nigeria resistance

The establishment of whiteman’s rule (colonial rule) was not done without difficulties. Firstly, the local people did not tolerate the intrusion. Secondly, the whites could not settle due to the high death rate resulting from malaria fever. Thirdly, the uncoordinated operations of many trading companies made the work of the Consul even more difficult.
The local people intensified their attacks so fiercely and so repeatedly that no streamer ventured inland from the Coast. It became necessary to protect the trading ships by sending Naval Escorts. The British Government agreed in 1857 to send a Naval Gunboat to help the traders. But this was a reluctant step. The Government agreed to send the boat up the river once a year at high tide, the enterprise being assisted by a subsidy for five years beginning with £8,000 and decreasing annually at the rate of £500 a year.
Many of the trading companies found it difficult to continue their enterprise and considered folding up. In the middle of this uncertainty emerged Taubman Goldie, the architect of the merger of the companies. To start with, Goldies underhandedly bought out the assets of the weak foreign companies. Later, he persuaded the remaining rival British companies to amalgamate into one single enterprise which would monopolise the trade of the Niger Basin. This he achieved in 1879 when the United African Company (UAC) was formed.
Though the English companies had united, they continued to encounter opposition and competition from the French companies. The French who did not conceal their desire for colonies began a series of treaty-making expeditions to Gabon and South Cameroons. British fear was heightened because the French always set up protective trading walls around any area they acquired. In 1883, the French determination for the acquisition of territory was further manifested by the acquisition of Cotonou, Aghway, the Great and the little Popo and Port Novo, and to crown it all, French gunboat appeared on the Oil Rivers with the aim of concluding treaties which would give French traders a protectorate over Bonny.
The frightened English traders once again appeald to their Foreign Secretary for further official protection. Reluctantly, the Foreign Secretary directed the Consul for Biafra to sign treaties with the local traders.
Meanwhile, the treaty signing competition raged. The treaties conferred a precarious and vague form of unofficial responsibility. The European claim to an area rested technically on the ability to produce treaties signed with the leaders of the area in question. Problems arose simply because some local leaders were forced to sign treaties with the representatives of two or more European countries. To further complicate the issues, French, German and English gunboats confronted each other on the Niger. To avoid the imminent danger of war over African possessions, the Conference of Berlin of 1884-1885 was called. At this conference, Africa was partitioned with Nigeria falling under British influence. This ended the scramble for Africa.
After the British acquired obligations for the development of the Niger area, they began the era of British administration in Nigeria.

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