British Nigeria flag

After Lagos became a Crown Colony in 1861, the surrounding districts were annexed in quick succession: Palma and Lekki in 1863, later in the same year, Iddo and Oke Odan were declared protectorates of Lagos and consequently drawn under British rule. Like the Ibos of the Niger Delta, the Yorubas resisted British encroachments. Attempts were made to post Consuls to Ijebu Ode and Abeokuta but these attempts were foiled by the refusal of these places to trade with the British.
It was of vital importance to the commercial value of Lagos that Yorubaland should come under British rule. As usual, French influence was an important factor for it was reported that the French were trying to conclude a treaty with the Egbas of Abeokuta. If this had been effected, Lagos would have been rebdered valueless to the British as it depended on the hinterland for most of its trade.
In order to stop th French, the Consul found it expedient to persuade the major kings of Yorubaland to sign treaties of peace and commerce. Through the treaties, most of Yorubaland passed into British hands. Where the traditional leaders rejected British offers and persuasion, the British resorted to a display of military might. In some cases, the British intervened directly to punish the local people. In other cases, they signed treaties of protection with the local chiefs, so that other European competitors, particularly the French could be kept away. In other cases, they supported the Oba of one area to wage wars of aggression on other Obas who were less cooperative with the British. For personal safety, each of the Yoruba found it necessary to sign these so called treaties of friendship.
Abeokuta represented a classic examole of British colonial lack of direction. In spite of the fact that the British were forcibly occupying other parts of Yorubaland, they recognized the military strength of the Alake of Abeokuta (Chief of Abeokuta) and avoided open confrontation. In 1893, amidst civil war in Egbaland, the British threatened to join the rebel forces unless the Chief signed a pact of friendship with the Governor of Lagos. The Chief had no choice but to sign. The treaty expressly recognized the independence of Egbaland so that Abeokuta remained separate from the rest of British Nigeria going as far as establishing a fiscal frontier and collecting customs from goods from the rest of the Chief of Abeokuta in that he received British military support for suppressing palace revolts and to fight his own people in 1898, 1901 and again in 1913.
Just as Lagos and the rest of Yorubaland were being deviously appropriated, the British Consul for the Bight of Biafra was busy securing treaties of protection from the traditional leaders of the coastal areas.

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