HC Deb 08 March 1906 vol 153 cc625-6
MR. JAMES O'KELLY (Roscommon, N.)

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention is being directed to the havoc worked by the liquor traffic among the natives in Nigeria and in adjoining British territory, where so much of the revenue is derived from alcohol; whether he is aware that shipments of Hamburg spirits are being continually sent out by Liverpool merchants, the cost of which for a case containing twelve bottles, labelled, capsuled, and packed in straw, amounts to only 1s. 4¾d. per case; will he say whether any complaints have been made by native chiefs with reference to the harm done amongst the natives by this spirit; and whether, seeing that a former Governor of Lagos has asserted that there are no other means at the disposal of the Government for carrying on the administration of the country than that derived from the revenue from the liquor traffic, the Secretary of State will consider the absolute prohibition of this traffic in Nigeria, Lagos, and other British territories, as is the case in the adjoining Congo Free State and in other portions of Central Africa.


I cannot say that evidence reaches the Colonial Office showing that havoc is being worked by the liquor traffic among the natives in the territories referred to. I have not been able to verify the figures given by the hon. Member as to the cost of the spirit employed in the trade; but I am aware that they are shipped at very low rates. No complaints have been received by the Secretary of State, at any rate within a recent period, from native chiefs with regard to these spirits. The liquor traffic in West Africa has always been most carefully watched, and His Majesty's Government is very willing to discourage the consumption of spirits by any practicable means. The importation of trade spirits into Northern Nigeria and the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast is absolutely prohibited. These grave questions will continue to exercise the attention of the Secretary of State.

MR. CATHCART WASON (Orkney and Shetland)

Will the hon. Gentleman consider the advisabity of co-operating with France and Germany in prohibiting the introduction of spirits into this part of Africa?


Certainly, sir.