Section 9:  Various Authors: Published Works Containing Material Relevant to Ilorin Slavery and Its Aftermath: Text/Summaries of Relevant Content and Select Bibliographies

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Table of Contents

9.1a Alabi, Abdurahman Kola. Adifa Community in Ilorin: Historical Notes. Self-published, c. 1990. Contains references to slaves, including treatment of slaves and children of slaves; and individual slaves, e.g., Balogun Afin. Transcript of text, accompanying notes by Ann O’Hear.


[Note: The founder of the Adifa Community was Daniyalu, a son of Alimi, but not one of the two who successively became emirs and founded the two ruling houses of Ilorin. The descendants of Daniyalu form a royal, but non-ruling, house.]


p. 6. [Note: reference is made to Daniyalu’s “famous descendants like Saidu, the first Shiaba of Ejidogari, Ahmadu Sauta (Kyauta), the first son of Saidu . . . [and] Sauta’s first son called Jima (Mohd. Jimoh).]


p. 12. Before the arrival of Daniyalu at the location now known as Ile Sauta, Adifa, some settlers like one Aliyu (Fulani Tapa) . . . had been living there . . .


Alfa Aliyu . . was the Quranic teacher of one Ahmadu . . . On arrival, Daniyalu took over Ahmadu as his slave and sent him to Tanke to look after his farms . . .


p. 13. Mallam Daniyalu was the fourth male child of Shehu Alimi . . .


p. 15.  . . . Daniyalu was first apportioned the area known as Adifa between 1869 and 1891 . . .

Portions of land were similarly allocated to Daniyalu’s senior brothers . . . All the locations surround the Emir’s Palace, and their descendants have since been residing therein thenceforth to date.

. . . .


According to one Alhaji Abdulkadiri Baba Agba Adedo of Ojagboro, Ilorin:-

. . . .

Oko Soge and Ajiya Saka-Saka were slaves who used to follow Daniyalu during Sallah or War.

Some of Daniyalu’s slaves moved to the present Tanke village in Ilorin.

. . . .

The slaves in those days used to be “Baba Kekere” (Junior D.H.).

. . . .

p. 16. [Note: statements from the elder continued.] Alao Omoolomi, Alabi Akobata and Umaru Sanda, who were Emir’s slaves, were separately apportioned houses at Ile Omooloni [sic], Ile Akobata and Ile Sanda respectively in Adifa Community by Emir Aliyu (1869-1891) . . .

Ile Soge (Apalando) was originated by people from Offa.

It was during the reign of Emir Sulimanu (Oba Sule), after the arrival of the British, that going to the districts as District Heads became imperative (1907) . . . In Adifa, Saidu was the first D.H. to go to Ejidogari.

When Saidu (Shiaba) became too old as the D.H. Ejidogari, his eldest son, Amodu Sauta, had to go and replace him there . . .


[Note: The testimony of the Ilorin elder identifies Umaru Sanda as an Emir’s slave. However, all the other material in this book identifies him as the son of Daniyalu. Other sources confirm this. The elder may have conflated this Umaru Sanda with another Umaru Sanda who was indeed a member of a group of former Emir’s slaves or their descendants who acted as baba kekere (intermediaries) and were involved in a major political crisis in Ilorin in 1936.]


p. 17.  . . . during installation of any of the District Heads of Ejidogari in Ilorin, a Fulani dance called “Ijo Olomo-Oba,” by [a] group of mostly elderly females, was always conspicuously displayed at Adifa compound. They often sing thus: “E ka lo Adifa ni le Daniyalu t’eru ti ndi omo-oba,” meaning “come to Adifa, Daniyalu’s compound w[h]ere the Slaves becomes a Prince,” referring to the non-discriminatory treat[ment]s given to princes and slaves by Daniyalu.


[Note: For suggested interpretations of this “non-discriminatory” treatment of slaves, see Ann O’Hear, 2.4b(ii) in this Archive, “Yoruba/Caliphate Society: Proverbs and Praise Poems,” Conference on Tales of Slavery: Narratives of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Enslavement in Africa, University of Toronto, 2009.]





[Note: Umaru (Humaru) Sanda is here listed as the second of Daniyalu’s children, and  Saidu (Shiaba) is identified as the eldest of Umaru Sanda’s 21 children.]





[Note: The expression “mythical notes” should probably be interpreted as “traditions.”]



            The fourth male child of . . . Alimi . . . Daniyalu grew up to become a reknown Islamic Mallam . . . During the various wars and military expeditions . . . Daniyalu never went anywhere himself . . . he used to send his warriors like Oke Soge, Ajia Saka-Saka . . . When in 1861 the throne of the Emir of Ilorin became vacant . . . Daniyalu was denied the opportunity of becoming an Emir by the . . . Balogun Aafin . . . the king maker that installed Zubeiru . . . Daniyalu was said to have [told] the new Emir . . . : “You did not contest the rulership of Ilorin with me, it was Balogun Aafin who install you”. . . Daniyalu was said to have then cursed . . . Balogun Aafin thus: “But so far as Alfa Alimi was the one who born me, people will ask for the house of Balogun Aafin . . . and there will be no trace of it. Infact, the house shall turn to a market place.”

