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IFRA Special Research Issue Vol. 1

Escapee criminals and crime control in colonial southwestern Nigeria, 1861-19451

Paul Osifodunrin

Résumé

The ability of a criminal to evade justice is dependent to a large extent on the attitude of the larger society towards the issue of criminality. While most people express the desire for a crime-free society, only a few actually strive to combat crime This essay suggests that ethnie complicity, police inefficiency, undue emphasis on technicalities in applying the law, and the fear of criminals, all combine with jail breaking and escape from justice to entrench criminality.

Note de l’auteur

Note portant sur l’auteur2

Texte intégral

Introduction

  • 1 I thank most sincerely the French Institute for Research in Africa, Ibadan, and the French Embassy (...)
  • 1 Falola.Toyin and Adebayo, Akanmu, (2000). Culture. Politics and Money Among the Yoruba. New Jersey. (...)

1Scholarly works on crime in Nigeria have not given much thought to the phenomenon of escape and its possible impact on crime control. Yet, nearly all criminals think of one or the other form of escape before or immediately after, perpetrating a criminal activity. A notable exception is Falola and Adebayo's study on theft and criminality in colonial Nigeria.1 However, while the authors made passing references to specific incidences of escape, they did not study it as a phenomenon to determine its impact on the rising rate of crime in their study area. Understandably, this was not their major focus. The present study examines the issues involved jn the escape of criminals in southwestern Nigeria. It situates the incidence of escale within a wider context of police ineffïciency and the criminals' intelligent recognition and exploitation of loopholes in the colonial justice system and procedures. Finally, it examines the workings of the extradition treaty between colonial Nigeria and Dahomey since 1876 as an official/bilateral/diplomatic response to nip in the bud the smart idea of committing crime in one country and running to another.

Conceptualising Escape

  • 2 Escape should not be confused with the concept of escapism. which highlights the process or process (...)

2‘Escape’2, as it is used here, refers to the various efforts put up by criminals before, during or after hatching and perpetrating a criminal act, to evade justice. An underlying presumption of this concept is that a plan of escape or an assurance of a possibility of escape is germane to and actually completes the cycle of a criminal activity. A criminal would consider a cycle of criminal activity completed only when he is able to escape justice. The phenomenon of escape suggests strongly that most criminals are rational beings to the extent that they often leave their regions of origin to perpetrate their nefarious acts in locations where they enjoy anonymity and from where they could flee in times of trouble.

3Escape could be planned or embarked upon in reaction to a real or perceived danger of being arrested, in which case, the act of escape becomes spontaneous. Escape is also commonly regarded as a post-apprehension or post-conviction incident. Whichever way, the act of escape allows the escapee criminal a breathing space to delight in the achieved goal of his detected or undetected crime, which could be material or abstract, an example of the latter being vengeance.

4Escaping from justice comes in various forms. First, it could be by way of defection of the criminal to areas outside the political jurisdiction of the authority in the area of the crime. It is also achievable through constant and almost perpetual movement from one area to the other, that is, the criminal condemns himself to a situation of no domicile fixé within the crime area. Others include jail breaking through the active co-operation of prison officiais, relatives or the police, the changing of identity through the use of false beards, hair and moustache as well as answering to fictitious naines. The thought of committing a criminal act undetected or of being able to beat the law when sought after, through one form of escape or the other, therefore induces confidence in and propels the potential and professional criminals into action. This is perhaps why bringing criminals to justice at all cost and making them face the highest sentence available for such offences remain for some people the most viable and potent way of curbing criminal activities.

5Escape may also be considered in relation to the desire for death. A Yoruba adage captures it pithily: Iku yaju esin. When translated this would mean “death is preferred to disgrace”. Thus, an apprehended criminal could choose to commit suicide while awaiting trial and possible conviction. At other times a criminal could choose to die in action rather than reveal the secrets of his accomplices in crime because of his allegiance to an oath of secrecy or due to some other factors. When either of the actions above is taken, the criminal could be said to be exhibiting merely an extreme form of escape. This latter form of escape trivialises the efficacy of the death penalty as a deterrence for crime. As will be shown later in the case of colonial Nigeria, criminals awaiting trial sometimes committed suicide. Suicide as a means of escape from justice may be interpreted as a defiance of the death penalty prescribed by the law and enforced by the state.

6Escape is also derivable in situations where a high level of fear of criminals exists, resulting in docile complicity on the part of the public due to news and taies of reprisai attacks on those who dared to identify the culprits or acted as police informants. The fear of the criminal (a predisposition usually known to the criminal himself) confers on him an aura of invincibility. In such a situation, escape becomes associated not with the criminal dodging the public but with the public avoiding him. The criminal, therefore escapes justice not because he is on the run but, rather, for the simple reason that the people avoid him by neither testifying against him nor co-operating with the police for fear of reprisais, realising that the police may not necessarily be around to give protection when trouble comes. Hence, the criminal gets more confident and “secure” with each successful criminal act, and the society is the worse for it.

  • 3 For more details on ethnie complicitv in criminality, see Cohen. Abner (1969 ). Custom and Politics (...)
  • 4 For more information on the OPC. see. Akinyele. R.T. (2001). “Ethnie Militancy and National Stabili (...)

7Ethnic complicity in criminality may also provide a veritable means of escape for criminals, especially in situations where diverse ethnic groups co-exist. Thus, criminality is granted group protection. In most cases, this form of connivance could pitch one ethnie group against another since, in most cases, the victims of such crimes are usually members of other ethnie groups or hosts to settler groups.3 The Yoruba-Hausa disputes in Ibadan and Osogbo in the 1930s and 40s in colonial Nigeria attest to this. So do the recent Yoruba-Hausa and Yoruba-Ijaw crises in the Ajegunle suburb of Lagos in October 1999 and 2000 in the aftermath of the involvement of the Oodua People's Congress (OPC) an ethnic Yoruba militia, in crime control.4

  • 5 National Archives, Ibadan (N.A.I.). C.S.O. 26. 06°320/ C I. “Bicycle Thieves: Extradition of from D (...)
  • 6 Asiwaju. A.I. and Igue. O.J. (eds.. 1991) The Nigeria – Benin Transborder Cooperation. Lagos. Natio (...)

8Another phenomenon, the asylum use of the border lines by criminals, also became rampant in the formative years of British rule and was to remain so throughout the colonial period. In the post-independence era, and up till the present time, the trend has not abated since criminals from Nigeria and alien-criminals preying on Nigeria find refuge and ready markets for stolen goods, particularly automobiles, in neighbouring countries. During the colonial period, Dahomey was the destination for stolen bicycles, the theft of which was widespread in the adjoining British colony of Lagos.5 Smugglers have also filled and are still filling the gaps created by the unequal economic opportunities and opposingeconomic policies of Nigeria and her neighbours, thus permitting at the informal level what were/are forbidden at the formai level.6

Criminality and Escape in the Pre-colonial Period

9The little but enlightening documentation on the nature of crime in pre-colonial south-western Nigeria presents two discernible outlines in which to understand the problem and, invariably, the phenomenon of escape during this period. First is the nature of the crime committed and the treatment of offenders in the period of political stability; second is the nature and treatment of crime during periods of societal upheavals. In the first category, individual criminality was rampant, while offences as well as punishments varied. For instance, offences of stealing were rife, though they were considered less severe than murder. This was reflected in the gravity of punishment attached to each of these offences during that period.

