HC Deb 22 February 1906 vol 152 cc497-8
MR. BRUNNER (Lancashire, Leigh)

On behalf of the hon. Member for the Northwich Division of Cheshire, I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to the Report for 1904 of Sir Frederick Lugard, High Commissioner for Northern Nigeria, in which the statement is made that the natives had been selling their children as slaves, and that the prices at which they were sold represented normally 1s. 9d. worth of corn and 10s. in salt; whether the duty on salt was increased a few years ago; and whether he can see his way to recommend its abolition or reduction.


In reply to the hon. Member I have to say that the Secretary of State's attention has been called to the passage referred to in Sir F. Lugard's report. The children in question were sold owing to famine, and were liberated and taken charge of by the Government of Northern Nigeria. There is no indication in this passage that the price of salt is excessive; on the other hand, elsewhere in this same Report (p. 97) Sir F. Lugard writes, "The import duty on salt arriving in Northern Nigeria, which European traders at first protested against, has proved in no way injurious to their trade." The duty was increased in 1903 to the rate (40s. a ton) at which it was formerly levied by the Niger Company. The effects of the duty have been carefully considered and the Secretary of State cannot see his way to recommend its abolition or reduction.