Did King Koko Sell Nigeria To The British For £865k In 1899 And Eat 40 British Men?

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It will interest you to know that Nigeria was once a business center before the territory was bought and later became a country in the precolonial era. Some articles online have it that the Nigerian King who was from Nembe (a small kingdom in Niger Delta), King Koko Mingi VIII sold the territory which was later named ‘Nigeria’ to the British and also ate 40 British men who he held hostage, but is this actually true?

Photo: King Koko

In this article, questions like “Was Nigeria sold to the British by King Koko, what led to the selling of the territory that was later named Nigeria” will be answered.

We all know that Nigeria was colonized by the British and as far back as the 18th and 19th century, the Great Britain was already referred to as the first country in the world to be industrialized. They had machines that performed most task(work) for them and since these machines needed to be maintained, they had no option but to rely on palm oil which was rich in the Niger Delta area. The Nembe people and other tribes in Niger Delta were rich as they made money from sales of oil palm to those who never had it within their territory, and also to foreigners (British) who used it as a lubricant for their industrial machines.

Photo: White Men And Nembe People

The sales of palm oil became a lucrative business in the 80’s. Germans, French, Portuguese, British and other Europeans struggled to get palm oil from Nembe people and as a way to monopolize the sales of oil palm, George Goldie, a British born in Isle of Man formed the United African Company (UAC) in 1879. The formation of UAC ushered in the signing of treaties with Chiefs and Kings, and whenever any chief tries to export palm oil, he is forced into exile by the British.

What Happened Next After Chiefs And Kings Were Fed Up With British Restrictions On Palm Oil Trading?

Local chiefs started looking for a way to breach the agreement which was written in English so they could export palm oil and make more gain. King Koko who was not happy with the monopoly of business introduced by the British made connections with Germans for a favorable trading term. UAC which was later changed to Royal Niger Company (RNC) was attacked by King Koko and his men in 1895, the base was captured, but King Koko lost 40 of his men. This ushered in the first oil war, otherwise referred to as the Nembe-British war.

Did King Koko Ate 40 British Hostages?

During the attack, King Koko captured 60 British men and held them hostage. King Koko killed 40 of the British men held hostage and a British report claimed he (King Koko) and the Nembe people ate them. This report was an ‘allegation’ and King Koko was not quizzed to know if he truly did that.

Photo: King Koko And His People

Did King Koko Sold Nigeria To British For £865k?

The answer is NO. After King Koko attacked RNC, King Koko was offered terms of settlement by the British but he rejected it and disappeared. He was forced into exile and while in exile, he committed suicide in 1898. It was the war that made Royal Niger Company to sell its holding to the British Government for £865,000 after its charter was revoked a year after King Koko died. King Koko died in 1898, the territory which was to become known as Nigeria was sold in 1899. The territory was sold, and not the country.

Nigeria was first a business center before it became a country, do you think our colonial masters were not fair to us? Share your thoughts………Sée Moré

Credit: Guardian.ng

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