6. IJEBU

THE kingdom of the Awujale of Ijebu once covered a much larger area than the present Ijebu Division (area nearly 2,000 square miles, population 250,000). To the north it extended further into what is now Ibadan territory. To the west the many Remo kingdoms were formerely subordinate to the Awujale but they gained their administrative independence in 1937. A strip of territory along the lagoon from Ikorodu to Epe was incorporated into the Colony of Lagos in 1863 and still remains administratively separate from Ijebu Division in spite of attempts to reincorporate Epe. The eastern part of the kingdom, across the Oshun river, is an area of dense forest which has always been sparsely populated; a number of small settlements lie along the lagoon. But the heart of the kingdom is the small area within fifteen miles of the capital, Ijebu Ode, in which live over 200,000 people.

The northern part of the kingdom lies on the crystalline rocks of the basement complex, with its granitic soils often poorly drained and still quite heavily forested. The dominant physical feature of Ijebu is the 350-foot escarpment of the sedimentary series which traverses the country from north-west to south-east, passing four miles north of Ijebu Ode. The area north of the escarpment is drained by the rivers Ona and Omi, which unite to breach it near Okun Owa. A ridge from Erunwon through Atan to Ijebu Igbo is the watershed between this river system and that of the Oshun river. South of the escarpment the country dips gently to the lagoon, the old lateritic peneplained surface forming resistant hilltops. The sedimentary soils, porous and easily worked have become almost completely denuded of forest cover, and almost the only clumps of trees which remain are those surrounding a village or a shrine. Streams have cut deeply into the escarpment and the larger towns are located close to their perennial water supply; Ijebu Ode lies between the sources of the Owa and Yemule rivers; Ijebu-Ife and Owu lie close to another major river. Many of the smaller villages are, however, over two miles from a supply of drinking water.

Ijebu Ode is a small town relative to the size of its kingdom; its population is only 28,000. It is, however, one of the very few Yoruba towns which is truly urban. Of its adult men only 20 per cent are farmers while the proportions engaged in crafts, trade, and administration/professions are 19 per cent, 28 per cent and 5 per cent respectively; 28 per cent are in 'other occupations' which seems, in this context to include casual labourers and retired men. Like Ode Ondo the town has an approximately rectilinear pattern of narrow streets, each lined with

-136-

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Yoruba Land Law
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Maps x
  • Preface xi
  • Part One - Concepts 1
  • 1. Prologue 3
  • 2. Customary Law 13
  • 3. Yoruba Towns 30
  • 4. Some Legal Concepts 60
  • Part Two - Four Kingdoms 95
  • 5. Ondo 97
  • 6. Ijebu 136
  • 7. Ado Ekiti 185
  • 8. Egba 225
  • Part Three - Some General Problems 277
  • 9. Succession 279
  • 10. Land and Credit 308
  • 11. the Sale of Land 326
  • 12. Equity 338
  • 13. Local Government Councils and Land 354
  • Appendix - The Volume of Litigation in Customary Courts 362
  • Select Bibliograph 364
  • Index 368
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