The problem was created by British commercial interest. In 1851, Lagos was attacked by British forces. King Kosoko was defeated and deposed. In 1861, Lagos was ceded to British Crown. King Docemo signed the treaty of concession. From 1851 to 1866, Lagos had its own governor. From 1866 to 1874, the governor of Sierra Leone ruled Lagos through various administrations and from 1874 to 1886, Lagos was under the Governor of Gold Coast. From 1886 to 1906, successful millitary campaigns were carried out against Yoruba rulers and by 1906 pacifying missions brought Yorubaland under British rule. The territory was placed under the Governor of Lagos and called the Colony and Protectorate of Lagos. 

The Commonwealth Report of 1956 reported that trade developed in the Niger Delta areas both on the Coast and hinterland. From 1832, British merchants went upstream and traded with the natives on the banks of River Niger, as far as Lokoja. When the use of quinine made it possible for Europeans to settle in the interior, hinterland trade rapidly developed and many English companies were formed to exploit the resources of the interior. Acute rivalry developed among the traders who in 1879, under the leadership of Sir George Goldie, amalgamated, forming the United and later National African Company. Goldie defeated and eliminated a French rival company. The English company was supreme in Niger valley and began treaty making with tribes of the middle Niger, offering them British protection in return for exclusive trade with the company, as well as mining concessions of all kinds. It was owing to the activities of this company and its leader, Goldie, that Britain was able to claim, at the Berlin West African Conference of 1885, that her interests were paramount in the Niger territories. 

In 1886, a charter was granted to the National African Company (which later took the name of the Royal Niger Company) to administer the protected territories in Northern Nigeria. 

In 1894, a treaty was signed with Bornu, placing that territory under British protection. In 1897, the Emirates of Nupe and Ilorin were defeated millitarily. In 1899 the Charter of Royal African Company was revoked; the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria proclaimed and the company's territory came under the British Crown. 

Regarding areas now known as Eastern Nigeria, the Commonwealth Report stated that on the Coast, as in the hinterland, event moved swiftly and the development of take the British consular post on Spanish Island of Vernando Po was reached in old Calabar, on the Eastern Nigeria Coast. Treaties were concluded with various coastal rulers placing their territories under British protection. In 1885, the Oil River Protectorate was declared. In 1891 the Consul in Calabar was made commissioner and, in 1893, the territory was renamed the Niger Coast Protectorate. 

The tribes and rulers who resisted the British invasion were ruthlessly crushed. In 1887,  punitive expedition was sent against King Jaja of Opobo; against the Itsekiri Chief Nana in 1894; against Brass in 1895 and, in 1897, against the Oba of Benin. The Coast Protectorate was transfered to the Colonial office in 1899 and was renamed the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria in 1900.

Between 1900 and 1906, the Igbo were defeated and pacified. Both the central and southern part of their land were occupied by British forces. The British power had now been firmly planted in the territories now known as Nigeria. 

Irrespective  of the foregoing unity of discordant ethnicities and peoples, it was never meant by the original creator of these three amalgamated ethnic groups to live and dwell together as one people. It occurred as a result of selfish and destructive lifestyle of the British people, who, at their own expense, call themselves Lords. Actually, it then occured to every reasonable person that these category of people never had the required respect for human value system.

In sum, Biafrans are absoutely right with their demand for justice and equity and it must and should be peacefully granted.

Written by: Chukwudi Prince Okeze 
For: Abia Media Team.
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