Efunsetan Aniwura

Efunsetan Aniwura was the 19th Century Ibadan merchant born 1827 circa in Egbaland. Efunsetan began trading as a young woman and later expanded her operations to Ibadan, Badagry Lagos, and Port Novo. By 1860 she had decided Ibadan to be the headquarters of her growing business empire. Her local business was focused on foodstuffs, livestock, cloth, mats, kolanuts, and domestic slave trading. Efunsetan made greater profit in her trade along the coast with foreign merchants. Through this, she steadily became one of Ibadan’s richest persons. From 1867, Efunsetan had started playing military administrative roles, granting soft loans to warriors for them to buy weapons with the hope of acquiring captured slaves. She also sent a hundred soldiers of her own to support Ibadan in a war in 1872. Efunsetan’s ideology shifted to pacifism as she realised the negative effects of war on trading. For this, she drew the ire of leading war captains who arranged for her assassination in 1874.

Though criticised for her inhumane treatment of slaves, Efunsetan is often praised as a symbol of civil resistance of her time.

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer