Ebira Historical Event: Obangede Tax Riot (1925)

Tax had always been a thorny issue in Ebira politics. Periodically too, there had been administrative strains in the relationship between the paramount ruler, Atta Ibrahim, and the various district heads.

The people of Eika district had refused to pay collected tax in their area to the Atta of Okene. Eika district being one of the oldest districts in Ebiraland saw no reason why they should pay taxes at Okene instead of Okene paying taxes to it.

They therefore preferred to send collected taxes in their area direct to the colonial administrators stationed at kabba. Other areas soon followed suit.

Obangede did not only refuse to pay collected taxes to the Atta of Okene, but also ordered the Atta never to step Obangede. Even summons from Okene courts were disregarded.

In 1925, the Atta went on an official visit to Obangede with the District Officer (D.O). The people of Obangede joined by Ihima sympathizers took to the streets in riot. The Atta had to be taken back to Okene under heavy police protection while police reinforcement from Kabba helped to quell the riot.

Subsequently, some of the ring leaders of the riot were jailed for their part in the uprising.

Culled from “The Heritage of Ebira Tao,” a book by S.S. Salami

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