Tuesday 30 April 2024

Have you heard of the "Woman War' that happened in Nigeria?

The Aba Women's Riot was sparked by a dispute between a woman named Nwanyeruwa and a man named Mark Emereuwa over a census related to taxation. Women in the area were worried about being taxed, especially during the period of hyperinflation in the late 1920s. The financial crash of 1929 impeded women's ability to trade and produce, so they sought assurance from the colonial government that they would not be required to pay taxes. Faced with a halt in their political demands, the women settled on not paying taxes or having their property appraised. On the morning of November 18, Emereuwa arrived at Nwanyereuwa's house and approached her, since her husband Ojim had already died. He told the widow to "count her goats, sheep, and people." Since Nwanyereuwa understood this to mean, "How many of these things do you have so we can tax you based on them," she was angry. She replied by saying "Was your widowed mother counted?," meaning "that women don't pay tax in traditional Igbo society." The two exchanged angry words, and Emeruwa grabbed Nwanyeruwa by the throat. Nwanyeruwa went to the town square to discuss the incident with other women who happened to be holding a meeting to discuss the issue of taxing women. Believing they would be taxed based on Nwanyeruwa's account, the Oloko women invited other women from other areas in the Bende District, as well as from Umuahia and Ngwa, by sending leaves of palm-oil trees. They gathered nearly 10,000 women who protested at the office of Warrant Chief Okugo, demanding his resignation and calling for a trial. This led to a protest that broke out in Nigeria involving thousands of women who stood up against the warrant chief for restricting the role of women in government. This protest involved thousands of Igbo women from different locations such as the Bende District, Umuahia, and other parts of southeast Nigeria. They traveled to Oloko, one of the four clans that make up the Ikwuano local government area of Abia, to protest against the warrant chief. The Warrant Chiefs were traditional leaders appointed by the British colonial administration to oversee local governance and administration. These Warrant Chiefs were often selected based on their loyalty to the colonial authorities rather than their legitimacy within the local communities. This protest encompassed women from six ethnic groups: Igbo, Ibibio, Andoni, Ogoni, Efik, and Ijaw. In 1910, women in Agbaya stayed away from their homes in protest due to suspicions among  them that some men had been secretly killing pregnant women. Also, in 1924, about 3,000 women in Calabar protested a market toll imposed by the colonial authorities. Additionally, in southwestern Nigeria, there were other women's organizations such as the Lagos Market Women Association and the Abeokuta Women's Union. During this protest, many of the warrant chiefs had to resign. #Africa #Nigeria

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