  • 7 Honourable Justice Karibi-Whyte. A.G (1988). Criminal Policy: Traditional and Modern Trends. Lagos. (...)
  • 8 Justice Karibi-Whyte is of the opinion that group criminality was unknown in customary criminal law (...)
  • 9 “For more details on the treachery of Basorun Gaha and the massacre of his household during the rei (...)

10According to Karibi-Whyte, stealing, depending on what was stolen, attracted “mere ridicule or flogging or was not punished at all’ while offences such as adultery, disrespecting or assaulting a chief, and murder attracted “banishment, serious fines or sale into slavery”.7 In the second category, group criminality8 was of four types. The first, which also straddles the line of individual criminality and was more of a political crime, concerns the usurpation of the power of a monarch as typified by the story of Basorun Gaha whose entire household, save one person was executed for his treachery.9

  • 10 Falola. Toyin (1995). “Brigandage and Piracy in Nineteenth Century Yorubaland”. Journal of the Hist (...)
  • 11 Ibid
  • 12 Ibid.
  • 13 Karibi-Whyte, Criminal... See also Note 8 above.
  • 14 Falola. “Brigandage...”, pp. 84-95

11Of more relevance to our study here is the second form of group criminality which concerns the near criminalisation of the state, as exemplified by the activites of the Egbe Onisunmanmi, “an armed robbery syndicate [formed by the political elite in Ibadan] to rob [within Ibadan and] in neighbouring areas...”10 “to obtain foodstuffs, livestock and other goods...”11 “until the mid-1840s when Oluyole... succeeded in establishing a firm political system...”12 Even at the emergence of Oluyole, what abated were internai robberies within Ibadan. External looting continued until the advent of colonialism. While it lasted, this form of group criminality was common and it was difficult to impose punishment on culprits since those involved belonged to the elite class who should enforce law and order.13 Elite involvement in criminality was much during this period and later became a source of concern to colonial administrators. The third category were groups of brigands, such as the “ogo wère” (band of youths)–later corrupted into ogo were (band of mad men) -and the Jama'a, who were active in Oyo and were reputed to have caused great havoc and discomfort to people. Again, these two groups were initially political but later became self-serving.14

  • 15 Ibid.
  • 16 Ibid
  • 17 Ibid. p.85

12The fourth, which seems to have been greatly influenced by environmeptal factors, was piracy. Falola has described the activities of “Ode Omi” (water hunters) who changed from hunting fish to hunting “for women, cowries, liquor, arms and ammunition, and other goods”15 on the waterways. In the process of carrying out their nefarious activities, they “...abducted, raped and then dumped”16 their victims while they disposed of their loot, especially arms and ammunitions, to warring soldiers at reduced prices. Canoes, another important item often snatched, were sold or added to the raiding fleet. Yet there were other unstructured groups, mostly refugees, who took to occasional criminality pending their resettlement.17

13Consequently, it is clear that a strong relationship existed between the çrime situation and the political atmosphere in pre-colonial Yorubaland. While in peace-time individual criminality was common, during the period of instability, group criminality surfaced and has continued to grow because of the strength it derives from numbers. The insurrection of Afonja, the collapse of the Oyo Empire and the wars that followed had disruptive effects on the entire life of the people, including law and order. People were displaced from their homes; communities were destroyed, making relocation inevitable; and the means of livelihood were shattered. Crime through brigandage provided a means of survival, particularly for the members of the warrior class, who were trained in warfare and had been used to raiding and living on booty. This probably underscores the origin of the dictum ‘Ibadan, n'ibi ole ti gbe n'jare olohun’ meaning ‘Ibadan’, where the victim is wrong and the thief right’. The origin of the dictum may not be unconnected with the marauding activities of its founding elites in the mid-nineteenth century. Indeed the unstable political situation made criminals, occasional or professional, out of people.

14An interesting feature of crime control, which seems to have moderated the peace time tendency by individual criminals to escape, was the upholding of the collective rather than individual responsibility for crime. As put by Akinyele:

  • 18 Cited in Watson, Ruth (2000), “Murder and the Political Body in Early Colonial Ibadan”, Africa (Lon (...)

“If anyone in a compound offended, the offence might be great or small, the principal chiefs like the Baale or the Balogun or the cil of chiefs would order the plundering or devastation of the offender's compound, i.e., men, women and children met in the compound would be taken, clothes, cattle, domestic utensils and...all would be carried away never to be restored. Hundreds of houses were thus devastated and became desolate.”18

  • 19 Tamuno, Tekena (1970). The Police in Modem Nigeria. 1861-1965: Origins. Development and Rote. Ibada (...)

15Tamuno also remarked on a similar form of group liability for crime when he noted that “...the extended family or kindred suffered for the wrongs of the members who were under its protection.”19 Thus, the escape of the culprit could not have totally impeded punishment, as the family would be held responsible. This was the context in which colonial rule was established. By 1849, Britain had assumed the role of a peacemaker in the Bights of Benin and Biafra with the appointment of a Consul to mediate between African merchants and traders of British origin. In 1851, the British had become entangled in the internai affairs of Lagos and, ten years later they annexed the island, from where they began a graduai but steady movement into the interior of Yorubaland.

  • 20 Barkindo, B., Omolewa. M., and Maduakor. E.N. (1989), Africa and the Wider World I: West and Xorth (...)

16The British annexation of Lagos had certain implications. Unlike before, when the King of Lagos held sway in spite of his weakness at enforcing the law on the growing heterogeneous population and his apparent lack of control over the existence of separate courts for the British traders and another for the returnees, British authority was now paramount, indicating a shift in the balance of power. While the British were active in Lagos and other parts of the Yoruba interior, the French were equally busy in neighbouring Dahomey, which was finally tamed with the deposition of King Benhazin in 1889. Before that period, other areas, such as Porto-Novo, Alladah and Whydah, had fallen under French control, giving rise to what has been described as the period of informai empire.20

  • 21 Adewoye, Omoniyi (1977), The Judicial System in Southern Nigeria, 1854-1954: Law and Justice in a D (...)
  • 22 N.A.I., CSO 1/1, 1, Freeman to Newcastle, 4 February. 1864 cited in Hopkins, A.G.(1964), “An Econom (...)

17The subjugation of these states necessitated the application of foreign laws and their enforcement.21 This brought about certain changes hitherto unknown in these West African areas. Concerning criminal justice, the supremacy of European law became the model. As put pithily by Freeman, the First Governor of Lagos the “exercise of the power of life and death over... [colonial subjects was] the last seal on the stability of British rule.”22 Hence, the individual responsibility of an offender favoured in European law replaced that which underscored collective blâme in the unwritten law of the African peoples.

  • 23 Brown. S.H. (1964), “A History of the Peoples of Lagos, 1852-1886”, Ph.D. Thesis. Northwestern Univ (...)
  • 24 Ibid.

18One of the implications of this development, among others, was that African notions of justice, law enforcement and crime control became gradually subservient to those of the Europeans, both in Lagos and in the hinterland. Paradoxically, the supposed supremacy of British law did not translated into efficacy, even though the activities of the police and the courts during this period gave the impression that the new laws were being properly enforced. Some Sierra-Leonians who lived in Lagos at this time struck the right note on the true situation arising from the application of foreign laws on African soil when they noted that “The stricter system[s] of enforcement exercised by native governments in the interior [of Yorubaland] were superiorto the lenient British system”23 that operated in Lagos. Thus, the early colonial status of Lagos and its poorly policed districts, in cqntrast to other parts of Yorubaland which were under British protection but enjoyed a level of autonomy in their legal system, made it (Lagos) a haven for slaves, slave criminals and other criminals fleeing from the hinterlands. For instance, burglars who were driven out of Abeokuta in the 1°880s during the clampdown on their ranks by the Egba Government found it convenient to escape to Lagos,24 thus confirm ing a popular dictum : Eko gb 'ole o gb 'ole', that is, ‘Lagos accommodâtes the thief and the indolent’

19Thus, the imposition of the new principle of individual liability for a crime committed had both positive and negative impacts on criminal justice. First, the new system came to respect the rights and liabilities of a criminal offender as distinct from that of his family. A criminal could now escape justice without the transference of criminal liability to his family. Before long, Africans started exploiting this inbuilt leniency and other loopholes in the new legal system.

