Colonial control of firearms in the Sokoto Province 1897-1950s

Aisha Balarabe Bawa, PhD
Keywords: Colonial, firearms, control, Sokoto Province
Tropical Journal of Arts and Humanities 2022 4(1), 33-41. Published: May 19, 2022


This paper is a historical investigation into colonial control of firearms in the Sokoto Province. The role and use of firearms in colonial Nigeria have gained currency in the last five decades. The European interest in the commercial expedition of Africa facilitated the movement of firearms as an item of trade in exchange for African slaves. The increasing access to firearms, from European traders, provided the opportunity for the emirates of the Sokoto Caliphate to acquire a considerable number of these weapons. However, the vast majority of the literature focuses on their role in warfare and conquest. Despite the important role of the defunct Sokoto Caliphate in the import of firearms, it scarcely received scholarly attention. Deploying the historical method of inquiry, this paper argues that the British attempt to maintain law and order after the conquest of the Sokoto Caliphate instituted several measures to control possession of firearms by the natives. The study concludes that ownership of firearms was seen as a potential threat to the stability of both the colonial administration and the Native Authority.