1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Kabba

KABBA, a province of the British protectorate of Northern Nigeria, situated chiefly on the right bank of the Niger, between 7° 5′ and 8° 45′ N. and 5° 30′ and 7° E. It has an area of 7800 sq. m. and an estimated population of about 70,000. The province consists of relatively healthy uplands interspersed with fertile valleys. It formed part at one time of the Nupe emirate, and under Fula rule the armies of Bida regularly raided for slaves and laid waste the country. Amongst the native inhabitants the Igbira are very industrious, and crops of tobacco, indigo, all the African grains, and a good quantity of cotton are already grown. The sylvan products are valuable and include palm oil, kolas, shea and rubber. Lokoja, a town which up to 1902 was the principal British station in the protectorate, is situated in this province. The site of Lokoja, with a surrounding tract of country at the junction of the Benue and the Niger, was ceded to the British government in 1841 by the attah of Idah, whose dominions at that time extended to the right bank of the river. The first British settlement was a failure. In 1854 MacGregor Laird, who had taken an active part in promoting the exploration of the river, sent thither Dr W. B. Baikie, who was successful in dealing with the natives and in 1857 became the first British consul in the interior. The town of Lokoja was founded by him in 1860. In 1868 the consulate was abolished and the settlement was left wholly to commercial interests. In 1879 Sir George Goldie formed the Royal Niger Company, which bought out its foreign rivals and acquired a charter from the British government. In 1886 the company made Lokoja its military centre, and on the transfer of the company’s territories to the Crown it remained for a time the capital of Northern Nigeria. In 1902 the political capital of the protectorate was shifted to Zungeru in the province of Zaria, but Lokoja remains the commercial centre. The distance of Lokoja from the sea at the Niger mouth is about 250 m.

In the absence of any central native authority the province is entirely dependent for administration upon British initiative. It has been divided into four administrative divisions. British and native courts of justice have been established. A British station has been established at Kabba town, which is an admirable site some 50 m. W. by N. of Lokoja, about 1300 ft. above the sea, and a good road has been made from Kabba to Lokoja. Roads have been opened through the province. (See Nigeria.)