The Nupe Invasion of Esanland (1885-1897)

Nupe Invation Of Esan Land , Nupe People , Nupe History , Nupe Invaders

We begin by stating that apart from the non-availability of source materials incapacitation the zeal of some indigenous historians in the writing of Nigerian experience in the pre-colonial period, the history of Nupe expansionist exploit into Esan with its Socio-Political impact has been one of such neglected themes in Nigeria history today. Another fact is that even when some historians have cause to discuss Esan, at all, references are often made to Esan as either one of the villages of Benin or an outpost town of Benin Kingdom. The issue of how Islam became one of the deciding and uniting factors in the area is yet another un-researched aspect of the people’s history.

However, in the period prior to the middle of the nineteenth century, oral sources proved that most Esan were married to idolatry. They adhered to idolatry and regarded idol worship as an indigenous form of worship beside the belief in the supreme God, Osenobulua, which according to them gave adequate protection, security, guidance and wealth. The minor efforts of early muslim traders, preachers and travelers before this period under review to covert the people to the Islamic faith proved abortive as many of them remained largely unislamized and held tight to their traditional beliefs and practices. In the course of history with the invasion and subjugation by the Nupe, and Islamization of the people, those of the semi-savannah Esan North-East, and West were forced to accept Islam in the chiefdom. It is this development that this seminar paper intends to examine, taking into cognizance the Socio- Political impact on the people.

Esanland, Otoesan before the Nupe, Azamah Invasion
Esan is one of the antique towns in Benin Kingdom. Its early history, like the early history of most Edo people started at Ile-Ife in the thirteenth century.

Esan (Ishan)1 are/were found in the North-East of Benin Kingdom and with few exceptions, formed the former Ishan Division of the Benin province during the colonial period. The division is now broken into five local government areas, namely: Esan Central, Esan North- East, Esan South-East, Esan West and Igueben.2 The area is bounded to the North West and North by the Ivbiosakon, Owan and Etsako. On the South and South-East by the Western Ibo Asaba. On the East by the River Niger and the Igala people. Esanland, Otoesan is situated on a plateau which is about 466 meters above sea level.3 Esanland is anchored on plateau and blessed with streams and rivers. These plateaux and lowlands are of high descents while the important rivers and streams are One, Owbu, Utor, and Udein among others.

All these features have given the land its uniqueness and beauty, which therefore make the land one of the best but untapped tourist climate with deciduous vegetation and sloppy depressions. They serve as a “pull factor” for people from other ethnic groups in Edo.4 Moreover, the plateau nature of Otoesan, is partly responsible for the cool temperate climate, and the heavy rainfall between May and October accounts for the thick vegetation but with patches of Savannah grassland in the northern area. This conducive weather condition encouraged intensive and comprehensive agricultural production, indigenous industries, trading and a conscious religious and ethnological practice in the pre-European era.5 Generally, Esan always disputed its head count due to several factors.

According to Dr. Eromonsele, Sunday, “This does not imply that, the people are not cooperative enough in this head count of an issue, the truth is that most declared figures are always manipulated in favour of the Benins for political, economic and other benefits”.6 Meanwhile, the census of 1991 put the population at 375,342.7 While its population in the 2006 census was 578,858.8 Esan, a cosmopolitan state sandwiched between the Benin and the Afenmai groups in Edo State and the Agbor in Delta State, is an expression of a unique meeting place of cultures.

She is an outstanding exhibition of cultural integration and harmonization. Esan with a hybrid civilization is blessed with a distinctive architectural designs, multifarious industries, and unique ethnological practices.9 Several historians have written that the nature of the geographical environment affected the people’s religious and cultural values, to the extent that the major occupations of the early settlers in the area were built round religious and ethnological practices. This persisted up to the 1 8th and 19th centuries.

