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Sunday, 8 November 2020

Is 21st Century Britain Bereft Of The Likes Of William Wilberforce? (Part 1)

Is 21st Century Britain Bereft Of The Likes Of William Wilberforce? (Part 1)

Men and women of good conscience are potently back against the dread of social viruses known as cruelty, oppression, subjugation, exploitation, slavery, ethnic/religious cleansing, banditry, terrorism and every other form of vices not only in their individual immediate societies but also globally. Their voices and actions are the sails and rudders that guide the ship of life to sanity, survival, development and progress. Humanity is utterly meaningless if there exists no such men and women of good conscience who courageously stand up against all shades of evil, the consequences nonetheless. They always ensure that truth, freedom and justice stand on their feet.


Good conscience that is not given unfettered expression in both words and actions in the unequivocal condemnation of the evils in the society and or against humanity, is as deadly as the dreaded viruses. That too is the situation when humanity is wilfully denied the benefits of unreserved commendations for noble acts of good conscience. The world has unavoidably experienced various periods when the essence of humanity was gravely challenged and the role of good conscience/consciousness of nations of the world, subjected to inescapable trials.


For the African continent, especially the regions between the Bight of Biafra and the Bight of Benin in the Gulf of Guinea, two periods of time from 1440 to 1885; and from 1914 to date, remain the worst periods in  human history. The years from 1440 to 1885, witnessed the mad period of slavery especially the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. This took possession of some European countries led by the British government and their merchants. The Trans-Atlantic slave trade symbolized the stark wickedness of the evil world in an unprecedented scale. It really exposed the depth of cruelty to which some persons or nations could readily descend, to oppress, subjugate, exploit and exterminate others for economic and political advantages.


Black Africa lost more than forty million people to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade with three quarters of that number coming from the regions between the Bights of Biafra and Benin. While the British government, merchants and other European countries were gleefully making stupendous wealth (80% of the British national wealth), on the miseries and death of black Africans, the destruction, the pillage of the wealth and culture of black Africa.


It took men of good conscience, moral strength and those who were lovers of humanity such as William Wilberforce between 24th August 1759 and 29th July 1883, Thomas Clarkson, Olauda Equiano, Granville Sharp, Josiah Wedgwood and other men of goodwill, to see Slave Trade for what it really was,  "an enormous, dreadful cruelty and oppression of Africans by all Englishmen". For Wilberforce, slavery was "a national crime for which all Englijhmen were responsible". He and his friends campaigned vigorously to effect the abolition of slavery no matter the consequence. Their efforts respectively yielded the Abolition of Slave Trade Bill of 1807 and The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833. The salutary efforts of these men brought relative sanity into the world that saved humanity from the gross madness and effects of Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.


Written by Iheukwumere Uche


Edited by Peter Oshagwu

For Family Writers Press International

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