POLITICAL HISTORY

BRITISH COLONISATION OF NIGERIAN TERRITORIES

By 1880, the British had been well established along the coast of West Africa and began to advance into the interior. With the abolition of slave trade in Britain in 1807, the trade in palm oil was encouraged to replace that in slaves. It was also hoped that it would supply Britain with raw materials for her growing industries. The discovery of the Niger by the Lander Brothers in 1830 opened the route to the interior for British trade. Since the mouth of Nigeria had been discovered, it was necessary to put the knowledge to commercial use. The British Naval supremacy on the coast opened up trade for the British. Also, the British wanted to plant Christianity in Nigeria. They were determined to take the Christian religious message and European civilisation to Nigerian communities, most especially where it had not been heard.   British contact with Nigeria as Explorer The British explorers were those who travelled through an unknown areas to find out about it. These were people like Mungo Park, Clapperton, Lander Brothers, Thomas Freeman, Oudney and the likes. The major aim of these men was to discover an inland highway for trade in West Africa and Nigeria in particular. Consequently in 1795, a young Scottish doctor, Mungo Park offered his service and later discovered the majesty of River Niger at Segu. He discovered that River Niger flowed eastwards and observed advanced civilisation in Nigeria. In 1805, the British Government sponsored Mungo Park and about 45 Europeans on another exploration but, unfortunately, all of them died in Bussa. The role of Clapperton, Denham and Oudney who left England in 1821 is worthy of note. They left for Nigeria across Sahara and, reached Bornu and Sokoto in the North West. He did not find out about the Niger, and he went back to England in 1825. Clapperton set out again in 1825. He sailed from Badagry, near Lagos, crossed the Niger near Bussa and visited Sokoto and died there in 1827. In 1830, Richard Lander, John Lander and others were sent on another expedition in order to complete the task of Clapperton. They started from Badagry, and reached Bussa, where they got a boat to travel down the Niger. This party after so many efforts, discovered where River Niger entered the Atlantic Ocean. The discovery of the mouth of the Niger in 1830 by the Lander brothers opened the route to the interior for European traders. Once the mouth of the Niger had been discovered, it was necessary to put the new knowledge to commercial use. One commercial expedition organised in 1832-1834 by a Liverpool ship owner, Mac-Gregor Laird, sailed up the Niger as far as the confluence and beyond. This expedition failed to achieve its desired objective. Another expedition to penetrate the interior was made in 1841-1842 by the British government. This expedition was organised by Thomas Fowell Buxton who was a kind-hearted and religious man who believed that the condition of the people in Nigeria could only be improved upon by opening up the river to traders and missionaries. He influenced the British government to decide that the area should be explored not only for trading transaction, but also for converting the indigenous people to Christianity. This is to confirm the original aim of British penetration into the interior to promote legitimate trade between Nigeria and European, and to convert Nigerians to their (europeans) own religion of Christianity. The heavy death toll from malaria discouraged further efforts until 1854 when Dr. William Baikie took over the command of another expedition. Dr. Baikie-led expedition was the most successful expedition on which he demonstrated that the use of quinine prevented fever. This expedition did not record any death of its members.   The National African Company The penetration of the Niger and the exploration of the British on the oil Rivers was left in the hands of the individuals, among them was John Beecroft. In 1849, he became the consul for the bights of Benin and Biafra; his duty was to look after the interests of the British merchants trading along the coast of Dahomey to the Cameroons. By 1850s, some of these merchants were trading as far inland as Lokoja, Onitsha and Aboh. Between 1855 and1856, the trade volume in the oil Rivers alone amounted to 25,060 tones which was almost half of the entire African production of palm oil for some years. It is to be noted that between the 1830s and 1840s, the British policy on nonintervention in the domestic politics of the African states contributed greatly to the development of trade in the Oil Rivers. However, the period of John Beecroft consisting 1849-1854 marked the beginning of European involvement and empire building in Nigeria. This coincided with the period of African resistance to further European penetration into the interior. George Taubman Goldie’s visit to the oil Rivers in 1877 made him to observe and conclude that only a strong organisation could combat local resistance and French rivalry in the area. This made him to persuade various British companies to form the United African Company in 1819. In 1882, the United African Company was incorporated as the National African Company.   British contact with Missionaries In West Africa, the Portuguese were the first to introduce missionaries. They connected a Wolof King and had a bit of success in Temneland and Benin. The Roman Catholic priests ministered to the French officials in Senegal, and Portuguese in Caches and Bissau. The British missionaries also grew because of the religious revival of the period and their interest in the complete abolition of slave trade. The American Mission also made a meaningful impact, especially in Liberia. The Basel Missionary Society of Switzerland was known for her training school which provided recruits for other groups. German missionaries served British and other societies until she developed political interest in Africa in 1880. The work of these missionaries were limited because of the high death rate as a result of malaria. Because of the problem of communication and hostility in the Muslim areas by the 19th century, their attention was directed to Nigeria. All these missionaries had the mind of planting the Christian religion in West Africa, Nigeria in particular. Along with this motive was their intention to establish trade with Nigeria in order to replace trade in human beings. The Europeans saw Africans as an uncivilised set of human beings. Therefore, they had prepared to introduce European culture and civilisation. They could not realise that Africa had her own unique culture and civilisation long before their coming.   