Traditions Of Origin
Esan, just like many Nigerian communities, has various versions of history concerning her origin. Oral traditions speak of an indigenous settlers and waves of migrants who suffered incessant attacks from the indigenous or rival groups. Therefore, the Esan went further into the forest and settled down at a more secured and fertile’ place, where they have remained ever since.11 However, some Esan groups still speak of their ancestors who dropped from the sky, Iso or evolved from the ground, Otor For example, the Ewu people said their ancestor; Babanokha came from the sky and was subsequently conquered by the Oba of l3enin who gave him a wife and the title of Onogie, king.12 Archaeological and linguistics studies have also helped to scrutinize the people’s claims of origin. In drawing premise from the work of Greenberg, Ben Elugbe and that of Slits Marct, claimed that “Esan language is an Edoid language of Benin kingdom.

These languages according to them are relatively homogenous because their speakers have a common origin and this shows that at some point in the distant past all these people (Benin and Esan) and languages were one and that they all at one time migrated from Ile-Ife before further digressions and migrations into different directions”.13 Esan’s religious and ethnological practices transcend all their social, economic, political and external activities. An average Esan man or woman recognizes nature as the sole handiwork of Osenobulua, the supreme God who must be worshipped and respected but yet still worshiped idols and ancestral spirits, Eliwhi characterized by peculiar traits and actions that manifested in their marriages, birth, naming, death, inheritance, divinations, economic dealings and several other activities. According to Pa Steren Otofure, of Uromi,

Before the Azanamah, Nupe people invaded Otoesan, we did not say there is no supreme God, the truth is that he is too powerful to be approached directly so we approach the earthly gods to help reach the supreme God. But when the Azanamah or Ene Suallah came with the help of our rulers some shrines, juju houses, Aluebo, and groves were destroyed and were forced to become muslims.

Before the final Nupe invasions of Esanland in 1885, the people like other Nigerians were polytheist. They served a number of deities and spirits apart from Osenobulau, the supreme God. There was also the strong belief and worship of ancestors, heroes and heroines, iron, trees, earth, magical art, death, thunder, rivers, streams, and some animals.

Through these lesser gods, religious liturgy, libation, invocations, offerings and praises were made to the supreme God believed to be in heaven and on earth.15 The exact date for the arrival and introduction of Islam into Esanland especially its northern areas are not certain. This is because there is no specific record to indicate when and who introduced Islam into Esanland that long existed in Auchiland.16 But some oral sources still assert that Islam probably reached Otoesan in the 17th Century by some people always with turban and long robes then referred to as Egbalukpon.

They were said to be either Hausa, Nupe or Yoruba who doubled as traders and preachers. These sets of immigrant’s first visited the Idah and Auchi markets for centuries before advancing to Otoesan, to transact and preach to those who were interested in the new religion.17 However, there had been trade and social interaction among the Nupe and Esan that date back to 1 6th or 17th century .

Evidences of trade and terminuses, were evident in Akoko-Edo, Kukuruku, Etsako, Agbede Agenebode and the Idah country. Goods such as palm oil, cloth, kolonuts, cotton, thread et cetera were some of the product Nupe traders and Islamic preachers bought from Esan traders, while they came with potash, hats skin and hides, red caps gowns, beads, mirrow and knives.18 In his analysis, Akota, G.C, argued that “the Esan area in Southern Nigeria one time in the past attracted a large chunk of the Nupe people from Central Nigeria as a result of expansion and oppression from the Attah in ldah into the Nupe region.

This group specifically the Islamic teacher, Einala ne sualla started preaching and scouting for clients who might need their services in solving their health and other domestic problems. They also sold Charms, tellisman, herbs, creams and some engaged in divination and prayer for those who accepted the Islamic religion”.19 This development, though did not establish a muslim community in Esanland, it was evident enough to support oral tradition that some part of Otoesan, especially those near Agbede and Ewu, had muslim converts scattered here and there before 1800. At Ewu, many agreed that the Nupe people have final aggressive invasion of 1885 only intensified the effort of earlier itinerant Islamic teachers, traders and many others from Hausaland.20 Apart from the traditions, this intergroup relation is argued to have been farther strengthened, for example, through the introduction of cowries as a medium of exchange to part of Nupeland by some Esan traders.