            At that time Balogun Afin’s compound was adjacent to that of Magajin Gari. The house/compound was in no time consumed by the then Emir’s market . . . there is no trace either of the Balogun Aafin or his house any where again in Ilorin ever since.


[Note: Balogun Afin is the title of a major Emir’s slave.]

. . . .


            Mallam Umaru Sanda was the second son of Alfa Daniyalu . . . He was the second Daudu Adifa . . . His administrative capability and love for peaceful co-existence led to his being sent . . . by the then Emir of Ilorin to the Emir of Bida on a reconciliatory mission . . . [Note: further details of this mission are given on p. 44.]


p. 44. 3.SAIDI: The first male child of Mallam Umaru Sanda[,] Saidu was the first Daudu Adifa appointed and sent as District-Head of Ejidogari in 1907 . . .



          . . . the second D.H. of Ejidogari,  he made more friends than enemies by his lifestyle . . . he was famous and loved by many . . . thro’ his rather extravagant generousity. . .

. . . .

p. 45.   Yet, it was said that amids[t] his merry-making activities, Sauta made sure he initiated all his children and even children of his brothers as well as those of friends or slaves into Western education . . .

. . . .

5.JIMA (MOH. JIMOH) . . .

. . . .

             . . . Moh. Jimoh, the first son of Ahmadu Sauta, was . . . a carbon copy of his father . . .  especially as the 4th Daudu Adifa and District Head of Ejidogari.

. . . .

p. 47.  . . . like his father Sauta, Moh. Jimoh initiated a number of children in and around Ejidogari into Western education as far back as 1946 . . . Jimoh made sure a number of school-age children were being taught how to read and write “in the verender of his house at Ejidogari, pending completion of a two-classroom elementary school then under construction.” [Note: no source given] Among the children he initiated  were his brother . . . , children of his bodyguards and other settlers in Ejidogari . . .


[Note: It may reasonably be inferred, from the foregoing text on Sauta and Moh. Jimoh, that the “bodyguards” referred to were ex-slaves or their descendants.]


p. 48. . . .


. . . .

Omo omo Alimi ti mbe l’Adifa

Omo omo Alimi ti mbe l’Adifa

Umoru Sanda omo Daniyalu,

Omo omo Alimi ti mbe l’Adifa.

. . . ./

p. 49.

. . . .




[Note: on p. 48, the author of this work identifies his own connection with the Daniyalu community: his mother was the first child of Moh. Jimoh.]


[Note: in a genealogical tree on p. 51, Umoru (Umaru) Sanda is once again identified as a son of Daniyalu.]

9.1c Campbell, Robert. A Pilgrimage to My Motherland: An Account of a Journey among the Egbas and Yorubas of Central Africa, in 1859‒60. New York: Thomas Hamilton, 1861. Transcript includes information on two elite emir’s slaves in Ilorin; also slave markets there, especially the Gambari market.


Transcriber’s Notes:

(1)On the author: Robert Campbell, a Jamaican-born journalist, was a member of the Niger Valley Exploring Party of 1859-60, which was organised by free Africans in the Americas to look at the possibility of settling black immigrants in West Africa. After visiting Ilorin and other areas, he settled with his family on the West African coast in what was then the British colony of Lagos, on the coast of Nigeria. He established the Anglo-African newspaper there and became a prominent resident of the Colony.

(2)On “Nasamo” (Nasama, Nasamu) and “Dangarri” (Sarkin Dongari, Dogari, Dungari): these were two major figures in Ilorin in the middle of the nineteenth century. Both were elite slaves of the emir.

(3)Campbell visited Ilorin after Bowen and Clarke did so. Both Bowen and Clarke met Nasamo’s wife; by the time Campbell met Nasamo he was a widower.



Chapter VI, “Miscellaneous”

61. Slaves are often found filling the most exalted positions: thus at Abbeokuta, all the king’s chief officers are his slaves, and they are among his most confidential advisers. On certain state occasions, one or other of these slaves is often permitted to assume in public the position of the king, and command and receive in his own person the homage and respect due to his master. So in Ilorin, Dungari, the prime minister of the king, daily sits in the market-place to receive the homage of the populace intended for the king, and yet Dungari, really the most important personage of the kingdom, and in rank even above the king’s own sons, is a slave. Instances of this kind might be afforded almost indefinitely.

         Slaves are procured chiefly by conquest, sometimes in warfare as justifiable and even more so than the wars waged among civilized nations; at other times predatory, and undertaken solely for their capture. Not a few incur slavery as a penalty for crime. Some are sold to defray either their own debts, or it may be the debts of others for which they have become liable; and frequently children are kidnapped and sold away into distant parts./

62.     Although but a few years since every heathen town in this region abounded with slave-markets, there is now, doubtless through the influence of Christian civilization, nothing of the kind seen; and although it would be unsafe to say that slaves are not sometimes sold, yet if so, it is done secretly. The first and only marts we met for “this description of property,” were at Ilorin, a Mohammedan kingdom. There was there, besides several numbers exposed in different places throughout the town, a large market, the Gambari, almost exclusively devoted to their sale, and in which there were certainly not less than from five to six hundred. Christian America and Mohammedan Ilorin do with complacency what the heathens of Yoruba and Egba feel it a disgrace to practise.

