The Aba women’s riot of 1929, which is commonly referred to as a war, was responsible for the deaths of 51 women in addition to one man.
Here’s the story behind the Aba women’s riot and the list of people who died: The uprising of the women of Aba was not an accident; rather, it was the culmination of months of mounting tension. Here is the real tale behind the insurrection and the folks that died. There was a significant power imbalance between Igboland and the rest of Nigeria where other ethnic groups ruled. Igbos did not have a cohesive political structure like in the North and South consequently it was tougher to impose the indirect system of governance, created by Lord Lugard in 1914, in Igboland.
Women from Bende, Umuahia, and other parts of Igboland rose up in the Aba Women’s Riot to protest economic and social-political persecution in their communities. Over ten thousand women from primarily six different ethnic groups—Ibibio, Andoni, Orgoni, Bonny, Opobo, and Igbo—participated in the demonstration.
A brief history
Igboland operated under a system of indirect authority, and one of its components was the appointment of “warrant chiefs.” These warrant chiefs, many of whom were not always well-respected members of the communities they served, became the de facto emblem of power as a result of their position. And in a short period of time, the vested power led to the warrant chiefs becoming more draconian than they had been previously.
In 1928, a direct tax was placed on men, and because to the thorough propaganda that had been spread throughout the prior year and a half, there were no big events when the tax was first implemented. In September of 1929, Captain J. Cook, an assistant District Officer, was dispatched to the Bende division in order to temporarily take over for the district officer who was now in charge of the division. When Cook took over, he discovered that the nominal rolls that had been planned for the tax were insufficient since they did not include specifics regarding the number of women, children, and cattle that lived in each household. He came to the conclusion that the nominal roll needed to be updated to reflect these.
The war and its repercussions
The uprising began in a town known as Oloko on the morning of November 18, 1929, when the warrant chief Okugo sent his delegate Mark Emereuwa there to collect the tax census. Mark Emereuwa was there to perform the census for the tax. Emereuwa went into the home of a widow named Nwanyereuwa as she was working with palm fruit and told her to “count her lives stocks and persons living with her.” Nwanyereuwa complied with his instructions.
Nwanyereuwa grew enraged after realizing that this indicates that you will be subject to a tax based on the number of the outcome. In her response, she asked, “Was your mother who is now a widow counted?”
This simply indicates that in Igbo society, it was not expected for women to contribute financially. However, anger was communicated through an exchange of words, and it culminated with Nwanyereuwa pouring palm oil on Emereuwa. Additionally, threats were made to each other. The widow went to the town square in order to speak with other ladies who were already debating the tax problem. There, she related her unfortunate story to the other women. Following Nwanyeruwa’s testimony, the women decided to extend the invitation to include more women from the Bende district by using palm leaves to communicate with them.
There was a gathering of around ten thousand women, and a demonstration was conducted in which they demanded the dismissal of the warrant chief and his subsequent trial. It will go down in history that the impact of the Aba women’s riot caused the British administration to abandon their plans to levy a tax on the market women and to curtail the power of the warrant chiefs. This is something that will go down in the annals of history. In some regions, women were given the opportunity to fill the role of chief warrant, which contributed significantly to the advancement of women’s standing in society.
The fallen revolutionists
The Aba Women’s Riot was responsible for the deaths of fifty-one females and one male. The following is a list of their names:
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