The Esan people had acquired it from Benin after the 1515 importation from the Indian Ocean and SaoTome trade. The Nupe through the EggaOria trade centre near Ojigolo on the Niger traded with the ( Igala people) and some Hausa states in the North with these cowries.21 Overtime, the various Esan communities, according to Dr. Eromosele Innih, “have come to accept the Nupe and several other foreigners from the North not just as neighbours but as part of them”. But they were later surprised and confused when the area was invaded and later subjugated by the Nupe people whose language and religious beliefs they were accepting gradually.

Nupe Invasion And Subjugation Of Esan
The reason why Nupe forces invaded Esan could be rightly regarded as the distant result of Uthman Dan Fodio’s Jihad in the early 19th century. It was a period which saw the movements for the revival of Islam after its decline in the 17th century. The Jihad was prompted primarily by a desire to establish Islamic societies and revive the fortunes of the religion.

Thus, the Jihad was against those who mingled’ the observances of Islam with the indigenous worship of heathendom. Other reasons for the Jihad were to reform the bad governments which were regarded as oppressive, autocratic and self-centered. As for the economic factor, the Fulani merchants and cattle owners felt their wealth was insecure with the incessant taxes, raids and wars encouraged by the Hausa rulers. The Jihad was to create, religiously, an ideal Islamic society where there is reign of law, equity, justice, order and Islamic universalism that would restore peace for meaningful development.

At about 1883, the Nupe who had then come within the sphere of the Fulbe Fulani revolution had been influenced through the religious wars for Islamic revivals and reforms. The Nupe, in turn, wanted to expand militarily to the West and Eastern countries across the River Niger to probably reach the Igbos for trade, slaves and Islamization.

However, the expansion of Islam into Esan was not motivated by Islamic zeal but by internal political rivalry between Majiya and Jimada, who were both cousins and wanted slaves and booties in exchange for weapons. This allowed Mallarn Dendo, an uncle to both men, and a contender to the Nupe throne, to capitalize on and, to ascend power.23 It was through Nupe , under Mallam Masaba that Islam reached Agenegbode from the Okene hill countries and became on official religion inAfenmai between 1833-1850 from Idah.

The religion had a wide spread in the region before it trickled into Esan. According to oral tradition, Masaba, ruler of Lade, a province in Nupe land , knew that political power could not be successfully attained and sustained without economic power. To resuscitate the crumbling economy of Nupe land, he decided to ravage all the villages and settlements on their route in search of slaves for export and weapons.

The method adopted by the Nupe invaders in the various attacks into Agbede, Auchi and later Esanland was awesome and this clearly indicated that the invasion was not religiously intended but to expand the Nupe people sphere of revenue based on slave trade and booties. Nonetheless, the fact that some communities were later Islamised in the process was unplanned for judging from the invaders mode of operation which involved the use of charging horses backed by the foot soldiers with long iron spears.

In some Villages that were able to put up resistance, the scorched earth approach of burning farmland, huts, filling wells with stones, etc., were applied.25 Moreover, the invaders did not settle in Afenmailand when they conquered it but returned to Bida where they sent army every three years to collect tributes as was also experienced in Esanland. Instead, foreigners as ambassadors called Azeni were appointed. The Azeni saw to the collection of required tributes from the indigenes. The Azeni also appointed slave escorts who accompanied the slaves supplied by the captured households to Bida.

Tradition also mentioned that those sent as escort to Bida on their return to Afenmai were followed either by Hausa and Nupe traders who often settled down to trade, preach and teach Islam to those interested in the new religion. Traditions have shown that some Hausa traders, preachers, herbalists and scholars did more of the proselytizing than their Nupe counterparts.

The middle of 1800 saw the Nupe who-invaded with a lot of destruction of lives and property that made many people to have a double view about the Islamic religion.