         At Ilorin we sojourned with Nasamo, the king’s sheriff, in whose company only we were permitted to walk about the city. On arriving at the Gambari market in one of our excursions, he pointed to the slaves and jocularly asked whether I wished to purchase. I embraced the opportunity to show him the wrong of making slaves of our fellows, and the great injury which it inflicted not only upon those  who suffer, but also on those who practise it. Nasamo fills a high position in the state, and is the master of a large number of slaves; nevertheless he is himself a/

63. slave, and doubtless thought of his youthful home and dear parents from whom he was stolen. He admitted all I said, and observed that he wished there was no such thing; but while it existed it was better that they be exposed in the markets than that they should be sold privately, “for then bad men would seize the defenseless and our children, and we would not know where to find them.”

         The Mohammedans do not sell their co-religionists into slavery: they sometimes hold them as slaves, but only when they were bought as heathens and converted after coming into their possession; but these are never after sold.



Chapter IX, “Ilorin”

101. [on arrival at Ilorin] We . . . hastened to the house of Nasamo, the sheriff or public executioner, to which we were directed by the advice of the Rev. Mr. Reid, who had not long before visited Ilorin . . . Nasamo, though evidently not less than seventy or eighty years old, is yet vigorous both in mind and physical constitution. He was the first important personage we met without a single wife: he had one who made him the father of three or four daughters, but since her death he has lived a widower. One of his daughters attends to his domestic affairs.

         Early the following day we sent our interpreter to salute the king . . . The interpreter was conducted to Dungari, the king’s prime-minister, who received, and conveyed the message to his master./

102. Shortly after [this] we received a return salutation from his majesty, together with a large vessel of well-prepared native food, sufficient to feed both ourselves, and attendants for the day, also a similar present from Dungari. These presents were continued for the whole time we remained in the town . . .

         Every day we were requested to prepare to visit the king, but were continually put off . . . till the fourth day, when we were led into his presence. This . . . occasioned us considerable inconvenience, for we were in the mean time virtually prisoners, not being permitted to go out of our uncomfortable quarters until we had first seen his majesty, and obtained his gracious consent to see the town; and even after this consent was obtained, we were only permitted to go out accompanied by Nasamo . . .

. . . .

104. We were placed about four yards in front of [the king], to the right of the company, except Dungari, who with our interpreter was on the right of us. Although the king understands Aku [Yoruba] well, and therefore could converse directly with our interpreter, yet the customs of his court require, that all that is said be communicated to him in Fulanee by Dungari, who as before remarked . . . is, except the king, the most important personage of Ilorin. He is by birth a Fulanee, but of the blackest type of Negroes . . .

. . . .

105. Accompanied by our soi-disant jailer, we made several excursions through the town . . ./

. . . .

106. To the Gambari market, allusion has already been made as the greatest depot for the sale of slaves, besides which, there were exposed for sale fine horses, donkeys, mules, horse-trappings, swords, leather work, silk clothing, tobes, antimony, salt, cola nuts, stationery, etc. etc. . . .

         The day before we departed we received a special invitation to exhibit our curiosities—my watch, fowling-piece, etc. —to the king, which . . . induced the remark from Dungari: “Verily,/

107. if I had not a strong mind, I would embrace the customs and religion of such a people.”

9.1b Bowen, T. J. Adventures and Missionary Labours in Several Countries in the Interior of Africa from 1849 to 1856. 2nd edition, with a new introduction by E. A. Ayandele. London: Frank Cass, 1968. Transcript features material on two elite emir’s slaves in Ilorin.


Transcriber’s Note: “Nasamu” (Nasama, Nasamo) and “Dangarri” (Sarkin Dongari, Dogari, Dungari) were two major figures in Ilorin in the middle of the nineteenth century. Both were elite slaves of the emir.


Chapter XVII, “Visits to llorrin in 1855.”


191.[Bowen arrived at Ilorin. The gate keeper sent men to inform the Emir of his arrival.]

         In about two hours orders came from the king to let me enter the town . . . I was first conducted to the house of Dangarri, the prime minister, and then, after some consultation, I was delivered to Nasamu, the exe-/

192. cutioner, who carried me to his house, and informed me that I must not go out into the street. For several days I could not walk across the yard, but he or one of his men would be at my heels . . . Nasamu, though always armed with a mace, or heavy iron club, with which he had executed more than two hundred men, was rather a pleasant man, and decidedly polite and easy in his manners.

. . . .

I fancied that Nasamu was rather uneasy as to the result of my visit . . . One day, when no one was in the piazza, except Nasuma’s [sic] wife and myself, she informed me that the king and nobles, and chief alufás (doctors and scribes,) were holding councils every night . . . to determine what they should do with the white man.

. . . .

198. Nasamu, him-/

199. self a Kanikè, informed me that Burnu . . . is not the name of a country, but of a single town in the Kanikè kingdom. He affirms that the Kanikès are descended from the people of Barba (Lander’s Borgoo,) on the west of the Niger.

. . . .

