HC Deb 16 February 1938 vol 331 cc1871-2
34. Mr. Mathers

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what changes have occurred in Ijebu Province, Nigeria, which cause the present Governor to recommend the partition disapproved of by previous Governors; and whether, as the decision in favour of partition is widely criticised as biased and unjust, he will reconsider the matter in the light of the full evidence given at the recent inquiry?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

The separation of Ijebu Remo from Ijebu Ode has been approved, not on the ground of any changes in the province but because the administrative arrangements decided upon and maintained by previous Governors were based upon an incomplete knowledge of tribal relationships as previously existing, which have now been fully examined by the commission. I am sending the hon. Member a copy of the commission's report. I am aware that this decision must cause some dissatisfaction to the party opposed to separation, but I see no reason to reconsider it, nor can I agree that it is biased and unjust.

Mr. Mathers

In view of the doubts that are thrown upon the wisdom of this decision, will the right hon. Gentleman postpone its operation until he himself has examined the full text of the evidence laid at the inquiry; and will he be good enough to absolve me from any advocacy of partition?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

Yes, I certainly absolve the hon. Member from that. I entirely misunderstood his question last week. For some time past there has been a desire on the part of a large number of people in Ijebu Province to form a separate native authority. There are two sides to that question. They were exhaustively examined by a special committee, under an experienced native commissioner, whose report has been examined and approved by the Governor of Nigeria. I am satisfied that the balance of justice is on the side of partition and I am unwilling to postpone its coming into force.