Jaja (who was an Igbo, victimized by the slave trade) was born in Amigbo near Orlu in 1821. He joined the Anna Pepple House and later rose to be a well-known dynamic trader and the head of the House as well.
However, under Jaja, the House became very rich in Bonny and that attracted a lot of enemies to him and as a result, he eloped with fourteen members out of the eighteen members of the House and founded a new settlement called Opobo.
He became the king of Opobo as well as the controller of the oil market of the Igbo and Ibibio respectively. He was the richest trader as of then.
Meanwhile, Jaja’s relationship with the Europeans at first was viewed as a cordial one but when he prevented the European traders from dealing directly with those markets in 1886, he had a misunderstanding with the British.
Thus, Jaja saw direct trading as blocking his own way of getting money and as a result, banned all trades with the Europeans and started exporting oil to England directly. In the year 1887, the Acting Consul, Johnson, intervened and ordered Jaja to allow the European traders to have direct contact with the hinterland markets but he refused.
Consequently, in September that year, Johnson brought a warship – HMS Goshawk to Opobo and gave Jaja two bad choices – that if he could not allow the Europeans to trade with the hinterland markets, he could go back and face the bombardment of Opobo or he should give himself up to be carried into exile.
Hence, he was carried to Accra and exiled to West Indies and he was there before his death in 1891.