The article examines a murder trial in the Nigerian city of Ibadan during 1902. In the course of the trial a senior chief stated that those found guilty of the homicide should be fined, not executed, as a more severe punishment. The meaning of this statement is closely investigated in the context of the political climate in Ibadan at the time, of past judicial practices and through a reconstruction of the murder incident. It was argued that the assertion related to increasing competition between Ibadan chiefs and was an attempt to define constitutionally the economic and political value of a follower's body
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