You Drink Garri And Use It For Food Purposes But Did You Know In 1944, Selling Garri Was illegal In Nigeria?
The British colonial Government made it illegal for anyone to sell Garri privately, Garri became “Government treasure”.
This actually happened during the era of the second World War.
As we know the British were suffering at he hand of Germans and they were desperate to win the War, they needed money and resources so they pulled as many as they could get from their colonies, including Nigeria.
They built harbours, roads, Airfields, hospitals, anything to make their exploitation easier. Thousand of Nigerian Men were recruited into the Army to fight in the second World. Even at that, they still needed more.
They imposed some monetary policies and they rationed food so they could have enough to export for their wars. The government was in charge of food distribution and people would have to queue for days to buy Garri.
They wanted to tax market women. Then we had Alimotu Pelewura, a Nigerian woman led a protest to curb this action. British Government were like “British women pay tax, why should Nigerian women be any different” and Pelewura replied, “All of Nigeria’s wealth was being taken to Britain hence the British women could pay tax because they were Rich”.
She organized the market and told them to boycott sales of Garri to the Govt. This made the Govt and the security agents “declared war”.
The Government started arresting those who sold Garri privately but NIGERIANS are very resourceful so the Fa-ya-wo got involved (Fa-ya-wo is what the Yorubas call Smugglers). The Fa-ya-wo would crawl on their bellys (hence their name) to steal Garri from government stores, and sell in private.
Garri had it own black market. The govt found it very hard to solve this problem, they tried to bribe Halimatu Pelewura to come to their side but she didn’t sell her conscience.