September 6, 1841
On this day, the Attah Ameh Amocheje, the 12th Attah of Igala rom Itodo Aduka Akumabi, signed a slave trade abolition treaty in Idah, after he had been assured of a steady supply of legitimste goods to replace his loss of trade. It came about after long negotiations and included an additional clause for the grant of a piece of land near the conflulence of Niger and Benue river for a model farm.
The Captain of the ship (Captain Bundus Trotter) and his men went to Attah’s palace to present him gift from the Queen. After long negotiation, the abolition treaty was signed by Attah Amocheje. Attah Amocheje also ceded a piece of land near the confluence, the area covering the present day Lokoja and Ajaokuta to the British Government for a model farm. He received seven Hundred thousand cowries.
The Attah of Igala was represented at the signing of the treaty (Deed) by Anaja Ame Abokko.
While the Queen of Great Britain was represented by Bundus Trotter, Commander Williams Allen, Capt. Henry, Commander Bird Allen and Williams Cooks Esquire. The treaty was an attempt to enforce abolition of slave trade, freedom of religion, fundamental human rights, respect for indirect rule and fundamental human right of the British citizen in Igala country.
The sum of 700,000 cowries was the agreed cost for the cession of land, but 160,000 cowries was paid as first installment. Apart from the cowries, a list of over 30 gifts items from the Queen of England was also presented to Attah Amocheje.
The 1841 expedition gave birth to the model farm in the confluence area of Lokoja, situated at the present old market site. The farm was financed by the Quaker Society of London.
Below is a copy of the Deed (Treaty)
THE DEED OF CESSION
Deed of Cession of a portion of land situated on the right Bank of the Ujimmini or River Niger made by the Attah of Igala in favour of the Commissioners for and on behalf of Her Majesty, the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland.
Whereas Commissioners have arrived in the Ujimmini or River-Niger sent by the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland to open a friendly communication with the Kings and Chiefs of Africa whose territories Border on the Niger and its tributaries and whereas these Commissioners are invested with powers to deal with any of those Chiefs for the conditional purchase of land over which they may have the sovereignty and whereas the Attah of Igala is assured of the full and declared intention of the British authorities to allow all persons the occupation of their houses and the land they may at the present time have under cultivation and is fully convinced of the pacific and just intention of the Queen of Great Britain and of the great reciprocal benefits which may result from British subjects being established in his territory and is moreover desirous of manifesting his friendship for the Queen and her people and whereas the Attah has in the treaty which he made with the said Commissioners at Idah on the sixth of September, one thousand, eight hundred and forty one agreed to sell and make over to Her Majesty, the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland her heirs and successors entirely and forever all such land together with everything in it as the said Commissioners with the convenience of the Attah’s agents shall select within that part of the Attah’s territory situated near the Confluence of the Rivers Niger and Schadda.
The undersigned Agents do hereby by virtue of the power and authority granted to them by the Attah of Igala, and in his name made over to the Commissioners for and on behalf of the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland all the land whereof. The boundaries shall be as follows, namely a tract of land situated on the Ujimmini or River-Niger bounded on the North by a rivulet flowing between the mountains which are named in Captain William Allen’s published chart of the Niger Patteh and Victoria on the South by the first rivulet which empties itself into the river Niger to the Southward of the Island named Barraga and called in the same Chart Beaufort Island and including within the said boundary, the neighbouring mountains of Este and Erro marked in Allen’s Chart Soracte and Saddleback, on the East by the River Niger and on the West by straight lines joining the Western base of the mountains named in the same Chart, Outram Deacon and Soracte and the nearest parts of the aforesaid rivers. And by this document, the undersigned have solemnly made over to the Queen of Great Britain, her heirs and successors for ever all the land aforesaid free of all claim to future tribute, toll or taxation, according to the terms of the aforesaid treaty of the sixth of September, one thousand, eight hundred and forty one, guaranteeing to Her Majesty the full and peaceful possession of the same entirely and for ever with power for her Majesty to assume the Sovereignty thereof according to the stipulations of the said treaty in consideration of which the Attah is to receive seven hundred thousand cowries or goods to that amount, one fifth part to be paid at the present time to the said agents as security for the purchase and delivery of the said land. The remainder to be paid as soon as the British people shall have had possession of the land for twelve months provided they wish to claim the same either in one payment or in annual installments not exceeding five, as may be most convenient to the Queen of Great Britain.
t is hereby understood that in consequence of the abhorrence with which Slavery is viewed by Her Majesty, the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland in every shape and form, British countenance and protection must not be expected by persons holding slaves within the land now purchased. It is, however, reserved for the Queen of Great Britain to sanction, modify or annul the whole or any part of this Deed of Cession. And the undersigned agents do hereby acknowledge to have received from the said Commissioners, one hundred and sixty thousand cowries in part payment of the purchase and conveyance of the said land and do by these present bind the Attah to a faithful performance of the agreement in the presence of Almighty God. In writings whereof, we have hereunto set our hands, fourteenth day of September in the year of our Lord, One Thousand, Eight Hundred and Forty One. The contents of this document were fully explained by me to the Attah’s agents in Her Majesty’s language.
JAMES FREDRICK C.M.