The Colonial Perspective

  • 25 See Biobaku. S.O. (1991), Egba and their Neighbours, Ibadan: University Press, p.28.
  • 26 King Oluwole ruled Lagos between 1834 and 1841 and was alleged to have been privy to the robbing of (...)

20At the time of the British takeover, Lagos was a society in transition and the Yoruba interior in turmoil. As subsequent events bear out, it was easier for the British to occupy than to administer Lagos effectively. One of the problems that confronted the incipient administration was the issue of security and the protection of property. Before the occupation, Lagos had the reputation of welcoming strangers by stealing from them.25 A case in point was when certain Sierra-Leonian immigrants, on their way to Abeokuta, were robbed during the reign of King Oluwole.26

  • 27 Tamuno. The Police... pp. 1-40.
  • 28 Ibid.
  • 29 Ibid. Also Brown. “A History...”. pp.381-384.

21By October 1861 a small force had been set up to tackle the problem of insecurity. But the number was inadequate as there were 25 police constables to a population of about 30,000. Later, in 1862, expansion was made for a “police department of 1 Superintendent, 4 Sergeants, 8 Corporals and 100 Constables.27 At the same time, a Police Court, a Criminal and Slave Court and a Commercial Tribunal were set up. By 1863, Lagos had two police branches-one civil, the other semi-military, the Armed Hausa Police. The latter, which was better organised and armed, was mostly used for military expeditions outside Lagos, even as far as the Gold Coast, to the neglect of local policing and crime detection among the dwellers on the Island and in the rural districts of Lagos.28 (By 1868, these numbered 35,000 and 75,000, respectively.) Consequently, the traditional elites, now influenced by the new laws, continued to play the role of law enforcers in several districts close to Lagos and its outlying areas. By 1895, the Civil Police Force was still being accused of inefficiency and complicity with criminals. In fact, it was said that the low wages payable to police officers attracted people of low status and shady character into the force.29

  • 30 Watson. “Murder...”. pp. 31-33.
  • 31 Ibid, pp. 25-48.

22In Ibadan, it was difficult for the old ways to give way to the new. The involvement of the British in local affairs brought them in collision with the hitherto established norm of elite and ethnic-tinted criminality. In the absence of war, certain war lords turned their attention to looting within Ibadan itself, an act which the British and the people under the changing circumstances, could not condone. For example, the authorities tried and exiled Balogun Kongi, an influential Ibadan chief, who was accused of sponsoring and harbouring slave robbers of Hausa origin.30 The clash of laws and authority could also be seen in Watson's description of the inconclusive trial of three Ibadan chiefs accused of the murder of a cowherd named Salu. While the Ibadan Council felt the payment of fines was good enough punishment, the British felt that the death penalty was the only punishment that was good enough for any murder case. Subsequently, the accused were transferred to Lagos Prisons. In another case in which the chiefs tried to perform their customary roles by ordering the summary execution of two murderers in 1900, the British were quick to condemn such an act. When Basorun Fajinmi was accused of the unlawful execution of the murderers without permission from the British, he was fïned 100 pounds.31

  • 32 Gailey. Hailey (1982), Lugard and The Abeokuta Uprising: The Demise of Egba Independence, London, F (...)
  • 33 See Biobaku, Egba... p.71. There is the need for more research to unravel the nature of this robber (...)
  • 34 Ethnic complicity was again alleged in these robberies. Fingers were pointed at the warrior chiefs. (...)

23Crime was better controlled in Egbaland, where the people enjoyed autonomy with the establishment of Egba United Board of Management (E.U.B.M) in 1865, the National Council of Egba (N.C.E) in 1898 and later, in 1902, the Egba United Government (E.U.G). Nevertheless, the Niger load and the other robberies32,33 made the colonial government in Lagos to demand compensation. Local circumstances leading to the Ijemo riots hastened the British take over in 191434.

  • 35 Falola and Adebayo. Culture... pp.195-212. Also Tamuno. The Police.... pp. 213-214. The involvement (...)
  • 36 Hopkins, “An Economie...”, p.l11.
  • 37 Ibid.
  • 38 Falola and Adebayo. Culture.... pp. 219-251. Olukoju A. (2000). Self-Help Criminality as Résistanc (...)
  • 39 Falola and Adebayo, Culture... p. 229.
  • 40 Ibid.

24It has been mentioned earlier that criminals were often driven out of Egbaland. The same could, however, not be said of Egbado, which seemed to have been the take off point, of most criminals who terrorised the outlying districts of Lagos during the colonial period.35 An agreement made in 1889 between the British and the French demarcated the frontier between Lagos and Porto-Novo from “the north of the Ajarra Creek northwards to the north parallel.”36 Subsequently, the British established protectorates over such border communities as Igbessa, Ipokia, Addo and Ajilete, up to Ilaro.37 Criminals, who often came from the neighbouring communities on the Dahomean side to rob and, when under pressure, retreated to their communities, converted the closeness of these villages to advantage. Among the Ijebu, colonialism was detested and a military expedition was required to impose it. Olukoju has explained the currency counterfeiting among the Ijebu during the colonial period as a form of résistance.38 What is important to emphasise here is that even when the counterfeiters felt that they were simply “using [their] brain[s] to survive”39 they would still “jump out of a moving lorry to escape arrest.”40 Escape from the long arms of the law was, undoubtedly, important for the continued distribution of the counterfeited currency.

Issues involved in the Escape of Criminals in Colonial Nigeria.

  • 41 Ahire. P.T. (1991). Imperial Policing. Milton Keynes, England/Philadelphia, Open University Press a (...)
  • 42 Ibid.
  • 43 Ibid.
  • 1
  • 45 Ibid.
  • 46 Other state-based crime busting outfïts before May 29, 1999 were ‘OperationWipe’ in Delta, “ Operat (...)

25It has been said that the police in colonial Nigeria was more of an instrument of oppression than for crime prevention and control. Ahire argues that “the Nigerian Police Force was not set up to protect indigenous people from crime and other social problems, but rather to protect colonial commerce that involved the transportation of goods to the Nigerian coasts and thence to Britain. ”41 He concludes that “the Nigerian Police Force in 1991 retains its strong colonial character”,42 which is designed to “coerce peasants and workers into compliance with the oppressive political and economic relationship established by colonialism.”43 Fourchard, who went further to contend that crime detection virtually does not exist in Nigeria, has recently repeated this line of thought.44 According to him, what is called crime detection is nothing more than a cosmetic approach to fighting crime,45 as seen in the formation of crime busting outfits, such as ‘Operation Sweep’, the ‘Rapid Response Squad’46 in Lagos and, more recently, the nation-wide ‘Opération Fire for Fire’.

  • 47 Tamuno. The Police...

