§ MR. SUMMERBELL (Sunderland)
I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies if he has any official information showing that on twelve Jekri dock and wharf labourers at Lagos applying to a British port official there for their wages (which were due), stating that they were starving, this official ordered them on board the steam launch "Otto," took them out into mid stream and there administered to them twenty-five lashes each; and, if so, what action he intends to take in regard to the matter.
§ The following Questions also appeared on the Paper:—
§ MR. BENNETT (Oxfordshire, Woodstock)
To ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has any official information showing that a British port official at Lagos recently caused twelve native dock labourers, who applied for their wages, to be taken on board the steam launch "Otto," and to be given twenty-five lashes each; and, if so, whether the official in question has been arrested.
§ MR. HAROLD COX (Preston)
To ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to the excitement among the native community of Lagos at the action of a British port official who, upon being applied to for money on 4th December by twelve Jekri men (dock and wharf labourers), ordered them on board the steam launch "Otto," took them out into mid stream of the river, and there had twenty-five lashes given to each, because the men asked for wages which were due and stated that they were starving; and whether he will at once inquire into these allegations.
§ MR. CHURCHILL
The Governor of Southern Nigeria reports that the incident in question, which occurred on the 2nd instant, was brought to his notice on the 6th instant, and that he immedi- 1554 ately ordered an inquiry. The result of the inquiry was to show that the Port Officer, Captain Hughes, did not himself strike anyone, but that he ordered the native headman to do so because the men refused to work. The blows were inflicted with a small whip. Most of the men received only one blow each, and no one received more than six. The medical Report is to the effect that the flogging was not severe and that the men are not now suffering from any injuries. On four men there are no marks, and on the others only slight skin abrasions. The affair has been much exaggerated in the newspaper reports; but while these whippings do not appear to have been cruel or severe, they are of course illegal and improper. The port officer has been censured by the governor, and the Secretary of State reserves his decision as to any further action until he receives the Report which the governor has promised.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
Do the Government consider censure is sufficient punishment on an officer who has done this illegal act?