Alimotu Pelewura

Alimotu Pelewura was an activist trader of pre-colonial Nigeria, who, though illiterate, led women successfully in their struggle against unjust taxation and for suffrage. Pelewura was born in the last decade of the 19th Century to a Muslim family. During the Second World War, she organized demonstrations against British policy of monopoly in the distribution of foodstuff. In December 1940, she led about seven thousand women to to the Glover Memorial Hall to protest taxes levied on them owing to the failure of their husbands and male relatives to pay. Alimotu Pelewura organized 8,000-10,000 poor illiterate Nigerian marketwomen into an openly anti-colonial group; the Lagos Market Women’s Association which protested taxation of women and a price control scheme imposed during the Second World War. She took her campaign to Ijebu Ode and Shagamu, enlisting women who worked with her to ensure that foodstuff were not taken to Lagos unless the women’s demands were met. She was the leader of Lagos market women for over half a century, until her death in 1952.

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer