HC Deb 13 April 1896 vol 39 cc742-3
MR WILLIAM ALLEN (Newcastle-under-Lyme)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that a native in a small canoe was recently chased by the launch belonging to the Royal Niger Company at Akassa, and was shot at by order of the officer in charge of the launch; that in endeavouring to escape he was drowned; and that, in consequence of this, and because of their disapproval of the cruel treatment of the natives by the Company, several of their servants have resigned; and, whether the Government will take steps to secure better treatment for the natives?


In October last a boat in the Brass Creek, endeavouring to escape the customs launch of the Royal Niger Company, was chased by the latter. The man on board was not fired at, but jumped overboard and could not be found. A search was made, but it could not be ascertained whether he sank or reached land. After a full inquiry before the Chief Justice, the decision was given of death by misadventure. Nothing is known of the resignation of the employés of the Company; but I shall be glad to receive any information on the subject from the hon. Member, who presumably would not have described it as a fact had he not possessed the requisite evidence.


Would the right hon. Gentleman be willing to see one of the officers of the Company who had resigned?


Yes, that is the information for which I am asking.


Will the right hon. Gentleman say how the death was established, inasmuch as the man was never found or seen? [Laughter.]