In the mid 19th century when British incursion into Biafra land as colonial master in the form of business company began. Some eminent Biafrans distinguished themselves in war of resistance against the colonial occupation of their land of birth. Notable among them are.
King Frederick William Koko who led the popular Akassa raid against British occupation and domination of trade. This great Biafran was born in1853 in Brass an Ijaw city state Brass is a well known trading state in the heart of Ijaw land which flourished in slave trade and when that was banned it also flourished in palm produce which European needed badly.
People of Brass dominated the trade on this community which they sold to Europeans through Bonny and Elem Kalabari which it is linked by Creeks and Eustace's. After the revolt that led to separate dynasty of kings, king Ockiya became the ruler of Brass. After his death in 1879, the Mantle of leader ship fell on king William Frederick Koko who distinguished himself in war of resistance against British occupation and colonialism.
In 1884 the British colonial master approved the government of Brass to sign a treaty as they have done to other Coastal State and Brass signed a treaty which is to last six month only and agreed to renew it after wards on the condition that the British government would protest its interest in the area but that the area is not under the control of Royal Niger Company and will not trade directly with the people of the Coast which means that Brass is not under rule of Royal Niger Company. Soon the Royal Niger Company started ruining the trade on which Brass depended for survival.
They did this by completely monopolising trade and as well as dominating other sphere of survival which Brass needed to survive. The Brassmen under king koko complianed to the British authorities saying they would have to "eat sand" even though there was criticism against the action of the Royal Niger Company nothing was done by British government to help Brass. As the anger of Brassmen continued to accumulate British authorities did nothing to help the people of Brass. They even did worse by preventing them from carrying goods to Oguta. Driven beyond endurance Koko and his people decided to take action to save their people from extinction just.
Because of British selfish interest. Lucky to people of Brass and Koko the only Chief who opposed action against British died in 1894 thus paved way for action. After appealing for help from other parts of the coastal states with no success, Koko and his men decided to take action in January 1895. About 1,500 Soldiers on 30 - 40 Canoes moved to Akassa and launched a daring attack in Akassa the headquarter of the Royal Niger Company. They landed at Akassa on 29th January 1895 destroyed British stores, killed 25 people, captured 70 alive and latter killed 43 at Nembe. The attack shocked British authoritied, though the Brassmen had made it clear that they are not aggrieved against fellow Africans but against the Royal Niger Company (R.N.C) the British agent. The British authority shocked by this, ordered a punitive raid on Nembe the heart land of the Ijaws. Though the Brassmen vehemently resisted this, Nembe latter fell and occupied by British naval force. Nembe was completely burnt down. This took place between 24th and 26th February 1895.
The British latter set up enquiry into causes of the popular Akassa raid and the commission admitted that people of Nembe had genuine grievances against the Royal Niger Company when it was released in 1896. Koko himself fled from Nembe to Etiema where he committed suicide ratter than surrender to British authority. The achievement of this Akassa raid is that it ended the oppressive charter in this part of BiafraLand. One can now see reasons why British Colonial master never liked people of Biafra since they refuse to be slaves which British empire sought for in all parts of the world. Yes we can never accept slavery without resistance because Yahweh Elohim has made us Biafrans not slaves.
- Eze Augustus N.
Rivers Media Team.