202. On the day that I left Ilorrin, the king sent for me to visit him at his private house. Dangarri now informed me that I should have land to build on, “your own house, your servant’s house, and the  house of God.” With this assurance, I was dismissed to go home and make preparation for removing to Ilorrin after the close of the rains . . . Nasamu and several others accompanied me to the gate . . .

         On leaving Ijaye in the fall of 1855 . . . I . . . went to Ilorrin on a second visit. Nasamu had various complaints to make against other white men who had been there since my visit; that they had come with a large retinue of servants; that they were stern and unsocial, etc., and I received intimations that the balogun, who was absent at the time of my visit, was hardly willing for white men to live in Ilorrin.

. . . .

9.1d Clarke, William H. Travels and Explorations in Yorubaland 1854‒1858. Ed. and with an introduction by J. A. Atanda. Ibadan: Ibadan University Press, 1972. Transcript contains descriptions of visits to Ilorin, including information on two elite slaves in Ilorin, on a slave eunuch there, and on an Ilorin “slave hunt” in Efon.


Transcriber’s Note: “Nasama” (Nasamu, Nasamo) and “Dongari” (Sarkin Dongari, Dogari, Dungari, Dangarri) were two major figures in Ilorin in the middle of the nineteenth century. Both were elite slaves of the emir.


81.[First visit to Ilorin, 1855] I was in the first instance conducted to the house of Dongari, the king’s prime slave, who, not wishing to see me at that unseasonable hour, ordered the messengers to take me to the house of Nasama, to whom has been given the honour, according to appointment, of taking care of the king’s white guests. It was at this house and under the auspices of this same host and hostess, that my friend Bowen, a few months previous, was so hospitably and kindly entertained, and who was so highly appreciated as not to be allowed to go beyond the boundaries of the courtyard. Nasama appeared highly delighted at my arrival and gave indications of my being well received in high places.

. . . .

82. It was on the third day that the readiness of the king was announced . . .

I had first to be conducted to Dongari . . . and then under his wing he [be] marched to the royal palace . . . The court language, through which all official business is carried on, is Fulani, but not infrequently the king, who can speak four or five languages, uses the Kaninke or Hausa, which are immediately translated into Yoruba by Dongari, the interpreter . . . /

83. Soon after reaching my compound I received a present from the king, a large ram and several heads of cowries, brought in by a slave of two hundred pounds weight, said to be a eunuch, and who seemed to disdain the very ground on which he trod.

         I was now visited by numbers of people, mostly of a select kind, whom the kindness and partiality of Nasama allowed to enter the gate, and to some of whom Nasama himself and his wife, though far their superiors in more respects than one, were compelled to show obeisance, the more unwilling because they well knew the purposes for which some of these visits were made. There is a whole host of little princes . . . who are ready to receive anything that might perchance fall in their way from the hands of a stranger. It was some of these who had now visited me that were so very obnoxious to my host and hostess; for, said they, that is just what they have come after, and if the king knew it they dare not come here . . .

84.     In one of my strolls, attended by this Nasama, who is the terror of the populace because of the tremendous weapon attached to his side, I passed through the Gambari market where all the fine goods such as saddles, silk-sash, raw silk, trona and many other articles, brought by interior traders, are deposited . . . As it did not happen to be the right hour, I could form but a very inadequate conception of the energy, enterprise and bustle that at times is found in the market . . .

As I was passing a compound where an old Mohammedan priest was diligently engaged in the study of the Koran, or some scraps of Arabic, I called in at his solicitation to have a moment’s chat, expecting on all such occasions to have controversy . . . The old man received me very kindly and with just as little bigotry and haughty as is to be found in any class of the heathen population . . . This was

. . . astonishing; for I expected to find . . . bigotry, and . . . such extreme intolerance as would scarcely allow a favourable allusion to the Christian religion. But the longer my acquaintance, the more firmly I was convinced, as informed by Nasama, that those who made the most noise and wore the longest and whitest turbans were the vilest of men. He himself had for many years followed the trading business, and of course could speak authoritatively with regard to those who were his daily companions.

. . . .

85. I now began to think of departing homeward . . . I . . . assented to remain two or three days longer under the promise that I was to leave at a certain time . . . It was now a clear understanding between Dongari and Nasama and myself that I was to leave at the time agreed to whether or not I saw the king . . .


103. [Second visit to Ilorin, 1857] I determined to [look at] the practicability of stretching a line of stations from Lagos to the Niger . . . On reaching Ilọrin I made free to go to the compound set apart for the king’s guests . . . After remaining beyond the ordinary time . . . before strangers are entitled to an interview, we began to make serious enquiries as to the reason why we could not see the king . We not only desired the privilege . . . but . . . we were prevented from going fifty yards/

104. beyond the gates of our prison house. . . . we had paid our visit to our keepers—Dongari, quite as sagacious and accomplished in lying as Nasama—before it began to be hinted that the king was sick. . . . [The party] succeeded in visiting nearly every part of the city . . . But there were two places no consideration could induce Nasama to allow us to visit; one the small mountain that overlooked the city, the other the king’s market. Whenever we happened to escape the eye of our old friend who no doubt felt great responsibility . . . he could not rest until he had found us. One evening, we slipped to the outskirts of the king’s market . . . /

105.  . . . when Nasama . . . came in considerable haste . . . and met us quietly on our return in a good humour, rejoicing in our success, and not a little amused at his temporary passion.

