In the year 1809, Shehu Usman dan Fodio (1754 - 1817) [ Arabic: ﻋﺜﻤﺎﻥ ﺑﻦ ﻓﻮﺩﻱ، ﻋﺜﻤﺎﻥ ﺩﺍﻥ ﻓﻮﺩﻳﻮ ] founded the Sokoto
Caliphate after carrying out a very successful jihad(holy war). Usman dan Fodio was a Fulani religious insignitor of the Maliki School of law and the Qadiriyyah order of Sufism, that lived in the city-province of Gobir(present day northern Nigeria), before he drove his devotees to oust , in 1802 , and started a jihad crusade that cleared through West Africa.

Mostly, the towns, villages and people that Usman dan Fodio overcomed and took control of were given the option to either become Muslims towns/Muslims  or to face imminent death . This was  done with strict adherence to the Islamic doctrine that commands Muslims to “ Tell captives they
can be blessed with Islam if they want to
believe, otherwise power over them has been given by God” ( Sura 8 : 70, 71 )

Impelled on by energized serenades of " Allah Akbar!" ( God is great) , Usman dan Fodio 's  jihad development , kept an eye on by profoundly energetic Islamic Zealots on horseback, with swords and spears, rode starting with one town then onto the next overcoming the inhabitants and forcing Sharia law on them.

War fanning Islamic verses like: " Truly
God loves those who fight in His cause in battle array , as if they were a solid cemented structure . . . that ye believe in God and His Apostle, and that ye strive (your utmost ) in the cause of God, with your property and your persons. That will be best for you, if ye but knew! He will forgive you your sins, and admit
you to gardens beneath which rivers flow , and to beautiful mansions in gardens of eternity. That is indeed the supreme achievement. And another (favour will He bestow) , which ye do
love - help from God and a speedy victory. So give the glad tidings to the believers "( Sura 61: 4 ,11 - 13 ) . And , as one could imagine , an even more enticing, enchanting, morale boosting, and motivating stimulant was the
famous ´promise of 72 virgins for jihad martyrs´ in Hadith number 2, 562, the collection known as the Sunan al - Tirmidhi , where it is written,
"The least [ reward] for the people of Heaven are 80 ,000 servants and 72 wives, over which stands a dome of
pearls , aquamarine and ruby." Inspired these hordes of euphoric, fiendishly hard fighting fanatics to continue on their mission and making sure they execute it.

Also, these Islamic Zealots were whipped into furore by blazing narrow minded verses from the Holy Quran, for example, “ Fight the unbelievers
surrounding you” (Sura 9: 123 ) . “ Don´ t avoid fighting, but fight with whatever you have . Otherwise God will punish you with serious punishment” ( Sura 9 : 38, 39 ,41 ) . “ Jihad is greater than other service , and of the highest rank in the sight of God ” (Sura 9: 19- 22) .
“ Those who are able but don´t want to fight are rejected of God” ( Sura 9: 81 - 96) . “ God gives Paradise to those who give all they have to God and slay and /or are slain in Jihad” ( Sura
9: 111 ) . “ Muslims can expect either martyrdom [ paradise ] or victory in battle. Unbelievers can expect only punishment from God. Fight hard
against unbelievers, whose abode is hell ” (Sura 9: 52 ,73 ) . “ Torture and kill those who oppose the Apostle ( Sura 5 : 36- 38) . “ Cut the necks and
fingers of those who opposed God and
Mohammad and never turn your backs” ( Sura 8: 12 ,13 , 15- 18 ) . “ Cut their necks , subdue them, then be generous. Martyrs will receive paradise
where there are rivers of water , milk , wine and honey plus fruits ” (Sura 47 : 4- 6, 15) . “ Not equal are those believers who sit ( at home) and receive no hurt, and those who strive and fight
in the cause of Allah with their goods and their persons. Allah hath granted a grade higher to those who strive and fight with their goods and persons than to those who sit at home (Qur ´an 4:95 ).

But thanks to the valor of the Benin ancestors , it was at the ferociously bloody ´battle of
Igodomigodo´, a protracted series of violent clashes fought between fiendisly fanatic Islamic jihadists and traditional African warriors , in Auchi and environs , situated in the northern frontiers of present day Edo state , that the Aristocratic Warrior King of , and the Men - of- War from, the ancient Benin Empire (the land of Igodomigodo) eventually put a full stop to Usman dan Fodio´ s war crazed jihad orgy. This unequivocal triumph isn't only a solitary of the most fantastic military supernatural occurrence in African history, anyway it is an essential purpose of enthusiasm since it, In every way that really matters stemmed the rising tide of savage islamization of the regular African society which was spreading  quickly like spreading fire southwards, and crippling to submerge the entire southern areas of present day Nigeria , as it had succeeded in doing with the northern regions.

Tragically, today, most individuals in those regions that were conquered by this jihad development are still overwhelmingly Muslims, while those who are non Muslims are mostly the generations of the warriors from old Benin Kingdom who fought against the islamization of Benin Kingdom.

Many indigenes of towns in defunct Benin Kingdom( Towns like Auchi, etc) who were forcefully conquered and converted to Muslims, are rapidly leaving the religion due to it's tragic history in Benin Kingdom.

This article was written for the discovering africa initiative.
Written by : Isaac Somto