Lagos, the sixth-largest city in the world by city population is known for its beach resorts, nightlife and activity.
The Aba women’s riot of 1929, often referred to as a war, resulted in the death of 51 women and 1 man.
The Aba women’s riot did not happen spontaneously, but had months of tension leading to it. Here is the real story behind the rebellion and the people that died.
Power in Igboland had very large disparity between ruling in other parts of Nigeria. Igbos did not have a unified political institution as in the North and South hence it was harder to enforce the indirect system of ruling, instituted by Lord Lugard in 1914, in Igboland.
The Aba Women’s Riot featured women rebelling against economic and socio-political oppressions in Bende, Umuahia, and other regions of Igboland. Over 10,000 women came out to protest from majorly six ethnic groups: Ibibio, Andoni, Orgoni, Bonny, Opobo, and Igbo.
The indirect rule system in Igboland involved the appointment of ‘warrant chiefs.’ These warrant chiefs, who weren’t necessarily people that were respected by the communities, became the enforced symbol of power. And as result of the vested power, the warrant chiefs became increasingly oppressive within few years.
Direct taxation on men was introduced in 1928 without major incidents, thanks to the careful propaganda during the preceding twelve months. In September 1929, Captain J. Cook, an assistant District Officer, was sent to take over the Bende division temporarily from the serving district officer. Upon taking over, Cook found the slated nominal rolls for tax inadequate because they did not include details of the number of wives, children, and livestock in each household. He decided to revise the nominal roll to include these.
The war and its implications
The riot bubbled from a town called Oloko, where the warrant chief, Okugo, sent his representative Mark Emereuwa on the morning of 18 November 1929, to conduct the census for the tax. Emereuwa entered the compound of a widow named Nwanyereuwa, while she was processing palm fruit, and instructed her to “count her lives stocks and people living with her.”
Knowing fully well that this means you will be taxed based on the number of the outcome, Nwanyereuwa became embittered; and in replying, she said, “was your widowed mother counted?”
This simply means that women were not supposed to pay tax in Igbo society. Anger was however expressed with exchange of words and ended with Nwanyereuwa pouring her palm oil on Emereuwa. Threats were also exchanged.
The widow proceeded to the town square to find other women who were already deliberating on the tax issue and explained to them her sad experience. Nwanyeruwa’s account prompted the women to invite other women with the aid of palm leaves from other areas of the Bende district.
Approximately ten thousand women were gathered, and a protest insisting on the removal and trial of the warrant chief was staged. It would go down in history that the effect of the Aba women’s riot prompted the British administration to drop their plans to impose a tax on the market women and to curb the power of the warrant chiefs.
In addition, the positions of women in society were greatly improved as women were appointed to serve as chief warrant in some areas.
The fallen revolutionists
The Aba Women’s Riot resulted in the death of 51 women and 1 man. These are their names:
Reference:Susan Geiger; Women in African colonial histories | Greg Nwoko
No argument over ownership of Benin artefacts – Oba of Benin
The Oba of Benin Kingdom, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II, has declared that there is no dispute over the ownership of numerous Benin artefacts taken from the palace of the royal family in 1897 during the British invasion of the kingdom, which are now scattered across Europe, the United States and other parts of the world.
The monarch stated this when he received in his palace, the Chairman of DAAR Communications, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, who paid a courtesy visit on him on his birthday and the fifth coronation anniversary, where he commended the efforts of the Oba in bringing back the artworks.
Oba Ewuare II said: “The fortunes are behind you in all your efforts to ensure that all the artefacts that were taken away from here are brought back and restored.”
The Oba also dispelled speculations that some of the works were not taken from the palace but elsewhere, just as he commended the federal government and the Director-General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) for their support to get the artefacts back.
While commending Dokpesi for taking the lead in private broadcasting in Nigeria despite the unfriendly environment, the Oba revealed that Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, which his father, Oba Erediauwa, attended, would soon return some artefacts in its custody to Benin.
According to him, “We hear that some researchers in Germany have stated that some of them were produced here; some were produced there, and so on and so forth, but where are these here and there? Were they outside the Benin Empire? Where they outside the Benin Kingdom? Were any of the artefacts produced outside the Benin Kingdom? If they were all produced in the Benin kingdom, why would any researcher try to say some were taken out of Benin Palace and some were taken from elsewhere? All elsewhere or wherever they are talking about, are they not all under the authority of the Oba of Benin? Are they not all under the Benin Empire?”
He said the planned museum to house the artefacts would be domiciled in a building opposite the palace.
6 interesting facts about Lagos
Nigeria has 36 states and one of them is Lagos State. Though it is the smallest state in the country, Lagos remains to be the most populous and a major financial centre.
Here are facts about this megacity, some you know others you don’t.
1. It has the Tallest Building in West Africa
Lagos state hosts the tallest building in West Africa, NECOM house towers and it is 160m above the city.
2. The Third Mainland Bridge which connects Lagos Island to the mainland was the longest bridge in Africa measuring 11.8 km until 1996. Built by Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, the official name of the bridge is Ibrahim Babangida Bridge.
3. Lagos Handles 80% of the Country’s Imports
Lagos handles majority of Nigeria’s imports. Located in the Southwest beach line of Nigeria, Lagos port is responsible for processing 80% of goods in Nigeria.
This port is also mentioned as one of the top 10 in Africa.
4. Lagos was called Eko before colonisation by locals. It served as a major centre for slave-trade, from which then Oba of Benin Ado and all of his successors for over four centuries supported – until 1841 when Oba Akitoye ascended to the throne of Lagos and attempted to ban slave-trading.
Local merchants strongly opposed the intended move, and deposed, exiled the king and installed Akitoye’s brother Kosoko as Oba.
5. Lagos maintained its status as capital when Nigeria obtained its independence from Britain in 1960. Lagos was, therefore, the capital city of Nigeria from 1914 until 1991, when it was replaced with Abuja as the Federal Capital Territory.
6. Until the coming of the Benins, Lagos’s geographic boundary was Lagos Mainland. Lagos Island, the seat of the Oba of Lagos, then consisted of a pepper farm and fishing posts. No one lived there. The name Eko was given to it by its first king, Oba Ado, during its early history. Lagos also saw periods of rule by the Kingdom of Benin.
Amadioha vs Sango: A brief history of the Nigerian gods of thunder
You know all about Thor, the Norse god of thunder but do you know about Sango and Amadioha. Let’s find out their differences and similarities.
Before we even heard about the Norse god of thunder, Thor, we had ours. It is very common to hear the slang, “thunder fire you” but do you know where it originated from?
In African folklore, Amadioha and Sango are gods of thunder to the Igbos and Yorubas respectively. There are many difference between them but many similarities too. They are both associated with aggression and serve as agents of justice.
People who have been accused of crimes go to their shrines to declare their innocence, less they be struck by lightning. Their common colour representation is Red and white, and the white ram. The ram is sacred to a lot of the African thunder and lightning gods, both as a sacrifice and as a symbol.
Sango is one of the ancestral fathers and Orishas of the Yoruba, Caribbean and certain Latin American people. He is the highly reverenced god of Thunder, Lightning, and Electricity who was also the third Alaafin of Oyo. He was a powerful ruler who brought prosperity to his land. He gained his powers from a babalawo (herbalist) when he sought more power to destroy his enemies. He gained the powers to control lightning and was subsequently possessed by the spirit of lightning marking his ascendance into Orisha level. He was also said to breathe fire and apparently never died.
Due to slave trade, Sango is also venerated in Haiti, as a god of thunder and weather; in Brazil, he is known as Xangô; in Umbanda, as the very powerful loa Nago Shango; in Trinidad as Shango god of Thunder, drumming and dance ; and in Cuba, Puerto Rico and Venezuela – the Santeria equivalent of St. Barbara, he is known as Changó.
His symbol is a double-headed axe, which represents swift and balanced justice. He is the owner of Bata (double-headed drums), as well as the Arts of Music, Dance and Entertainment in the Yoruba Culture.
Amadioha is the god/arusi (deities)of thunder and lightning of the Igbo people of south eastern Nigeria. He is first and foremost known as a god of justice. He speaks through thunder, and he strikes with lightning.In some parts of Igboland, he is referred to as Amadiora, Kamalu (which is short for Kalu Akanu),Kamanu, or Ofufe. He is revered in the same way a god is, lovingly and fearfully. Metaphysically, Amadioha represents the collective will of the people. He is also considered the creator God and the god of love, peace and unity. His name is used as oaths in Igboland and carry death penalties when broken. It is common to hear someone say, “Chi m le kwee – O wuru si o wu mu mere ihea, amadioha magbukwe m” (My god please see- If it is true that I did this thing, let Amadioha Kill me).
He never manifested as a human. Unlike his fellow thunder and lightning deities, Amadioha doesn’t carry an object of power like Thor carries his hammer or like Shango carries his axe. His symbol is a white ram. From witness reports, Amadioha at times appears to people in the form of a large white ram.
Astrologically, his governing planet is the sun and he is often associated with Anyanwu, who is the Igbo god of the Sun.
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