Historical record: How Nigeria came into being in 1914
by Bisi Oladele, Ibadan
One hundred and five years ago, on 1st January 1914, the country, Nigeria, was born, but the order sealing the amalgamation of the then Southern and Northern protectorates to become the country of Nigeria was signed on November 22, 1913.
The document was signed in London by the trio of King’s most Excellent Majesty Earl Spencer, Lord Stamfordham and Lord Emmott on behalf of the government of the United Kingdom of Britain and Ireland..
Obviously, no Nigerian was part of the deal. This, perhaps, accounts for the various agitations for national conferences by the various ethnic nationalities and other stakeholders within the country since shortly after it was born. Rather than abate, agitations for redefinition of terms of engagement get hotter by the day.
As the nation basks in the ecstasy of the centennial celebration, The Nation reproduces the full text of the document that gave legal birth to Nigeria.
NIGERIA PROTECTORATE ORDER IN COUNCIL, 1913 AT THE COURT AT WINDSOR CASTLE, THE 22ND DAY OF NOVEMBER, 1913. PRESENT, THE KING’ MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY EARL SPENCER, LORD STAMFORDHAM, LORD EMMOTT
Whereas by the Foreign Jurisdiction Act, 1890, it is amongst other things, enacted that it shall be lawful for his Majesty, the king of hold, exercise, and has, or may at any time hereafter, have within a foreign country in the same and as an ample a manner as if His Majesty has led acquired that jurisdiction by the cession or conquest of territory.
And whereas by an Order-in-Council bearing date: the Twenty-seventy day of December, 1889, and known as the Northern Nigeria Order-in-Council, 1889, provision was made for the administration of the Government of the Territories known as Northern Nigeria. And whereas by further Order-in-Council bearing date, March, 1908, and October, 11, 1912, and known respectively as the Nigeria Northern Order-in-Council, 1908 and the Northern Nigeria Order-in-Council, 1912: the Northern Nigeria Order-in-Council, 1899, has been amended.
And whereas by an Order-in-Council bearing date the Fourth day of February, 1911, and known as the Southern Nigeria Protectorate Order-in-Council, 1911, provision was made for the administration of the Government of the territories known as the protectorate of Southern Nigeria.
And whereas by further Order-in-Council bearing date, the Twenty-eight day of March, 1912 and known as the Southern Nigeria protectorate Order-in-Council, 1912, the Southern Protectorate Order in Council, 1911, has been amended.
And whereas by certain Letters Patent passed under the Great Seal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland bearing date at Westminister the Twenty-eight day of February, 1906, His late Majesty King Edward the Seventh did constitute the office of Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Colony of Southern Nigeria and provide for the Government thereof.
And whereas his Majesty has this day, by and with the advice of the Privy Council, been pleased to direct that letters patent be passed under the Great Seal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland for the purpose of providing, amongst other thing that the colony of Southern Nigeria, as in the said Letters Patent more fully appears and the draft of the said Letters Patent has this day been approved by His Majesty in Council.
And whereas, it is expedient to make further and other provision for the peace, order, and good government of the territories, known as the Protectorate of Northern and Southern Nigeria.
NOW THEREFORE, His Majesty, by virtue and in exercise of the power by the Foreign Jurisdiction Act, 1890, or otherwise in His Majesty vested, is pleased, by and with the advice of His Privy Council, to Order, and it is hereby Ordered, as follows:
(i) The Order may be cited as the Nigeria Protectorate Order in Council, 1913.
(ii) This Order shall apply to the territories of African which are bounded on the South by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west, north and north-east by the line of the frontier between the British and French territories, and on the east by the frontier between the British and Provided always that such part of the territories so bounded are within that portion of His Majesty’s Dominion which is known as the Colony of Nigeria, shall not be included within the limits of this Order. The order shall be known and described as the protectorate of Nigeria
(iii) In this Order unless the subject or context otherwise requires. His Majesty includes His Majesty’s heir and successors. Secretary of State means one of His Majesty’s principal secretaries of state. Treaty include any treaty, convention, agreement or arrangement, made by or on behalf of her Majesty, with any civilised power, or with any native tribe, appended to any such treaty convention, agreement, or arrangement. Governor means the Governor and commander-in-chief for the time being of the colony of Nigeria and includes every person for the time being administering the Government of the said colony. ‘Colony’ means the colony of Nigeria. ‘Nigeria’ used without qualification means the colony and protectorate of Nigeria.
