On the death of Olu of Warri, Akengbuwa 1, and his two sons soon after 1848, Warri people were under the leadership of the ‘Governor of the River’ who was chosen from among the traders on the Benin River in the of Olomu of Itsekiri. Even the Europeans recognized his authority at that time. Olomu ruled from 1870 until 1883 when he died and his son Nana, succeeded him.
Just like Jaja, Nana was the middleman between the European traders and the palm Oil producers of Urhobo on the coast. He did not like the Europeans to bypass him and trade directly with his hinterland markets.
Thus, in 1893, there were complaints that Nana was preventing the Europeans from getting into the hinterland and as a result, the Consul-General stopped the grant of two hundred pounds commission which Nana received annually.
Consequently; the first Gimboat – HMS Aleeto, sent by the Acting Consul-General Raph Moore in June 1894 could not succeed. Nana had turned down his invitation to the Consulate headquarters.
Three more organized warships were sent on September 25, 1895, and Nana’s capital was taken. That made him to escape to Lagos where he was tried for waging war against the British.
He was found guilty and was exiled in the first instance to Calabar and then to Accra where he spent twelve years. Having served the sentence period, he was released in 1906 and he returned home. On the 3rd of July, 1916, he gave up the ghost.
Meanwhile, the elimination of the obstacles from Jaja of Opobo and Nana of Itsekiri paved way for the European maneuvers into the Niger Delta stages.
Conclusively, the British encroachment into some parts of Nigeria before 1900 was nothing to write home about as regards their approach. The experience is better witnessed than told.