The Nupe forces in 1880 advanced into Agbede from Auchi. They employed ambush tactics by which large numbers of unsuspecting victims were captured into slavery and with the defeat of chief Emoikpere, the paramount ruler of Agbede, who with his forces resisted Nupeinvasion, was exiled to Ujagbe in 1883. He was consequently replaced by his son, Chief, later Alhajik, Akhigbe Momodu. It was Akhigbe who spread Islam beyond Agbede.

He was ready to use all means at his disposal to win followers for the new religion. He converted friends to whom he gave out his daughters in marriage but first ensured that they became Muslims. For instance, in 1897 he converted Onojie Eromonsele of Irrua (18761921) to Islam by offering his daughter, Princess Ebaaje in Marriage. All the intrics was of little success.27 The powerful nature of Akhigbe was attributable to his regular visit to Bida on homage.

On his return, some Muslim traders, preachers, herbalist, charm sellers, scholars and mercenaries always accompanied him home. With his proficiency in Arabic, Hausa and Nupe languages he bad much support from the Islamic reformist in Bida, to Islamize the whole of Esan land before invading Benin City and later across the Niger. Rulers who resisted pressures to be Islamized were lured to give out their first sons to the cause of Islam. Since in Islam, like the traditional beliefs of heredition, the first sons usually became the Enijie, Kings.

Thus, future rulers became muslims. This was the case of Idoa where Onojie Ikpute’s son, Ifidon, was introduced to Islam. Aihaji Ifidon later became Onojie in 1922.28 Another method adopted by Onojie Akhigbe to spread Islam was the use of foreign Nupe and Hausa mercenaries in the destruction of traditional worship and practices. The mercenaries destroyed the people’s idols, shrines and forest grooves while oppositions from the local priests resulted in their being sold into slavery or executed in Bida.

There was also the use of Islamic missionary teachers, mainly Hausa and Nupe scholars who helped in the propagation of Islam further, especially with the establishment of Koranic schools and the building of mosques in major villages and public places. With the active campaigns by Chief Aihaji Akhigbe in favour of the religion, Islam became entrenched among the people of Agbede from where it took a strong spread to the adamant neighboring Esan region in the late 19th century. Ewu was the first place in Esan to be attacked and forced to embrace Islam due to its proximity to Agbede which is about 10 kilometers.

This was in about 1881 at Ujagbe which was then part of Ewu. The dispute between Abhulimen and Ojiefo I for the Onojieshi of Ewu also assisted the spread of Islam in Ewu. The result of this was that Islam became the religion of individuals or else, they would be sold into slavery and taken to Bida.30 The spread of the religion in Esan moved from Ewu to Idoa in 1882 and Uzea in 1883 Ukhun after resisting the Nupe invaders for several months embraced Islam.

Later Nupe penetration to spread the doctrines was through Idah-Ojigolo trade route but was restricted to Ojigolo, commonly called Illushi as a trading post. Most Hausa and Nupe traders then settled there to consolidate on the invaded and defeated areas. And it was from that period that several sporadic attacks were inflicted on Esanland which many tagged as “wars to ravage the land for captives and booties”. This according to oral tradition led to the formation of a defence league, Akota, Akugbe to defend the land from the Nupe invaders.

Resistance And Defeat
On the eastern flank of Esanland, some communities comprising Uromi, Ubiaja, Okhuessan, Emu, and Ewohimi resolved to use the defence alliance to resist and eject the Nupe invadersfrom the land. They felt if they stood united, the invaders would not be able to defeat them. The planning and organization of the Akota or defence alliance were executed by combatants, hunters and medicine men in the forested hideout at Ewohimi and Ehor near Benin City.

The fire arms used by the defence league were imported from Agbor, Warn and Ibo countries. The long barrel guns, Utagbo and archers and juju priest were also imported and invited from Igbo land and Yoruba land to partake in the fight. The Ibo accepted the invitation because the incessant Nupe raids on Esan country were disrupting their farming activities especially with the Asaba, Kwale and Agbor countries. Blacksmiths from Benin on private contract were not only to effect repair to damaged guns and other weapons but also made swords, spears and arrow heads to match that of the invaders. Internal arrangements were also made to move the aged, women and children to safe places far in the forest while those who remained, formed a vigilante group to support the allied forces in the villages.33 The first encounter between the Akota, allied forces and Nupe troops lasted for more than three year. (1894-1897).

It was coded Egbalvkpon Nell war, meaning ‘the war of the robed ones’, because the Nupe and their collaborators robed even in war, under their combat ready leaders, the allied forces won a series of victories that pushed the invaders back to Agbede and Ewu.

However, the tide of events changed in 1896 when the Nupe and some Esan collaborators and troops launched an unexpected attack on the allied forces at their camp near Ekpoma and took many as slaves to Bida. The Akota forces, according to oral tradition before the end of that year regrouped and attacked the Nupe troops stationed in Agbede and Ewu with little success. In 1897, the Royal Niger Company had an encounter with the Nupe soldiers at Idah and that same year Benin City was also attacked and ransacked a situation which brought relative peace to Esanland.

Some historians have written about why the Akota, allied forces of Esan was defeated by the Nupe soldiers.
One of the factors that worked against the people was the use of scorched earth approach in which villages, shrines, Vegetations and some other sacred places were set ablaze by the invaders. This act of war was new to the people who could not put up enough defence due to moral defeat. Another factor which worked against Esan was the open nature of the northern Esanland. Mainly the savannah grasslands with low level of tsetse fly which could have attacked the Nupe horses and soldiers facilitated penetration of the invaders. There were also the Afenmai, Agbede, Ewu and later Irrua collaborators, who assisted the Nupe soldiers by showing them the terrain of the region and the hide out camps of the allied forces in the forest, Auchi was also used as a base-camp by the Nupe soldiers during the invasions and subjugation of the region.

Socio-Political Impact On The People
The impact of the Nupe invasion and subjugation on Esanland was felt in the socio-political and economic activities imposed on the people because towards the end of the 1890s, the invasion unfolded some questions and conflicts which are assessed in this paper. Socially, the people became subjected to constant raids for almost a decade, result resulting into large-scale enslavement of the people. The situation brought insecurity of lives and property. To escape from enslavement to Bida or Ibadan, large scale migrations to other countries took place and many of those that migrated did not come back even after the wars. For instance, tradition recount that Esanland was once a populous nation of 59 chiefdoms which drastically reduced to 26 by the time the invasion and raid died down in 1897.

Some communities where completely captured into slavery, because they refused to accept the new religion and surprisingly areas were the Nupe Islamic scholars refused to settle in so as to teach the people the Islamic tenets and mode of worship were also captured and taken into slavery.

Hitherto, the indigenous traditional religion which was one of the unifying factors was destroyed and replaced by Islam which was not properly understood by the new converts. Those that were carried away as slaves took to the religion with the fervent hope of gaining their freedom one day. At the end of the hostilities, some of them continued in their new faith which made Islam a force to be reckoned with in some parts of Esan land till today.

Further, the invasion of the Nupe for slaves and expansionist tendency created hatred between the people of Esan and their Afeamai, Agbede, Akoko- Edo and Igala neighbors, a situation that was not so in the pre-Nupe invasion era. These peoples were seen as collaborators for allowing their land to be used as a camp from where Otoesan was attacked and raided. This hatred, according to tradition, is still fresh in the minds of most Esans whenever they recount the Egbalukpon, Nupe invasions and subjugation.

Some families still narrate the event to their children and grandchildren. In fact, a recent land dispute between Esan and the Anogbe, in Agbede, which was revealed to the conflict resolution and land dispute commission setup by the former Edo State Governor.39 Moreover, the invasion and subjugation also culturally affected the people that were forced to embrace the Islamic religion. Their mode of dressing, eating habits, marriages, and naming ceremonies were influenced. Men started wearing long robes, turbans and caps like the Hausa and Nupemuslims. Apart from that people started bearing name like Muhammad, Aliyu, Yusuf, Isah, Adam, Shuaibu, Dauda, Musa, Fatima, Aisha, Amina, Ramat, Habiba, among others. Naming ceremonies which before the invasion took place after three months became something to be conducted after seven days of the birth ofa child.