. . . .

It now became evident . . . that we could not enjoy an interview with the king, and therefore an important question arose as to . . . my visit to the Niger . . . I conversed freely with Nasama to ascertain as far as possible what would be the result if I forced my way, and , if that was impractical, what would be the better plan to adopt. I finally resolved, in as much as I could make a visit at some other time, to be patient and wait the brighter development of providence.

. . . .

[Third visit to Ilorin, late 1857]

162. The intelligence was  . . . brought me that Dongari, the king’s head slave and executioner was dead . . .

. . . .

165.  . . . I rode off a short distance to see my old friend Nasama . . .

. . . .

166.  . . . I called on Sunmọnu [identified as “the commander-in-chief” on page 161]  to give him my parting salutation, knowing I should not be able to see him on my return as his whole time and attention were now engaged in speedy preparations for a slave hunt in the Ẹfọn count

9.1e Farrow, Rev. S. S. “A Visit to Ilorin.” Niger and Yoruba Notes, vol. 1 (1894): 28‒30, 37‒39. Transcript includes references to Ogunkojole, head slave of the emir (Moma, Momo) of Ilorin and himself a slaveowner; slaves for sale in “Khambari” (Gambari) Market.


29. The king (so called by courtesy, though he is really Emir, under the Sultan of Sokoto) received us in a very friendly manner and after we had briefly stated the object of our visit, handed us over to the care of his head slave and favourite attendant, who took us to his house and lodged us in his stable. This man, “Ogunkojole” by name (i.e., “War does not resemble home”), is the king’s right hand man without whom he does nothing. He is practically prime minister, very wealthy and possesses many slaves of his own, yet he himself is the king’s slave and cannot redeem himself. Throughout my stay he acted as my “Baba Kekere” (i.e., “Little Father”), without whom no stranger can approach an African monarch in the Yoruba country.


30. In the afternoon we . . . went out, through the Khambari market, where we saw a large number of slaves of both sexes and all ages sitting huddled together waiting for purchasers.


38. In the evening we were ready early to go to the king, but our host delayed us till seven before he allowed us to go to the palace, saying that the king was not ready . . . We were kept waiting at the palace for over an hour. Messengers went to and fro several times. Our host sent word that “the king had gone to the inner room and he dared not wake him. We had better go home. Should the king awake we would be sent for.” He was “talking Yoruba) (i.e., dissimulating) and was quite aware that we knew it. It meant that the king had changed his mind and would not see us . . .

         When our host (Ogunkojole) came home he did not say one word asking us to show the [magic] lantern [presentation] the next night, but fully agreed to our leaving the next morning as we had arranged.

9.1f Jimba, Alhaji Safi. A Short History of Ilorin. Ilorin: Jimba Book Productions Company, 1981. The author (d. 2019) was a prominent lawyer and author, and a member of the Jimba family of Ilorin, which was founded by an elite slave warrior.


In order to avoid any possible copyright problems, instead of quoting at length from the book, I have prepared the summary that I present below:


          In A Short History, Alhaji Safi Jimba understandably evades the question of the slave origin of his family, although it is confirmed by other sources, notably Samuel Johnson’s History of the Yorubas (see, e.g., my article, “Elite Slaves in Ilorin in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries,” International Journal of African Historical Studies, vol. 39, no. 2, 2006: 271). Yet, at the outset, he allows a hint of this origin to creep in, in his dedication  of the book to Ilari Ogun, his grandfather (Short History, iii), the word ilari being suggestive of “a comparison with the slave officials of that name in Old Oyo” (“Elite Slaves,” 271).

          As for origins, Alhaji Jimba simply states that the founder of the Jimba family was “a Kamberi from Ibeto, a village in Kontagora area of Sokoto State” (Short History, 4). He claims, rightly, that his ancestor was one of the most important warriors in Ilorin, noting that major examples of his leadership included his role in the capture of Old Oyo (Short History, 4, 5) and “his success in maintaining the Offa Gate . . . near Jimba-Oja . . . against Ibadan intrusions” (Short History, 6). He was well known throughout Yorubaland, and was compared with major Yoruba generals (Short History, 4-5). However, Alh. Jimba concedes that his ancestor was “just” an army commander, “not a Balogun” (Short History, 6).

          The author of the Short History claims that Jimba was in charge of much of Ilorin’s “great arsenal, gun powder and heavy weaponry” (5). He seems to be referring to the first Jimba, but the wording quoted here suggests that the claim would be more appropriately made with regard to a later head of the Jimba family, in the late nineteenth century.

          In a further claim, Alh. Jimba asserts that the title of daodu (“Daudu Abdusalami”) was conferred on the first Jimba in 1838, by Emir Abdusalami (Short History, 5), and that in 1839 the emir gave Jimba the right to create his own titles, such as balogun, ajia, galadima, and mejindadi (Short History, 6).  However, it looks perhaps more likely that the daodu title and the right to create other titles were conferred later, by Emir Aliu: in  the 1980s, the incumbent daodu told researcher Stefan Reichmuth that it was the second head of the Jimba family, that is, Lasaki, son of the first Jimba and head of the emir’s guard, who was given the daodu title after defeating Balogun Fulani Usumanu’s revolt in the 1870s (see “Elite Slaves,” 250-251, note 15).

