*SIRCHARLESDILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will state what is the exact objective of the expedition to the Ibibio country in the Southern Nigeria Protectorate consisting of 450 troops, with five Maxims and two pom-poms; whether the expedition was sanctioned by His Majesty's Government; and whether any official explanation has been received as to the causes of the alleged rising near Asaba, and of the measures taken to suppress it.
§ MR. LYTTELTON
The object of the patrol through the Ibibio district was to bring the country under Government control, to take away the war-guns and arms of precision in the possession of the natives, to open the country to trade, and to stop slave raiding. Many of the towns which were disarmed in the Aro expedition, and were consequently unable to defend themselves, have been raided by the Ibibios. The patrol was sanctioned by my predecessor. The force employed consisted of four small columns acting in concert, amounting to 430 rank and file in all, with four Maxims and two 75 millimetre guns. No detailed report has yet been received as to the disturbances in the neighbourhood of Asaba, but the district has a bad reputation for lawlessness, the inhabitants being terrorised by a society called the Ekumekus, who have given trouble on previous occasions by attacking the missionary stations situated in the country.