26Arguably, Fourchard's submission is far from being totally representative of the whole picture. While it is true that police brutality and oppression abounded during the colonial period and still exists now, efforts, however inadequate, were made to protect the lives and property of citizens against all odds. Indeed, Tamuno has noted that the gallantry of the Nigeria Police Force in the colonial period led to the busting of several criminal cases.47

27However, the Civil Police, as distinct from the Armed Hausa Force, was a body bedevilled with a lot of teething problems that seemed to have become entrenched in the system and was transferred to its successor outfits. The major ones can be categorised under broad headings, such as corruption, lack of adequate manpower and logistics.

  • 48 N.A.I CSO 20/3/78. The Criminal Code Ordinance. 1915.

28The experience of Lagos, where modem policing started in colonial Nigeria, indicates that most of the early recruits into the police force were people of shady character. Public opinion in Lagos, from the 1860s through the 80s, and even after into the twentieth century, attests to this. This was one of the factors that made the police force so inefficient, making escape by criminals a pastime. Jailbreaks were so rampant that by 1915, when Lugard published the Criminal Code Bill, the issue of escape by criminals was listed as an offence in Section 15. Thus, aiding criminals to escape, permitting escape, negligence leading to escape and the harbouringof escaped criminals became punishable offences.48 It must, however, be Imentioned that not all escapes involved officiai complicity, as indicated in the following narration by a prison official:

  • 49 Falola and Adebayo. Culture... p. 214.

“I was unfortunate to lose 17 prisoners including 3 or 4 gang leaders on 28-01-1930 from Idi-Iroko N.C Lock, Up. The wife of one ofthe gang leaders passed a handcuff key in a loaf of bread unto him. He released himself and then the others and overpowered the constable on guard”.49

29Falola again captures aptly the desperation with which criminals sought to escape from justice:

  • 50 Ibid.

“When caught, a thief did everything possible to discrsedit the evidence and the witnesses... casés of destruction of evidence and bribing witnesses not to appear in court were common, when this failed he struggled further to escape from police cell.”50

  • 51 Ibid. p. 213.
  • 52 For a contrary view. see Oguntomisin. G (1999). The Transformation of a Nigerian Lagoon Town: Epe. (...)
  • 53 Cohen. Custom....

30Elite and ethnic complicity in criminal activities, rampant in the pre-colonial period, survived into the colonial period. Several chiefs were reported as collaborating with thieves for example, in the case of the Baale of Ago Sasa in 1930 and of another chief in Ede in 1931.51 The case of Balogun Kongi has been earlier mentioned. Kosoko's piratical activities in Epe, though resistant in nature, is also worthy of note.52 Abner Cohen has also beamed very illuminating light on the complicity of Hausa landlords, who hid Hausa criminals in Sabongari in Ibadan.53 These criminals fled to later Northern Nigeria.

  • 54 Kaplan. S. and Kaplan. R. (eds.. 1973). Humanscape: Environment for People. California: Wadsworth, (...)
  • 55 N.A.I.. Comcol 507. “Serious Crime. Lagos Districts”.
  • 56 Ibid.
  • 57 Ibid.

31People's fear of the criminal was also a very important factor in his escape during the colonial period. Fear, as defined by Kaplan and Kaplan, “is the emotional reaction to danger”,54 real or imagined. Criminals were feared for several reasons. First, they did not hesitate to injure or kill their victims. Second, they were usually in large groups of thirty or more, a factor that intimidated people.55 Their mode of operation was another factor. They were usually bold enough to announce their arrivai to their victims. A case in point was the incident that occurred in the Agege District in the 1930s when a robbery gang, after announcing its arrivai to the villagers, ordered them to leave the environment or lie prostrate covering their faces.56 Resistance to these orders initiated a series of rebukes or reprisais, including severe beatings and, in some extreme cases, murder.57 The whole village was robbed this way and, with the availability of motor lorries, it was easy to cart away the stolen items.

  • 58 Ibid.
  • 59 Ibid.

32An interesting feature of victimisation during this period was that being a victim was not usually a factor for rendering assistance to the police during an investigation. At a particular point, a man who gave information to the police was driven away from his home by other villagers, for he was considered to have further increased the possibility of a repeat attack by robbers.58 Again, the owners of the two lorries used in the Agege robbery were well known by the people, and even the police but nobody was willing to testify that these lorries were indeed seen at the scene of the robbery. Had anyone testified, such testimony would have been admissible in a court of law. Eventually, however, with some good detective work, the police were able to arrest some of the culprits. These were later charged to court but, as noted by the prosecution, those who were prosecuted were not the gang leaders.59

Extradition of criminals: Application of the Law and its Implications.

  • 60 La Forest. G V.(1961). Extradition To and From Canada. New Orleans. The I lauser Press, pp. I. 15.
  • 61 Ibid. See also. Bassiouni.M.Cherif (1974). International Extradition and World Public Order. Leiden (...)
  • 62 Reference to the existence of the treaty can be found in Porto-Novo. Republic of Benin at Des Archi (...)
  • 63 D.A.N.O-. 1F 57/ 360-“Police...”.
  • 64 D.A.N.Q.. 1F 58/ 365-“Police...”.

33The surrender by one sovereign state to another, of an individual accused or convicted of a crime is handled under international law by the process of extradition. To extradite means to officially send back somebody who has been accused or found guilty of a crime to the country where the crime was committed.60 It is always a process that is agreed to by parties under the terms of a bilateral or multilateral treaty.61 That between the French and the British in 1876 was bilateral, with a stated proviso that the normal diplomatie procedure would be bent for a less rigorous one to hasten the process of inter-colonial extradition.62 Under the agreement, persons suspected, convicted or charged with crimes such as murder, counterfeiting, uttering money, rape and several other crimes, including stealing or being in possession of stolen goods, were to be extradited.63 In addition, powers to authorise extradition were vested in the highest authorities in the two colonial territories, presumably to avoid confusion in the issuance of orders in external relations.64

  • 65 Bassiouni.. International, p. 4. The author identified four periods in the history of extradition

34That the treaty itself was signed in 1876, when the grips of the two colonial powers on their colonial territories were yet wobbly, suggests an early recognition of the advantages that the asylum value of the two unfolding frontiers conferred, particularly on criminals, and indicates clearly that the treaty was a product of partnership against these elements in the two colonised territories. In a wider context, the enactment of the treaty also concurred w ith the worldwide concern, beginning from 1831, to tackle common criminality.65 The treaty succeeded in harmonising the contrasting civil and common law approaches of the French and the British in the area of extradition. However, available records are silent on the workings of the treaty until the early twentieth century.

35Meanwhile, like any other law, the application of the treaty came to depend on the several interpretations given to it by the two colonising powers. Thus the successes and failures of the law were dependent, to a large extent, on the understanding of the terms of the agreement by the officers directly concerned with the extradition affairs in the colonial territories and. more importantly, on the efficiency of the two police forces in the territories seeking and granting extradition.

  • 66 D.A.N.Q.. 1F 65/429. “Extradition de criminels d'origine nigériane réfugiés au Dahomey. 1910-1916”.
  • 67 Ibid.

