Kingdom of Warri

Traditional state

Location in Nigeria

Coordinates: 5°31′N 5°45′E / 5.517°N 5.750°E / 5.517; 5.750
Country Nigeria
State Delta State
  Olu Ogiame ikenwoli 1

The Kingdom of Warri is a traditional state based on the town of Warri in Delta State, Nigeria. Warri is an inland port on one of the Niger River channels in the Niger Delta. The Olu (king) of Warri is the head of the Itsekiri people.


According to Bini and Itsekiri histories Ginuwa, a prince of Benin founded the Iwerre (Warri) Kingdom about 1480. In the 15th century Warri was visited by Portuguese missionaries. At the beginning of the 17th century, a son of the reigning Olu was sent to Portugal and returned with a Portuguese wife. Their son Antonio Domingo was Olu of Warri in the 1640s.[1] Olu Erejuwa, who reigned from about 1720 to 1800, expanded Warri politically and commercially, using the Portuguese to further Warri's independence of Benin and to establish control over a wider area.[2]

Later Warri served as the base for Portuguese and Dutch slave traders. Warri became a more important port city during the late 19th century, when it became a centre for the palm oil trade and other major items such as rubber, palm products, cocoa, groundnuts, hides, and skins.[3] Warri was established as a provincial headquarters by the British in the early 20th century.[4] In May 1952 the government of Western Nigeria changed the title of the Itsekiri ruler from the Olu of Itsekiri to the Olu of Warri, at the request of the Itsekiri. The Ijaw, Urhobo and other people of the community objected to the change, since they felt the new title implied that the Olu was ruler of Warri, not just of the Itsekiri.[5]

Recent events

In 1997, The Federal Government under General Sani Abacha created a Warri South-West Local Government Council, with headquarters at Ogbe-Ijoh, in the Ijaw area of Warri. Due to political pressure by the Itsekiri, the headquarters was then relocated to Ogidigben, an Itsekiri area of Warri. Riots ensued, hundreds died, and six Shell Nigeria installations were taken over by youths. The crisis is known as the "Warri Crisis".[6]



  1. J.O.S Ayomike. "Edo people's renaissance". Edo Nation. Retrieved 2010-09-16.
  2. Gab Ejuwa (26 April 2009). "Olu of Warri Coronation – Focus On Itsekiri Cultural Heritage". Vanguard. Retrieved 2010-09-16.
  3. 13 January 2008
  4. Ekeh, Peter Palmer (2005). Warri City and British Colonial Rule in Western Niger Delta. Urhobo Historical Society. p. 31. ISBN 978-064-924-7.
  5. Onoawarie Edevbie. "Who Owns Warri? The Politics of Ethnic Rivalry in the Western Niger-Delta Region of Nigeria". Urhobo Historical Society. Retrieved 2010-09-16.
  6. Manby, Bronwen (1999). Price of Oil: Corporate Responsibility and Human Rights Violations in Nigeria's Oil Producing Communities. Human Rights Watch. pp. 111–112. ISBN 1-56432-225-4.

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