October 14th In History

OCTOBER 14, 1929

On this day, Captain John Cook, an Assistant District Officer implemented plans to expand taxation in Eastern Province of Nigeria. In 1927, the Native Revenue Ordinance was enacted. Taxation on men was introduced in 1928 with no major disturbances, although local men and women were unhappy with the institution and they were skeptical of British assurances that payment of tax meant better native authorities as well as the end of forced labor. The natives also considered it not only unjust and oppressive, but a yoke too hard to bear because of a drastic drop in the prices of cash crops, especially palm produce, as a result of the global economic depression. On the other hand, the prices of imported goods for daily use were attracting increased customs duties.

Apart from this, there was also general unemployment for First School Leaving Certificate holders, coupled with the extortion of money for purposes which could not be accounted for.

But for the colonial government, there was no going back as it instructed the residents, who, in turn, directed the Administrative Officers to count the male population. Therefore, all male adults were obliged to pay taxes in accordance with the terms of this ordinance.

In September 1929, Captain J. Cook, an assistant district officer, was sent to take over the Bende division temporarily from the district officer, Mr. Weir, until the arrival of Captain Hill from leave in November. Upon taking over, Cook found the original nominal rolls for taxation purposes inadequate because they did not include details of the number of wives, children, and livestock in each household. This overzealous colonial Administrative Officer, obviously animated by the desire to commend himself to the heart of his masters possibly for elevation as the substantive District Officer, gathered all the Warrant Chiefs within his domain, asking them to embark yet on another head-count, in spite of the fact that a census had been conducted the previous year. It was on this day that he set about to revise the nominal roll and implemented a new plan on the taxation.

October 14, 1967

On this day, an explosion shattered window panes and brought panic to Somolu township, a quiet suburb of Lagos at the time. The sole casualty of the explosion which was apparently caused by a detonated bomb was an expectant mother. She sustained minor bruises on the left arm. The explosion involved No. 10, Odunlami Street, a one-storey modern building at the far end of the township. Residents reported hearing “a deafening bang” at precisely 1.53pm.

Frightened men and women rushed out of their houses in compliance with civil defence instructions, and panic was in the air for a few minutes.

Mr. Jumbo Ayeni, a 45-year-old seaman who was a tenant at 10, Odunlami Street, said he that he was having a “short nap” at time of the incident. “Suddenly I heard a terrible bang and the whole house shook, I heard the sound of shattering glass and when I went next door I saw that the window pane in my sitting room had been shattered into fragments.

Giving an eye-witness account, Mrs. Abeni Ramonu, the only casualty of the explosion, said she was returning from her maiden family and had just reached the spot when “I heard a boom and something hit me. I don’t remember exactly how it all happened I just remember that I felt a rain of glass crusts falling all over me and my first reaction was to off the “dust”. It was later that I felt a sharp stab on my left arm near the elbow and when I looked I saw blood all over my arm and I almost fainted.”


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