Little Known Facts About the Ijaws #6


In 1884 the British sign a treaty with the “Chiefs and People of the Oil Rivers” now known as the ‘Niger Delta’. This treaty was supposed to be a treaty of “Friendship and Protection”, but was to result in the Niger Delta being incorporated into the emerging British Empire. The towns and villages of Torofani, Ogulagha, Angalabiri, Ebedebiri, Angiama (Kumbo), Agoloma, Sagbama, and Patani all sign treaties with the British placing them under direct control of the British government. 1885, Asamabiri (Simabiri), Ekperiwari, Ofonibeingha and Sabagriea also sign so called protection treaties with the British.

In 1885-June 5th, the Oil Rivers or present geographical Niger Delta, consisting of Benin coast, Brass (Nembe), Ibani, Calabar, Elem-Kalabari, and Opobo in inwards up to the head of the delta, were declared by the British government as the Oil Rivers Protectorate (Niger Delta Protectorate), and placed under consular jurisdiction.

Later on in November of the same year of 1885 at the Conference of European powers (Berlin conference), the European gathering acknowledges British claims over the Niger Delta. This is achieved by Britain through the presentation to the gathering the treaty of “Friendship and Protection”. In 1888, Burutu and Ogulagha sign treaties with the British.  In 1893 the Oil Rivers Protectorate was renamed the “Niger Coast Protectorate”. The claims over the Niger Delta was expanded  further to include the Niger and Benue region to form first the Southern Protectorate and then Northern Protectorate, eventually emerging into colonies and finally the merging of the North and Southern Colonies to produce Nigeria in 1914.

This is the foundation of what was to become known as Federal Republic of Nigeria.