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Interesting Facts That Put Badagry On The Map

By Chidirim Ndeche 07 January 2018   |   9:00 am

Sitting on the border between Nigeria and the Benin Republic and on the edge of the Atlantic, Badagry is a town with long, dazzling history and a strong tie to the trans-Atlantic slave trade. That sad episode in her history, however, gave her the opportunity of notching up a few firsts in the history of Nigeria. Those few firsts have made the town a thriving tourist attraction for people from around the world who want to experience the history of the slave trade and then some.

Here are some things about the town you may wish to know:

Slave trade museum

Commissioned in August 2002 by the then Governor Ahmed Tinubu, the Badagry Heritage Museum holds a collection of relics from the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Before its establishment, the Mobee Family had a smaller museum which contained relics of slave chains such as neck chains, leg chips, children links, ankle clasps, the mouth chip, wrist chip and the water bow among others.

Slave trade museum

The Badagry Heritage Museum, however, adds an extra touch to the experience. It is currently situated in a house built in 1863 to serve as the District Officer’s Office. There are also tour guides and attendants who can make a visit there exciting and educative.

The many firsts

The town plays host to the first-storey building in the country. Said to have been built by a missionary, Reverend Henry Townsend, the building still stands at its original site.

First storey building

Records show that it was once inhabited by Reverend Ajayi Crowther, who was the first African C.M.S Bishop and translated the Holy Bible to Yoruba. The translation was said to have been done in the building.

Christianity was also first preached in the town, under an Agia tree. The tree fell in June 1959 and a monument was erected in its place over 20 years later. Interestingly, the spot is less than 20 metres away from the Badagry Central Mosque.

Agia tree monument

Another first? Available records show that Christmas was first celebrated in Nigeria at Badagry.

The missionaries who came to preach Christianity in Nigeria then came with education. Since Christianity first found its Nigerian home in Badagry, it was a no-brainer that the town should also host the first primary school in the country. St Thomas Primary School, currently located at the beginning of Market Road, was founded in 1843 by Rev C. A. Golmer to provide education to the locals. First named The Nursery Infant of the Christ, the school later became known as the St. Thomas Anglican Nursery and Primary School. Today, it is simply known as St. Thomas Primary School.

Badagry Diaspora Festival

Badagry Diaspora Festival 2017

Started in 1999 by the African Renaissance Foundation to mark the end of Slave Trade, Badagry Festival has evolved to become an international festival. The annual festival welcomes sons and daughters of Africa from the diaspora. Its last edition, held between August 23 and 25, 2017, saw the Lagos State Government partnering with the Nigerian Government to further elevate its profile.

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