By Ayo Ojo
The Treaty between Adeyemi, Alafin of Oyo and Head of Yoruba-land and Her Majesty, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, July 1888
I, Adeyami, Alafin of Oyo and Head of Yoruba-land, the four corners of which are and have been from time immemorial known as Egba, Ketu, Jebu and Oyo, embracing within its area that inhabited by all Yoruba-speaking peoples, being desirous of entering into, and maintaining for ever, friendly relations with the subjects of Her Majesty, the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, and of developing the resources of Yoruba by means of legitimate trade with the subjects of Her Majesty and those under her protection or who may hereafter come under her protection, and in gratitude for what the Queen has at so much expense and risk to life done from time to time for my country, have at this day at the city of Oyo in the presnece of witnesses declared my intention of abiding by the following articles:
I. From henceforth there should be peace and friendship between the subjects of Her Majesty the Queen and those under her protection, and the Alafin of Oyo and King of Yorubaland and his people, and all other peoples over whom he has authority and influence.
II. The subjects of the Queen may always trade freely with the people of Oyo, and the Yoruba-speaking countries in every article they may wish to buy and sell, in all towns, rivers, creeks, waters, markets and places within territories known as Yoruba: and I, Adeyemi, pledge myself to show no favour and to give no privilege to the traders or people of other countries which I do not give or show to those of the Queen.
III. British subjects and others under the Queen’s protection are to have the first consideration in all trade transactions with my peoples.
IV. No tolls, duties, fees, imposts or charges shall be charged or levied upon the person or property of any British subject or other person under Her Majesty’s prtoection other than and beyond that or those which are customary and reasonable, or may from time to time be agreed upon to be so levied or charged by the Governor of Lagos and myself.
- I will not allow any disputes that may arise between people frequenting or visiting the markets in my territory to interfere with or stop the markets; and all differences or disputes that may arise other than trade disputes between my peoples and those of other nations and tribes visiting the markets shall be adjusted by me or referred for adjustment and settlement to the decision of an arbitrator appointed by the Governor of Lagos, and the decision and award of such arbitrator shall be finally conclusive.
6. I engage as far as in me lies to bring about new markets between the Oyos and toher Yoruba-speaking peoples, to promote the enlargement of existing ones, and to keep open all the roads through my kingdom to the Niger, and towards the coast.
7. It is hereby further agreed that no cession of territory and no other Treaty or Agreement shall be made by me other than the one I have now made without the full understanding and consent of the Governor for the time being of the said Colony of Lagos.
8. In consideration of the faithful observance of the foregoing Articles of the Agreement the Government of Lago will make unto me a yearly dash to the value of 200 (two hundred) bags of cowries, but such dash may upon breach or neglect of all or any one or more of the provisions of the Agreement and at the discretion of the Governor of the Colony of Lagos be altogether withdrawn or suspended.
Sealed and signed at Oyo this 23rd day of July 1888.
Clauses 6, 7 and 8 speak volumes. Clause 7 appear to add further compelling credence to the fact that no territory of Yorùbá was ever ceded to the British and no other Agreement or Treaty shall be made other than this Treaty of Peace and friendship.
Could the 01 January 1914 Amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates become invalidated by Treaty between Adeyemi, Alafin of Oyo and Head of Yoruba-land and Her Majesty, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, July 1888?…🤔🤔🤔.
Over to the legal luminaries to analyse this. I am of the opinion that the treaty could indeed facilitate a sovereign and independent Yorùbá nation.
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