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Volume 463: debated on Wednesday 30 March 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many new cases of tuberculosis have been notified in Nigeria during the last 12 months for which figures are available.

I have asked the Governor for this information and will communicate with my hon. Friend when I receive it.

Would not the Minister agree that all the available information points to an increased incidence in this disease? Would not he further agree that all the existing facilities for treatment are woefully inadequate?

I would rather wait until I have the information from the Governor before making any comment.


7 and 12.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) what is the estimated financial loss to date of groundnuts in West Africa affected by beetle infestation; what steps are being taken to compensate African growers' agents; and what is the estimated value of West African groundnuts landed in the United Kingdom since September, 1948;

(2) what is the present approximate quantity of groundnuts in store at Kano, including French new crop; how much of this total is so severely infested by beetle as not to be capable of transport; what tonnage the Nigerian Railway can clear during the month of March; and how long will it be before this and last year's crop can be shipped, excluding 6,000 tons of lightly infested nuts.


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many tons of groundnuts have been exported from Nigeria in the last six months; how many tons are in stock; how many tons have been damaged by weevils; and what are the comparable figures for 1948.

The total export of groundnuts from Nigeria during the six months up to 17th March, 1949, was approximately 180,000 tons. During the corresponding period last year it was 140,000 tons. The value of the groundnuts which have arrived in the United Kingdom from British West Africa since the 1st October, 1948, is £9,365,000. Stocks of groundnuts at present awaiting export from Nigeria amount approximately to 398,500 tons. Of this total some 365,000 tons are at Kano, made up of 48,500 tons of the 1947–48 crop and 277,000 tons British and 40,000 tons French 1948–49 crop.

The stocks damaged by the beetle trogoderma have amounted to 13,900 tons of the 1947–48 crop and 3,500 tons of the 1948–49 crop. Five thousand five hundred tons of the stocks attacked have been railed to port and have been fumigated. Fumigation of the remainder is proceeding. In addition 75 tons, costing the West African Produce Control Board about £1,500, have so far proved to be a total loss. The loss arising from less severely infested nuts cannot at present be determined. Except in cases of negligence, these losses will not fall on the buying agents, to whom I assume the hon. Baronet, the Member for Abingdon (Sir R. Glyn) refers.

Some 14,000 tons were railed during the first two weeks of March, and it is reasonable to expect that the total railings for this month will be at least 30,000 tons. There is no necessity to exclude the quantity of lightly infested nuts to which the hon. Baronet, the Member for Abingdon, refers. The increased monthly railings to be expected as additional locomotives and rolling stock coming into use suggest that the whole of the stocks in Nigeria at present awaiting transport will have been cleared by the end of January, 1950.

Might I thank the hon. Gentleman for that very full reply and ask him if he can state whether the capacity of the railway will ever be equal to the task of dealing with the stocks at Kano?

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether a good, carefully chosen exhibit for the Colonial Exhibition would not be of some of these West African groundnuts produced by private enterprise which cannot be shipped here because of the diversion of transport and machinery to the Government scheme in the East?

Is the Minister satisfied that there will not be any serious deleterious effect upon the oil contained in the nuts?

Constitution (Report)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps are being taken towards the realisation of self-government in Nigeria.

At the suggestion of the Governor, the Legislative Council has been considering at its recent Budget Session the steps to be taken for a review of the present constitution of Nigeria. I have just received from the Governor the Report of a Select Committee of the Council on this subject which is unanimous and has been unanimously accepted by the Council. I am arranging for a copy of this Report to be placed in the Library of the House. The Governor will make a statement on the Report shortly, the text of which will be published simultaneously in this country.

Pending that inquiry, might I ask whether local interests will be considered so as not to prejudice any development in Nigeria until the Report has been received?

The Report has been received. It is the Governor's statement which is being considered.

Imports And Exports


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether commodities originating in hard currency countries and imported into Nigeria directly from sterling or soft currency areas are set against Nigeria's hard currency allocations; and whether this method is the same as that adopted for the Gold Coast and other African colonial territories.

Goods of the kind mentioned, when imported into Nigeria, are normally treated for import-licensing purposes as if they were imported direct from hard-currency sources. The same method is adopted in other Colonial Territories.


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many controls are still in force requiring licences for the import of commodities into Nigeria.

Licences are required for the import from all sources of commodities under international allocation and for a short list of particularly scarce goods. For other commodities, licences are required only for imports from sources outside the United Kingdom Colonies group.

Will the hon. Gentleman review this position and see whether he cannot make a bonfire of some of these controls that are now unnecessary? May I have an answer?

The answer is that some of these items are internationally allocated, and therefore must naturally be controlled. In other cases, they are scarce articles, which must also have an element of control.


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies why the export of adire cloth, beans, guinea fowl, eggs and groundnut oil from Nigeria to the Gold Coast and Sierra Leone is still prohibited, except under licence; and whether he will now lift these war-time controls.

I have asked the Governor for information and will communicate with the hon. Member when I receive it.

Is the Minister aware, meanwhile, that these controls are particularly vexatious to the African trader, far more than to the European trader, and will he look at that aspect of the matter?

I should doubt it. The object of most controls is to ensure that only a proper amount of these materials leaves the Colony and that a sufficient amount is retained in the Colony for the use of the local people.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that I raised this matter two years ago, when I obtained a promise that it would be looked into, and that nothing has been done since?