European soldiers came to Nigeria, colonized us, lived life to the fullest and then died.
When the missionaries came, they taught us about God, helped with basic day to day life and died. Hopefully they met the one they were winning souls for.
In my mind, these bodies were shipped back to their countries so their loved ones could mourn and bury them. Turns out this isn’t so.
In Lokoja lies the largest European/African Missionaries’ cemetery in Nigeria. Although there are 2 cemeteries located on the same street (IBB road) for these bodies, the one behind the Kogi Traveller Motor Park, near Lokoja Local Government Secretariat is the one with the title.
Trying not to look at the dead
It makes perfect sense that Lokoja is the location for this as it was once the administrative capital of the country. Unfortunately, this cemetery that should be treated with respect and given the recognition it deserves has little or no maintenance at all. Broken fences, overgrown weeds and animals loitering around, you will be forgiven for mistaking it for a random piece of land till you notice the headstones that haven’t been destroyed yet.
Unravellers paying their respects
The surrounding areas are also a sight for sore eyes and so much more can be done to give this place an uplift. In various countries this cemetery would be well maintained, with events created to remember them so family members can come, lay flowers and really just make it a place to reckon with.
Despite the shortcomings, it was nice to visit (not as gloomy as we expected) and see that there is a ‘resting’ home for these people who contributed (both good and bad) to Nigeria.
So if you’re ever in Lokoja, make it a point to stop by.
Random story – when we first got there, we met someone who told us that we couldn’t see it till we got a letter from the ministry of tourism. We decided to ignore him and jump the fence keep it moving when another person came and explained to us that if we walked to the side, we could enter as the fences stopped there. We entered and no one harassed us or asked us to leave so he was probably trying to get money from us. So till this cemetery is well maintained and there’s government presence, if anyone tries to tell you to get a letter, just walk round the back and you’ll enter free of charge.
Have you ever visited the Lokoja cemetery for the European soldiers/African missionaries? What did you think. If you haven’t been there, would you go say hi to the dead?
*Reviews are based on opinions and personal experiences, and may differ from person to person
*prices written are based on the time the visit was made and is subject to change by the owners.