Slave trade existed in most parts of African societies long before the arrival of the TransAtlantic Trade. As for African leaders then chiefs, they were involved in at least four means of the trade:
1) the sale of slaves within their own tribe for domestic and commercial purposes,
2) The sale of slaves to Arabs
3) the sale of slaves to Europeans,
4) the purchase of slaves from other Africans.
In fact Slaves were the main export of the kingdom of Congo; the Asante kingdom in Ghana just like many other African kingdoms engaged in the trade and used the profits usually for guns and gun powder.
Queen Nzinga, the brilliant 17th-century monarch of the Mbundu, waged wars of resistance against the Portuguese but also conquered polities as far as 500 miles inland and sold her captives to the Portuguese.”
There were recorded protests by West African chiefs and traders after the abolition of slave trade. According to Nigerian author Tunde Obadina: “When Britain abolished the slave trade in 1807, it not only had to contend with opposition from white slavers but also from African rulers who had become accustomed to wealth gained from selling slaves or from taxes collected on slaves passed through their domain.
“African slave-trading classes were greatly distressed by the news that legislators sitting in Parliament in London had decided to end their source of livelihood. But for as long as there was demand from the Americas for slaves, the lucrative business continued,” he added.
There were dozens of known African slave traders who had sold thousands of people to European slave merchants. In West Africa, the traders were known as caboceers and they lived on the coast. They were usually appointed by the African rulers to deal directly with the European slave merchants.
“They were able to communicate in a number of European and African languages. The African slave traders were skilled in using to their advantage the rivalries between the French, the English and the Dutch to get the best prices for their slaves. Often they demanded (and received) ‘gifts’ or ‘custom fees’, rom the Europeans,” -Briton pistol reveals.
Most of these traders continued selling slaves despite the ban while others used the slaves to work on plantations in Africa.
Therefore in conclusion reparations could have been possible If African leaders then chiefs have had no role or hand in the activity; but here is the case they were inextricably involved to the point of staging protests at the time Europeans even called for a ban on the activity. Also how do we know those were genuinely kidnapped by Europeans hence the need for reparations? All these and more are the the reasons Europeans and Americans have not considered paying Africans any reparations for their crime of slavery.