Kogi State

The Deposed Emris' Graveyards and the history of Kogi State and the Hausa people and their struggle with slavery by Europeans.

Kogi State is situated in the North Central Part of Nigeria, popularly referred to as the middle belt. The state was carved out of Kwara and Benue States in 1991. The Capital of Kogi State is Lokoja and is the first administrative capital in Nigeria. Located in Lokoja is the biggest cemetery for European Soldiers and African Missionaries. This is an important site because it reminds the people of Lokoja about their history and shows how far the Kogi State has progressed economically and as an independent state while reminding them of their ancestors’ suffering. Between 1867 and 1926 Kogi State was under control by European Soldiers and Missionaries (As was most of Africa) who used colonization as a way to turn a profit. Lokoja, because of its location near the River Niger banks, was an important center for the slave trade in Nigeria throughout the mid-late 19th century. Also located in Lokoja are the Irons of Liberty. The Irons of Liberty is marked with two iron poles. This site refers to the place where the slaves were freed by the anti-slavery British Crusaders in 1860. The mainstay of the economy in Lokoja to this day is still agriculture. There are many crops produced from the state but most notably the main crops are coffee, cocoa, palm oil, cashews, maize, yams, rice, and melons. Kogi State is also home to the largest iron and steel industry in Nigeria. Another important site located in Lokoja are the Deposed Emris’ Graveyards. These Graveyards are home to the deposed bodies of Kano, Zaria and Bida who were deposed and exiled for opposing the British authorities during the Colonial Era. These cemeteries today are still in the same location and have been preserved to the best way possible. The term Kabawa refers to the Hausa people who are dominantly found in the Argungu Emriate, Kebbi State. These people are characterized by their tribal marks. The Kabawa people were traditionally fisherman and are known as the “King” of rice production. During the Colonial era the Hausa people were forced into slavery by European nations and colonial missionaries who saw this region as a place to take advantage of the people and turn a profit, primarily for their own personal gain. The colonial leaders used the rice production of this region and a major financial gain and completely took advantage of the Hausa people during the Colonial Era. These Historical sites help remind everyone of the state’s roots, and the horrific past of their ancestors who were forced into slavery by European rulers and missionaries for their own personal gains. As of today these sites have not been recognized as historical monuments. These sites do have cultural significance as they are reminders of how the culture of these people has changed overtime and progresses economically and independently. In 1989 the National Museum of Lokoja was established. The museum’s collections do however focus on the states colonial history and ethnography. These Historical sites teach us that although the people in this region were forced into slavery and taken advantage of, they still pride themselves on their states past and use these sites as a way to learn from the past rather than pretend it didn’t happen. These sites also help teach us about the History of the state, from its not-so humble beginnings under colonial rule where its people were forced into slave labor, taken advantage of their resources and treated horribly, through the Kogi State gaining its independence and officially becoming a state in 1991. The Kogi State was carved out of the old Kwara and Benue States. The New State that was created was a reunion of people who had shared a common history and had co-existed as one community for a period of oven seven decades before being severed by the 1976 States Creation exercise. These Historical sites remind us of the past, and although not a highly-decorated past, an important one to reflect on and learn from the mistakes of our ancestors and improve off these bad decisions that were made.

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