Carter bridge prior to Independence
Ever wonder how the popular Carter Bridge linking the Ebute Metta area of mainland to Lagos Island got his name?
Built in 1901, the bridge is one of three bridges connecting Lagos Island to the mainland, the other two being the Third Mainland and Eko bridges.
Originally constructed by the British colonial government, prior to Nigerian independence, it was the only bridge linking the mainland and Lagos Island at the time of its construction. The bridge starts from Iddo on the mainland and ends at the Idumota.
Back to our original question: Who was Carter Bridge named after? Certainly, the name ‘Carter’ was foreign.
The bridge was named after Sir Gilbert Thomas Carter (1848-1927) who was appointed governor and commander-in-chief of Lagos Colony on February 3, 1891.
Carter, it was, who ordered an attack on the Ijebus in 1892. An administrative officer in the Royal Navy and a colonial officer for the British Empire, Carter in the company of soldiers travelled to various parts of Yoruba Land in an attempt to demonstrate the might of the British.
Initially, Carter was not well received in Oyo, and the Egba chiefs advised him not to interfere with slavery, while the Ibadan chiefs said they were afraid that their slaves would “assert their freedom by running to the Resident” – and hence they refused to sign a treaty with Carter. However, in January 1893 the Egba chiefs signed a Treaty of Independence with the British government. It was agreed that freedom of trade between the Egba nation and Lagos was to be guaranteed by the British government, in return for which no road would be closed without the approval of the governor. They further agreed that complete protection and “every assistance and encouragement” would be afforded to all Christian ministers”.
The British agreed that “no annexation on any portion of Egba Nation shall be made by her Majesty’s Government without the consent of the lawful authorities of the nation, no aggressive action shall be taken against the said nation and its independence shall be fully recognised.” He was promoted Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (KCMG) on June 3, 1893, “in recognition of his services in conducting a mission to the Yoruba country which resulted in the negotiation of important treaties and brought to an end a long-standing war”.
Carter was given Ife works of art in 1896 by the old Ooni, Oba Adelekan Sijuade, in the hope that a decision in his favour would be made about the resettlement of Modakeke residents outside Ife city. These works (including three known as the Ife marbles), were sent by Carter to Europe.
Governor Carter made a British expedition in Ijebu between 1892 and 1893. He forced the Ibadans and the Ekitis to sign a treaty. He trekked to Igbaji and Oke-Imesi, where a treaty was signed between the Ibadans and Ekitis. On September 4, 1894, Governor Carter signed a treaty with the Owa of Idanre, Oba Towurojoye Adegboye, Arubuefin I, during which Idanre was ceded to be part of the British territory. A copy of the treaty is still with the present Owa of Idanre, Oba Frederick Gbolagunte Adegunle Aroloye, Arubuefin IV.
After his tenure in Nigeria, he was transferred to Barbados as governor and he built the Governors’ Residence there in 1904. The house was named by Governor Carter as Ilaro Court on Tweedside road, St. Michael in Barbados. He named the house in remembrance of Ilaro, a town in Nigeria, where the Governor was stationed when he was an officer.
He died there on 18 January, 1927.