Lokoja (lōkōjäˈ) [key], town (1987 est. pop. 45,600), central Nigeria, at the junction of the Niger and Benue rivers. Lokoja is the trade and distribution center for an agricultural (chiefly cotton) region and has food-processing industries. Iron ore deposits serve the nearby Ajaokuta mill. In 1859 a British trading and missionary settlement was founded in Lokoja. From 1867 to 1869 a British consulate was maintained there. In 1900, Lokoja served as the staging point for the British conquest of N Nigeria and became the temporary capital of the protectorate of Northern Nigeria.