Early Christian missions in Nigeria The Portuguese were the first to introduce missionaries to West Africa as earlier stated. This was towards the end of the 15th century when they had contacts with the people of Benin and Warri Kingdoms. The major aim of the Portuguese was to spread Christianity, and this was followed by commerce which was auxiliary to missionary work. The activities of the Portuguese missionaries in the 15 century to convert the people of Nigeria to Christianity failed. This was due to the fact that the Europeans placed economic interest above the mission work. Also, some traditional rulers who claimed to have support for Christianity did that for political and economic reason. For instance, the Olu of Warri had the intention of maintaining independence from Benin and thus sought the Portuguese support. The Oba of Benin wanted to acquire firearms in order to wage wars of conquest and expansion. The problem of communities and financial difficulties also posed a great threat to the success of Christianity in the 15th century. More importantly, the quality and quantity of the missionaries sent to Nigeria could not cope with the work.   Christian missions in Nigeria The real and successful mission work started in Nigeria in the 19 century. It started among the Yoruba freed slaves who had already been converted to Christianity in Sierra Leone. These converts returned to their homes in Badagry, Lagos and Abeokuta. The Wesleyans were among the earliest workers in Sierra Leone, having established there in 1811. The Wesleyan missionaries were later renamed the Methodists. They were the first to begin work in Nigeria under Thomas Birch Freeman who was the head of the Gold Coast Methodist Mission. He opened a station in Badagry in 1842. He established good relationship with the Egba, under Sodeke. He opened mission stations in Abeokuta, Ibadan, Ilesa and Lagos. The activities of the Church Missionary Society was equally worthy of note. The CMS was formed in 1799 and began work in Sierra Leone in 1804. The Church Missionary Society was successful among the slaves who returned from America who had already been converted, and among the Africans rescued from the slave ships and settled there. The Yorubas rescued from slave ships were settled in Sierra Leone. These people later returned to Yorubaland and asked for missionaries to be sent to them. This led to the founding of the mission stations in Abeokuta in 1846, Lagos in 1851, Ibadan in 1853, Oyo in 1856 and Lokoja in 1865 and later spread to many places in Nigeria. The Roman Catholic Mission returned to Nigeria in 1860 after they had worked extensively in Ivory Coast, Gambia and Sierra Leone. In 1860, the Roman Catholic Mission Station was led by Rev. Father Berghero who visited Abeokuta and Lagos. He opened mission stations in Lagos in 1868 and other places like Abeokuta, Ibadan and Lokoja. The Roman Catholic Mission activities equally spread to today’s eastern part of Nigeria like Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states. Mention must be made of the Southern America Baptist who sent Thomas Jefferson Bowen in 1850 to commence mission work in Nigeria. Bowen established mission station in Ijaye, Ogbomoso in 1854, Oyo, Shaki and other towns in Yorubaland. The Presbyterian Church equally worked in old Calabar under Hope Waddell in 1846. Mary Slessor who was known for stopping the killing of twins also worked with the mission. The Christian missionaries also made several attempts in the northern part of Nigeria but could not succeed well because of hostility from the Muslims. Thus, little progress was made.   Effects of Christian missionary in Nigeria The Christian missionary activities had far-reaching consequences on the people of Nigeria. There were two schools of thought on this. One believed that the missionary activities was beneficial to the people of Nigeria while the other school believed that it was harmful. The missionaries introduced the Christian religion which was against the pagan practice which supported and encouraged various sacrifices even in human beings. The christian religion was opposed to these sacrifices. Mary Slessor equally worked against the killing of twins in Calabar. The missionaries worked relentlessly to bring trade in slave to an end. They were in the vanguard of campaign against the inhuman trade. The missionaries embarked on the introduction and improvement of modern medical services. Hospitals, clinics and dispensaries were built by the missionaries in order to prevent spread of diseases and to improve people health services. Hospitals were built by the Catholics, Methodists, Anglican and Baptist missions all over Nigeria. The introduction of Western education was another credit to the missionaries. The missionaries built schools and colleges in many towns with the aim of teaching the 3R’s (reading, writing and arithmetic). Rev. Thomas Birch Freeman, a Methodist missionary, established the first school in Badagry in 1842. The Church Missionary Society, The Roman Catholic Mission, The Southern American Baptist and the rest equally established schools. The CMS established two schools in Badagry. It also opened two schools in Abeokuta in 1846. The popular CMS Grammer School was established in 1859. Samuel Ajayi Crowther established the first school in Onitsha in 1859. Many schools were established: Abeokuta Grammar School 1908, Ijebu Ode Grammar School 1913, Ibadan Grammar School 1913 and a host of others. For the benefit of the Nigerian teachers, teacher training institutions were also established by the missionaries: St. Andrews College, Oyo 1896, Baptist College Iwo…

