Born Efunporoye Osuntinubu Olumosa around 1805 in Ojokodo, Egbaland — Her mother’s name was Njieddee. After her first husband died, leaving her with two sons, she took to business and succeeded before marrying Prince Adele Ajosun In 1833, which resulted in her moving to Agbadarigi (Badagry), Lagos amid claims that she seduces men with charms.
Sadly, she lost two sons to malaria while in Badagry — a famed slave port in Nigeria that transported over 550,000 slaves across the Atlantic. While her husband returned home in 1835, she stayed back and prospered through her newfound status.
By this time, she dealt in arms, ammunition, tobacco, salt and most importantly, she became a slave trader. After Oba Ajose died, she used her influence to install Oluwole , the Prince as King, despite the circumstances and married her husband’s military strategist, Yesufu Bada .
By this time, Pulse reports that her, “ continued to grow her business and created a monopoly in the palm oil business and in slave trade well. The ammunition she got from selling slaves were used in the Yoruba wars of 1840s and 1850s. Her business acumen in this area made her very rich and powerful. ”
Just as this was happening, she established Palm Wine trading routes with Brazil , Portugal and Europe which opened trading opportunities with the British for slaves. Reports however exists that she couldn’t distinguish between Nigerian and foreign slaves.
Upon the sudden death of her son, Oluwole, she again made her brother-in-law, Akintoye to become King of Lagos to whom she became the close ally. Akintoye in turn rewarded her with an incredible status in real estate and influence for her business.
She however contacted trouble when she wanted to stop slave trade after she learned of their torture and sufferings aboard slave ships and in plantations.
Exile and Slavery Abolition
In May, 1856, she challenged the power of British Consul, Benjamin Campbell while rooting against the British government and their rule. He retaliated by confronting her with gunboats to exile her from Lagos.
Of her later years, she “moved to Abeokuta where she traded in firearms and gunpowder being a major supplier during the war against Dahomey. Through her political influence and power, Madam Efunroye was able to get many traditional rulers including Oba Akintoye to sign documents that ended Africans selling other Africans to the Europeans .”
She later also flourished in her coconut oil business, as news of her witchcraft spread far and wide. However, she was named ‘Iyalode of Lagos ’ which roughly translates to, “ Women leader”, an influential post that belonged in the king’s inner circle.
While rumours swirled that she continued slavery till her death, she died in Abeokuta in 1887. Tinubu square is named after her.