain which is used to hang any stubborn slave to a tree while others continue working.
• Hand cuffs for babies are used to chain kids together so that they won’t be disturbing their parents while working.
• A metallic staff of office which one of the servants of the chief usually carries along whenever the chief is going out. The sound which emanates from shaking the staff alerts everyone around that the chief is close by. So on sighting the chief, males prostrate while females will knee to show respect.
I was meant to understand that the whites on their arrival don’t (and weren’t ready to) know how cowries worked in Nigeria as a legal tender, so they introduced barter system to settle the problem of exchange. To achieve this, they brought in items such as dry gin, canon gun, gun powder, mirror, camera etc in exchange for human beings.
He continued by telling us that a small canon gun is usually exchanged for 50 human beings while the big ones will procure 100.
During this period also, “these canon guns served as different notifications whenever they were shot, and this was how it worked:
A canon gun is being shot thrice daily. The first shot is aimed at telling every slave that its time to go to the farm to work. The second shot is to alert everyone that work has started on the farm and the last shot is to warn people to stay indoors (that is after the working hours) as anyone caught after this period will be captured as slave.
I quickly thought within me that, so some people were actually free. If this is true, then it means our agonies were brought upon us by our selfish leaders. Because what this implies is that these chiefs actually have slaves which they in turn sell to the whites as slaves. smh
• Next was a horrible looking drinking pot with rough edges which sat at a corner of the room. It looked more like a cone. I was moved to tears when he explained how the slaves were meant to drink from the pot:
Watch the explanation in this short clip.
TYPES OF SLAVES
• Then I was shown a picture of a castrated slave with a sorry look on his face. My guide further enlightened that there were 2 types of slaves in that era: Domestic and field slaves. The male domestic slaves were usually castrated to prevent them from having sex with the wives and/or daughters of their owners since they were always at home majorly for house chores. The field slaves on the other hand were the able-bodied ones who spend most of their time working on the farm.
THE HISTORICAL AGIA TREE
• Next was the picture of Agia tree- the giant tree where Christianity was firstly preached in Nigeria (in September 1842) this tree also doubled as the spot where Christmas was first celebrated in Nigeria.
Though it finally collapsed in 1959- a year before Nigeria’s independence after spending 350 years erected.
• Lastly we were made to know when slave trade stopped in various parts of the world after lasting for close to 400 years.
He was about rounding up by a closing remark when I pointed his attention to a grave inside the museum.
The True story behind the Mobee Royal Family Slave Museum
Chief Mobee was actually a popular and very influential chief who actively engaged in the slave trade during his reign. His real name does not have Mobee in it. I was about asking how the Mobee came about when he interrupted by telling me that during that era, whenever the white slave traders came around, he’d tell welcome them by saying “e mu obi je” in Yoruba. What this means is that they should pick colanut and eat. He never fails to do this every time they come. And since the whites don’t really understand him, they started calling him chief “mu obi” later it transcended to Mobee and before long, the name Mobee stuck. The family also adopted this name ever since till this day.
“Chief Mobee who was later succeeded by his son who played a pivotal role in ensuring slavery stopped in Badagry. When he ascended the throne in 1886, he welcomed the missionaries who helped actualized this dream of putting an end to slavery. He died on the 16th of October 1893.
Though we weren’t given the best of hospitality because the guide was visibly rushing to god knows where.
This reception is one of the major reasons why I listed Mobee Royal Family Slave Museum among the places I wont advice anyone who wants to tour badagry to visit.. I came to this conclusion when I visited Seriki Abass slave museum the next day.
We left there few minutes to 5pm after taking few picture even though it wasn’t to our satisfaction.
Peter ignited the car while I fastened my seat belt.
If you’ve been to (or would like to go to) the Mobee Royal Family Slave Museum, you can share your experience/anticipation through the comment box while we keep the conversation going.
one more thing… help me share my post naw