Independence Day Specials (VIII): Indirect Rule in Nigeria II.

Indirect Rule in the East:

In the Eastern Nigeria, the indirect rule system came with the amalgamation. Paramount chiefs were appointed as sole native authorities and direct taxation was also introduced. Moreover, the highly decentralized nature of the Igbos never allowed it flourish. The Igbos do not have subscribe to the idea of having a paramount ruler.

Lugard created provincial courts manned entirely by British political officers. He stripped appeal cases from the native courts to the British courts and stopped lawyers from practicing in courts. Of course, thjis dint go well with the people and thus a revolt.

1920s and 1930s were well known for revolts almost everywhere in the Southern Nigeria. In the East, chief amongst the revolts was the Aba women riot of 1929 targeted against the imposing of direct taxes.


Moreover, the immediate cause of the riot was the fact that a warrant chief, Okugbo, do count women and children as part of his tax reassessment exercise. This means that women (who previously don’t pay taxes) were now instructed to do so. Just like the other commissions of enquiry, the one set up to look into these also led to resolutions.

The commission also had Nigerians on it: Sir Kitoyi Ajasa and Eric Moore. It was resolved that instead of concentrating all powers in the hands of a single chief, there should be established various Native Authorities most of which comprised of villages, village groups or clan councils.

The councils were attended by all the lineage heads in the area concerned. There were also attempts to separate the executive and the judicial functions by setting up separately a Native authority and a Native Court fort each administrative units.

The new system allowed elites and taxation was settled in a way that it would meet little oppositions. Afeter this reform, however, subsequent reforms came up in 1940s and 1950s to suit the subjects of the day. In 1951, the colonial adminstration introduced a modified form of the British local government system –system of local councils with the educated elites dominating.

nigeria: celebration

This wraps up this season’s edition of The Chronicles of British Expeditions in Nigeria on the Independence Day Specials with Muzzammilwrites. We hope you enjoyed every bit of it. You can drop a review in our comment box below to help improve our deliveries. Click here to read previous publications. From us here at Muzzammilwrites, it’s Happy Independence Day in advance.

Thanks for reading. Don’t forget to share.

Ola-lawal M.D.

For Muzzammilwrites.


pls., i will sincerely appreciated your views about the above excerpt in the comment box below.

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