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The features of Indirect Rule in West Africa

Indirect Rule is the system of government in which the traditional structures of the local people were employed in the administration of the British overseas territories in West Africa. The architect of the system, in West Africa, was Lord Lugard. He first experimented with the system in Northern Nigeria and when it was found to be successful, it was replicated in other parts of British West Africa. 

 A Governor
One of the features of Indirect Rule was the position of a Governor. He was the highest political figure in the colony. He was responsible for the formulation and implementation of policies in the colony.

Regional Commissioners
The colony was divided into regions for ease of administration and each region were headed by a Regional Commissioner.

District Commissioners
Each region was further divided into Districts and each was headed by a District Commissioner. These District Commissioners were responsible for the implementation of official policies through the Chiefs at the local level.

Native Authorities
Under the system of indirect rule, native authorities were created across the various colonies. The Native Authority was made up of the paramount chief, sub-chiefs and a Council of Elders. The main reason for their establishment was to help in the implementation of the policies of the British government at the local level. They were also tasked with the responsibility of maintaining law and order with the help of local police.

Native Treasury
The system also made provision for a Native Treasury where taxes, court fines and other fees collected by the traditional rulers, on the behalf of the British colonialists, were lodged.  After the taxes were collected, part of it was paid into the central government treasury and the rest kept by the Native Authority for the development of the area.

Native Courts
The system also made provision for Native Courts. The courts comprised the chiefs and their elders who were supervised and guided by District Commissioners. The District Commissioners who were whites. The main function of the Native Court was to ensure the administration of proper justice.

1. a. Explain the concept of Indirect Rule.
    b. Highlight five main features of Indirect Rule.

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