The Akassa Raid Site

Twon Brass, Bayelsa located in Nigeria has a deep history of conflict with foreign conflict. Twon Brass is home to the Akassa Raid Site and the British Colonial Cemetery, which is also known as the white man's graveyard.

The Akassa Raid Site is located in Twon Brass, in the Bayelsa state located in Nigeria. This area is a coastal community with a long history. Before colonial times, Akassa was one of five ancient deltaic city-states by Lah from Kassama in Apoi Clan of present Southern Ijaw.1 In the early 1800’s, Akassa, was a slave-trading post and customary headquarters of the Royal Niger Company (RNC).2 In the late 1800s, the land was used to collect palm oil and the trading of kernels. Following these systems of trade, there were tensions between the locals of the area and the British traders.

An Eyewitness Account of the Akassa Raid of January 29, 1895 gives great insight on what occurred at the Akassa Raid Site. The cause of the Akassa Raid Site was the trade monopoly in Niger that was claimed under a Royal Charter, which was granted to the National African Company in the year 1886 by the British Government. Since most of the Nembe trade was done in the Niger in the olden days, their sphere of action in reference to trade intercourse became much limited in consequence.3 Even after already controlling their trades, the Royal Niger Company, Chartered and Limited went so far as to molest and seize all trading canoes of the Nembe people. They even started to kill many of the Nembe people, and even kill some people that go as far as to the Akassa creek which leads to the Brass River.4 Finally one day, King Koko, the Mingi of Nembe, being the supreme King invited many chiefs and tribes to a meeting to talk about the problems the British presented them. The tribes that he gathered were: the Ogbolomabiri, Bassambiri, Okpoma, and Twon Brass. After a discussion about how to handle the British in their lands, they decided to take the law into their own hands and raid Akassa, the then Headquarters of the Royal Niger Company, Chartered and Limited, on the morning of 29th January 1895.5

They attacked Akassa with many war canoes and raided the entire place. Several clerks and Kroo boys were killed whose heads were carried off to Nembe as trophies: many were brought as captives to Nembe, the majority of whom were executed in cold blood the next day at Sacrifice Island and feasted upon. About four people died on the side of the Nembe Fleet at Akassa. It is difficult to estimate the damage done to the company on this occasion, as various trade goods, furniture, dresses and fittings of all sorts were looted, as also some arms and ammunition, etc.6 Later on about twenty-eight of the Nembe captives were eventually released by the Christian chiefs, namely Chief Christopher Warri, Chief Nathaniel Yekorogha, Chief Uriah Cameroon, Chief William Sambo, Chief Alexander Shidi and others. During the executive feasting, the spoils brought from Akassa were divided into two equal parts between the two towns of Ogbolomabiri and Bassambiri.7 During this while, a priest of the Roman church was in the town in the very house of the King before and after the raid of Akassa, taking notes of each and every incident; (the name of the Roman Father was Bubendorf) before the division of these booties, one chief from either town, Chief Okoko Oruwari on behalf of Bassambiri swore juju to kill anyone who did taught of the booty in his house.8


This Heritage site is important in that it is in memory of the Akassa Raid and the violence that occur there. The people of the the Ancient Nembe Kingdom had set aside the  29th of every year to celebrate in remembrance the courage and statesmanship exhibited by Late King Koko and other Kings and Chiefs who planned and prosecuted that historic war of liberating the Brass People from foreign, economic and political victimization.9 The King of the Brass People, King Koko, is regarded as a distinguished ancestor, a strong nationalist for trying to save his people from the oppression and abuse of the British, and made the ultimate sacrifice for embarking on that historic campaign thereby regarded as the father of the demand for present-day Resource Control.10 Currently, the site is a proposed monument by the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, in Nigeria. This site teaches people about King Koko and the Kings and Chiefs of the Nembe nation who attempted to stand up and overcome the oppression and abuse of their people by the British occupants. The Akassa Site is a place where tourism is popular. In the end, the site serves as a reminder of bloodshed and violence that occurred during the Akassa Raid of 1895. The lasting remembrance of King Koko and the Kings and Chiefs of the Nembe Kingdom who all fought to end the suffering and oppression of their people was they tried to release their people from the control of the British and they are honored here for what they did.