Great Benin Bronze

EDE N'ERHENA VBE EDO

This 1849-1850 records of Forbes,Fredrick' Edwyn (1851)  trade at Lagos.

Dahomey and the Dahomans; being the journals of two missions to the King of Dahomey, and residence at his capital, in the year 1849 and 1850 by Forbes, Frederick Edwyn (1851)

Dahomey and its neighbours - Abeah-Keutah, Lagos, and Benin

If we turn to the East, we find the extensive provinces of Yorihbah looked upon with cupidity, and marked out for devastation, slavery, and murder ; whilst already the populous city of Abeah-Keutah, the abiding place of many hundreds of Christians, and the seat of missionary enterprise in the Bight of Benin, is marked out as the scene of the approaching slave-hunt. 

The fall of this noble and nearly Christian city demands our deepest attention. 

Standing on a river, which reaches the sea at Lagos, through the Lagoons, it would, were Lagos open to legal trade, soon become the central emporium of commerce from Yorihbah, Bornou, and all the other countries neighbouring on the banks of the Niger. 

Lagos itself is a most important position as a trading port from its connection with all the countries of Guinea. 

It is at present notorious as one of the greatest slave depots in Africa, and for many reasons likely to remain so. The King of Lagos was a slave himself, and, as an usurper, is entirely in the hands of his patrons, the slave merchants who placed him on the throne. 

On the west side the Lagoons may be said to join the Volta, although in the dry season, at a little distance from the town of Godomey (fifteen miles from Whydah), a sandy neck divides the Lagoons of Lagos and Whydah. 

Emptying into these Lagoons are several navigable rivers, as yet but imperfectly known, except to slave enterprise ; whilst, on the east, the Joh creeks, navigated by a water population, called the Joh pirates, connect Lagos with the Benin, and the whole delta of the Niger. 

The importance of putting a stop to the slave trade in Lagos cannot be exaggerated. 

A fort on the present position occupied by the slave barracoons, would prevent any transportation from the many slave nations in the interior of Benin, the King of which place now partially supplies the Lagos trade, assisted by the Joh men. 

On this question, together with family jealousies, Benin is divided into two separate states, Benin and Warree ; and is likely, from the increase of legal trade in the Benin rivers and the quarrels of the royal family, to be yet again divided. 

It is long since the royal family of Benin, becoming too numerous and burthensome to the state, first divided ; and one portion, crossing the river, settled at Warree, dependent and tributary to the parent state. 

When the Portuguese settled in the river, great inconveniences were felt by duties being levied by both governments. 

At their instance the Warree family threw off the yoke, and declared that state independent of Benin, and masters of the river and trade, which she now holds. 

The Warree family becoming numerous, one of the younger branches founded a city on the Jackwaw creek (connecting Lagos and the Benin river) ; and the King of Warree having died, and his throne being disputed, the Jackwaw people, under their Chief, Jibuffu, held neutral, and will, if they have not already, declare themselves independent of the new sovereign of Warree. 

Notwithstanding the Benin river is ostensibly open to legal trade, it is also traded through by the slave-merchants of Lagos. 

Should an attack be contemplated on Lagos, small steamers might enter the Benin river and reach Lagos by the Joh creeks.

* map from 6th edition of The Church Missionary Atlas published by Seeley, Jackson, and Halliday, in 1879