36In 1910 the British Government in Nigeria had cause to demand from the French in Dahomey the extradition of one James C. Vaughan, who was accused of larceny of postal materials before Police Magistrate R.J.B Ross in the Police Magistrate Court at Tinubu Square, Lagos.66 In the unfolding investigation that preceded the accusation, it was gathered that in 1909 the postmaster received a letter from one D.A.Tawoshe making enquiries concerning certain postal orders. Sequel to this letter, a mail was sent to the Postmaster General (PMG) in England requesting for clarification. In the P.M.G's reply was a Postal Order No 22B 138779 for 15/-, originally made payable to Messr John Piggot Ltd London, a name that had been scratched over and substituted with the name Ed. Chailiner, Manchester. Also admitted in evidence was a letter purportedly written by one M.A.Cole of Ed. Chailiner, However, Africanus Mylander, the Chief Clerk in the post office reaiised that the said letter had been written by the accused, James C. Vaughan, until then a clerk in the service of the post office at Ibadan. The writing tallied with that on the postal order. This discovery led to Vaughan's suspension and interrogation by the police.67

  • 68 Ibid.

37The investigating officer, an Assistant Superintendent of Police in Lagos, later confirmed the suspicion of Africanus, for he found out that the accused wrote the letter but signed it as M.A.Cole. Vaughan was brought before-the Police Magistrate, the case was called and then adjourned and Vaughan, benefiting from the respite provided by bail, escaped into the French territory.68

  • 69 Ibid.
  • 70 Ibid.

38In another development, a guard at the railway station Truscott Jenkins Elliot, was accused of stealing Cash Bag No 3, property of the Lagos Government, containing the earnings of Abeokuta Station for 22 March, 1910. Amounting to £5. 15. 5.69 As a train guard, it was part of his duties to collect such money bags from various stations and to deliver them to the accountant of the Lagos Railway at Ebute-Metta. But on this particular occasion, he collected the bags but did not deliver that of Ibara Station. The traffic inspector, L.P.Whisker, actually made the deposition that led to the issuance of a search warrant on Elliot's house.70

  • 71 Ibid.

39In his evidence, the Paymaster of the Lagos Railway, stationed at Ebute-Metta, said he collected from Elliot cash bags from stations along the line, which he (Elliot) had brought. In all, he received 34 bags but there was none from Ibara station. On reporting this discovery to the stationmaster of Ibara and the Chief Accountant, it was found that the bag was duly handed over to Elliot and receipted for by him.71

  • 72 Ibid.

40The detective inspector of police at Lagos, Emmanuel Arthur Shyllon, who affected the search warrant on 29 March 1910, did not find the missing bag at the Ijero Street residence of the accused. Attending a departmental enquiry set up by the Railway, Elliot agreed that he received a bag of money from Clerk Shogbola at Ibara Station and gave a receipt for it but could not account for the loss. Interestingly, when the detective returned the next day for Elliot's arrest on a charge of embezzlement, he had fled. Even though his house was put under surveillance for several weeks, the accused never showed up. On enquiry, it was learnt that he had fled to Cotonou, had changed his name to James Johnson and was already in the employ of a French company.72

41In the two cases narrated above, the same procedure was followed for the purpose of their extradition. Normally, the request for extradition sets in motion a series of investigations on the part of those demanding and accepting to grant extradition requests. On the part of those hosting the request, the police, after being furnished with the necessary documents from the requesting country, would normally send detectives after such a criminal, or criminals as the case may be. In the event of their being apprehended, they are put in prison pending the completion of the process of extradition. In the two cases cited above, the process was duly followed, with two police officers from the Nigerian side, A.S.R Davies and Inspecter Shyllon, proceeding to Dahomey with letters duly signed by the Governor, and with court documents containing the charges brought against the fleeing accused, to convince the French authorities that the escapees were genuinely being sought for criminal and not for political reasons.

42Two interesting and common issues about the two escapees was that both of them, within the short time of their defection to the French territory, had had their names changed and had secured employment in French companies. In Dahomey, the search for Vaughan revealed that John Holt had employed him for onward transfer to Grand-Popo under the name Spencer. Elliot, under the name James Johnson, had started work in another company.

  • 73 Ibid.

43The authenticity of guilt established against the two culprits notwithstanding, they were duly interrogated. During the interrogation they made depositions that confirmed the allegations levelled against them by their government in a ‘proces-verbal’. It was only after this semblance of right had been accorded them, and other due processes followed, that the authorisation for extradition, delegated by the Governor-General of French West Africa in Dakar to the Governor in Dahomey, could be exercised and the culprits released to the representatives of the Nigerian government.73

  • 74 Ibid

44In early May 1913 a British subject, J. G. Cavalcante, was accused of abducting a girl by name Ibironke, whose age was put at between 13 and 15, and stealing the sum of £109 from her. That the girl was under-aged underscored the gravity of the offence, with the likelihood of imprisonment if the accused was convicted. In their separate statements at the Assizes, Ibadan Residency, the accused pleaded not guilty and denied having carnal knowledge of the girl or sealing from her. Several witnesses, including the uncle of the victim who initiated the arrest of the accused, however attested to the fact that she had been seen several times in the company of the accused in very compromising circumstances. On previous occasions, before her last visit that led to Calvacante's arrest, she had spent nights in his house. Under cross examination the girl, who first denied any sexual relationship with the accused, later owned up to the facts, going further to say that the accused initially encouraged her to give a false testimony.74

  • 75 Ibid

45Perhaps the most credible evidence in the case was that of Richard Cameron Macpherson, a Medical Officer, on 22 May. In his evidence he stated that the girl was not a virgin and that there was evidence of forcible penetration of the vagina. He concluded that penetration probably took place for the first time within a period of six weeks. This fell w ithin the period when Cavalcante's last encounter with Ibironke on 10 May, which led to his arrest.75

46The long procédure favoured by the Anglo-Saxon Common Law, and its insistence on the innocence of the accused until proven guilty, seems to have aided in no small way the escape bids of many accused persons during the colonial period. Such accused persons usually abused the privilege of being on bail to abscond, and Cavalcante was not an exception. Perhaps sensing that his would be an open and shut case, and that his conviction was imminent in the light of the evidence of the Medical Officer and the truth of the matter as told by Ibironke, he decided to run away and, again, his destination was Dahomey. The same process of extradition was again commenced, with a letter from the Deputy Governor, O.G. Taylor, to the Governor of Dahomey requesting for the latter's co-operation with one Inspector Nobre of the Southern Nigerian Civil Police Force, who was in charge of the case.

  • 76 Can we consider suicide by criminals as an act of defiance of the death penalty of the state or sim (...)
  • 77 D.A.N.Q.. 1F 65/ 429. “Extradition...” ibid.
  • 78 Ibid.

47However, there were those escapees who did not wait for the inquisitional procédure to commence before fleeing or committing suicide. This was usually in very serious cases, such as murder, the punishment for which, throughout the colonial period, was death. Either by hanging or through shootings in public, and, later behind prison walls, the government sought to underline the gravity of such an offence. From all indications, criminals got the message.76 This contention aptly fits the affairs of one Ogunbiyi in 1911, accused of murdering one Mowo at Okokomaiko in the Lagos Colony, and that of Mofunolorunsho, a British subject who hacked his wife to death in Ibadan. The first case was quickly concluded as the culprit committed suicide after escaping to Dahomey. Testifying in the District Court of Ibadan on 23 December 1914, one Akande, a witness in the second case told the court that Mofunolorunsho, a butcher by profession, used to live in Apampa's Compound and was married to an Iseyin woman named Jaratu, identified as the victim. According to him, two years before the date of his deposition, he saw the deceased run out of the accused's house into the street in the evening of that fateful day “with a deep cut across her stomach, with intestines hanging out.”77 Soon after, she died; but not before making a statement directed, apparently, to the culprit's father who had just entered the compound: “Look at the work done by your son.”78 This incident is one out of several cases of passionate crimes committed in colonial Nigeria.

