Educated Response To Reno Omockery’s Erroneous Claims

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Nọnso Uche Nnajide wrote... IGBO SLAVES AMONG THE ITSEKIRI? So yesterday, an Itsekiri fellow on Facebook made the interesting claim that his people had many (emphasis on 'many') Igbo slaves. He went further to say that some of the descendants of these Igbo slaves still live in Delta State, and speak a hybrid language which he refused to mention. In the interest of intellectual discourse he probably should have mentioned it, and given interested parties the opportunity to verify or debunk the claims. As far as the ethnic backgrounds of slaves in Itsekiri land is concerned, this is what the historian P. C. Lloyd wrote in his paper, "The Itsekiri in the Nineteenth Century: An Outline Social History": Lloyd wrote: "A further change in Itsekiri social structure during the century was the development of domestic slavery. At the turn of the century the king held a large number of slaves, but the number owned by the chiefs is not known. The kingdom must have exported at least a thousand slaves annually. But with the decline of the slave trade, the supply did not cease, and slaves were integrated into the Itsekiri economy. Thus of Jakpa's 5000 people, Burton estimated that 600 - 700 were slaves of Diare. Olomu's slaves were variously numbered at 1000, 3000 and 4000. "The slaves were never Itsekiri, rarely Ijoh. Most were Urhobo, often being men and women expelled from their communities for serious offences and sold in the riverside markets. Some were given to the Itsekiri as pledges for debts. The Itsekiri usually equate the price of a slave with a puncheon of oil. They assert that they never went to a war to capture slaves, though a favourite method of settling a debt or a quarrel was to seize a man's slaves. Other slaves came through the trade routes from Benin and Yoruba country where they had been captured in inter-tribal wars. Nana's most senior slaves were Ologun, a Yoruba, and Sagay, a Benin." *Sagay is very clearly a corruption of the Bini name Osagie. So there you have it. Itsekiri's slaves came primarily from the Urhobo; secondarily from the Yoruba and the Bini; and sometimes (though rarely) from the Ijọ. These are the people in the same geographical area as the Itsekiri and the people with whom they were involved in regular interactions. But our Itsekiri friend went over the heads of his neighbours to look for slaves among the Igbos located farther away. I was going to just laugh at the story and go on with my business, but I realized there are Igbo people who may not be informed enough to see that this man lied through his teeth, hence my decision to talk about it here. For foolish ones among us following #RenoOmokri Here is an accurate list of most enslaved African races with Mbundu coming first, Yoruba coming second Cheers!!

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