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THE EVOLUTION OF THE NIGERIAN STATE

The Berlin Treaty There were two major events that served as the prelude to the conference where the treaty took place. Firstly, King Leopold was interested in the Congo Basin, and the second was the Germans’ acquisition of Colonies in West Africa. The above mentioned events sprang-up rivalry among the European nations for acquisition of territories in Africa.   Major reasons for the treaty The Conference was held between November 1884 and February 1885. This was called by Germany and France in order to discuss the following issues: The freedom of commerce in Basin and Mouth of the River Congo. Freedom of navigation on the River Congo and Niger. Formalities to be observed and fulfilled before a new occupation of territories on the African Coast should be internationally recognised.   Attendance at Berlin Conference These were the European powers who attended the conference. Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Turkey, United States of America, Germany, Britain and France.   Decisions and agreement at Berlin Conference of 1884/1885 The Berlin Conference of 1884/1885 was chaired by Chancellor Bismark of Germany. A lot of diplomatic manoeuvres were employed by Britain, France and Germany to ensure that the European powers would not resort to war among themselves in their race for colonial acquisition in Africa. The Conference recognised King Leopold II of Belgium International Association as a Sovereign power in Congo. This eventually gave birth to the Congo free states. The river Congo was declared an International river whereby freedom of commerce and navigation were to exist on the river for all the European powers. Codes of Conduct for acquisition of territories in Africa were spelt out: Any European power acquiring territories on the coast of Africa should immediately inform all other signatory powers (European powers that attended the Conference and signed the Communique). Occupation of any African territory by any European power would only be valid if it had effective Control over the area in matters of trade and military establishment. Any European power possessing a coastal area in Africa was entitled to its hinterland.   Importance of Berlin Conference of 1884/1885 The decisions reached at the Conference were compromises among the European powers to ensure peaceful partition of African territories. The Conference did not partition Africa, but it succeeded in providing general principles and definition of formula in order to minimise inter-European disputes in their struggle for territorial acquisition. The Conference also gave International recognition to the possession of some African territories that had been occupied before the Conference. The Conference fastened the conquest and partition of Africa.   The roles of Royal Niger Company in Nigerian territories The Royal Niger Company was formed by Sir George Taubman Goldie. He was a former officer of the British army who had interest in one of the British companies trading on the lower Niger. In 1877, he visited the lower Niger River and in 1879 persuaded the British companies trading along the Niger to come together in order to withstand the competition of their French and German rivals. The principal British companies joined together in a company known as the United African Company; and changed its name in 1882 to the National African Company. Sir George Goldie’s Company was financially buoyant and was able to buy the French companies. This made Goldie on the eve of Berlin Conference to obtain treaties from African rulers on the lower Niger. Thus, Britain secured the lower Niger valley and its territories. The British gave the National African Company a Royal charter which conferred political rights on it. The company changed its name to Royal Niger Company with its administrative headquarters at Asaba. The company set up a military (constabulary force), a High Court and several agencies to take care of its trading posts. Through its constabulary force, it declared and demonstrated effective control on the area. In 1897, its forces defeated Bida and Ilorin, thus began the process of the conquest of northern Nigeria. By 1899, the British government decided that the Royal Niger Company had outlived its usefulness. By 1900, as a result of the French challenge, the Royal Niger Company charter was abrogated and its area of operation was taken over by the British government.   