#From The Court

Amalgamation of Northern and Southern Nigeria

Continued from last edition

The area in Nigeria in which imported spirits may be possessed by or sold the indigenous natives {whether by licence or otherwise) is B6.500 square miles out of 335.700 square miles, and the French frontier bordering this area is only about 100 miles long. To institute an effective preventive service over such a distance is not a matter which presents any practical difficulty.

Germany, though she led the way in the spirit trade in British Colonies, did not hesitate to impose a duty of 13s. Sd. in the Cameroons more than double that of Nigeria in 1013, and already our duties are 60 per cent, higher than in French Dahomey.

The Liquor Ordinance of 1917, the enactment of which had been delayed by the complexity of the subject, for the first time attempted the control of the sale of imported spirits throughout the whole of Nigeria.   lt is described by the Comptroller of Customs as ” the most important law over enacted in Nigeria to regulate the liquor traffic ” (Annual Report, 1917).   It dealt with the possession and sale of all imported intoxicating liquors, including denatured spirits, and prohibited all loc-al distillation.   Native fermented liquor was dealt with in a separate ordinance.

For the purpose- of the Ordinance Nigeria is divided into prohibited areas,” licensed areas,” and ” restricted areas. Possession of imported intoxicating liquor by natives of the first-named areas, and sale or gift to them is absolutely prohibited. Sale to other than “pro­hibited natives” must be by licence. For the first, time the Hue of prohibition was clearly drawn from east to west and included in the prohibited area not only the whole of the Northern Pro­vinces, but also the whole of the Administrative districts of Obudu, Ogoja, Okwoga and Idah to the east of the Niger (approximate latitude 6° 2;V). and on the west of the river the whole of the Ubiaja division, and that part of the Asaha division, which is north of a line drawn due west from the mouth of the Anambra River. The system of licences for aliens in a prohibited area (especially in the Moslem States) was carefully revised and made much more stringent to prevent abuse.

In ” licensed areas ” imported intoxicating liquor may only be sold under licence. In these are included the whole of the Colony proper, all the more important townships on the coast, and Onitsha, and all land (not. included in a prohibited area) within half a mile of any railway.” Restricted areas ” include the remainder of the non-prohibited area.’ In these intoxicating liquor may be sold to natives by a non native or native foreigner (e.g., one who is not a native of Nigeria), except under licence, while the sale of liquor by natives may be restricted by rules made by the Governor, or by by-laws made by a Native Authority. Licensing boards were appointed and licences extended to the manufacture and sale of beer and wines. It is hoped that by these “tops the frame-work of n control of the sale of intoxicating liquor other than native liquor has been created which can gradually be made more and more effective. Complete prohibition was the occupied Cameroon area.

The Government was desirous of refusing to carry any trade spirits whatever on Government vessels on the Niger, but since the Niger Company would continue to carry them on its own behalf, and proposed to charge 20 percent, extra if they carried them for other traders, Government was forced to carry them, or to allow the Company an unfair trade advantage by the monopoly of the spirit trade.

In order to prevent the Government railway from being used as a means for conveying trade

I am glad to record that the Association of West African Merchants have recently urged the temporary prohibition of all trade spirits (including; British and American whisky and brandy), with a view to an investigation of the whole subject, and the probable extinction of the trade, in collaboration with the Colonial Fraucaise. They declare that ” is ultimately decided on, wow is the time to enforce it,” before the trade is rehabilitated by the large consignments which Holland is preparing to send out. America too, I am informed, is offering gin in barrels, for which a shipping permit has been granted. The Manchester merchant^ are also strongly in favour of abolishing the trade. I am glad also to note that the Director of the War Trade Department, writing in September last, states that ” no facilities for the transshipment in the United Kingdom of Dutch trade gin, no matter what may be the country of destination, or of any Dutch spirits destined for West Africa can be granted I and appeals against the decision cannot be entertained.”

The control of native fermented liquor is a matter of extreme difficulty. The Native Liquor Ordinance, 11)17, empowered the Governor-in-Council to specify areas in which sale should be prohibited except in licensed premises under strict con­trol. It was at once applied to all areas other than those occupied by Pagan tribes, to all town­ships, and land within a mile of those of the first and second class, and to all mining leases and exclusive prospective areas, and to all land within half a mile of any railway. No licences might be issued in the Northern Provinces.

Native liquor is usually of two kinds that brewed from surplus grain (in effect a fermented rule, and nutritive as well us intoxicating), and that made from the sip of various palms (in Uganda from the ripe banana). The former is used in the grain-producing districts of the North; and in the constant orgies held by primitive tribes, whole villages, including women and small children, indulge in continued intoxication. Crime and bloodshed are the constant con constants. The greatest cheek on this vice is the creed of Islam, which forbids the use of intoxi­cants, and Government can rely on the assistance of the Moslem Native Administrations in the Northern Provinces. To some extent taxation has an indirect influence by taking toll of this surplus of the harvests.

