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Door of No Return in Badagry, Nigeria

Updated: May 24, 2023

Bight of Biafra-Badagry, Nigeria

“Badagry is a border town between Lagos, Nigeria, and Cotonou, Republic of Benin. It is a seaside town with palm and coconut trees with approximately 250,000 inhabitants that speak Ogu, Yoruba, and Awori-Yoruba languages. The primary jobs are farming, fishing, artisanal work, and hospitality. Most people practice the indigenous religions of Orisa, Voodoo, Christianity, and Islam.

Badagry was a critical slave port; starting from 1518, approximately 5000 enslaved people were shipped from Badagry; this number later rose to 11,000 a year during the 17th century and subsequently even higher during the 18th and 19th centuries. Badagry is part of the Bight of Biafra slavery captive route, which shipped close to two million- 16% of the overall- enslaved Africans across the Atlantic to America.

Badagry is less than an hour away from Lagos by Gberefu coast. There we visited the Seriki i Williams Faremi Abass barracoon compound or Boekoh quarters with Mobee as the chief. Unfortunately, the challenging road conditions and somewhat remoteness from a central hub would make it difficult for many to venture here for heritage tourism. Furthermore, Badagry, like Lagos, has not advanced a strong interest in developing its tourism sector. This is unfortunate because Nigeria has a strong cultural influence on the diaspora, and the descendants would like a pilgrimage back to their ancestral land.”

(Excerpt from Anyanwu 2023 doctoral dissertation “All the Salsa in Between…”)

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