After purchasing the site, and concluding a treaty with the Fula emir of Nupe, he proceeded to clear the ground, build houses, form enclosures and pave the way for a future city.
In the expedition a force of 500 Hausa, drilled and trained by the company, and led by thirty white officers - of whom some were lent for the occasion by the War Office - decisively defeated a force of some thousands of native troops, led by the emir of Nupe himself.
In Nupe, on the northern side of the river, as the company was unable to occupy the territory conquered, things shortly reverted to their previous condition.
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.
Illorin, Nupe and Kabba have been formed into one province called the Niger province, and also placed under the charge of a first-class resident, and it is intended to continue this process so as to make finally eight first-class provinces of the whole territory.
Originally herdsmen in the western and central Sudan, they extended their sway east of the Niger, under the leadership of Othman Dan Fodio, during the early years of the 19th century, and having subdued the Hausa states, founded the empire of Sokoto with the vassal emirates of Kano, Gando, Nupe, Adamawa, &c.
It was founded in 1859 when Fula rule was established in Nupe, is walled and of considerable size.
In 1897 there was a two-days' fight outside the walls of Bida between the forces of the emir of Nupe and those of the Royal Niger Company, ending in the defeat of the Fula army (mostly cavalry).
Another emir was appointed in his place, and the province of Nupe was placed under British administrative control.