THE NORTHERN EXPEDITION: How the North fell.
Regularly, the British expeditions often starts from a water based area. The North wasn’t an exception. Lokoja (in the present day Kogi) was the start point in 1867. As usual, a consulate was established.
The British interest in the trade of along the Niger, the United African Company (UAC) was established in 1879 perhaps to gain a united font over other rivals (French and German explorers) within the region. The UAC later became N.A.C (National African Company) in 1881.
Having successfully created trading stations all over the waterways across the region (Onitsha, Asaba, Idah, Aboh) and creating a rapport with the Emirs in the North, the British took steps to dominate. The dreams came through in 1885 (British conference).
The N.A.C soon became R.N.C (The Royal Niger Company Chartered and Limited). RNC controlled the trading matters along the coast while every respective Emir manned his territory according to the statement of the treaties in smooth partnership. This was why the later Indirect rule system was successful in the region.
The rift only started when some Emirs (especially the Emir of Nupe) began to raise questions as to the conduct of the company in determining who comes into their country/Emirate. They felt they practically have no say concerning their territorial boundary laws.
Due to the pressure from the other rivals as they plan to hijack the territory from her, the company wasn’t ready to give in to the agitations of the locals. He therefore planned to silence the agitation for once and all.
In 1897, it ordered a military expedition into Nupe and Ilorin. The success of it gave it more strength to further occupy the rest if the Northern territory.
However, the pressure from outside kept increasing and thus it became clear to the British government that the hold of her territory in the Northern Emirates cannot be left in the hands of a ‘company’. British then financed a military force officered by the British army under the capable hands of Lord Frederick Lugard to dominate the RNC.
It then established its headquarters in Jebba as the West African Frontier Force. So that by January 1, 1900, upon revocation of the Company’s charter (of 1886), the government assumes direct and total control of all the Company’s territories.
Thus, the Union Jack was hoisted at Lokoja by Lugard and every Emirate automatically falls under his leadership. Though, majority of the local Emirate authorities do not know about this until later. He then became the first High Commissioner of the acquired territories.
As usual, the process didn’t go so smooth. There were resistance by local authorities at initials. Especially in Keffi, Kano and Sokoto where a certain Captain Moloney was beheaded by a Chief in Keffi; took cover in Kano and was supported by Sokoto. But as always, all of the Emirate forces put together was not too big for the British Army to handle.
Frederick Lugard continued leadership in the territories along the coast (Southern and Northern axis) discreetly until 1914. Reportedly, the now Nigeria (from the words ‘Niger area’) was amalgamated for ease of administration and trade relations.
In subsequent research, we shall look into Lord Lugard’s role in the formation of the New Nigeria. Anticipate…
Happy Independence day to all Nigerians. In case you missed the President’s Independence Day speech earlier this morning, here is the full script:
Enjoy your holidays.
Edited and Published on Muzzammilwrites.