48The Mofunolorunsho case was one of the criminal cases that drew attention to the central role of good detective work in the success or failure of the extradition treaty. Particularly, it indicated that the onus for providing adequate information on the wanted criminal lay, first and foremost, with the police in the country demanding extradition. Thus, an extradition might be stalled and made unproductive if preliminary investigations on the whereabouts of the escapee are not precise, as shown in the Mofunolorunso affair.

  • 79 Ibid.

49On January 4, 1915 Constable Ojo of the Ibadan Police Force, armed with the necessary documents to substantiate the charge against the accused, proceeded to Dahomey. Preliminary investigations had been working on the lead that the accused was living at Itakete (probably Sakété), a town in the French territory, about 12 miles from Porto-Novo. However, in following the lead, the search by the French Police yielded little resuit as no butchers found at the Ibadan Compound in the aforementioned town fitted the description of the escapee.79

  • 80 Ibid. In English. the quotation would mean something like “there exists nobody in this environment (...)

50On 19 January 1916, the Secretary General “chargé de l'expédition des Affaires Courants et Urgentes” had cause to write to the Governor of Southern Nigeria on the issue, noting that the offender's identity may not have been fully known. In his words “... il n'existe dans cette localité aucun indigène du nom du Mofunolorunsho qui d'ailleurs est un nom de fétiche qui ne saurait à lui seul fournir d'indication suffisant.”80 As a mark of the readiness of his government to co-operate fully w ith the British, he advised the Nigerian government to consider sending, if any, the alias' of the accused. The response of the British indicated that they were at a dead end regarding coming up with fresh information on the accused.

  • 81 Falola and Adebayo. Culture.... pp. 199-207.

51The Dahomey factor as an impediment to crime control in colonial Nigeria however went beyond that of a refuge for escapee criminals, as it also served as the based from which criminals operated in Nigeria. For example, in the 1920s and 30s, most of the criminals operating from the Egbado area of Nigeria were said to be from Dahomey or were people with relations from there. They were portrayed in 1930 as French ex-convicts, and Tofisade, alias Hegbere, from Dahomey was their leader.81 The police, the public and administrators were said to be in agreement that the most dangerous criminals were the aliens whose major strength lay in their ability to escape by shifting their location with ease. The police on the other hand, had a phenomenal task chasing after these criminals. Even the close watch at the borders could not prevent the infiltration and escape of criminals from Nigeria.

  • 82 NAI, CSO 26 File NO 06320/C1 “Bicycle Thieves...”

52By 1945, not only criminals but also stolen goods were being tracked down by the members of the Nigeria Police Force, ably assisted by their French counter-parts. Of prime interest was the theft of bicycles and their sale in Dahomey. Between 6 and 15 October 1945, the joint efforts of the two police forces yielded results, leading to the arrest of twenty persons in possession of stolen bicycles and their subsequent extradition to Nigeria.82 However, the lack of information on the nationality, background and social status of the extradited criminals made further analysis difficult.

  • 83 Asiwaju. A.I. (1977). The Penal Regime in French West Africa: Focus on the Indigenat Code up to 194 (...)

53As noted earlier, the introduction of European rule brought about the introduction of new laws and engineered various social changes through which the Europeans sought to control, more than ever before, the daily life of Africans, subjecting them, they claimed, to the rule of law. In some cases there were resistances, made noticeable through armed revolts or migrations, to protest perceived injustices that arose from law enforcement. This was particularly the case with the Yoruba residing in French Dahomey, who immigrated into Nigeria at several times between 1911 and 1945.83 It must be borne in mind that the Yoruba exodus was politically motivated, unlike the issue of escape, which is treated here in relation to individual movements that were criminally motivated.

  • 84 Ibid, p. 69.

54It is generally agreed that the French were stricter than the British counter-parts in the administration of their colonies. This probably because of a number of peculiar features in their style of administration: the policy of assimilation; the learning of their civil law, which holds an accused person guilty until proven innocent; the idigénat; forced labour and forced conscription. Naturally, therefore, escaping from British colonial territory into one controlled by the French runs contrary to conventional wisdom. Yet a set of people preferred the French territory. In this set were criminals or suspected criminals accused of various offences on the British side. Thus, the interesting scenario that ensued was that while émigrés moved from the French territory into that of the British because of the “strains and stresses”84 in the French colonial administration, the escapees from the British side moved into that of the French, not necessarily because they felt they would get better treatment there, but to escape punishment. If anything, the French indigénat and its impatience with procedures were meant to punish certain crimes speedily, without recourse to normal adjudication.

55It is, therefore, not unlikely that the change from a kind of law that favoured collective responsibility and restitution, and that brought into focus not just the offender but also his family, to one which emphasised accusation and punishment for the sole offender in the absence of any proven cases of aiding and abetting, was a factor in the defection of criminal offenders across the border in the hope that their cases would be “forgotten”.

Conclusion

56This essay has examined the phenomenon of escape and its implications for crime control in colonial Nigeria. It has shown that criminals actually took advantage of the in-built leniency in the British criminal justice system to evade justice. Thus, the granting of bail and the upholding of innocence until guilt is proven hampered crime control. The abandonment of group for individual liability for a crime committed also did much to encourage the escape of offenders. It was also noted that the society, as a resuit of fear, ethnic and elite complicity in crime, granted group protection to criminals and by so doing ensured the continued growth of criminal activities. A similar pattern of escape from justice is still apparent in Nigeria forty-four years after independence.

57The need to tackle an aspect of this problem involving extra-territorial escape led to the Anglo-French Extradition Treaty of 14 August 1876. By this act, the strong desire to combat a common menace took precedence over the traditional Anglo-French rivalry and led to this inter-colonial cooperation at the highest governmental level. From all indications, the treaty was an extension of the influence of one sovereignty into the territory of another, based on the principle of reciprocity and a clear demonstration of the preparedness of the colonialists to bury old age hatchets to assure overt control over their subjects.

58In spite of their differences, the law which operated within the French and British legal systems drew attention especially to the opportunities offered by the overlapping of national laws through interaction and interdependence that could be mutually harnessed and made beneficiai in the area of maintaining public order within each other's territories. The point needs to be stressed that the workability of the law, as contained in the treaty, was to a large extent dependent on the readiness of the two powers entering into the convention to play the game accord ing to the rules, since there was no central or independent machinery to ensure the compliance of the two parties with the convention.

Bibliographie

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Ahire, P.T. (1991), Imperial Policing, Milton Keynes, England/Philadelphia: Open University Press as summarised in, BELL-GIAM, Ruby, A. and URU IYAM, David (compilers, 1999), Nigeria, World Bibliographical Series (Revised Edition), 10, Oxford, England: Clio Press, pp. 127-129.

Akinyele, R.T. (2001),”Ethnie Militancy and National Stability in Nigeria: A Case Study of the Oodua People's Congress” African Affairs, 100, pp. 623-640.

Asiwaju, A.I. (1977), The Penal Regime in French West Africa: Focus on the Indigenat Code up to 1946, Research monograph, History, University of Lagos.

Asiwaju, A.I. and Igue, O.J. (eds., 1991) The Nigeria-Benin Transborder Cooperation, Lagos: National Boundary Commission.

Barkindo, B., Omolewa, M., and Maduakor, E.N. (1989). Africa and the Wider World 1: West and North Africa since 1800, Nigeria: Longman.

Bassiouni, M.Cherif (1974), International Extradition and World Public Order, Leiden/New York: A.W. Suthoff-Leyden/Oceana Publications Inc.-Dobbs Ferry.

