The white-man’s graveyard at Twon Brass, Bayelsa State

White Man Graveyard

The white-man’s Graveyard at Twon Brass

The White-man’s graveyard is located at Ada Ama (Spiff Town) in Twon Brass community of Brass Local Government Area in Bayelsa State. The White-man’s graveyard is a Cemetery containing the graves of white- men (Europeans) who died in the Akassa Raid of 1885. The graveyard tells a vivid story of the raid and its bloody aftermath.

‘THE AKASSA RAID’ was the most significant event of the Brass people (present Nembe & Brass Local Government Areas of Bayelsa State) military exploits. The cause of that war was the trade monopoly given to the Royal Niger Company by the British Government under a Royal Charter in 1886. The Royal Niger Company went so far to molest, maim, kill and seize all Nembe trading canoes at the Niger Delta Coast along the Brass (Nembe) Nation then referred to as ‘Brave City States’ and also the creeks thereby cutting off the Brass (Nembe) middlemen of their legitimate trade into the hinterland. Late King Frederick William Koko, Mingi VIII, Amanyanabo of Nembe Kingdom, who was referred to as the King of the Brass People could not withstand the injustice and oppression metered out to his people, so he mobilized all the Kings and Chiefs of Nembe Kingdom to take action against the Royal Niger Company. They collectively decided that it was better to die by the gun than to die by eating mud or hunger. Under that condition Late King Koko and the Kings and Chiefs in all the component towns in the Brass (Nembe) Nation successfully launched an attack (which could be referred to in modern day warfare as Amphibious Campaign) and raided the Headquarters of the Royal Niger Company at AKASSA on that fateful morning of 29th January 1895. Although the reprisal attack of 22nd February 1895 on present Nembe City, the seat of the King of the Brass People was enormous and pathetic, Late King Koko became the originator of the struggle for Resource Control and victim of external oppressors of the white man. A similar cemetery can also be found in Ogbokiri area of Akassa.

Thus as a mark of respect and for historical purposes, the Ancient Nembe Kingdom had set aside 29th January of every year to Celebrate in remembrance of that courage and statesmanship exhibited by Late King Koko and other Kings and Chiefs who planned and prosecuted that historic war of liberating the Brass People from foreign economic and political victimization. Late King Frederick William Koko Mingi VIII, Amanyanabo of Ancient Nembe Kingdom, our illustrious ancestor, a foremost Nationalist and purposeful leader who displayed a sense of liberating his people from external domination made the greatest sacrifice for embarking on that historic campaign thereby regarded as the father of the demand for present day Resource Control.

By: Maclean Ayebakuro

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