British Colonialism in Nigeria
British Colonialism in Nigeria
Nigeria is a country in the West part of Africa, and the most populous African country. The country borders on the Gulf of Guinea in the south, Benin on the West, Niger in the Northwest and North, Chad on the northeast and Cameroon in the East. The capital of the country is Abuja. During the 157h century, the Portuguese Navigators were the first Europeans to set foot in Nigeria. And the first ones to buy slaves and agricultural products from the middlemen, it was soon followed by the British, French and Dutch Traders. And during the 1900 the British forces under started to conquer the northern part of Nigeria, taking Sokoto in 1903 and by the year 1906, the British took control over the whole Nigeria and were divided into the Colony, Protectorate of Southern Nigeria and the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria. (2004)
This paper examines the influences of the British policies in the economic, political and social development of Nigeria. Moreover, a discussion on the impacts of the British colony with regards to the present issues Nigeria is currently facing, and the extent of the blame on the colonial administrators on the problems of the Nigerian Society.
According to (1997) the British came to Africa in order to ensure an efficient and unchallenged exploitation of the Nigeria’s resources in order to benefit the British Finance industry. And in order to achieve those goals the British employed colonial policies:
· A metropolitan state in Nigeria supplies a military machine to keep the law and order, has a bureaucratic device to manage areas which it has control and provides infrastructures in transportation and communication.
· Weaken the social and political structure of Nigeria prior to the colonialism and change it with new beliefs and values that are regarded superior than the local values.
· Combined and separate the Nigerians for the British own purposes of domination and exploitation.
· Train people to become slaves in Europe and supplement the lack of manpower.
· British are more inclined to give a portion of the authority to groups such as the Fulani, which are more receptive to the ideologies of the British Imperialism.
Impact on the Economy
Nigeria is a country which has vast and rich petroleum, and is also an agricultural country. However, because of the political instability, corruption and poor macroeconomic management, the economy of Nigeria had suffered. The economy of Nigeria is struggling to leverage the country’s rich resources so that it could put an end to poverty which affects half of the population of the country. ( 2006) Nigeria is a rich country with its abundant petroleum and a very rich land but how come the country is still poor and there are number of Nigerians are struggling to meet their needs? Do the colonial policies of the British have an impact on the current economic situation of the country? The British Empire colonized Nigeria, as well as, other parts of the world for the main purpose of exploiting its rich resources and raw materials and import it to the Western Industrial Development. Britain retained its predominant influence in the economy of its colonies and one of them is Nigeria, the British used its military power, strategic alliance and cooperation with indigenous rulers. ( 2006)
One of the problems of Nigeria is the hampered economic activity due to corruption and military rule. And the colonial policies of Britain have a lot to do with this economic instability. The British have used its military power before in controlling the economic activity of the country which has influenced the military rule in Nigeria upon gaining independence. Another, is during the British colony, the elites in Nigeria closed their ranks and shared the fruits of the higher office, that is why when the country have gained its independence, these persons that where influenced by the corrupt British policies ruled the country. And the problem is it didn’t stop and have progressed up to this day.
Impact on the Politics
The Government of Nigeria is under the constitution of 1999 wherein the president is head of the executive branch. The politics in Nigeria has continued to struggle; Nigeria experienced a number of coups and a civil war, added to the fact that when an oil boom during the 1970s happened corrupt leaders stole the economic resources of the country. ( 2000) Moreover, (1989) stated that the political problems in Nigeria include repression and extraction, diminishing control, poor policy performance, debt, infrastructure crisis and corrupt and inefficient administration. The political problems of Nigeria hindered its economic stability. And the colonial policies in which it exploited the resources of the country have been handed down to the current political leaders of Nigeria. Another fact why there are political insurgencies in Nigeria is because the country is divided into different ethnic groups, in which during the British colonialism, the British have purposely divided some of these ethnic groups in order to benefit them.
Impact on Social Development
According to the (2006) a Labor Code was passed on 1958 which gives protection to the workers, sex discrimination was banned in the 1999 constitution however the traditional practices of the society still deprive the women in Nigeria of certain rights. Nigerian women can not obtain a passport without the permission of her husband and it is in their tradition that when the male dies his assets will all be given to the parents leaving nothing to his wife. There are still segregations of men and women in schools, health facilities, states and even public transportation. Female Genital Mutilations is still widespread and beating of wife is still allowed under the country’s penal code. On the other hand, the human rights situation of Nigeria has already improved over the past years but still there are reported abuses, torture and extrajudicial killings.
The Impact of the colonial policies on the social development is that there are still abuses in the business sector even though the country already has a labor code and this issue can be traced back on the exploitation of people especially selling them as slaves in Europe, however the colonial policies has nothing to do with the discrimination of women in the society because it traces back on the culture and tradition of some ethnic groups especially in the Northern States.
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