The period of inutilities also had a devastating blow on economic production. The local industries and farmers were forced to stop production due to the incessant raids for slaves and food stuffs. Also, skilled men renowned for brass, bronze casting in Agbede, Ewu, Ekpoma, and Egore were taken into slavery to Bida to boost their economy and feed the armed forces of Nupe Kingdom .
. Thus the development of Esanland in the period under review was retarded.

Politically, the period also brought some changes in the judicial activities in Ewu, Irrua, Idua, Ekpoma, Agbede and other areas forced to accept Islam. The traditional laws were replaced with the Sharia or Quadric. Islamic clerics were appointed to hear cases in the rulers courts. The rulers became autocratic in their attempt to centralize the political system as in other Emirates. When the appointment and dismissal of village heads and the conformant of “strange” titles such as Waziri, Krubo, Qadis, and Iniam were introduced in Irrua, Ewu and Idoa, it sparked off protest mostly from the elders who feared the loss of their traditional position and the imposition of alien rulers on the people.42 On education, the impact of Islam was concentrated in the household teaching as no muslim schools, Islamiyya, Karatu were established before 1889 in Esan.

This was because of the contradiction the people noticed during the hostilities. According to tradition, the people were confused on how the Nupe invaders combined slave raiding and preaching of Islam and still profess peace which Islam stood for when they still engaged in wanton destruction of lives and property in order to capture slaves. Many then swore to die than accept the faith.43 Moreover, tradition narrates that after the periods of hostilities with the Nupe, the people then learnt how to live closer in large communities rather than in isolated settlements. People living on hill tops for safety and far- way farm houses moved down the hill to form larger settlements on major high ways. Again, it also exposed the area to the use of more dangerous weapons such as long spears, guns, poisons for defensive and offensive wars; human traps, death trenches and the use of food poisoning during that period.

Although some historians agreed that the Nupe invasion seems to have revived the declining Esanland politically and socially, the revival only favoured the ruling class and their sycophants who still dominate the socioeconomic and political positions of Esan till date. The gap between the ruling, political class, warriors, religious functionaries and the masses became widened. This resulted in the loss of prestige and spiritual respect of the traditional rulers in the eyes of their subjects.

Conclusion The Nupe invasion in Esanland was not motivated by the spread of Islam but it was for the imperial quest for Nupe’s expansion which was sustained by slaves, adopted skilled artisans, collection of tributes, and looting of food stuff for strengthening the declining Nupe Kingdom .
In all, the people resisted but some natural and human factors worked against them and it was to bring some lasting impacts both positive but more negative on the people of Irma, Ewu, Uzea, Ukhun and part of Ekpoma. And the continuous acceptance of the Islamic religion which still exists today in some families is as a result of individual choice.

