Aba Riot of 1929: History of Nigerian Women's Protest against Warrant Chief, Tax System

Aba Riot of 1929: History of Nigerian Women's Protest against Warrant Chief, Tax System

  • The Aba women's riot in 1929 witnessed over 10,000 Nigerian women coming out en masse to stage a serious protest
  • The angry women fought against economic and socio-political tyranny in Bende, Umuahia, and other parts of Igboland
  • The riot kicked off after a delegate sent by the warrant chief to conduct a tax census got into a fight with a widow

The Aba women's war dates back to November 1929 when thousands of women stormed the streets to protest against the warrant chiefs.

These chiefs who had powers vested in them by the community elders were accused by the women of restricting their role in the government.

Aba women riot, 1929
Aba Women's Riot of 1929 Photo Credit: @BBC Igbo
Source: UGC

Legit.ng presents a clear account of the Aba women's riot which happened in 1929.

Overview of Aba women's riot of 1929

The riot/war was majorly geared towards putting an end to the abuse of the warrant chiefs, the tax system and the maltreatment of women.

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During the war, it was reported that over 10,000 women faced assault which caused the death of over 50 women.

The protest did not only uphold the rights of women but also greatly improved their status of being functional not only at home but also during revolutionary projects.

How the riot started

In 1929, the indirect rule system which required the appointment of 'warrant chiefs', was practised in Igboland.

These warrant chiefs, after getting appointed, became the upholders of power and most of them turned to oppressive leaders as time passed.

The riot started in a community named Oloko after the warrant chief, Okugo, sent his representative Mark Emereuwa to conduct a census for tax collection.

Emereuwa while on the mission, stormed the compound of a widow identified as Nwanyereuwa.

He saw her processing palm fruit, and ordered her to "count her lives stocks and people living with her."

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The widow knew she would be taxed based on the number and instantly got frustrated. She fired back at the representative asking, "was your widowed mother counted?"

This caused a serious altercation between them and the angry widow ended up pouring her palm oil on the warrant chief's delegate.

Nwanyereuwa summons other women to stage a protest

Nwanyereuwa headed to the town square to summon fellow women who were against the tax being imposed on women. They believed that women shouldn't pay taxes in Igbo society.

She narrated her fight with the warrant chief's delegate to the women and her story sparked their wrath.

Historical reports have it that over ten thousand women gathered together to kick against the oppression of warrant chiefs. They wanted them out totally.

Aftermath of the Aba women's protest

The result of the Aba women’s riot caused the British administration to change their decision to tax all market women.

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The women's plea to curb the power of the warrant chiefs was also heard and implemented after the riot. Faulted warrant chiefs were made to resign.

Also, the hierarchy of women in society was greatly elevated as women were subsequently appointed to serve as a chief warrant in some areas.

Soludo reads Riot Act to workers

Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the Anambra state's governor-elect, Charles Soludo, has said that his administration will not tolerate unnecessary delays in the execution of government projects and activities in the state.

Leadership reports that Soludo warned that his administration would not tolerate official protocols aimed at undermining his activities as the state's key administrator.

Speaking on the plans set down by the incoming Soludo administration, the media aide to the governor-elect, Christian Aburime, said his principal has made it clear that he would not allow his image to be tarnished after all he did as governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and other international achievements.

Source: Legit.ng

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