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Departures Podcast with Max Siollun, author of ‘What Britain Did to Nigeria: A Short History of Conquest and Rule’

Since Britain’s annexation of Lagos in 1861 up until independence in 1960, the history of colonialism in Nigeria has almost always been told from London’s perspective – often exaggerating the benevolent intentions and downplaying and blameshifting the abuses, ethnic violence, and social disarray the occupation created.

Every listener to this podcast knows that we love Nigeria. Been traveling there and working there for decades, so when we heard about Max Siollun’s new book, “What Britain Did to Nigeria: A Short History of Conquest and Rule,” we had to get him on the podcast.

In his discussion with Robert Amsterdam, Siollun emphasizes just how cynically the British colonial administrators exploited ethnic and religious identity to maintain control of territories, while forcefully rejecting the myth the Nigeria’s problems are purely homegrown.

Instead of solely focusing on Nigeria’s modern problems of corruption, crime, and terrorism, instead it can be argued that the country, which is by far the most unique nation on earth, like a combination of Iran and Norway in the same territory, is a remarkable success story given the sheer impossible circumstances the colonizers created. Nigerians should be given credit for what they’ve achieved as a nation, despite the indelible and tragic legacy left behind by colonial rule.