Intelligence and rumours that Consul General Phillips intends to invade Benin have been substantiated. The chiefs now stationed at Gwatto have seen the evidence with their own eyes and have been told by different people that this was the case.
Many whitemen and hundreds of The Niger Protectorate Force personnel are currently stationed at Gilli-Gilli and intending to march on Benin on the morrow.
The chiefs declare war on the White Queen and Consul Phillips.¹
Prime Minster Iyasheri orders all Benin Strike Force soldiers to kill any invaders including the white men. Failure to kill all invading troops including the white men will be tantamount to treason punishable by death. Any soldier who does not kill a Whiteman who is engaged in invading Benin will be killed by fellow Benin soldiers.²
Benin Border Force take position from Gwatto route ready to defend their country to the death.
¹ ‘The king said since he was born there had not been any white men killed in Benin city, so no white man must be killed.’ (Roth, 1903, app xiv – xv)
² ‘But the big chiefs, amongst whom Ologbosheri and lyasheri [Yaceri] and in spite of his (Obahawaie's) protests ordered him to massacre, saying other men would be sent to kill him if he did not destroy the white men.’
‘He said that Ologbosheri had countermanded the king's orders, saying lyasheri had threatened to kill him if the white men were not killed.’ (Roth, 1903, app xiv – xv)
1) Kirk, J. Sir, Benin Massacre, Latest News at the Foreign Office, Reasons for Hope, Interview with Sir John Kirk (Central News Telegram); Publication: Guardian 1821 – 2000; Date: Jan 14, 1897, Section: None; Page 2
2) Phillips, J.R. , 17 Nov 1896. Dispatches to Foreign Office from Consul-General, Catalogue of the Correspondence and Papers of the Niger Coast Protectorate, 268 3/3/3, p. 240. National Archives of Nigeria Enugu.
3) THE BENIN MASSACRE ITS PROBABLE CAUSE. Hobart Newspaper (3rd March 1897), page 3. Retrieved from http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/9392982
4) THE BENIN MASSACRE – MESSAGE FROM THE SURVIVORS - DEPARTURE OF OFFICERS FROM LIVERPOOL – WHY THE EXPEDITION WENT TO BENIN, Reuter Liverpool Correspondent interview with unnamed gentleman, Publication: Guardian 1821 - 2000; Date: Jan 18, 1897, Section: None; Pages 2 -3.
5) THE BENIN MASSACRE - WHY THE EXPEDITION WENT TO BENIN;
Publication: Guardian 1821 - 2000; Date: Jan 18, 1897, Section: None; Page 5.
6) THE DISASTER TO THE BENIN EXPEDITION – SAFETY OF TWO OFFICERS- CONSUL GENERAL MOOR ON THE SITUATION – PRESS ASSOCIATION TELEGRAM, FRIDAY EVENING, 15 January 1897, LONDON, Publication: Guardian 1821 - 2000; Date: Jan 16, 1897, Section: None; Page 8
7) Roth, H. L, Great Benin, 1903, app xiv – xv
8) Roth H.L., Transcript of the Trial of the king, (appendix 11); 1903
9) Roth H. L Transcript of the Trial of Ologbosheri; 27 June 1899, (appendix xviii); 1903