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Cross and Scalpel

Jean-Marie Coquard among the Egba of Yorubaland

by Edmund M. Hogan

This is the story of Jean-Marie Coquard from Mesquier, Brittany,  a sailor in the merchant navy  who  became a missionary in  Abeokuta, capital of the Egba people of Nigeria. Without  formal training he exhibited an extraordinary aptitude for medical work and established one of Nigeria’s premier hospitals  in  1894, acting as its  surgeon. His reputation spread widely throughout Abeokuta and its hinterland. He obtained his medical supplies, surgery manuals, and surgical instruments  from supporters  Brittany. During a visit to Europe in 1907 he walked the wards of  the celebrated Hotel Dieu hospital in Lyon, bringing back many new surgical techniques and surgical manuals. Coquard’s abrasive character brought him into conflict with his own religious superiors who made every effort to remove him from Abeokuta. He resisted successfully  by harnessing the support of the people of Abeokuta and leaders of the colonial government. There were many dramatic episodes in his long career, which spanned the  reign of the feared Ogundipe, the notorious  Ijemo Massacre  of 1914,  the Adubi Uprising of 1918 and the loss of Egba Independence.  In later life he retreated to his hospital, working from  there  to assure the future of the magnificent hospital which had replaced the original structure in 1911.

ISBN 9789780812874 | 536 pages | 234 x 156 mm | 2013 | HEBN Publishers, Nigeria | Paperback



"This is a thoroughly engaging and beautifully written account of the life and ministry of a remarkable Catholic missionary who laboured among the Egba people of Southern Nigeria for almost 40 years, spanning the closing decade of the nineteenth and the early decades of the twentieth centuries."

Journal of Religion and Society, Kaduna, Nigeria (Vol 3, 2013)



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