Moses Ochonu questions the legality of reparations:
My own skepticism about, and befuddlement at Dr. Ogbechie's postulations regarding the issue of
reparations goes beyond that of Dr. Adesanmi, who is merely concerned about the fate of reparation money in the hands of seasoned African kleptocrats and despots, and the lack of a unified African demand for reparations.
In my own legal and epistemological naivette, I am more concerned about the legality (and the moral propriety) of paying reparations to continental Africans or African governments.
My questions to Dr. Ogbechie and the legal luminaries
on the forum are:
1. Isn't it more legally sustainable to demand for
reparations for African Americans, black Caribbeans,
and other Africans in the slavery-induced diaspora,
instead of demanding that some or all the reparations
go to Africans, some whose ancestors were actually
BENEFICIARIES, however limited and constrained, of the
2.On what basis are we going to argue that African
states or peoples deserve reparations for slavery (I
am not talking about colonialism);on the basis of
being victims? If yes, how can we prove persuasively
in a court of law or before a legally constituted
commission that current generations of Africans STILL
suffer from some of the effects of the slave trade in
TANGIBLE ways? More importantly, and for the purpose
of establishing legal entitlement, how can we identify
individual continental Africans whose ancestors were
victims of the slave trade? This last question also
applies to the strong case of diaspora Africans for
reparations. They, too, have to identify individual
beneficiaries of compensation and prove that these
individuals are direct descendants of particular
slaves, whose suffering and anguish would be the
subject of the compensation.
3. Is it morally right to demand for compensation for
both victims (diaspora Africans) and participants
(continental Africans)? I use the word "participants"
loosely bearing, in mind that many African peoples did
not participate in the trade or benefit from its
proceeds. But determining who did and who did not will
be a big challenge. I also use "participants" not to
suggest that African participation was wholly
voluntary or that the terms of African and European
participation (and benefits) were equal.
I apologize in advance if by raising these questions and issues I have opened a can of worms that some think should stay closed. It is not my intention. I truly want to be enlightened about this very important matter.