Biobaku, S.O. (1991), Egba and their Neighbours, Ibadan: University Press.

Brown, S.H. (1964), A History of the Peoples of Lagos, 1852-1886, Ph.D. Thesis, Northwestern University.

Chesnais, J.C. (1981), Histoire de la Violence en Occident de 1800 à nos jours, Paris°: Robert Laffont.

Cohen, A. (1969), Custom and Politics in Urban Africa: A Study of Hausa Migrants in Yoruba Towns, Berkeley: University of California Press.

Coldham, S. (1991), “Crime and Punishment in British Colonial Africa”, in La Peine (Punishment), Bruxelles: De Boeck Université, pp. 81-108.

D.A.N.Q., 1F 57/360-“Police, Extradition: Convention Franco-anglaise, 1911”.

D.A.N.Q., 1F 58/ 365 “Police, Extradition d'indigènes entre le Nigeria et le Dahomey”, 1909"

D.A.N.Q., 1F 65/ 429, “Extradition de criminels d'origine nigériane réfugiée au Dahomey, 1910-1916".

Falola, T. (1995), “Brigandage and Piracy in Nineteenth Century Yorubaland”, Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria, vol. X11, Nos. 1 and 2, pp. 83-105.

Falola, T. and Adebayo, A. (2000), Culture, Politics and Money Among the Yoruba, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.

Falola, T. (1995), “Theft in Colonial South-Western Nigeria”, Africa (Roma) 50, 1.. pp. 1-24.

Fourchard, L. (2003) “Security, Crime and Segregation in Historical Perspective”, in Fourchard, L. et Albert, 1. O. (eds.). Sécurité, Crime and Ségrégation dans les villes d'Afrique de l'Ouest du xixe Siecle à nos jours, Paris/ Ibadan°: Karthala/ IFRA, pp. 25-52.

Fourchard, L. “Segregation and Crime in West African Cities since the Nineteenth Century”, International Seminars/ Public Lectures Series, Department of History, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria, 3 December 2003.

Gailey, H. (1982), Lugard and The Abeokuta Uprising: The Demise of Egba Independence, London: Frankcass and Company Limited.

Honourable Justice Karibi-Whyte, A.G. (1988), Criminal Policy: Traditional and Modem Trends, Lagos: Nigerian Law Publications.

Hopkins, A.G. (1964), “An Economie History of Lagos, 1880-1914”, Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of London, pp. 1-16.

Johnson, S. (1921), The History of the Yorubas, Lagos: CSS Limited.

Kaplan, S. And Kaplan, R. (eds., 1973), Humanscape: Environment for People, California: Wadsworth, cited in Agbola, T. (1997), Architecture of Fear: Urban Design and Construction Response to Urban Violence in Lagos, Nigeria, Ibadan: IFRA/ ABB.

Killingray, D. “Punishment to fit the crime? Penal Policy and Practice in British Colonial Africa” in Bernault, F. (dir., 1999), Enfermement, prison et châtiments en Afrique du 19 siècles à nos jours, Paris: Karthala, pp. 181-203.

La Forest, GV. (1961). Extradition To and From Canada, New Orleans: The Hauser Press.

N.A.I., Comcol 507, “Serious Crime, Lagos Districts”

N.A.I., CSO 1/1, 1, Freeman to Newcastle. 4 February, 1864 cited in

N.A.I., CSO 20/3/78, The Criminal Code Ordinance, 1915.

N.A.I., C.S.O. 26, 06320/ C 1, “Bicycle Thieves: Extradition from Dahomey”.

Oguntomisin, G. (1999), The Transformation of a Nigerian Lagoon Town: Epe. 1852-1942 Ibadan: John Archer.

Olukoju, A. (2000), “Self-Help Criminality as Resistance?: Currency Counterfeiting in Colonial Nigeria”, International Review of Social History, 45, pp. 305-407.

Tamuno, T. (1970), The Police in Modem Nigeria, 1861-1965: Origins, Development and Role, Ibadan: University Press.

Tuan, Yi-Fu (1998), Escapism, Johns Hopkins University Press.

Watson, R. (2000), “Murder and the Political Body in Early Colonial Ibadan”, Africa (London) 70, 1, pp. 25-48.

Notes

1 Falola.Toyin and Adebayo, Akanmu, (2000). Culture. Politics and Money Among the Yoruba. New Jersey. Transaction Publishers. pp.213-215. See also. Falola. Toyin. (1995). “Theft in Colonial South-Western Nigeria”. Africa (Roma) 50. I. pp. 1 -24

2 Escape should not be confused with the concept of escapism. which highlights the process or processes of retreating from or allowing reality to slip away through such pastimes as day dreaming, wishful thinking, or indulgence in certain attitudes and habits. For more details see. Tuan, Yi-Fu(1998). Escapism. Johns Hopkins University Press.

3 For more details on ethnie complicitv in criminality, see Cohen. Abner (1969 ). Custom and Politics in i rban Africa: A Study of Hausa Migrants in Yoruba Towns. Berkeley. University of Calilornia Press. Also Falola and Adebayo. Culture, pp. 195-251. See also Falola. “Theft...”.

4 For more information on the OPC. see. Akinyele. R.T. (2001). “Ethnie Militancy and National Stability in Nigeria: A Case Study of the Oodua People's Congress”. African Affairs. 100. pp. 623-640.

5 National Archives, Ibadan (N.A.I.). C.S.O. 26. 06°320/ C I. “Bicycle Thieves: Extradition of from Dahomey”.

6 Asiwaju. A.I. and Igue. O.J. (eds.. 1991) The Nigeria – Benin Transborder Cooperation. Lagos. National Boundary Commission.

7 Honourable Justice Karibi-Whyte. A.G (1988). Criminal Policy: Traditional and Modern Trends. Lagos. Nigerian Law Publications, pp. 10-16.

8 Justice Karibi-Whyte is of the opinion that group criminality was unknown in customary criminal law. If this is true then it raises an obvious question as to when this form of criminality started in Nigeria. It has been strongly suggested in this essay that group criminality, using southwestern Nigeria as a case study. emerged in the period of social upheavals and seems to have been well suited

9 “For more details on the treachery of Basorun Gaha and the massacre of his household during the reign of Alaafin Abiodun see. Johnson. Samuel (1921). The History of the Yorubas. Lagos: CSS Limited, pp. 178-186.

10 Falola. Toyin (1995). “Brigandage and Piracy in Nineteenth Century Yorubaland”. Journal of the Historica! Society of Nigeria, vol. XII. Nos. 1 and 2. p. 86.

11 Ibid

12 Ibid.

13 Karibi-Whyte, Criminal... See also Note 8 above.

14 Falola. “Brigandage...”, pp. 84-95

15 Ibid.

16 Ibid

17 Ibid. p.85

18 Cited in Watson, Ruth (2000), “Murder and the Political Body in Early Colonial Ibadan”, Africa (London). 70, 1, pp. 25-48.

19 Tamuno, Tekena (1970). The Police in Modem Nigeria. 1861-1965: Origins. Development and Rote. Ibadan: University Press, p. 74.

20 Barkindo, B., Omolewa. M., and Maduakor. E.N. (1989), Africa and the Wider World I: West and Xorth Africa since 1800. Nigeria. Longman. pp. 83-96

21 Adewoye, Omoniyi (1977), The Judicial System in Southern Nigeria, 1854-1954: Law and Justice in a Dependencv, London, Longman.