Colonial conquest and administration of Nigerian territories The Europeans employed two major methods to invade Africa. These methods were Diplomacy and Force. Diplomacy means the tactics used by the Europeans to make African rulers surrender their states and kingdoms to Europeans without the foreigner’s use of forceful means. The tactics used by the Europeans included the signing of treaties with African Kings. These treaties were called Treaties of commerce and friendship. The implication of this means the establishment of diplomatic relations that is having political representatives, such as ambassadors. There were also trading activities between the Countries that signed the treaties. Some of the contents of the treaty included pledges to stop slave trade and to allow European missionaries to preach Christian religion. Force was used to take up African territories in some areas where diplomacy did not work with the African rulers. Such African rulers were those who refused to sign treaties and insisted on asserting their political authority over the European firms and traders, missionaries and imperial agents in their territories. African rulers in this context included King Kosoko of Lagos, Attahiru II of the Sokoto Caliphate and a host of others. This action cost King Kosoko of Lagos to be bombarded and he was forced out of the throne. Also, Attahiru, the Caliph of the Sokoto Caliphate, was attacked in the early 20m Century because he refused to accept British friendship. These facts showed that the British clearly used force where diplomacy failed to impose their political control on African State. The Europeans were able to secure control of the territories on which they had spheres of influence by making use of their Chartered Companies. In Nigeria, the Royal Niger Company was used to secure the Northern Nigeria and administer it till 1900 when its area of operation was taken over by the British government. The indirect rule system of government was adopted by the British for the administration of Nigeria. This extends the use of traditional rulers in governance. Sir Lord Lugard amalgamated the Northern and Southern protectorates under a political entity called Nigeria. As the first colonial Governor General, he initiated the Nigerian Council of 1914. In spite of the 1914 amalgamation, the Northern Province was separately administered from the South. The Nigeria Council of 1914 was replaced by Clifford Constitution in 1922. Sir Hugh Clifford introduced an elective principle which allowed Nigerians to be elected into the Legislative Council. This gave rise to the first political party in Nigeria Nigerian National Democratic Party in 1923 by Herbert Macaulay. The elective principle granted three and one elected representatives to Lagos and Calabar respectively. The Richard Constitution of 1946 was directed towards the promotion of Nigerian unity and enhanced greater participation of Nigerians in their own affairs. The Constitution equally introduced regionalism, each of the three regions was dominated by one ethnic group: the Hausa Fulani in the North, the Yoruba in the West and the Igbo in the East. The Macpherson Constitution of 1951 and Lyttleton Constitution of 1954 improved on the British administration and Nigerian participation in the affairs of their country. It must be stressed that the British Colonial Constitutions ensured that the North had many seats in the Central legislature than the West and East. This means that the North had inherited power at independence through British colonial machinery.

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THE IDOMA AND TIV

The Origin of the Idoma The Idoma are located in the Niger-Benue confluence. The Idoma ethnic group. comprises the Igede, Agatu and other ethnic groups around the Niger-Benue confluence. This is the area of Nok culture which is characterised by ironworks and terracotta works. The Idoma are close neighbours of the Tiv.   Socio-political organisation of the Idoma Though the Idoma were united by language, they were not united into a single political state. In each land or clan, there was a hierarchy of elders who selected and advised the head chief. In a few places, state organisations emerged, extending beyond single clans.   Tiv Political structure/institutions of the Tiv The early Tiv system was centred on a secret society called Mbatsav, where members produced two principal rulers of every clan. One of such leaders was Tor spokesman. He was believed to be gifted with great magical powers which were important to the prosperity of the people. He controlled spiritual and legislative matters. The second ruler was the Shagba, a man of wealth or one blessed with many children. It was possible for an individual who was not a member of the tsav to hold the office as Shagba. Tiv contact with the Jukun modified the political structures as the Tee and Shagba gave way to a new class of chiefs called the Drum Chief – Tor Agbande. The Drum Chief received his sanction and regalia from the Jukun King. Initially, it was only the Tiv clans closest to the Jukun that had Drum Chief but, over time, other clans copied the institution. Membership of the Mba Tsav was the major criterion to becoming the Orum Chief.