The latter form of liquor is prevalent in the South, where the palm is abundant. In districts where this source of supply does not suffice the oil palm is tapped, but there does not seem to be any strong evidence of much increase in this. Tapping does not hurt the tree (though it may somewhat decrease its fruiting), if the How of sap is obtained by an incision in the flower-stem, but the more common forms of “cabbage ” and stem tapping destroy the tree, and may very possibly render it liable to the disease of bud-rot (which attacks the cocoa-nut palm) and thus endanger the commercial staple of the country (Farquharson). Such tapping is now prohibited by law, and efforts arc made to enlist the co-operation of the Native Courts, since, in most districts, it is also opposed to native law. Repression in the interminable forests of oil-palms is not easy, the more so that individual ownership of trees is often claimed  though it should not. be recognised, as they are never planted.

The late Mr. Farquharson showed that the output of a tree in palm-wine is more, remunera­tive than the sale of its fruit. Ho calculated that a man could a day by selling palm-wine, and there was no middleman’s profit to deduct.

“Unfortunately it is wholly impracticable to enforce any direct check by means of excise or licence, on these primitive tribes. Repression must depend mainly on the adequacy of the Administrative staff by whose agency any measures for limiting sale in markets, and checking ‘wholesale drunkenness must he enforced, dentally with civilising and educational improvement. It is premature to expect that tribes still addicted to cannibalism and in the lowest stage of evolution, can be taught self-control without prolonged efforts. In the Congo territory pro­hibition of liquor over 8° strength is enacted by law. I have no information as to how it is enforced. In Benin liquor has been largely replaced by a beverage made by soaking cocoa-beans m water and by coffee

Of the many problems which Amalgamation presented there was none comparable in importance and in urgency with that of education. The problem differs so profoundly in the North and South, not merely in its history, and the stage which had been reached, but in some respects in its very nature, that it is desirable to review briefly the conditions of each Administration separately.

In Southern Nigeria. In Southern Nigeria, of which the coast area had been open to European influence, or upwards of half a century, there were (as might be expected) a very large number of schools, by the agency of which a great part of the coast population had attained a degree of education varying from a few barristers and doctors who had qualified in England, to the less than half educated school boys who with a smattering of English and arithmetic, seek admission to the lower ranks of the clerical and other services. In 1913 the average attendance at Government schools in the South was about 4,800, and in assisted mission schools about 12,500. To these must be added a number of pupils vaguely estimated at from 20,000 to 30,000 in unas­sisted schools, which were not only under no control or inspection by Government, but of whose very numbers or existence the Government had no precise information,

Both Government and assisted schools were lamentably understaffed. With the exception of King’s College, a small school for the sons of comparatively wealthy parents (average atten­dance 50) the only Government schools which possessed a. British instructor were at Warri and Bonny. The remainder of the European personnel of the Education Department consisted of inspectors who assessed the Errant for assisted schools after an annual examination in set subjects. Nor was the personnel of the qualified native teaching staff in any way adequate. In Government schools it numbered 31 only, viz., one teacher to 148 pupils, in mission schools 1 to 01, in unassisted schools it was estimated at 1 to 800.

The, cost of the Government schools was about £12.500 and of the grants to, and inspectorate of, assisted schools. The net amount spent on education from revenue in the Southern Provinces and Colony in 1013 stood.

 Government Schools in Southern Nigeria. Kind’s College, Lagos, with a staff of three British masters, afforded the highest and most expensive education for the sons of leading natives, or for boys of marked ability who had obtained scholarships. Some of its pupils completed their education in England, and entered the professions of ‘law and medicine. It was not a boarding school. In the two boarding schools at Warri and Bonny, adult “apprentices” were associated with small boys, with bad results. They were under no indentures, and of Technical Departments found that their  training had all to be  begun afresh when they came to the workshops with power-driven machinery. The average attendance at these two schools in 1013 was 151 apprentices.

Three Moslem schools in the Colony, and -18 other elementary or primary schools under native instructors, where carpentry and agriculture, were taught, completed the list of Government schools, with an average attendance of 4,200.

The control by Government over education was only exercised to a very limited extent. Of the total number of pupils attending schools probably one-tenth were in Government schools, three-tenths in mission-assisted schools, in which the conditions of the grant code (which referred chiefly to examination subjects and buildings) had to be observed, and six-tenths in unassisted schools. These latter consisted of private venture schools and mission schools, which either had not qualified for, or did not desire to apply for, a grant, on the ground that the code was too rigid and presented gratuitous difficulties to the teaching of religion, which was the chief object of the mission schools.

Of the private venture schools there are, according to the reports of Residents, an enormous number which, in Mr. Fisher’s words, are “frauds on the public,” and are conducted for profit by half-educated boys and others who cannot read or write properly themselves. They are lacking Hi discipline and in loyalty to any constituted authority whatever, and the, local chiefs find it very difficult to exercise any control over them. In some districts they are reported to be created as ” outposts ” by the minor missions and of no educational value. They are popular as the native considers that a ” school ” kind adds to the prestige of the village.

