This book that the commissioner is going to write is a reference to Joseph Conrad’s novel, Heart of Darkness. In Heart of Darkness, Kurtz, a man who has a very similar job to the District Commissioner, has a pamphlet in his papers that is called the “Suppression of Savage Customs.”
Chinua Achebe does not approve of Joseph Conrad’s book; one of the main reasons he wrote Heart of Darkness was to prove the inaccuracy of Conrad's book. The title of the book that the District Commisioner plans to write (“The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger”) is ironic because the Europeans are the ones who caused the need for there to be pacification of the people. Before the white men arrived, there was peace throughout the Igbo tribes. If there was a dispute, the Igbo found a way to avoid the conflict.