The Nupe Day Celebration – The Wars Between the Nupes and the British Army

By Dr Ndagi Abdullahi

The 26th of June is celebrated every year as the Nupe Day because it marks the only day, in the entire history of imperial Great Britain, on which the almighty British Army was decisively defeated by a native African army.

On the 26th of June, 1896, a British Constabulary provocatively wandered off the ‘British Protectorate’ of Lokoja and approached the Bida Army camp at Udi in Ogidi, today’s Kogi State. In the resulting skirmish, the Bida army resoundingly defeated the British Constabulary and seized the Union Jack.

The humiliated British began a campaign of defaming the Nupe Nation or KinNupe with virulent slanders and baseless propaganda: that the Nupe emirs were bloodthirsty slave-raiders destroying and depopulating the Niger Valleys.

The result was the Battle of Bida which took place on the 26th and 27th of January, 1897 and which ended with the British conquest of Bida.

The Battle of Bida was, actually, a cowardly invasion of Bida by the British who sneaked across the Niger and bombarded a defenceless city of Bida at a time when almost the whole of the Bida Army was stranded across the Niger at Kabbaland in today’s Kogi State.

The British dethroned Etsu Bubakar but even in exile, they were forever scared of him as the only African monarch who dealt the White man a death blow.

Sir George Taubman Goldie’s refusal to become the first governor general of Nigeria was not unconnected with his fear of Etsu Bubakar’s Asiri spiritual powers. Lord Lugard, the anti-Nupe accepted to be the governor general because he was of a higher Freemasonic degree and imbued with extraordinarily formidable Satanism powers.

Etsu Bubakar lost the war in the short run but won it in the long run because his unprecedented resistance to British imperialism became the spark for the rise of international anti-imperialism which eventually brought an end to Colonialism after the two World Wars reduced Europe to ashes and its Great Powers to coma.

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