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IZON REWRITING HISTORY:
Egbema king lists and genealogies do not take their traditions beyond the early eighteen century, but elements in their traditions refer to earlier times.
The official accounts recorded by Alagoa (1972), for example, gave the name of the Oba who administered medicine to Inabiri as Kaladiren, the son of Ogiso. Benin traditions give the name of the son of the last Ogiso ruler Benin variously as Ekaladerhen and Kaladerhan. These Benin traditions say Ekeladerhan never became Oba, but was exiled South to found the town of Ughoton or Gwato. In any case, the date of about 1170 at which the Ogiao dynasty gave place to the current dynasty is rather early for the Ijo migrations JD to this corner of the Niger Delta. Other Egbema privately give the amen of the Oba who made medicine for Inabiri as Ewai. If this name is identified as Oba Ewuare the Great, who was also a maker of charms and magic according to Benin tradition, it would give us a date for Egbema migrations in the late fifteenth century. It may be noted in addition, that the route to Benin through Ughoton (Kadaderhan’s town) was the last known of the Egbeme, and since the Egbema claim to have supplied European goods to the Edo, this must refer to a period after the European factories at Ughoton were removed to locations in the Delta in the mid-seventeenth century. Accordingly, we may date Egebma settlement of the Western Delta limit between the end of the fifteenth and middle of the seventeenth century (Alagoa 1972).

OPEN LETTER TO NATIONAL CONFERENCE LEADERSHIP AND MEMBERS.
PROPOSED OIL RIVERS STATE: COUNT IBENO OUT

The attention of the elected political office holders of Ibeno extraction has been drawn to newspaper and online publications on the alleged inclusion of Oil Rivers State as one of the States recommended for creation by the National Conference.

While we do not oppose the creation of an additional State, we vehemently reject any attempt at balkanization of the State with the aim of taking out Ibeno Local Government Area or any other Local Government Area for that matter out of the present geopolitical structure of Akwa Ibom State. This does not mean that we are opposing any people outside Akwa Ibom State from agitating for Oil Rivers State, but we state unequivocally that delineation of such a State MUST NOT INCLUDE any portion, village, community or square metre of Akwa Ibom State. We oppose it and for good reasons.

First, Ibeno Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom State, with the longest coastline in Nigeria is the primary and major reason Akwa Ibom State is the current largest oil producing State in Nigeria.

That accounts for the huge revenue profile of the Federation and of the State from the Federation Account.

Secondly, although most people of Ibeno are not happy that there is no commensurate Federal and State development presence in the Local Government Area to justify its uniqueness and indispensability in the wealth and fortunes of Nigeria and Akwa Ibom State, we believe that is not enough reason to jeopardize, severe, balkanize or in any way the communality, brotherhood, ancestral antecedent and our common heritage in Akwa Ibom State. In Ibeno, a brother does not run away from the house because his other brothers have denied him of his right portion of fish in the bowl of soup.

Thirdly, this whole talk of State agitation can only be a miscalculated and wrong approach to crying out against marginalization.

Fourth, we believe the Federal and State Governments are sensitive to our plight and will not look the other way when there is a cry for development through a uniting, not dividing and arm-twisting approach of State creation.

Fifth, although, we no more have a Commissioner in the State Executive Council today, the Majority Leader of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Okpolupm Etteh, is from Ibeno LGA representing Esit Eket and Ibeno State Constituency. We have a Paramount Ruler who is highly respected in the comity of Royal Fathers, a Local Government Chairman and Vice Chairman, 10 elected Councilors and leaders of thought. We speak on behalf of the people that elected us that we were neither consulted nor our consent sought in this ill-fated project. We would have counseled against it because we have the ears of the grassroot electorates of Ibeno people.

Sixth, it was the Queen of England that declared Ibeno a Protectorate in 1882 when the King of Opobo levied war against Ibeno people in order to annex Ibeno as a part of her territory. The Command Paper is there for the record. Now that we are the elected representatives of Ibeno people, we will not shirk in our responbility to ensure that our communality with Akwa Ibom State is protected and preserved.

Seventh, any agitation for State creation should be a corporate decision of the people of the State.

We, the elected representatives of Ibeno people, therefore, urge the National Conference to expunge Ibeno Local Government Area from the proposed Oil Rivers State. Ibeno will engage in any open process of State Creation when all the people of Akwa Ibom State will agree to determine how the State should be further divided when the need so arises.

Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Long Live Akwa Ibom State
Long Live Ibeno Local Government Area.

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