Meet The Man Who Sold Nigeria To The British For £865k In 1899.

Seeing what happened to Jaja, some other native rulers began to look more closely at the deals they were getting from the Royal Niger Company.One of such kingdoms was Nembe, whose king, Koko Mingi VIII, ascended the throne in 1889 after being a Christian schoolteacher. Koko Mingi VIII, King Koko for short, like most rulers in the yard, was faced with the Royal Nigeria Company encroachment.He also hated the monopoly enjoyed by the Royal Nigeria Company and tried to seek out favourable trading terms, with particularly the people of Germany in Kamerun (Cameroon).By 1894, the Royal Nigeria Company stated whom the natives could trade with, and denied them direct access to their former trading routes.In late 1894, King Koko renounced Christianity and tried to form an alliance with Bonny and Okpoma against the Royal Nigeria Company to take back the trade.This is significant because while Okpoma joined up, Bonny refused. A harbinger of the successful “divide and rule” tactic.On 29 January 1895, King Koko led an attack on the Royal Niger Company’s headquarters, which was later named Akassa in today’s Bayelsa state.The pre-dawn raid had more than a thousand men involved. King Koko’s attack succeeded in capturing the base.Losing 40 of his men, King Koko captured 60 white men as hostages, as well as a lot of goods, ammunition and a Maxim gun.Koko then attempted to negotiate a release of the hostages in exchange for being allowed to chose his trading partners.The British refused to negotiate with Koko, and he had forty of the hostages killed.A British report claimed that the Nembe people ate them. On 20 February 1895, Britain’s Royal Navy, under Admiral Bedford attacked Brass and burned it to the ground.Many Nembe people died and smallpox took over and killed a lot of others.By April 1895, the business had returned to “normal”, normal being the conditions that the British wanted, and King Koko was on the run. Brass was fined £500 by the British, £62,494 (NGN29 million) in today’s money, and the looted weapons were returned as well as the surviving prisoners.After a British Parliamentary Commission sat, King Koko was offered terms of the settlement by the British, which he rejected and disappeared.The British promptly declared him an outlaw and offered a reward of £200 (£26,000; NGN12 million today) for him. He committed suicide in exile in 1898.About that time, another “recalcitrant King”, the Oba of Benin, was run out of town. The pacification of the Lower Niger was well and at the snap of their finger.The immediate effect of the Brass Oil War was that public opinion in Great Britain turned against the Royal Nigeria Company, so its license was revoked in 1899.Following the revoking of its license, the Royal Niger Company sold its holdings to the British government for £865,000 (£108 million today).That amount, £46,407,250 (NGN 50,386,455,032,400, at today’s exchange rate) was the exact price Britain paid, to buy the territory whic

h was to become later called Nigeria.

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