Bridge of No Return

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The history of slave trade in Nigeria cannot be complete without the mention of Akwa Ibom State. The Trans Atlantic Slave Trade between the early 16th & 19th centuries to Europe, the Caribbeans and the Americas, were important in the history of the people of Akwa Ibom State. Prior to the mid 19th century when slave trade was abolished, this obnoxious trade on humans, dominated all political, social, economic and religious activities, especially in the coastal areas and the hinterland of Akwa Ibom State. During this period, slaves captured and sold in the hinterland were transported to the coast for sale to the slave mechants. Akwa Ibom slaves were sold through the river routes and some major ports like the Old Calabar, Opobo and Bonny. Other routes included Uta-Ewa and Essene beaches Ikot Abasi where slaves shipped out of there were called the “Moko” corrupted from the word “Mokop” (meaning have you hear?), Ndiya, Ikpa uruan, Ibeno, Ifiayong, Itu, Ekpene Ukpa and Ikot Obong beaches. It is worthy of note that Akwa Ibom State contributed about 7% of the slaves that left through the bight of Biafra as it was then called. As such this monumental but sad history has become our heritage which can indeed be converted to significant revenue earner through active participation in the Slave Route Project of the Federal Government and UNESCO

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