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Saturday, 23 July 2016



By Victor Andrew
For Family Writers

All through the 19th century, palm oil was highly sought after by the British, for use as an industrial Lubricant for machinery. Remember that Britain was the world's first industrialized nation, so they needed resources such as palm oil to maintain that. Palm oil of course, is a tropical plant, which is a native to the Eastern part of today's Nigeria. Malaysia's Dominance came a century later.


By 1870, palm oil had replaced slaves as the main Export, the area which was once known as the Slave Coast. At first, most of the trade in the palm oil was uncoordinated, with natives selling to those who gave them the best deals. Native chiefs such as former slave, Jaja of Opobo became immensely wealthy because of oil palm.


However, among the Europeans, there was competition for those who would get preferential access to the lucrative oil palm trade. In 1879, George Goldie formed the UNITED AFRICA COMPANY, which was modeled on the former East India Company. Goldie effectively took control of the lower Niger River. By 1884, his company had 30 trading posts along the lower Niger. This monopoly gave the British a strong hand against the French and Germans in the 1884 Berlin Conference.

The British got the Area that the UAC operated in included in their sphere of interest after the Berlin conference. When the Brits got the terms they wanted from other Europeans, they began to deal with the African chiefs. Within two years that is in 1886, Goldie has signed treaties with tribal chiefs along the Benue and Niger rivers, whilst also penetrating inlands. This inland move was against the spirit of verbal agreements that has been made to restrict the organization’s activities to coastal regions. By 1886, the company name changed to "The National Africa Company" and it was granted a royal charter (Incorporated).The charter authorized the company to administer the East and all lands around the banks of the ban.

The charter authorized the company to administer the East and all lands around the banks of banue and niger rivers. Soon after, the company was again renamed. The new name was "Royal Niger Company”, which survives as Unilever, till this day. To local chief the Royal Niger company negotiators has pledged free trade in the region. Behind, they enter private contracts on their terms. The (deceitful) private contracts were often written in English and signed by the local chiefs, the British government enforced them.


For instance, when King Jaja of Opobo tried to export palm oil on his own,he was forced into Exile for obstructing commerce. King Jaja was forgiven in 1891 and allowed to return home,but he died on his way back,poisoned with a cup of tea by the British. Seeing what happened to King Jaja,some other native rulers began to look more closely at the deals they were getting from the Royal Niger company. One of such kingdoms was Nembe,whose king,Koko Mingi Vill ascended the throne in 1889 after being a Christian school teacher. Koko Mingi Vill, was faced with the Royal Niger company encroachment. He also resented the monopoly enjoyed by the Royal Niger Company, and tried to seek out favourable trading terms, with particularly the Germans in Kamerun which is today's cameroun.  By 1894, the Royal Niger Company increasingly dictated whom the natives could trade with, and denied them direct access to their formal markets.

In late 1894, King Koko renounced Christianity,and tried to form an Alliance with Bonny and Epkoma against Royal Niger Company to take back the trade. This was important because while Ekpoma joined, Bonny refused which made it to be the Harbinger of the successful “divide and rule" tactic employed by the British. On 29 January 1895, King Koko laid an attack on the Royal Niger Company's Headquarters, which was in Akass in today's Bayelsa state. The pre-dawn raid had more than a thousand men involved. King Koko attack succeeded in capturing the base, losing 40 of his men, King koko captured 60 white men as Hostages, as well as a lot of goods, ammunitions and a maxin gun.


Koko then attempted to negotiate a release of the hostages in exchange for been allowed to choose his trading partners. The Britain refused to negotiate with koko,and he had 40 of the hostage killed. On 20th february1895, British Royal Navy under Admiral Bedford attacked Brass and burned it to the ground. Many Nembe people died and smallpox finished off a lot of others.

By April 1895 business had returned to normal as the Britain wanted and king Koko was on the run. Brass was fined £500 by the British, £26,825 in today's money and the looted weapons were returned as well as the surviving prisoners. King koko later commit suicide


The immediate effect of the Brass war was that the public opinion in Britain were turned against the Royal Niger Company, so its charter was revoked,following the revoke of its charter, the Royal Niger Company sold its Holdings to the British Government for £865,000 (£46,407,250 today).That amount,£46,407,250(NGN17,552,955,260.76 at today's exchange rate)was effectively the price Britain paid to buy the territory which was to become known as Nigeria.

After then they include the western and northern parts as partakers and named it Nigeria through Flora Shaw,a girlfriend of Fredrick Lugard. The British warriors handed over the East politically to the North and religiously to the west for opposing their treachery and authority.

This forms the reason why the Eastern or Biafran politician will first serve the interest of the North,which they claim is "one Nigeria" before attending to his people else he would be booted out and hounded. The easterner also feels same religiously,otherwise he will not feel blessed if a western has not laid hands on him.
It should be note that when the Britons invaded our lands, we never demanded passports from them nor did we sit and agree on a plebiscite for us to be joined together with any part of Nigeria. We will continue to write our history, else our adversaries will write it their own way, remember the words of people like Marcus Garvey and others who said that "Failing to teach children our history, will definitely foreclose who you are and your future.

1 comment

  1. This thing is not in history as biafran war is also not in it..let's tell our self the can not not force a girl and marry her then expect her to call you honey/sweetheart


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