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THE ORIGIN OF THE ITSEKIRI

The Itsekiri tradition traces them to the migration of Iginua from Benin during the reign of Oba Olua. Iginua was said to have met people who inhabited the area before he and his party moved in. These people were called Umale. Besides, there were some Urhobo and Ijo elements settled in the neighbourhood. The incorporation of Ijo, Urhobo, Benin and Yoruba cultures suggests that apart for earlier groups, the Itsekiri had strong connections with the Yoruba to the West. The Itsekiri language is similar to Yoruba. The Itsekiri evolved a centralised system of government. The capital of the Itsekiri kingdom was refered to as Ode-Itsekiri with adjoining settlement similar to Benin; the most important are Escravos and Forcardos. The kingdom was ruled by the Olu (King) who was assisted by a council of Chiefs known as the Ojoye; they were seventy in number. The most significant titles among these chiefs were the Ologbosere – The Prime Minister and the lyasere – War Leader. Uwangue was the Chief in charge of the regalia and spokesman, during official meetings. Each village was administered by the elders headed by Olare-aja, who was the oldest man in the village. The development of centralised institutions in Itsekiri can be attributed to its response to the internal trade within the Delta region and towards the European trade in slaves.   The economy of the Itsekiri The economy of the Itsekiri was characterised by fishing, farming and pottery. These products were exchanged with their neighbours within the Delta and outside the Delta. Very pertinent in the trade was pottery. Itsekiri pottery were keenly sought after in the Niger Delta. This trade laid the bases for European trade in agricultural products and slaves and much later, palm oil and palm produce.   Aboh The Aboh, according to Dr Ogedengbe, was founded as a result of Benin invasion into an area that is already inhabited by Igbo elements. Though the Benin were stronger and were able to ensure the political institutions operated a monarchical system of government, the lgbos were numerically stronger and were able to determine the language. The Aboh Kingdom was ruled by a king called Obi, a title he must have derived from the Igbo. Aboh was divided into two sections. These were: the Umude section – an area inhabited by the descendants of the Edo; and the Ndiche who were non-Edo immigrants. The Obi was assisted in the administration by a council of selected men from both sides. The two most important chiefs were the Odua and lyasere. The Odua was the oldest male of the Umude and deputised for the king when necessary, and he was also in charge of the royal court and announced the new Obi. The Obiship was open to all aspirants from the Umude. The lyasere, who was selected from the Ndiche, was the commander-in-chief of the army; his parents must come from the two sections in the society. The outlying environs were administered by the Obi and chiefs through the council of elders within them. The Aboh Kingdom was strategically located at the apex of the Niger Delta which meant that it was able to take part in trade; it became a centre of convergence between the Akwuane and Igala as well as those along the coast like the ljo. During the slave trade, Aboh exported a lot of slaves coming down the Niger from the hinterland communities to the ljo city-states and acted as a major distributor of European goods including firearms up the Niger. This made her very rich and powerful. Aboh therefore owed her rise to this trade as she was able to extend her territory to other Igbo towns and as far north as the Igala Kingdom.

