Ruins of Lord Lugard's First Residence

The residence of Lord Lugard in the province of Lokaja. Lugard is known for his accomplishments in uniting both provinces of Nigeria and his stance against the enslavement of natives in colonized countries. The residence itself is an important heritage site and historical sight. It is also a representation of the period of British imperialism in Nigeria.

During the early 1900’s, there was a soldier in the British army who would come to be a very important figure in the British control of Africa. Frederick Lugard, aside from being in the military, became involved in the Imperial British East Africa Company, where he was a part of Britain's plans to begin colonzing different areas of Africa. Eventually, Lugard was sent to Nigeria, which at the time, was split into two provinces. While he was given a large amount of power and status in Nigeria, Lugard wanted to relinquish some of his power to the natives, making him well known for this enactment of what he called indirect rule. It allowed for the smaller Nigerian governments to stay intact while Lugard acted as a general overseer. Arguably though, Lugard is most well known for his role in uniting both provinces of Nigeria into one country in 1914 and being given the title of Governor-General. Aside from his accomplishments in Nigeria, Lugard is also known for his stance against the enslavement of natives in colonized countries, a stance that was uncommon at the time.1 During his time in Nigeria, Lord Lugard had a few different places built for him to live and conduct his work in. These structures make up Lugard’s residence, which included an office in Lokoja, a house in Ikot Abasi, as well as what is called the Amalgamation house, and a few buildings that were used for other everyday purposes. Today, these are all known as heritage sites, as they are a glimpse into the history of the past. Of these sites, Lugard’s office, built in 1901 in Lokoja, was of great importance, being that at the time it was in the capital of what was then the northern Nigerian province. As one could imagine, the office was most likely where Lord Lugard spent a lot of his time while in control of this area. In addition to the office, another important site here of historical significance is the Amalgamation house. It is believed that this is where Lord Lugard officially signed the document of the amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914.2 Lord Lugard’s first residence is very important as a heritage site. Firstly, his office, as well as his house and the several other buildings he had built, are for the most part still mainly intact and in their original form. This is important from a historical point of view because as we know, over time many items of historical significance can easily get ruined or just deteriorate with age, thus making Lord Lugard’s well maintained residence very valuable to historical studies. Along with that, his residence gives a look into what his life was like as the governor-general of Nigeria. Overall, Lord Lugard’s residence is also a representation of the period of imperialism. From these sites, historians have been able to learn a lot about the history of Great Britain’s involvement in Nigeria, as well as their general attitude towards colonization and the process by which the British overtook other countries. It is because of heritage sites like Lugard’s residence that we know more about this time period and the impacts it would have on the future. Today, Lord Lugard’s residence is regarded as a historical site.  Besides being a tourist attraction, Lugard’s office actually still holds governmental value. Due to this site’s importance to the history of Nigeria, the government decided to make it the official State Government House of Kogi in 1991.3 While Lord Lugard’s first residence is essentially just the place from which he conducted his control over the Nigerians, this site gives a good glimpse into how this time period affected the native Nigerians, as well as the African people as a whole. As we know, the native people of colonized countries were treated extremely poorly by the Europeans in most cases. While Great Britain was no exception of this, we do know that Lord Lugard was specifically against the enslavement of the natives. Also, we know that Lugard implemented indirect rule, which gave more power and leadership abilities to the Nigerians. Hence, in this specific case, we know that while conditions may have been harsh for the Nigerians, there is evidence that Lugard did not engage in the same imperialistic policies that were commonly being used by other European countries at the time.