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Indirect rule is a colonial system of administration, whereby, African traditional rules were involved in administering their fellow Africans at the local level while the colonial officials and administrators administered at the higher level.

Indirect rule was pioneered by Sir Fredrick John Lugard who was the British High Commissioner to Nigeria in 1990. The reasons for the British to use indirect rule in their colonies are;-

1. The British colonial government used indirect rule in most of her colonies in Africa because of the following reasons.
2. Britain drew more attention to her colony in India, thus it was difficult for her to introduce direct rule in Africa.

3. Britain did not have enough manpower to administer her colonies in Africa. For instance, in 1900 it was reported that the British had only 42 British officials in her Nigerian colony. This number was not sufficient to administer the whole colony. The shortage of personnel was caused by lack of experienced workers. Moreover, British citizens were not willing to work in Tropical Africa for fear of Tropical diseases and other physical problems such as transportation.

4. Less funds were set by the British government for the maintenance of the colonies. It was convenient for the colonial administrators to use the indirect rule system in the colonies so as to reduce administrative costs.

5. The indirect rule proved to be effective and efficient in their Indian colony; therefore, the British government was inspired to apply it in Africa.

6. The British thought of using the indirect rule in order to overcome resistances from Africans. Consequently, Africans rulers were made to feel that their status was honored by British, as this system of administration gave them an opportunity of keeping some of the money corrected in form of taxes for their native treasuries. That money was spent for paying messengers and policemen salaries. However, the local African chiefs retained the money for their personal use.

7. Physical barriers such as poor infrastructure, presence of mountains, thick forests and dangerous animals in the colonial African forces the British to use indirect rule.

8. A language barrier between the British and the Africans forced the British to use indirect rule. Neither Africans nor Europeans understood the language of the other. Hence, they used interpreters.

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