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Nigeria politics

War among the Yoruba cities

The threatened war between the Egbas of Abeokuta and the Yorubas of Ibadan has, we deeply regret to say, now actually broken out. The following interesting letter from the Rev. James Johnson, dated Abeokuta, July 20th, was written before the commencement of hostilities ; but it clearly explains the position of affairs. Mr. Johnson had previously, under the commission given him by the Committee last year, been visiting the stations and out-stations.

He was travelling over the country from March 21st to July 3rd : — I regret much to have to inform you that we are threatened with a very serious war between Abeokuta and Ibadan, and one that is likely to become a general one over the country, as Ijebu, Ilorin, and Ife are expected to take part with Abeokuta. Since April last there has been a considerable unrest and uneasiness in the country on account of an expedition that the Ibadans sent out on the 25th of that month to Porto Novo, or thereabouts, to escort home, as they said, some ammunition they had bought, and which they had found it difficult to bring in.

The Egbas have prohibited the sale of such articles to them through their country. The road the expedition pursued lay to the N.W. of Abeokuta, and either borders on or lies in Egba territory. The large number of the expedition-party — above two thousand men, collected both from Ibadan and from other Yoruba towns, the line of march pursued, and the information which reached the Egbas of their intentions against Abeokuta — excited suspicions and fears in them, and led them to blockade the principal road to Ibadan from Abeokuta, and cut off a considerable portion of their communication with it.

This, it has been said, was in the first instance intended to induce the Ibadans to discover their intentions, but the Ibadans have regarded and accepted it as a challenge, and retaliated by another blockade on their part. Both parties have declared themselves ready for war, and the Ijebus have initiated proceedings on their part, as allies to the Egbas, by instituting a blockade against Ibadan, dismissing all Ibadan officials from their country, and recalling their own from Ibadan.

Yesterday, the 19th, the leading Chiefs, at a very large public meeting of Egbas, advised their men to hold themselves in readiness for action at any time, and declared the roads to Ibadan by Iberukodo, Eruwa, and Imeko, also closed. These are circuitous routes, and the towns named are tributary to Ibadan.

Infraction of this law by Egbas will be punished with death. There is virtually now a state of war. Farms are being deserted, and families removed home from them on both sides. The tocsin of war may be sounded, and the sword drawn at any time.

 

Content created and supplied by: societyofyoungnigerianwriters (via Opera News )

Abeokuta Egbas Ibadan James Johnson Mr. Johnson

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