HC Deb 01 April 1895 vol 32 cc579-80
MR. JACOB BRIGHT (Manchester, S.W.)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies how many gallons of spirits are now annually imported into each of the following British possessions in West Africa; the Oil Rivers Protectorate, Lagos, the Gold Coast, Sierra Leone, and Gambia; whether the Secretary of State for the Colonies is aware that great demoralisation is being wrought amongst many tribes in these countries by this traffic in spirits, to the serious injury of their legitimate trade and industrial progress and development; and whether, in view of the fact that the Royal Niger Company are stated to have practically extinguished the traffic within their territory, and it is also excluded wholly from Khama's country and other extensive regions in South Africa with the most beneficial results to the natives, Her Majesty's Government propose to take steps to prohibit the importation of spirits into the several British West African possessions?


The number of gallons annually imported into the Possessions enumerated according to the latest returns may be placed at—Oil Rivers Protectorate, 1,355,000; Lagos, 1,680,000; Gold Coast, 1,450,000; Sierra Leone, 292,000; Gambia, 47,000. I refer my hon. Friend to my answer to the hon. Member for the Tyneside Division of Northumberland on March 7; but I may mention that the Governor of the Gold Coast, in a Report which has just reached me, denies altogether the existence of any general demoralisation amongst the natives as the result of drink.