This Is The Man Who Sold Nigeria To British For £865k In 1899
This is the account of the main oil war, which was battled in the nineteenth century, in the region that moved toward becoming Nigeria.
All through the nineteenth century, palm oil was exceptionally looked for after by the British, for use as a modern grease for hardware.
Keep in mind that Britain was the world’s initially industrialized country, so they required assets, for example, palm oil to keep up that.
Palm oil, obviously, is a tropical plant, which is local to the Niger Delta. Malaysia’s predominance came a century later.
By 1870, palm oil had supplanted slaves as the primary fare of the Niger Delta, the zone which was once known as the Slave Coast.
At first, a large portion of the exchange the oil palm was awkward, with locals pitching to the individuals who gave them the best arrangements.
Local boss, for example, previous slave, Jaja of Opobo turned out to be hugely well off as a result of oil palm. With this riches came impact.
Be that as it may, among the Europeans, there was rivalry for who might get special access to the rewarding oil palm exchange.
In 1879, George Goldie shaped the United African Company (UAC), which was demonstrated on the previous East India Company.
Goldie viably assumed responsibility for the Lower Niger River. By 1884, his organization had 30 exchanging posts along the Lower Niger.
This imposing business model gave the British a solid hand against the French and Germans in the 1884 Berlin Conference.
The British got the territory that the UAC worked in, incorporated into their effective reach after the Berlin Conference.
At the point when the Brits got the terms they needed from different Europeans, they started to manage the African boss.
Inside two years of 1886, Goldie had marked arrangements with inborn boss along the Benue and Niger Rivers while likewise entering inland.
This move inland was against the soul of verbal understandings that had been made to limit the association’s exercises to waterfront areas.
By 1886, the organization name changed to The National Africa Company and was allowed a regal sanction (fused).
The contract approved the organization to oversee the Niger Delta and all grounds around the banks of the Benue and Niger Rivers. Before long, the organization was again renamed.
The new name was Royal Niger Company, which endures, as Unilever, till this day.
To neighborhood boss, the Royal Niger Company moderators had promised organized commerce in the locale.
Behind, they entered private contracts on their terms. Since the (beguiling) private contracts were frequently
written in English and marked by the nearby boss, the British government implemented them.
So for instance, Jaja of Opobo, when he attempted to fare palm oil alone, was constrained into outcast for “blocking business”.
As an aside, Jaja was “forgiven” in 1891 and allowed to return home, but he died on the way back, poisoned with a cup of tea.
Seeing what happened to Jaja, some other native rulers began to look more closely at the deals they were getting from the Royal Nigeria Company.
One of such kingdoms was Nembe, whose king, Koko Mingi VIII, ascended the throne in 1889 after being a
Christian schoolteacher. Koko Mingi VIII, King Koko for short, like most rulers in the yard, was faced with the Royal Nigeria Company encroachment.
He also resented the monopoly enjoyed by the Royal Nigeria Company and tried to seek out favourable trading
terms, with particularly the Germans in Kamerun (Cameroon).
By 1894, the Royal Nigeria Company increasingly dictated whom the natives could trade with, and denied them direct access to their former markets.
In late 1894, King Koko renounced Christianity and tried to form an alliance with Bonny and Okpoma against the Royal Nigeria Company to take back the trade.
This is significant because while Okpoma joined up, Bonny refused. A harbinger of the successful “divide and rule” tactic.
On 29 January 1895, King Koko led an attack on the Royal Niger Company’s headquarters, which was in Akassa in today’s Bayelsa state.
The pre-dawn raid had more than a thousand men involved. King Koko’s 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, ammunition and a Maxim gun.
Koko then attempted to negotiate a release of the hostages in exchange for being allowed to chose his trading partners.
The British refused to negotiate with Koko, and he had forty of the hostages killed.
A British report claimed that the Nembe people ate them. On 20 February 1895, Britain’s 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, the business had returned to “normal”, normal being the conditions that the British wanted, and
King Koko was on the run. Brass was fined £500 by the British, £62,494 (NGN29 million) in today’s money, and the
looted weapons were returned as well as the surviving prisoners.
After a British Parliamentary Commission sat, King Koko was offered terms of the settlement by the British, which he rejected and disappeared.
The British promptly declared him an outlaw and offered a reward of £200 (£26,000; NGN12 million today) for him. He committed suicide in exile in 1898.
About that time, another “recalcitrant King”, the Oba of Benin, was run out of town. The pacification of the Lower Niger was well and truly underway.
The immediate effect of the Brass Oil War was that public opinion in Britain turned against the Royal Nigeria Company, so its charter was revoked in 1899.
Following the revoking of its charter, the Royal Niger Company sold its holdings to the British government for £865,000 (£108 million today).
That amount, £46,407,250 (NGN 50,386,455,032,400, at today’s exchange rate) was effectively the price Britain
paid, to buy the territory which was to become known as Nigeria.