1. Ishan was an Anglicized version from Esan which stands the name of the people, land and culture.
2. Imade, M. J. Local Government Reforms in Nigeria, Government Press, Lagos 1995 P.321.
3. OkoduwaA.I. “Esan Under British Administration 19001960” B.A. Long Essay Submitted to the Department of History, University of Calabar 1983, p.3.
4. Ibid. p.8
5. Omoaoredo, S.U. “A Short History of Ewu, Okpheho Local Government Area” NCE Long Essay, College of Education B/C June, 1984, p.19
6. An oral Interview with Dr. Eromonsele Sunday of Ekpoma on 26th May, 2001 when the Author was in a Field work for an M. A. Project for his History Thesis.
7. Not Available at the Census Office in Benin City but see E.O. Itamah. A History of Benin and her Neighbours. Oxford University Press, 1999, pp.193-205.
8. National Population Office, Ikpoba Slope Benin City. 2006 Population Census Figures p.B184.
9. Ibadin, B. D. The Art of Ishan. Mubuchi and Alan Publishers, Lagos, 2003 p.61.
10. Ibid. p.65
11. Oral Interview with Mr. Anthony Egbagbe, C67 Benin City 25th September, 2003. He is an Educationist and Known Community Leader.
12. Quoted and Expatiated in Osagie, D.O. A History of Benin Peoples Oxford University Press, 1993 pp.117-121.
13. Ibid.P.125.
14. Oral interview conducted with Pa Steven Otufure, a muslim convert and an indigene of Effandion Village, Uromi. He retired as a headmaster, Esigie Primary School B/City. 25/08/2000.
15. Momudu, O.U. “The History of Islam in Ishanked” I’m Roland, A. Religion and Politics Factor in Midwestern Nigeria. Lagos 1959. p.25-36.
16. See Balogun, S.A. “History of Islam in Benin Kingdom” in Obaro, I. (Ed) Groundwork of Nigerian History London 1980.
17. Oral Interview conducted with some Esan muslim during a field work in 2003 Ewu, Irrua Ekpoma and Ilorin. See also Aigbe, S.J. “Religious Beliefs in Esan”. A B.A Long Essay Submitted to the Department of Islamic Studies, Umlorin 2005. Chapter 3. pp.11-15.
18. Ehiagwina, O. Esan, “Pre-colonial Markets in Esan 1500-1800. Oduma Academy Press, Warn 1989 pp.126-129.
19. Akota, G.C. The Islamization of Esan Kingdom Sunday Observer Newspaper Benin City. 19th November, 1985. p.7.
20. This represents the view of the author after a comprehensive interview with several muslim and non-muslim families during a fieldwork in 2003.
21. Johnson, M., “The cowries currencies of West Africa, part 1, JAH, XI, I,1970 p.19.
22. Leonald, O., Nigeria and the Wider World since I000AD. Lantern Books, Enugu Revised Edition 2000. pp.89-95.
23. Ibid.
24. Ibid. See also the work of Omiyi, M.E. Nupe Expanisionism 1826-1875., UPL, Ibadan 2003.
25. Oral Interview with Dr. Edeki Ghafaru our Indegene of Agbede. He is a Lecturer in the Department of History, ABU Kano, 2001.
26. Ibid.
27. Ogie, S.B., Trade and Politics in Pre-colonial Esanland 1500-1800 Modern Nigeria Publications, Benin City, p.36.
28. Oral Interview with Pastor Esegbe, I., of Deeper Life Bible Church, Freedom Ground Ewu, 28/06/2003.
29. Ibid. See also Omiyi, M.E. Nupe Expanisionism p.78
30. Ibid.
31. Oral Interview with Chief Imasuen Osadolor of Ehor Village (Where the Akota Forces Built their Camp for Military and Armoury) Married to two muslims wives and of a muslim Background.
32. Oral Interview Conducted with Chief Ofeikpen Udenu of Ewohimi. He is of a Hunter Background that Predate the Colonial Era. He is 79 years old.
33. Ibid. See also the work of media, B.T “Military Formation in Esan Kingdom” 1800-1899. Unpublished M.A. Thesis, University of Benin, Department of History Nigeria 2001-2004. Several Pages.
34. Inedia, B.T. Military Formation in Esan Kingdom Utuma Press Benin City 1999 P.19.
35. Ibid.
36. Ibid; p.215. See also the work of Awelofoh, Z. Islam in Esanland. Atoto Press, Benin City 1987 Pp111-119.
37. Oral Interview with Chief Dr. Okojie M. of Igbivedion University Okada an Indigene of Irrua and Mrs. Okojie, A. an Indigene of Agbede on 28/06/2003. Their forefathers Partook in the 1885 Invasion. Along with the Nupe.
38. Ibid.
39. Ibid.
40. Ibid.
41. Oral Interview with the Present Waziri, Prime Minister of Auchiland, Professor Y.Z. Useni, Department of Arabic and Islamic Religion, Unilorin. 2003.
42. Ibid.
43. Ibid.
44. Ibid.
45. The Rulers had to embrace the new Faith most of them nominally so as to maintain the status quo. This is the Authors views.

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