DEY STOLE OUR RESOURCES
Nigeria is the flagship of blackness.
It is the largest black country in Africa. It is so big that the population of every other black country in sub-Saharan Africa that we have covered during Black History Month 2018 could fit inside Nigeria with room to spare. There are 186 million Nigerians and 21 million of them live in Lagos. To put this in perspective, the population of Lagos is nearly three times the size of New York City.
As the demographic center of blackness, Nigeria is the most important black country in the world. It is broadly dominated by 3 major ethnic groups – the Yoruba, who dominate southwest Nigeria west of the Niger River, the Igbo, who dominate southeast Nigeria east of the Niger River and the Hausa-Fulani who dominate the northern two-thirds of the country. There are hundreds of minor tribes and ethnic groups crammed into this artificial state which never shared a common history until they were cobbled together by the British into one state called Nigeria in the 20th century.
Slightly over half of Nigerians are Christians and nearly as many Nigerians are Muslims. The Christians are concentrated in the south. The Muslims are concentrated in the north. The Igbo are overwhelmingly Christians. The Hausa-Fulani are overwhelmingly Muslims. The Yoruba are slightly more Muslim than Christian. These people are all crammed together into one state.
Nigeria is one of the world’s leading oil producers. The black gold which is the source of Nigeria’s national wealth is concentrated in the southeast of the country in the Niger Delta. The bulk of Nigeria’s population lives outside the region which is the fountain of its national income.
These are keys to understanding Nigeria: the North is Muslim while the South is predominantly Christian, there are three major ethnic groups which are superpowers that dominate smaller tribes, the oil is concentrated in the Niger Delta and Lagos is the world’s largest Third World city.
The Portuguese were the first Europeans to arrive in Nigeria in the late 15th century. From roughly 1570 to 1820, 3.5 million slaves were brought to the New World by the Portuguese, the Dutch, the British and the French. Probably 1 out of every 3 slaves brought to the New World were from Nigeria. They were sold to European slave traders at ports from Lagos in the west to Calabar in the east.
Most of the slaves brought to the New World from Nigeria were Yorubas and Igbos. Over a third of the slaves that were brought to the Chesapeake in Virginia and Maryland were Igbos from southeast Nigeria. Many of the Yoruba slaves ended up in Louisiana where they brought voodoo. The two leading slave trading empires in Nigeria which sold black slaves to Europeans were the Oyo Empire in southwest Nigeria and the Aro Confederacy in southeast Nigeria.
It is important to keep in mind though that the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade wasn’t the extent of slavery in what is now Nigeria. Countless slaves worked on plantations in the interior in the Oyo Empire. Slaves were the backbone of the economy in Igboland. In the north, the Sokoto Caliphate which was created by a jihad across Nigeria in the 19th century became the largest slave state in the world. There were an estimated 2.5 million slaves in the Sokoto Caliphate when it was finally overthrown by the British in 1903.
The story of the creation of Nigeria is much the same as it was elsewhere in West Africa. Europeans arrived in the late 15th century and began purchasing slaves on the coast. The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade reached a climax in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Europeans remained ignorant of the interior until well into the 19th century as the first European explorers like Mungo Park traced the path of the Niger River.
In 1807, Great Britain abolished the slave trade and the Royal Navy began to blockade the coast of Nigeria to interdict slave ships and suppress the slave trade. The freed slaves were deposited at Freetown in Sierra Leone. As in all their West African colonies, the British encouraged “legitimate commerce” to replace the slave trade. In The Gambia and Sierra Leone, the cash crop was peanuts. In Nigeria, it was palm oil. The British focused on spreading commerce, civilization and Christianity in the region.
In the late 19th century, Great Britain’s claim to Nigeria was recognized at the Berlin conference during the “Scramble for Africa.” The British seizure of Nigeria began with the annexation of Lagos and the extension of a protectorate over the Niger Delta. The Royal Niger Company established control over Southern Nigeria much the same way that the East India Company had in India. Eventually, Nigeria became a Crown Colony and the British overthrew the Sokoto Caliphate and pacified the country between 1885 and 1920.
Far from establishing some tyrannical regime, British colonialism was mild in Nigeria. The major legacy of the colonial era was the criminalization of human sacrifice and cannibalism and the abolition of slavery after 1900. Slavery wasn’t abolished in Northern Nigeria though until 1936. The British governed Northern Nigeria through indirect rule where life continued on as before except under British sovereignty. As was the case everywhere else in West Africa, the British left the economy in the hand of the entrepreneur and introduced aspects of their own civilization like the English language, Christianity, the common law, parliamentary institutions, constitutionalism, etc.
The thumbprint of British colonialism in Nigeria was 400 colonial administrators governing a population of 20 million people. Nigeria was granted its independence in 1960 without a fight. As in Ghana and Sierra Leone, Queen Elizabeth II visited Lagos in 1956:
The British saw their African colonies as “trusteeships.” It was the White Man’s Burden to pacify, civilize and Christianize these barbarous places. The Nigerians were being mentored by the British and uplifted into modern civilization. The early 20th century in Nigeria was a quiet time of peace and prosperity like it was in the rest of sub-Saharan Africa. Nigeria was granted its independence with great fanfare in 1960. It was like the kids had grown up or something and were moving out of the nest.