(iv) The Governor and Commander-in-chief for the time being of the colony of Nigeria (hereinafter called the Governor) shall be the Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the protectorate of Nigeria and he is hereby authorised, empowered and commanded to exercise on His Majesty’s behalf, all such powers and jurisdiction as His Majesty at any time before or after the passing of this order had or may have within the said territories, and to that end to make or cause to be taken all such measures and to do or cause to be done, all matters and things therein as are lawful and as in the interest of His Majesty’s service he may think expedient, subject to such instruction as he may from time to time receive from His Majesty or through a Secretary of State.
(v) The Protectorate shall be divided into two or more portions, each under the immediate administration of a Lieutenant-Governor appointed by His Majesty. Provided that every Lieutenant-Governor shall be under control and authority of the Governor and subject to such instruction as he may from time receive from him. And provided further that it shall be within the discretion of the Governor, subject always to the approval of a secretary of State, to transfer a Lieutenant-Governor from the administration of one portion of the protectorate to another portion, and to vary the limits of the area administered by a Lieutenant-Governor.
(vi) Every person appointed to fill the office of Governor shall with all due solemnity, before entering on any of the duties of his office, cause the commission appointing him to be read and publish at such place in the protectorate as he may deem expedient, in the presence of the Chief Justice or some other Judge of Supreme Court, and of such members of the Executive Council to the colony and Protectorate as can conveniently attend, which being done, he shall then and there take before them the Oath of Allegiance in the form provided by an Act passed in the Session Holden in the Thirty-first and Thirty-second years of the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, intuited ‘An act to amend the Law relating to promissory Oaths, and likewise the usual Oath of Governor and for the due and impartial administration of Justice, which Oaths the said Chief Justice, or, if he be unavoidably absent, the senior member of the Executive Council then present, is hereby required to administer.
(vii) The Executive council of the colony of Nigeria shall be and deemed to be the Executive Council of the Protectorate.
(viii) It shall be lawful for the Governor, from time to time, by ordinance, to provide for the administration of justice, the raising of revenue, and generally for the peace, order and good government of the Protectorate, and of all persons therein, including the prohibition and punishment of acts tending to disturb the public peace.
Provided as follows:
1. That nothing in any such ordinance or ordinances contained shall take away or affect any rights secured to any natives in the said territories by any treaties or agreement made on behalf or with the sanction of her Majesty, Queen Victoria. His Late Majesty King Edward the Seventh, or shall be and remain operative and in force, and all pledge and undertaking therein contained shall remain mutually binding on all parties to the same.
2. That all laws, Ordinances, Proclamations, bylaws and regulations of whatsoever nature in force at the date of the commencement of this force until repealed or revoked by or in pursuance of any Law or Ordinance passed by the Governor.
3. That the Governor in making Ordinances shall respect any native laws by which the civil relation of any native chiefs, tribes, or populations under His Majesty’s protection are now regulated, except so far as the same may be incompatible with the due exercises of His Majesty’s power and jurisdiction, or clearly injures the welfare of the said natives.
4. That every suit, action, complaint, matter, or things which shall be pending in any Court within the said territories at the commencement of this Order shall and may be proceeded within such court in like manner as if Order had not been passed.
(ix) The right is hereby reserved to His Majesty to disallow any such Ordinance as aforesaid. Such disallowance shall be signified to the Governor through a Secretary of State, and shall take effect from time when the same shall be promulgated by the Governor. The right is also hereby reserved to His Majesty, with the advice of His Privy Council, from time to time to make all such laws or Ordinances as may appear to him necessary for the peace, order, and good government of the protectorate as fully as’ if this Order had not been made.
(x) In the making and establishing of all such Ordinance the Governor shall conform to and observe all rules, regulations and directions in that behalf continued in any instruction under His Majesty’s Sign Manual and Signet.
(xi) Whenever and so often as the Governor is absent from the seat of Government, or is absent in the colony, and any place in the protectorate of Nigeria in the exercise or discharge of any powers or duties conferred or imposed upon him by His Majesty or having obtained leave from His Majesty under His sign Manual and Signet or through a Secretary of State, is absent from the said passage as aforesaid, he may continue to exercise and shall be deemed to be capable of exercising all and every powers invested in him by this order in councilor by any instructions from His majesty and may be an instrument under the public seal appoint any person or person to be his Deputy or Deputies within and part the protectorate during such absence, and in that capacity to exercise, perform and execute for and on behalf of the Governor during such absence but no longer, all such powers and authorities by this order in councilor otherwise vested in the Governor as shall in any by such instrument be specified and limited, but no others. Every such Deputy shall conform to and observe all such instructions as the Governor shall from time to time address to him for his guidance, provided nevertheless that by the appointment of a Deputy or Deputies as aforesaid the power and authority of the Governor shall not be abridged, altered or in any way affected otherwise than his majesty may at anytime hereafter think proper to direct.
