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The public has not seen the end to the recent Federal High Court judgement in Lokoja which ceded Ajaokuta, Lokoja and Kogi local government areas to the Igala kingdom.

Following the stiff reactions being generated due to the judgement, various historians of different ethnic nationalities in kogi state have put up their thinking caps in serving the reading public of their own perspectives of the historical processing of the areas in question.

The Ohimegye Igwu of Kotonkarfe in Lokoja Local Government Area, HH Alhaji Isa-koto has traced the history of his emirate with disapproval of the court judgement with a promise to go to appeal court to challenge the judgement.

We present to our numerous viewers another historical perspective by another historisn, Mr Felix Solomon Omachoko, on the same issue at stake. Happy reading.

“Prior to the coming of Europeans, and subsequent partition of West Africa, Igala country stretched far as to share boundaries with Onitsha, Benin and beyond the banks of the River Niger and Benue to the North, including the entire Lokoja down to Abaji. They (Igalas) share influences and treaties with the Igbos, Benin’s in the Southwest, Yorubas in the far West and the Hausas in the North.

Topographically, the confluence area or point “Oko-eja” ; Oko(farm) Eja(Fish) when the Europeans wanted to settle down around Idah, they went to the palace of then Attah Igala. The then Attah Igala told the interpreter in Igala that ; “Adodo kpai -enefun kawnma kuma Lo toko -Eja”. Meaning, we can not live with white here tell them to go to Oko-eja area ( Fish farm) ; Lo toko-eja (Fish farm) which was later corrupted by the white as Lokoja . Lokoja belongs to Igala people as far back as 15 to 16 century . The River is a source of water for domestic use, food (fish), and the only source of easy transport as at that time and a pride to Igala kingdom, as the original commander of the rivers.

Lokoja has been the centre of attraction even for fish farming. When Attah Ameh Ocheje first met with the European explorers in the early1840s, although the contact started with the preceding Attah Onokpa in 1830; as recorded by G.M Clifford in his book, “the Igala Chielfdom” the Attah said; “The rivers belong to me along way up and down on both sides and I am king.

The Queen of white men have sent a friend to see me.
I have also seen, just now a present that is not worthy to be offered to me-it is fit for a servant. God made me after his image; I am all the same as God and he appointed me a king”. According to history,there was a treaty signed on behalf of Attah Ameh Ocheje, reason because Attah does not sign agreement with human being. The treaty was drawn in 1831.
That was the earliest treaty ever drawn in West Africa but this was not signed until 1841-when the issue of the land around Lokoja and its environs that was requested by the queen of England was resolved.

Attah ameh Ocheje was gracious to give Lokoja to the British at the cost of 700,000 cowries (of which only about 160,000 cowries, then equivalent to forty five pounds) were paid.

The balance had not being paid before the expiration of 99 years. On the 6th September, 1841, the treaty was signed on behalf of the Queen of Great Britain by Bundus Trotter, Commander Williams Allen, Capt.
Henry, Commander Bird allen and Williams Cooks Esquire. “The treaty between the queen of England and Igala country”, evidence available in Attah’s palace till date, in 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.”

It also includes list of over 30 gifts items from the Queen of England as presents to Attah Ameh Ocheje.

Lokoja eventually became the first Federal Capital of Nigeria after Lord Lugard briefly sojourned at Itobe and Ajaokuta still in the heart of Igala Kingdom. (Cenopaph in memory of Nigerian soldiers who fought the first and second world wars 1914- 1918 and 1939-1945; weapons used during Nigeria Cameroun war (1914) east Africa (1918) are there at the cenopaph in Lokoja) which was formerly under Itobe under Attah.

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