One major problem confronting Igboland is their inability to overcome the divide created by slavery and slave trade like the Yoruba and some other ethnic nationalities in Nigeria. Such divides are further perpetuated by leaders on both side of the divide that even in the face of constitutional arrangements that were targeted at obliterating the latter and the role of Christianity which have been preaching equality of men, many Igbo communities are yet to find peace. This stems largely from the lopsided nature of studies and knowledge cum information that are available and handy to both sides.


Scholars are yet to take a comprehensive study of slavery and slave related institutions in Igboland. What we have at present is a jaundiced view of slaves as encapsulated in social ostracism, denials, punishments and total neglect of their contributions to society. The latter stance obscures the role of slaves in the traditional political, economic and social organisation of some Igbo communities. It is hoped that conducting researches on slavery in Igboland would open up some bottled up knowledge systems that are the sole preserve of some ex-slaves which if not documented and encourage people that of non slave descent to embrace would elude humanity. It is hoped that embracing jobs that were originally meant for slaves especially with the advent of modern technology would help in reducing the acrimony between the two groups.

In contemporary Igboland, it is no secret that some communities do not allow those of slave decent to assume positions of leadership even when a person of slave decent is the oldest in terms of age. Some communities do not even allow them to partake in the meetings of town unions leading to formation of parallel town unions; yet the so called free born expect the ex- slaves to abide by their decision: a perpetual reminder of the treatment meted on their ancestors and progenies.


For a peaceful Igbo society, there is an urgent need for understanding and possible integration of both groups as both are Igbo and occupy the same environment and none is willing to vacate its natural abode for the other. Hence, living a situation of cold war will pay them any good price.


This research group is expected to have its base in the Department of History and International Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka but with membership cut across other departments within and outside the Faculty of Arts. This research group consists of some very eminent professional researchers and some budding young scholars.

The members are as follows:

Name Sex Rank Designation Qualification Specialization
O.N.Njoku Male Professor Co-ordinator PhD Economic History
C.C.Opata Male Lecturer 1 Member PhD Economic History
A.A.Apeh Male Lecturer 1 Member PhD Social History
C.Amaechi Male Lecturer 1 Member M.A Political History
O.Muoh Male Lecturer 11 Member M.A Social History

Themes proposed for possible research by the group include, but are not limited to Impediments to integration of peoples of slave decent among the Igbo, Contributions of slaves to Igbo economy in ancient times, Slaves as agents of political stability among some Igbo communities, Slave labour and creation of monuments and tangible heritages, Slave routes and slave trade mechanics, Sign language among slave merchants, Slave trade and the establishment of bonds of unity and friendship among the Igbo, Slave revolts in Igboland, Knowledge systems held by slaves only in certain communities and why, Igbo slave and the introduction of tattooing in the diasporas and a host of other related topics that would emerge in the course of the researches especially during field investigations. The researchers also intend to explore the possibility of using their research finding to convoke a pan – Igbo conference to address the issues of slavery and slave trade and their attendant legacies.



Members of the Slave Studies Research Group (SSRG) have engaged and are still engaged in both collective and individual researches on slavery and slave trade and have published their findings in highly internationally rated journal like William and Mary Quarterly and in books like Repercussions of the Atlantic Slave Trade: The Interior of the Bight of Biafra and the African Diaspora edited by Carolyn A. Brown and Paul E. Lovejoy and published by African world Press

Contact Addresses

Primary contact: C/O Professor O.N.Njoku,

Department of History and International Studies,

University of Nigeria, 410001 Nsukka,

Enugu State, Nigeria.

TEL: +2348035484436



Secondary contact: C/o Dr. C.C Opata

Department of History and International Studies,

University of Nigeria, 410001 Nsukka,

Enugu State, Nigeria.

Tel: +2348035118199


Below are brief curriculum vitae of the members


Njoku, O.N is a professor of economic History who has published widely. His text Economic History of Nigeria is like a bible for all students and teachers of economic history in Nigeria. He has mentored many academics in Nigeria some of whom are professors of History. He supervised and graduated over 15 PhDs in the department and is a member of the editorial board of many journals.

Opata Christian Chukwuma (PhD) is an Economic Historian and lecturer in the Department of History and International Studies, University of Nigeria. He is the author of many articles in academic journals and book chapters. His published book is Igbo Entrepreneurship: A Study of Night-Time Road Transportation in Nigeria, 1970-2000. His published researches are on traditional Igbo economies, traditional medicine, risk and quality control management, slave studies, incarnate beings, deities and ontological forces in the regulation of economic activities among the Igbo, and gender studies.

Muoh Obinna is a lecturer in History and International Studies and has published in reputable journals. His


Chidi M. Amaechi is a Lecturer in History and International Studies at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He holds B.A. and M.A. in History and International Studies from the University of Nigeria, M.Sc in Political Science from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE). He is currently a Doctoral Student and a Fellow of the SSRC’s Next Generation in Social Sciences in Africa Fellowship. His areas of interests include International Relations, Ethnic, Peace, Conflict and Gender studies. Amaechi has publications in learned journals and books and has attended many academic conferences and workshops.


Apex A. Apeh holds Ph.D and teaches at the Department of History and International Studies at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. His research interests are in servile, Igbo, central Nigeria and gender studies. He is the author of Idoma, Igala and Igbo Relations: Studies in a Frontier Igbo Society, 1800-2007. He is published in learned journals.

Mouh Obinna U is a lecturer in the Department of History and International Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka and is published.