The British Conquest of Ebiraland, North Central Nigeria 1886-1917: A Military Interpretation of Sources
Dr. Ahmed Adam Okene, Dr. Ochi Abdulrahman Suberu

Since 1999 when democratic governance returned to Nigeria several components of it have been undergoing violent conflicts majorly due to domestic contradictions that have bedeviled the country for long. Kogi Central Senatorial District inhabited mainly by the Ebira people had its share of the violence; indeed, one of the most gruesome in the post 1999 democratic Nigeria. Thus, the need to reinterpret the historical foundation of the current experience. This can only be taken from the British invasion of the area in the late 19thCentury. The bid to conquer Ebiraland by the British began in 1860 when the British firm, the National African Company, had become firmly established in the Niger-Benue Confluence area with its headquarters in Lokoja. The British conquest when it finally came in 1903 was gruesome and brutal. It was, simply put, militaristic. Yet as dramatic as the conquest was pursued, it was typically inconclusive, because the Ebira put up resistance to the intervention in their geo-polity for more than one and half decades, marking it out as one of the polities where the British had a difficult task in establishing an ubiquitous colonial control and despotic political economy. This study is therefore about the military manner in which the British conquered Ebiraland, the military manner in which the people resisted the conquest, and indeed how the phenomenon laid the foundation of militarism in the sociopolitical milieu and material contestations in the area. A study of this kind gives colour to the diversity in the African conquest by the colonialists and the people’s resistance to the imposition, especially as it hopes to x-ray the experience of a policy that had no centralized chain of command during the pre-colonial era, or what is generally known in African history as a non-centralized political system. The colour would become more appreciated as the study intends to carry out this survey from the purview of military interpretation of sources away from the usual simplistic and casual examination of economic and socio-political imperatives and ramifications. The outcome will benefit both students and scholars of colonialism, military researchers, political scientists and sociologists. Public administrators, policy makers and military strategists will also find the outcome of this research useful.

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