9.1g Johnson, Rev. Samuel. The History of the Yorubas. First published 1921. Reprinted 1976 Lagos: C.S.S. Bookshops. A list of selected pages on which information on slavery, mostly directly related to Ilorin, especially elite slaves, can be found.


60-63. Ilari in Oyo (see also 9.1f , summary of material from Alhaji Safi Jimba, A Short History of Ilorin)

198, 199. Lasipa Bugare, head slave of Afonja

200. slave capture and sale by Afonja

200. Afonja’s mother a slave?

202-203. Alimi’s slave wife. No advantage to children of free wife over those of slave wife. Also 222

217-218. Jimba (elite slave, Ilorin) and Oyo

259. Jimba and Oyo

262. Jimba

287. Jimba captured

308-309. Eṣu (aka Esu, E’shu, Esubiyi of Aiyede; at one point enslaved in Ilorin, he later became a major warrior and chief to the east)

313. Eṣu

326. elite slaves Ibadan

403-404. Eṣu

404. Ilorin slave capture

564. Nasamu (elite slave, Ilorin)

577. Dongari (elite slave, Ilorin)

604. Nasamu

648-49. “Bower” = “Bawa”

9.1h May, Daniel J. “Journey in the Yóruba and Núpe Countries in 1858.” Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, vol. 30 (1860): 212‒233. The transcript consists of extracts from a report by Daniel J. May of the Niger Expedition. The report is in the form of a letter, dated 13th November, 1858, from May to the Earl of Malmesbury. The extracts provided here contain references to Ilorin slave raiding, and references to E’shu, “a great war-chief” to the east of Ilorin. For other references to E’shu (aka Eṣu, Esu, Esubiyi of Aiyede) and for the fact that he had previously been enslaved in Ilorin, see page references in 9.1g to Samuel Johnson’s History.



214. I passed the interval . . . at Ibádan . . . collecting information about the country eastward. I learned that an army of Ibádan was in that direction, and knew that an army from Ilórin was also there marauding and rendering the country impassable

. . . [May left Ibádan on 9th June, 1858.]


221.   At Ibádan I had heard of a great war-chief, E’shu . . . : now I learned more particulars of his whereabouts—that he lived at a town, E’shon, three days’ journey eastward of I’la, and was esteemed the most powerful chief in that quarter. A messenger and suite of his were now here (at Abájo), returning to him after a mission to Ibádan, to which power even he is tributary . . .


223. On the 25th June I left Awton . . . arriving, about 5 P.M. at E’shon  . . .

. . . .

224.  E’shon and A’iedi are nominally or politically one town; really they are . . . about two miles apart. In the former the Ajéle resides; in the latter the chief E’shu is to be found . . . I was summoned to E’shu at A’iedi. I had to learn (politely enough conveyed to me) that the road eastward to the confluence was shut to me; “war in the road” was the farther information on my attempting to shake the chief’s determination.

. . . .

225. E’shu is the principal chief in the district of Effon.


226. [May travelled to E’jeba on 30th June.] . . . there was great excitement  produced by the arrival of the news of a party of people belonging to a neighbouring town, “A’gboro,” having been attacked and carried off by a party of  Ilórin people. There was much noise, arming, mounting, and sallying forth, the searching party returning soon after dark without any result. This is the occupation and mode of procedure of the army from Ilórin here, as of Ibádan and Núpe or any other power anywhere else on a marauding and slave-hunting expedition. The effects in this beautiful and productive district were lamentable to perceive . . .


9.1i Milum, John Rev. “Notes of a Journey from Lagos up the River Niger to Bida, the Capital of Nupè and Illorin in the Yoruba Country, 1879‒80.Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society and Monthly Record of Geography, New Monthly Series, vol. 3, no. 1 (Jan. 1881): 26‒37. The transcript consists of a brief passage on slavery in Ilorin, including ownership of slaves by wealthy slaves; also slave marketing.


36. [in Ilorin] Slavery prevails, but the fact of being a slave is not necessarily a mark of poverty, as many slaves are so rich as themselves to possess numerous slaves, horses and cattle of their own, and extensive farms, lands, and houses . . . both in Bida and Illorin I saw the slave marts crowded with hundreds of slaves. Apparently the one object of war with the mass of the people is to capture slaves.


37. The way overland being closed to me I was obliged to return to the coast by the way I came . . . I left Shonga . . . on the 30th December, and arrived in Lagos on the 24th of January, 1880 . . .

9.1j Olawoyin, Chief J. S. My Political Reminiscences, 1948‒1983. Ikeja: John West Publications, 1993.