22 N.A.I., CSO 1/1, 1, Freeman to Newcastle, 4 February. 1864 cited in Hopkins, A.G.(1964), “An Economic History of Lagos. 1880-1914”, Unpublished PhD Thesis. University of London. pp. 1-16.

23 Brown. S.H. (1964), “A History of the Peoples of Lagos, 1852-1886”, Ph.D. Thesis. Northwestern University, pp. 381-382.

24 Ibid.

25 See Biobaku. S.O. (1991), Egba and their Neighbours, Ibadan: University Press, p.28.

26 King Oluwole ruled Lagos between 1834 and 1841 and was alleged to have been privy to the robbing of Sierra-Leonian immigrants who landed at the port of Lagos on their way to Abeokuta. The 265 immigrants were said to have got to Abeokuta empty-handed.

27 Tamuno. The Police... pp. 1-40.

28 Ibid.

29 Ibid. Also Brown. “A History...”. pp.381-384.

30 Watson. “Murder...”. pp. 31-33.

31 Ibid, pp. 25-48.

32 Gailey. Hailey (1982), Lugard and The Abeokuta Uprising: The Demise of Egba Independence, London, Frankcass and Company Limited.

33 See Biobaku, Egba... p.71. There is the need for more research to unravel the nature of this robbery.

34 Ethnic complicity was again alleged in these robberies. Fingers were pointed at the warrior chiefs. i.e.. the Ologun.

35 Falola and Adebayo. Culture... pp.195-212. Also Tamuno. The Police.... pp. 213-214. The involvement of secret cuits in crime was actually underlined by Tamuno. The Atinga Cult, which came from Dahomey, infiltrated the Egbado area of Nigeria and was actually involved in criminal activities.

36 Hopkins, “An Economie...”, p.l11.

37 Ibid.

38 Falola and Adebayo. Culture.... pp. 219-251. Olukoju A. (2000). Self-Help Criminality as Résistance? Currency Counterfeiting in Colonial Nigeria”. International Review of Social History. 45. pp. 305-407.

39 Falola and Adebayo, Culture... p. 229.

40 Ibid.

41 Ahire. P.T. (1991). Imperial Policing. Milton Keynes, England/Philadelphia, Open University Press as summarised in. Bell-Giam. Ruby. A. and Uru lyam. David (compilers, 1999), Nigeria. World Bibliographical Series (Revised Edition). 10. Oxford. England: Clio Press, pp. 127-129.

42 Ibid.

43 Ibid.

Fourchard, Laurent, “Segregation and Crime in West African Cities since the Nineteenth Century”, International Seminars/ Public Lectures Series, Department of History, University of Lagos. Lagos. Nigeria, 3 December 2003. See also. Fourchard, Laurent (2003) “ Security, Crime and Segregation in Historical Perspective”, in Laurent Fourchard et Isaac Olawale Albert( eds.), Sécurité. Crime and Ségrégation dans les villes d'Afrique de I Quesi du xixe Siecle à nos jours, Paris/ Ibadan°: Karthala/ IFRA. pp. 25-52.

44

45 Ibid.

46 Other state-based crime busting outfïts before May 29, 1999 were ‘OperationWipe’ in Delta, “ Operation Storm” in Imo, ‘Operation Watch’ in Kwara, ‘Operation Flush’ in Rivers and Bauchi.‘Operation Purge’ in Anambra ‘Opération Zaki’inYobe and Bomo. ‘Operation Zaman Lafiya’ in Katsina ‘Operation Crime Storm’ in Ebonyi ‘Operation Nasara’ in Nassarawa and ‘Operation Wedge’ in Ogun.

47 Tamuno. The Police...

48 N.A.I CSO 20/3/78. The Criminal Code Ordinance. 1915.

49 Falola and Adebayo. Culture... p. 214.

50 Ibid.

51 Ibid. p. 213.

52 For a contrary view. see Oguntomisin. G (1999). The Transformation of a Nigerian Lagoon Town: Epe. 1852-1942. Ibadan: John Archer.

53 Cohen. Custom....

54 Kaplan. S. and Kaplan. R. (eds.. 1973). Humanscape: Environment for People. California: Wadsworth, cited in Agbola. Tunde (1997). Architecture of Fear: Urban Design and Construction Response to Urban l'iolence in Lagos. Nigeria. Ibadan: IFRA/ABB. p. 1.

55 N.A.I.. Comcol 507. “Serious Crime. Lagos Districts”.

56 Ibid.

57 Ibid.

58 Ibid.

59 Ibid.

60 La Forest. G V.(1961). Extradition To and From Canada. New Orleans. The I lauser Press, pp. I. 15.

61 Ibid. See also. Bassiouni.M.Cherif (1974). International Extradition and World Public Order. Leiden/New York: A.W. Suthoff-Leyden/Oceana Publications Ine.-Dobbs Ferry.

62 Reference to the existence of the treaty can be found in Porto-Novo. Republic of Benin at Des Archives Nationales. Quando (D.A.N.Q.). IF 58/ 365 “Police. Extraditiond” indigènes entre le Nigeria et le Dahomey“. 1909” and IF 57/ 360. “Police. Extradition: Convention Franco-anglaise. 1911”. The original treatv. however. should be at the Archives of the Minister for foreign Affairs in France (Le Ministère des Affaires Etrangères)

63 D.A.N.O-. 1F 57/ 360-“Police...”.

64 D.A.N.Q.. 1F 58/ 365-“Police...”.

65 Bassiouni.. International, p. 4. The author identified four periods in the history of extradition

66 D.A.N.Q.. 1F 65/429. “Extradition de criminels d'origine nigériane réfugiés au Dahomey. 1910-1916”.

67 Ibid.

68 Ibid.

69 Ibid.

70 Ibid.

71 Ibid.

72 Ibid.

73 Ibid.

74 Ibid

75 Ibid

76 Can we consider suicide by criminals as an act of defiance of the death penalty of the state or simply an act of maturity or both? There is the need to determine the extent to which the application of the death penalty has made crimuinals more vicious and violent in colonial and post-colonial Nigeria. For an interesting study of suicide, see. Chesnais.J.C. (1981). Histoire de la Violence en Occident de 1800 à nos jours. Paris: Robert Laffont. For more on punishments. see. Killingray, David. “Punishment to lit the crime? Penal Policv and Practiee in British Colonial Africa” in Bernault. Florence (dir.. 1999). Enfermement, prison et châtiments en Afrique du 19 siècles à nos jours. Paris: Karthala. pp. 181-203. See also Coldham. Simon 1991). “Crime and Punishment in British Colonial Africa”. in La Peine (Punishment). Bruxelles: De Boeck Université, pp. 81-108.

77 D.A.N.Q.. 1F 65/ 429. “Extradition...” ibid.

78 Ibid.

79 Ibid.

80 Ibid. In English. the quotation would mean something like “there exists nobody in this environment known as Mofolorunsho”. The name itself is such that may not really reveal his identity.

81 Falola and Adebayo. Culture.... pp. 199-207.

82 NAI, CSO 26 File NO 06320/C1 “Bicycle Thieves...”

83 Asiwaju. A.I. (1977). The Penal Regime in French West Africa: Focus on the Indigenat Code up to 1946. Research monograph, History. University of Lagos.

84 Ibid, p. 69.

Notes de fin

1 I thank most sincerely the French Institute for Research in Africa, Ibadan, and the French Embassy in Nigeria for the scholarship award in 2001, which enabled me to study in France for almost three years.

2 Department of History and Diplomatie Studies, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State

© Institut français de recherche en Afrique, 2005

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