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by Ismail Akwei, at 07:47 am, March 25, 2018, History

[Name and Shame] Africans who played an active role in slave trade

Group photo of Seriki Williams Abass and his council members

Seriki Williams Abass

He was a renowned slave merchant during the 19th century and a former paramount ruler of Badagry.

Born Ifaremilekun Fagbemi in Joga-Orile, a town in Ilaro, Ogun State, Abass was captured as a slave by a Dahomean slave merchant called Abassa during one of the Dahomey–Egba clashes. He was later sold to a certain Brazilian slave dealer called Williams who took Abass to Brazil as a domestic servant and taught him how to read and write in Dutch, English, Spanish and Portuguese languages.

He returned to Nigeria on the condition of working with Mr Williams as a slave trade business partner. He first settled at Ofin, Isale-Eko in the Colony of Lagos before he relocated to Badagry in the 1830s.

He succeeded in his slave-trade business while in Badagry and soon became the first person in the Egbado division of Badagry to own a lorry, the “Seriki Ford” he bought in 1919 to ply the Abeokuta–Aiyetoro Road. His wealth brought him respect and made him hold various top political and organizational positions.

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