I have not yet (as of June 2020) been able to contact anyone who might be able to give me permission to reproduce text from this book. I have therefore prepared a summary of the life and activities of Chief Olawoyin’s father and others, based on the account in My Political Reminiscences. I have added a very brief note on Chief Olawoyin’s work in support of the people of the Metropolitan Districts:


Enslavement of Chief Olawoyin’s father (pages 10-11)

Chief Olawoyin’s father was a native of Offa who was captured by Ilorin soldiers during the long-drawn-out war between Ilorin and  Offa in the late nineteenth century. He was sold to a man in Abeokuta who was a leader in the Anglican Mission there. His master had him trained in carpentry. Encouraged by his master, he became a Christian.

          He returned to Offa in 1907, as did two other natives of Offa who had been sold to Lagos, learned carpentry and become Christians. The Chief’s father was instrumental, together with one of the other returnees, in founding the C.M.S. Church in Offa in 1907 and he became its long-term President. In 1909, an accompanying primary school was founded, the first in the area.


Chief Olawoyin’s support of the Metropolitan Districts

The author was a native of Offa. He was a prominent politician, both on the local and the national stage. He was influential in the formation of the Ilorin Talaka Parapo/Action Group alliance; and he supported the struggle of the dependent people of the Metropolitan Districts in the period of political activity in those districts during the second half of the 1950s. Later, he championed the movement for the recognition and grading of local chiefs in Moro and Asa (the old Metropolitan Districts). .

9.1k Whitaker, C. S., Jr. The Politics of Tradition: Continuity and Change in Northern Nigeria 1946‒1966. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1970. 


In Chapter 3, “Ilorin: Revolution, Counterrevolution,” C.S. Whitaker provides a groundbreaking study of politics in 1950s Ilorin, featuring the attempt to introduce democratic reforms into the Ilorin system, and the rise of the radical Ilorin Talaka Parapo (ITP), which became the party of the common people, including descendants of slaves, in resistance against the aristocracy.

Whitaker discusses the experiment in democratisation which was tried in Ilorin Emirate in the 1950s, and the reasons why Ilorin was chosen as the “pilot site” for this scheme (121-133). He identifies that in Ilorin Emirate the “pressures for change” were especially strong, due to its particular political system, influences from the British presence and from southern Yorubaland, and the influence of “certain highly placed British officials” after the Second World War (122).


In the section titled “The Evolution of the Ilorin Native Authority Council, 1900-1957 ” (133-137), Whitaker points out that major modifications to the Ilorin NA Council had begun long before modernisation of local government began to be discussed: “The early beginning, frequency, and extent of the renovations in the structure of the central Native Authority Council [in Ilorin Emirate] contrast with the static condition over the same period of the Emirate Councils of the ‘upper North’” (134). Whitaker discusses the events of 1900 to 1950, then the events of 1950 to 1957 which culminated in the establishment of a Central NA Council with a majority of popularly elected members.


“The Rise of the ITP-AG [Action Group] Grand Alliance” (137-145) discusses the ITP’s beginnings as both a “tradition” oriented party and a party of protest against the status quo, and its development into a fully fledged champion of radical social and political change, in alliance with the AG and parties of change in the non-Metropolitan Districts. The author notes the ITP’s particular attack on three “customary but now detested practices,” babakekeres, ishakole, and aroja, all of which were suppressed (143, 150).


But the new Central Council was dissolved in 1958, only one year after it was elected. Whitaker asks, “What went wrong?” He notes that “two conflicting accounts” were put forward, both by “interested parties” (the regional government and the ITP) and both, therefore, “unacceptable at face value” (145). His detailed examination of the Council’s performance includes its successes in local government reform (145-151) but also its “transgressions” with regard to Native Authority staff members (151-154), and the multiple problems that it faced.


Crucially, Whitaker highlights the ITP’s commitment to “revolutionary change” (158), pointing out that the regional government had allowed the reforms


on the assumption that they were compatible with the survival of the authority and influence of traditional rulers. But every day under the  ITP regime made the assumption more untenable. . . . It eventually became clear to the government that it either had to sustain traditional authority and abandon the democratic reforms . . . or to permit the opposite result. . . . this . . . , above all, [lay] behind the government’s decision to dissolve the Council. . . .

. . . the destiny of traditional authority everywhere in the emirates was bound up with its fate in Ilorin (158-159).


Most of the rest of Chapter 3 details the counterrevolution, beginning with the appointment of a “caretaker” council, which proceeded to overturn the work of the previous one. For example, the “notorious” heads of Afon and Paiye (162-163), who had been dismissed by the ITP-controlled Central Council, were reinstated. Whitaker points out that administrative officers’ advice was several times ignored by the caretaker council, and that the Resident’s Annual Report  for 1958 was scathing in condemning the “leading traditional titleholders in Ilorin Town” (164-165).


The traditional chiefs were bent upon making the people understand their re-assumption of control, and in the years before the coup that led to a military takeover in January 1966, they engaged in consolidating their position. A new Central NA Council was set up in 1961, and the composition of both the central council and subordinate councils was changed to favour traditional members. The Central Council was criticised by the regional government for ignoring “uncongenial” instructions. All this came to an end when the Military Government terminated the NA Council, made Ilorin a “Sole Native Authority,” and put a Divisional Officer in charge.

