‘Kiriji’ war was so named because of the sounds made by the cannons. The same ethnic group fighting non-stop for 16 years.

The Kiriji War, an epic battle fought by the Yoruba for 16 years, is believed to be the World’s Longest Civil War by any ethnic group. The war, according to historians, was the fiercest tribal war among the Yoruba ethnic group of Southwest Nigeria and the Kiriji War, which ended 125 years ago led to the signing of a Peace Treaty on September 23, 1886.

How It All Started
Ibadan, a relatively new establishment had the honour of filling the oversized shoes of the former Oyo Empire as the protector of the Yoruba nation against external attacks. But the military successes and wealth that were raked in by Ibadan in its military expeditions soon posed serious challenges.

Like all global super-powers, Ibadan was said to embark on an expansionist program that extended its reach to much of Yorubaland. It started appointing District Officers known as ‘Ajeles’ to rule the conquered territories on its behalf.

It did not take long for the ‘Ajeles’ to transform into despots. They became corrupt and power-drunk, demanding ridiculous homage and exorbitant tributes.

The Yoruba vassal states of Ijesha and Ekiti revolted and massacred the Ibadan-appointed ‘Ajeles’. A woman, who happened to be a fiancee to a chief in one of the vassal states was raped by Ibadan soldiers, the rapists were later killed. Ibadan warlord demanded for his head and hence, the revolt.

They formed a confederacy called Ekiti Parapo (Ekiti Brotherhood) and declared their independence from Ibadan.