160. Results of Education: Southern Nigeria. That the results of the system of education were, in the words of the Secretary of State, “generally admitted to have unsatisfactory” (and the same words are used(a native), Senior Inspector of Schools, after 22 years’ service), in no reflection on the selt-sacrifice and devotion of the missionaries, to whose efforts the country owes the existence of the class from which its supply of clerks to carry on the Administration are drawn. Some of these had done admirable work, notably tin Church Missionary Society Training College at Oyo, and the Hope Waddell Institute at Calabar But with the missions religious training was naturally the first object, towards which education was merely ancillary. That the system was at fault, as has since been admitted in India, does not detract either from the praise due to the work of the missionaries, or from the debt which the country owes to them.

It is however, true that, with some notable exceptions, education seems to have produced discontent, impatience of any control, and an unjustified assumption of self importance in the individual. No doubt such results of the extension of education are not confined to Nigeria. The local press, inspired by a superficial and misdirected education, is, in the opinion of responsible and thoughtful natives, doing much ” grievous harm ” (Car), especial!); among its clientele of school boy readers, by fomenting racial animosity, by its misrepresentation, and  invective against all Government action. This attitude is not one of recent origin. So long ago as a Society had been formed in Lagos which was described by Sir G. Den ton as constituted for interference with political affairs in the hinterland, and capable of much misrepresentation and agitation. Its effect was to paralyse the efforts of the officer in* charge of the Lagos hinterland.”

The situation had gone from bad to worse, and early in 1914 the late Mr Sapara Williams. C.M.O., Senior Native Member of the Legislative Council. declared at a public meeting in Lagos, that the indiscipline and vanity of the young men produced by the schools had become so into a Me that parents were discussing the withdrawal of their sons. Something, he declared, must be done to rescue the rising generation from tins deplorable state. Mr. Carr described them as ill-educated, -unreliable find locking self-control.

He was, as I have related elsewhere, only in 1VHW that the Moslem States in the North were conquered, and access to them became possible. The task of organising an Administration absorbed all the energies of the small  while the natural suspicion and dislike with which the Christian Government was at  regarded by the Moslems rendered it inadvisable, even if it 1mcl been possible, to embark on any educational efforts  first. Tim earliest attempts to formulate a policy were made in 11)05, but it was not till that Mr. Hans was able to form a small class of pupils at Kano, whose ages varied from 0 to 00, They mostly sons of chiefs and won of influence, who had been brought from various provinces under pressure by Government. An industrial class was also formed by bring­ing artisans Kano city, who plied their native trade and gave some instruction. The experiment was, however, regarded with intense suspicion and dislike by the Moslem chiefs, who thought they saw in it some deep laid plan to subvert their religion; and the fact Mr, Yiseher had formerly been a missionary in Nigeria said to have accentuated thin tear. Moreover, the obligation to send their sons to a distant province was very unpopular among the chiefs of outlying districts.

Towards the close of 1918 1 was able to create two new schools (at Sokoto and Katsemi), so that when Amalgamation tool place there were, in all, three Government schools, with on average attendance of 854 pupils, all in the Moslem area. Meanwhile, many different missions had arrived to reinforce the efforts of the Church Missionary Society. They had opened altogether 48 schools, with u total attendance of about the same as that of the Government schools, and wore almost confined to the non-Moslem district;’. No financial assistance and been given to these schools, ami they were subject to no inspection or control by Government. Thus, at the time the  number of pupils in government or mission schools was between 700 and sui), out of a population of some nine millions.

Government did not interfere in the indigenous Koranic schools, in which reading and writing in the Arohic and Ajemi character, and memorising passages from the Koran formed the curriculum. They wore estimated at some 25,000 with over a quarter of a million pupils. Those Koranic schools had produced a literary class known as ” Mallamai,” learned in Arabic and the teachings of the Koran and commentaries, from whose ranks the officers of the Native Administration, the judges of the Native Courts, and the exponents of the creed of Islam were drawn. They aim very influential class, some of them very well rend in Arabic literature and law, and deeply imbued with the love of learning.

1B2. The Language difficulty. Throughout the luilani Moslem States Hausa a language easily acquired by the British staff- is spoken. In part of Bonus it is replaced by an Arabic dialect, and  Illorin by Yoruba. These languages have been reduced to writing iii the Roman ehametar and much progress has been made in preparing text books. Hausa before the advent of the British as written in the Arabic or Ajemi character. Owing to his keen trading the Gold have settled) not be heard, and it is the aim of the Administration make the franca of the North except Bornu and Ilorin.

To be continued

Amalgamation of Northern and Southern Nigeria

Ondo APC expresses confidence in acting Nat’l

Amalgamation of Northern and Southern Nigeria

Ekiti inaugurates school of Journalism

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *