In 1910, in order to help guide ships to the inland port at Akassa, the British colonialists built a lighthouse. Standing 60 metres high, with a spiral staircase leading up to it, the structure was serviced by solar energy. Like a modern telecommunications mast, it overlooked the Atlantic. In 1912, it was moved to its present location. The Akassa Lighthouse is regarded as the oldest lighthouse in West Africa.
Akassa people are Ijaw. In the early 1700s, their town was an outpost trading in enslaved people, and eventually became the customary headquarters of the Royal Niger Company (RNC). By the later part of that century, Akassa had become known for its palm oil and kernel. The Royal Niger Company’s monopoly and abuse of trade privileges led to the Akassa Raid of 1895, during which Nembe chieftains invaded the company’s headquarters.
The Akassa Lighthouse has stood for 110 years now.
Otosirieze Obi-Young is Editor of Folio Nigeria, where he profiles innovators and facilitators in culture: art, business, entertainment, activism, health, food. He is a writer, journalist, curator, media consultant, former academic, and Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Open Country Mag, a new online platform covering African literature. In 2019, he received the inaugural The Future Awards Africa Prize for Literature. In 2020, he was named among "The 100 Most Influential Young Nigerians" by Avance Media. Find him on otosirieze.com or on Twitter & Insta: @otosirieze.