The Nigerians clamored for independence and the British rolled over and granted it to them without much thought about how this country could work as a self-governing entity. There was no common culture or sense of nationhood and a huge civilizational divide between the Christian South and the Muslim North. Aside from abolishing slavery, the Muslim North had remained essentially unchanged by British civilization while the Christian South had been educated and filled the new posts in the government.
It didn’t take long for “Nigeria” to implode. The bulk of the population lived in the North. The oil wells were concentrated in the south – crude oil production only began in 1957, three years before independence. The South feared the demographic dominance of the North. The Hausa-Fulani, Igbos and Yorubas competed over control of the government with a bewildering number of smaller tribes in each region. The first Northern dominated government was overthrown in a coup d’état in 1966.
The coup brought General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi to power who overthrew democracy, instituted military rule, and attempted to create a unitary state. This aroused suspicion of an Igbo conspiracy in the north which resulted in a counter-coup by Hausa-Fulani officers that brought Yakubu Gowon to power who reversed Ironsi’s consolidation of the separate regional governments.
A massive pogrom erupted in which the Hausa-Fulani Muslims drove thousands of Igbos out of the north. More than a million Igbo refugees were driven out of the north and west back to Igboland in the east. The most reliable estimates are that only about 7,000 Igbos were killed in the wave of ethnic cleansing although the number was radically exaggerated to give it the appearance of a genocide.
The Igbos were outraged and retaliated by ordering all non-easterners to leave their region. On May 30, 1967, the Igbos under Governor Chukwuemeka Ojukwu proclaimed the independence of the Republic of Biafra, which contained Nigeria’s vast oilfields and was thus too important as a source of revenue for the federal government to be allowed to secede. Thus began the Nigerian Civil War over Biafra’s secession which led to death of 1 to 3 million people.
Colonel Gowon launched an invasion of Biafra to crush the rebellion and preserve the union. After three years of fighting for their independence, the Igbos were defeated and Biafra was conquered by the Nigerian federal government. Gowon even quoted Abraham Lincoln and talked of “binding up the nation’s wounds” and how there been “no victors and no vanquished” in the conflict.
The Bruce Willis movie Tears of the Sun is loosely based off the Nigerian Civil War and Biafra’s secession although the United States never intervened in the war:
Biafra’s secession is one of the most fascinating stories of post-colonial Africa. The Igbos were like the Confederates and the Hausa-Fulani were like the Yankees. The Igbos lost their independence and Nigeria descended into military rule which lasted for the rest of the 20th century.
It will suffice to say that the story of Nigeria for roughly the last 50 years has been the descent into becoming one of the most corrupt countries on earth. Black gold became Nigeria’s primary source of national income, export agriculture collapsed and the country can no longer feed itself. It is estimated that Nigeria has lost $400 billion dollars through corruption since independence.
The oil producing region in the Niger Delta has seen almost nothing in the way of public investment. It has suffered tremendous environmental damage. There are oil pirates in the region who tap the pipelines in order to steal the oil. That’s about the only benefit the impoverished natives get out of it.
In Nigeria, the government in the colonial era was an alien system imposed by the British. It was olu oyibo or “whiteman’s business” – and it was okay to steal from it to help yourself. Nigeria has become a place where everyone steals from everyone else. Everyone pays bribes to do virtually anything. Westerners have to commonly have “dash” or tip Nigerians while doing business in the country. More than anything else, Nigerians are known for their email scams which extends Nigerian corruption into the West.
Lagos is the New York City of Africa.
It is also reportedly the home of the Neo-Nazi white supremacist Andrew Anglin who runs The Daily Stormer. He is probably familiar to many of the readers of this blog.
Lagos is two cities.
The vast majority of the population lives in slums like Makako which is known as the “Venice of Africa.” Meanwhile, the Manhattan of Africa is being built on land reclaimed from the sea. The project is called Eko Atlantic which is essentially a place for all of Nigeria’s Big Men who have stolen hundreds of billions of dollars from their people instead of investing in public health, education and infrastructure to have a place to drive around in the fleets of Mercedes-Benzs and LARP as Wakandans.
While the Niggerati of Abuja and Eko Atlantic are looking forward to enjoying Africa’s renowned “platinum life,” the rest of the country is writhing in misery from decades of neglect. Biafrans in the southeast have been pondering giving secession another whirl. A little jihadist group you may have heard of called Boko Haram has been making headlines in the Muslim North.
By 2050, Nigeria is projected to overtake the United States as the world’s third largest country. It will be nothing short of a miracle if the flagship of blackness lasts that long before spontaneously combusting in a revolution. I wouldn’t recommend being anywhere near there when the SHTF.