9.2 Select Bibliography of Publications related to Local Government and Land Reform in Northern Nigeria (relevant to the aftermath of slavery in the  “Metropolitan Districts” around Ilorin, which are populated in large part by descendants of slaves) (alphabetical order by author)



Baum, Edward. “Recent Administrative Reform in Local Government in Northern Nigeria.” Journal of Developing Areas, vol. 7, no. 1 (Oct. 1972): 75‒88.


Bello-Imam, I.B. Local Government Structure in Britain and Nigeria—A Study of Structural Evolution. Ibadan: Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research, 1983.

Campbell, M.J. Law and Practice of Local Government in Northern Nigeria. Lagos: African Universities Press/London: Sweet & Maxwell, 1963.

Cole, C.W. “Village and District Councils in the Northern Provinces of Nigeria.” Journal of African Administration, vol. 3, no. 2 (April 1951): 91‒94.

Francis, Paul. “‘For the Use and Common Benefit of All Nigerians’: Consequences of the 1978 Land Nationalization.” Africa, vol. 54, no. 3 (1984): 5‒28.

James, R.W. Nigerian Land Use Act: Policy and Principles. Ile-Ife: University of Ife Press, 1987.

Ministry for Local Government, Northern Region, Nigeria. “A Review of the State of Development of the Native Authority System in the Northern Region of Nigeria on the 1st of January, 1955.” Journal of African Administration, vol. 7 (April 1955): 77‒86.

Nemetz, Dan. “Plans for Local Government Reform in the Six Northern States.” Nigerian Journal of Public Affairs, vol. 1, no. 2 (May 1970 or 1971?): 104‒113.

Nigeria, Northern Region. Report of the Joint Select Committee of the Northern Regional Council, Development of Local Administration. Kaduna: Government Printer, 1952.

Scoville, O.J. “The Twelve States of Nigeria: Background and Current Issues.” Working Paper no. 9, November 1968. Consortium for the Study of Nigerian Rural Development.

Smith, Brian C. “The Evolution of Local Government in Northern Nigeria.” Journal of Administration Overseas, vol. 6 (Jan. 1967): 28-42.

Summerhayes, G.V. “The Changing Relations between the Native Authorities and the New Northern States.” Administration, vol. 3 (April 1969): 207‒220.

On land tenure and local government, see also, in this Archive, Court Records, section 7.3; and Selected Archival and Related Material, section 8.


For a bibliography of government publications on Nigeria, see Government Publications Relating to Nigeria 1862‒1960. Wakefield, UK: EP Microform Ltd., 1975. With introduction by D. C. Dorward, Centre of West African Studies, University of Birmingham. Part of series: Government Publications Relating to Africa in Microform, General Editor Neville Rubin.

9.3  Select Bibliography of Published Chapters/Articles (hard-to-find/neglected items): Especially Slavery in Yorubaland/Sokoto Caliphate (alphabetical order by author); useful for purposes of comparison with Ilorin

Christelow, Alan. “Slavery in Kano 1913‒1914: Evidence from the Judicial Records.” African Economic History, no. 14 (1985): 57‒74.

Curtin, Philip D., ed., Africa Remembered: Narratives by West Africans from the Era of the Slave Trade. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1967. Includes the narratives of “Ali Eisami Gazirmabe of Bornu,” introduced and annotated by H.F.C. Smith, D.M. Last, and Gambio Gubio, chapter 7, 199‒216; “Osifekunde of Ijebu,” introduced and annotated by P.C. Lloyd, chapter 8, 217‒288; and “Samuel Ajayi Crowther of Oyo,” introduced and annotated by J. F. Ade Ajayi, chapter 9, 289‒316.


Falola, Toyin. “Power Relations and Social Interactions among Ibadan Slaves, 1850‒1900.” African Economic History, no. 16 (1987): 95‒114.

Falola, Toyin. “Slavery and Pawnship in the Yoruba Economy of the Nineteenth Century.” In Unfree Labour in the Development of the Atlantic World, ed. Paul E. Lovejoy and Nicholas Rogers, 221‒245. London: Frank Cass, 1994.


Hogendorn, Jan. “The Economics of Slave Use on Two Plantations of the Zaria Emirate.” International Journal of African Historical Studies, vol. 10, no. 3 (1977): 369‒383.


Mack, Beverly. “Service and Status: Slaves and Concubines in Kano, Nigeria.” In At Work in Homes: Household Workers in World Perspective, ed. Roger Sanjek and Shellee Colen, 14‒34. Washington, DC: American Anthropological Association, 1990. American Ethnological Society Monograph Series, no. 3.


Meyers, Allan. “Slavery in the Hausa-Fulani Emirates. In Aspects of West African Islam, ed. Daniel F. McCall and Norman R. Bennett, 173‒184. Boston: African Studies Center, 1971. Boston University Papers on Africa, vol. 5.


Oroge, E. Adeniyi. “Iwofa: An Historical Survey of the Yoruba Institution of Indenture.” African Economic History, no. 14, 1985: 75‒106.

A West African [this is the author name given below the article title; “A.E.M. Gibson” is the name given at the end of the article]. “Slavery in Western Africa.” Journal of the African Society [London], vol. 3, no. 9 (1903): 17‒52.