(xii) Whenever the office of Governor is vacant, or if the Governor is vacant, or if the Governor becomes incapable or is from any cause prevented from acting the duties of his office, then such person may be appointed under the royal sign manual and signed or if there be no such person so appointed, or if such person be absent from Nigeria or unable to act, then the senior member of the Executive council present for the time being in Nigeria shall, during his Majesty’s pleasure, administer the government of the protectorate, first taking the oaths herein before directed to be taken by the Governor, and in the manner herein prescribed which being done, the acting Governor his hereby authorized, empowered and commanded to do and execute, during his Majesty’s pleasure, all things that belong to the office of Governor according to his majesty’s order and according to his Majesty’s instructions and law of the protectorate.
(xiii) Whenever the office of the lieutenant Governor becomes vacant or if a lieutenant-Government is administering the Government of the colony and protectorate or is absent from Nigeria or otherwise becomes incapable of or is for any cause prevented from performing the duties of his office, the Governor may, by an instrument under the public seal of the protectorate appoint another officer to act provisionally as lieutenant-Governor.
Such officer shall cease to act as lieutenant-Governor as soon as either his majesty shall have appointed another officer to the office shall again be capable of performing the duties of the office,or the Governor shall appoint another officer to act provisionally as lieutenant-Governor.
Such officer shall cease to act as lieutenant-Governor as soon as either His Majesty shall have appointed another officer to the office shall again be capable of performing the duties of the office, or the Governor shall appoint another officer to act provisionally as lieutenant-Governor.
(xiv) The Governor may constitute and appoint all such judges commissioners justices of the peace and other necessary officers as may be lawfully constituted and appointed by his Majesty, all of whom unless otherwise provided by law shall hold their officers during pleasure.
(xv) The Governor may upon sufficient cause to him appearing, dismiss any public officer not appointed by virtue of a warrant from His Majesty whose pensionable emoluments do not exceed one hundred and fifty pounds of intended dismissal are definitely stead in writing, and communicated to the officer in order that he may have full opportunity of exculpating himself, and the matter is investigated by the governor with the aid of the head for the time being of the department in which the officer is serving.
The Governor may, upon sufficient cause to him appearing, suspend from the exercise of his office, any person holding any office within the Protectorate whether appointed by virtue of any commission of Warrant from His Majesty, or in His Majesty’s name, or by any other mode of appointment. Such suspension shall continue and have effect only until His Majesty’s pleasure therein shall be signified to the Governor. If the suspension is confirmed by a Secretary of State, the Governor shall forthwith cause the officer to be so informed, and there upon his office shall became vacant. In proceeding to any such suspension, the Governor is strictly to observe the direction in the behalf given to him by any instruction from His Majesty signified through a Secretary of State.
(xvi) When any crime or offence has been committed within the Protectorate, or for which the offender may be tried therein, the Governor may, as he shall see occasion, in His Majesty’s behalf, grant a pardon to any accomplice in such crime or often, who shall give such information as shall lead to the conviction of the principal offender, or of anyone of such offenders if more than one, and, further, may grant to any offender convicted in any court, or before any judge, justice, magistrate, or other officer within the Protectorate, a pardon, either free or subject to lawful conditions or any remission of the sentence passed on such offender, or any respite of the execution of such sentence, for such period as the Governor think fit, and may remit any fines, penalties, or forfeitures due or accrued to His Majesty.
(xvii) The seal now or hereafter in use as the Public Seal of the Colony of Nigeria shall be and be deemed to be also the Public Seal of the Protectorate of Nigeria, and shall be used for sealing all things whatsoever that shall pass the said Seal.
(xviii) This order shall come into operation of the First Day of January 1914, and shall be published in the Government Gazette; and the Governor shall give directions for the publication of this Order as such time or times as he thinks proper for giving due publicity thereto within the protectorate of Nigeria.
(xix) The above-recited Order to Council of the Twenty-seventh day of December 1899, the Nineteenth day of March 1908, the fourth day of February 1911, the Twenty-eight day of March 1912 and the Eleventh day of October 1912,shall from the commencement of this Order be revoked, without prejudice to anything lawfully done thereunder.
(xx) His Majesty may from time to time revoke, after, add to, or amend this Order. And the Right Honourable Lewies Harcourt, one of His Majesty’s Principal Secretaries of State, is to give the necessary directions herein accordingly.
Courtesy: The Nation