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THE NIGER DELTA

The Niger Delta can be divided into sections; these are the Western Delta and the Eastern Delta. The Western Delta The groups within the Western Delta include the Ijo, Itsekiri and Aboh who dwell in the lower Delta and the Isoko, Urhobo and Ukwani who live in the upper Delta. Both sections had different vegetations; the upper Delta was characterised by evergreen forest dominated by the oil palm while the lower was located within the dense mangrove. Vegetation determined the occupation of both sections: thus, the upper Delta groups were engaged mainly in farming and fishing on one side, while those of the lower were engaged in fishing and salt making as well as middlemen traders between Europeans and the Delta hinterland.   The Eastern Delta The people of the Eastern Delta are located within small vegetation and all have similar traditions of origin that point to the central Delta as the heart land from which the various groups migrated to the outlying regions of the Delta. Such places as Ogobiri, Ikibiri, Opororo, the Apo Creeks and Obiama are major centres of outwards migration. The foundation of the Delta states have been dated by Professor Alagoa at about 1200AD and the reign of the first King at about1 400AD. The Eastern Delta states include the Kingdoms of Bonny, Kalabari, Okiri and Nembe, Ekoi and Ibibio. The Ibibio were credited to have developed the INSIBIDI writing. The groups of the Eastern Delta also shared identical political, economic and social institutions. The basic ljo grouping in the area were the Ibe. The main instrument of control over the overview components of the clan was the cult of the national god. The high priest with the title Pere was the only person whose authority extended over the whole clan. There was therefore no central authority outside those of the Pere or priest.   Political organisation (Western Central) Ijo The main political authority was the village assembly which was called Amajula while the Amokosowei acted as the president of the village. He was the oldest man, but there was a younger person who acted as the spokesman called Ojulabowei. There were also the town crier, messenger, the hangman and the village priest. Each village was divided into districts called Polo which were further divided into Wari or smaller family units (household). Though the Eastern Delta states derived their origin from a common heartland, that is, the central Delta, they do not have any common tradition of descent. Their sense of togetherness has its basis on the common language and cultural institution. This was based on spiritual kingship of the village gods to the national gods whose shrines would be sited at the metropolis or capital city.   Changes in the Niger Delta The village organisation in Eastern Delta prior to the development of state institution was also similar to those of the Central and Western Delta. It was based on the Wari or wards and Polo which were districts. The president of the village assembly was not the oldest male but the Amanyanabo who was appointed not by virtue of age, but because of his descent from Wari whose ancestors claim discovery of the village site. In this position, he acted as a Priest and intermediary between the people and the national deity. With the development and expansion of the trade with Europeans, the powers of the Amanyanabo began to increase; the exigencies of the Trans-Atlantic trade transformed him intoa representative of the people in the relations with European traders who paid him certain duties for protection. He also introduced House Heads within the community to the European and acted as a guarantor for credits which was called “trust”. This further enhanced the authority of the Amanayanabo te an extent that he moved beyond spiritual function to that of a more secular authority. Closely related to this change were the adaptation of the Wari institutions to serve new ends. Merchants began to build up their own sub-wards of household through marriage, by acting as protectors and the acquisition of slaves. Through these methods, traders increased their labour force and wealth. He then equipped a war canoe and presented himself to the Amanayanbo as a political leader. He was subsequently appointed member of the King’s council which at this time had come to replace the village assembly. Ascension to leadership of the house was not hereditary, but by achievement and support of all adult males. Apart from the political changes that took place in the Eastern Niger Delta during the period, there were also social changes brought about by the importation of large number of slaves. These new elements posed questions of integration. To cope with the situation, the Eastern Delta societies evolved certain institutionalised procedures aimed at integrating them into society. The first was the ritual ceremonies which transformed them out of slave status. There were other social and economic forces that helped slaves acculturise within the Delta, one of which was the possibility for upward mobility within society which was determined by hard work. There were also societies whose activities encouraged acculturation; one of such was the Ekine Sekiapu or Masquerade society. Advancement in the society was based on the ability to sing, drum and understand the language of the society. Success within the society was a sign of full citizenship and a qualification for political office. In addition, there was the association of successful warriors called PeriOgbo. It offered opportunities for the exhibition of abilities as well as for punishment of slaves who fail to acculturate quickly. The houses within the Niger Delta were also fighting units in external wars of the state. There were a number of reasons for these wars namely, piracy, head hunting and slave trade. This situation of turbulence forced weak communities to seek protection from better organisation and established city-states. Similarly, families and individuals made affiliation with more powerful house heads. Preparedness for war on the part of the state was a defensive technique in preventing attacks from other states. Disputes were settled through conventions by neutral neighbourhood community. In some cases, neighbours’ sanctions were imposed to ensure that warring parties agreed to conditions of peace.   The economy The economic development of the Eastern Delta states was in stages. Three stages can be identified. The first was the early stage which involved fishing, hunting and gathering of natural products of the area. This was supplemented by exchange of agricultural products with people of the fresh water region. The second stage was that of the long distance trade with people of the Western Delta and the Delta hinterland. This trade was well developed before the advent of the Portuguese in the 16″ century. They traded for clay-pottery from the Itsekiri, cassava meal which was known as Farina from Benin up to gold; the Ijo traded for beads, gold and bronze and acted as major transport agents along the coast. The third stage commenced with the Atlantic slave trade. This transformed the Delta states into redistribution centres in which European manufactured goods were assembled for sale in the hinterland and agricultural goods were also assembled for export.   The Western Delta states The group within the Western Delta include the Itsekiri, Urhobo, Ukwaani, Aboh and Isoko as well as the Ijo. The Ijo however also spread to the entire central and most of the Eastern Delta.

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