Before Nigeria got her independence in 1960, she has seen the happy and not so happy times but still stood firm and undivided. One of such bad times in the history of our beloved country was the women’s war also known as Aba women’s Riots. The Aba women Riot is a 2-month riot waged by women from six ethnic groups; Orgoni, Bonny, Igbo, Opobo, Andoni and Ibibio.
The women displayed strength, courage, character, and unity in their worth as they locked horns against an oppressive colonial administration who was trying to demote them to the back seat of the society, and on top of that charge them equally with taxes. This incident happened to be one of the first revolt made in quest of freedom from the hand of colonial masters and warrant chief headed by Sir Fredrick Lugard.
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Most times I ask this questions, do we still have brave women like this in Nigeria? Do we still have women that could stand up not only for their families but for the entire society? Do we still have women that could die for a course they believe in? Do we have women that could be referred to as slay queens? This cenotaph is a symbol of a Woman that believed in a course, struggled for it, fought for it and died for it. I celebrate all the mothers that died during the Aba women riot of 1929. #BraveWomen #AbaWomenRiot #slayQueens #ibomtourism
The riot erupted from the quiet town of Oloko, where Chief Okeugo, who was the then warrant leader sent his representative Mark Emereuwa on a cold morning on the 18th day of November 1929, to carry out the census for tax. Emereuwa visited the compound of a woman named Nwanyeruwa, while she was extracting palm oil, in a stern voice he instructed to count the people living with and life stock.
Traditionally, women were not supposed to pay tax, and this made Nwayereuwa boil with anger because she will be taxed heavily based on the number of domestic animals, children, and relatives living with her. Tempers flared and Emeruwa even went to the extent of grabbing Nwanyeru by the throat After the heated argument and exchange of threats, Nwayereuwa marched to the town square in search of other women who were in the same predicament with her. Getting there, she saw hundreds of women wearing depressed faces deliberating on the tax issue. This women then came together and decided to hold a protest.
On the fateful day of the protest, 10,000 women from all areas of the Bende assembled in the village square and from there marched towards the government house in one voice-the warrant chief must step down. This peaceful protest did not turn out peaceful as it was supposed to be, there were fighting, looting and bloodshed, but at the end, the power of the warrant chiefs were limited and the plan to impose a tax on women was buried and the rest they say is history.
Below are five facts from the Aba women riot of 1929:
1. IT WAS THE FIRST WOMAN RIGHT MOVEMENT N NIGERIA
In Nigeria today, we have seen many women coming out to protest against all sorts of discrimination and impartiality among the female gender. The Aba women riot served as a source of strength for these women, as they hope one-day sanity will prevail.
2. IT WAS BLOODY
The Aba women led to the death of 52 people in total, 1 being a man while the reaming 51 were women.
3. IT WAS NOT LED BY MARGARET EKPO
Many people believe that the Aba women riot was led by Margaret Ekpo, but this is actually false. Margaret Ekpo was born in 1914 and was just 15 years during the time of the riot in 1929.
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Where it all started, the ruins of the home of Nwanyereuwa Oleka Okpo, the amazon who stood up to oppression and started a revolution- the Aba Women's uprising of 1929. This is the exact spot she confronted the Tax Agent. This is where the biggest uprising in the colonial era began. #nigeria #history #colonial #amazon #abawomenriot #heritage
4. IT BROUGHT WOMEN INTO POWER
The result of the riot uplifted women into positions like warrant chiefs and native court chiefs during that time.
5. IT TOOK PLACE IN ABIA STATE
The riot which inspired other riots like the oil mill protest of 1940 and Tax protests of 1938, began in Umungboro, Oloko the present day Abia state.
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