Guns and Society in Colonial Nigeria: Firearms, Culture, and Public Order

By Saheed Aderinto | Go to book overview

4
“ALL EUROPEANS IN THIS COUNTRY
SHOULD BE ABLE TO FIRE A RIFLE”
Race, Leisure Shooting, and the Lethal
Symbol of Imperial Domination

It is, I think, one of the greatest joys in life to stroll out with a gun after the
day’s work is over, looking for anything that may make a suitable addition
to the larder, and in Northern Nigeria there is scarcely any place where
a shot-gun is not both an asset and a source of pleasure. The bags may
not be large, but there is always something to shoot at, if not to shoot.

—Richard Oakley, Treks and Palavers, 116

I was no slaughterer at any time. I tried for the best heads, and when
I had got decent ones of any species left the antelope alone, unless
I came across a pair of horns that seemed to beat any that I had.
I never would shoot a giraffe, which to me, is a most inoffensive
creature and possesses nothing which will make a trophy.

—A. C. G. Hastings, Nigerian Days, 182

“Large crowd gathered immediately, and it was with great difficulty that the people were dispersed,” wrote the Southern Nigeria Defender as it attempted to describe the atmosphere at the provincial office in Oyo on April 5, 1948, when the news that Assistant District Officer J. D. Underwood had shot and killed himself with a pistol spread across the town. Earlier that day, the unmarried Underwood, who joined the Oyo administrative office in 1947, came to his office, performed some official duties, went home for lunch, and returned to the office, where the shooting occurred.1 If Underwood’s

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