Tin ore of excellent quality is found in the province of Bauchi, alkali salts are abundant in Kano province, iron ore and red and yellow ochres are found in Kontagora and other provinces, kaolin (china clay) and limestone in the west central regions.
The ruler of Zaria, while professing friendliness, was, however, unable or unwilling to restrain the rulers of Kontagora and Nupe from aggression.
The Ashanti War of 1900 claimed the despatch of a strong detachment of the West African Frontier Force, and it was not until the return of the troops in February 1901 that Nupe and Kontagora could be effectively dealt with.
The rulers of other neighbouring provinces offered their allegiance, and by the end of the year 1901 nine provinces, Illorin, Kabba, Middle Niger, Lower Benue, Upper Benue, Nupe, Kontagora, Borgu and Zaria had accepted the British occupation.
Seventeen legislative proclamations were enacted in the first year dealing with the immediate necessities of the position, and providing for the establishment of a supreme and provincial court of justice, for the legalization of native courts of justice, and dealing with questions of slavery, importation of liquor and firearms, land titles, &c. In the autumn of 1901 the emir of Yola, the extreme eastern corner of the territories bordering upon the Benue, was, in consequence of the aggressions upon a trading station established by the Niger Company, dealt with in the same manner as the emirs of Nupe and Kontagora, and a new emir was appointed under British rule.
For administrative purposes the territories were at first divided into seventeen provinces: Sokoto, Gando, Kano, Katsena, Bornu East, Bornu West, Zaria, Bauchi, Borgu, Kontagora, Nassarawa, Muri, Yola, Bassa, Kabba, Illorin, Nupe.