Northern Region, Nigeria

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Jihar Arewa Ta Tarayyar Jumhuriyar Najeriya
Northern Nigeria
Flag of the Northern Nigeria Protectorate (1900-1914).svg
Badge of the Northern Nigeria Protectorate.svg
Coat of arms
Motto: Aiki da Ibada
"Work and Worship"
Northern Nigeria2.jpg
Capital Lokoja
Largest city Kano
Official languagesEnglish
Major languages
Government Constitutional Monarchy
Sir Ahmadu Bello
Sir Kashim Ibrahim
Legislature Assembly of Northern Nigeria
Senate of Northern Nigeria
House of Chiefs [ citation needed ]
House of Representatives [ citation needed ]
 Proclamation of Protectorate
15 March 1953
 Republic declared
1 October 1963
20,131 km2 (7,773 sq mi)
 1950 census census
Part of a series on the
History of Northern Nigeria
Flag of the Northern Nigeria Protectorate (1900-1914).svg

Northern Nigeria was an autonomous division within Nigeria, distinctly different from the southern part of the country, with independent customs, foreign relations and security structures. In 1962 it acquired the territory of the British Northern Cameroons, which voted to become a province within Northern Nigeria.

Nigeria Federal republic in West Africa

Nigeria, officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa, bordering Niger in the north, Chad in the northeast, Cameroon in the east, and Benin in the west. Its coast in the south is located on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. The federation comprises 36 states and 1 Federal Capital Territory, where the capital, Abuja, is located. The constitution defines Nigeria as a democratic secular state.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea separates Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.


In 1967, Northern Nigeria was divided into the North-Eastern State, North-Western State, Kano State, Kaduna State, Kwara State, and the Benue-Plateau State, each with its own Governor.

North-Eastern State former state of Nigeria

North-Eastern State is a former administrative division of Nigeria. It was created on 27 May 1967 from parts of the Northern Region. Its capital was the city of Maiduguri. The North-Eastern is also full of agriculture and food.

North-Western State is a former administrative division of Nigeria. It was created on 27 May 1967 from parts of the Northern Region and existed until 3 February 1976, when it was divided into two states - Niger and Sokoto. The city of Sokoto was the capital of North-Western State.

Kano State State in Nigeria

Kano State is a state located in Northern Nigeria. Created on May 27, 1967 from part of the Northern Region, Kano state borders Katsina State to the north-west, Jigawa State to the north-east, Bauchi State to the south-east and Kaduna State to the south-west. The capital of Kano State is Kano.



Area of the Nok culture Nok-map.png
Area of the Nok culture

The Nok culture, an ancient culture dominated most of what is now Northern Nigeria in prehistoric times, its legacy in the form of terracotta statues and megaliths have been discovered in Sokoto, Kano, Birinin Kudu, Nok and Zaria. The Kwatarkwashi culture, a variant of the Nok culture centred mostly around Zamfara in Sokoto Province is thought by some to be the same or an offshoot of the Nok.

Nok culture archaeological culture

The Nok culture is an early Iron Age population whose material remains are named after the Ham village of Nok in Kaduna State of Nigeria, where their famous terracotta sculptures were first discovered in 1928. The Nok Culture appeared in northern Nigeria around 1500 BC and vanished under unknown circumstances around 500 AD, thus having lasted approximately 2,000 years.

Culture of Northern Nigeria Razinat t Mohammed

The culture of Northern Nigeria is mostly dominated by the culture of the Fourteen Kingdoms that dominated the region in prehistoric times, but these cultures are also deeply influenced by the culture of over one hundred ethnic groups that still live in the region.

The Fourteen Kingdoms

The Fourteen Kingdoms unified the diverse lore and heritage of Northern Nigeria into a cohesive ethno-historical system. Seven of these Kingdoms developed from the Kabara legacy of the Hausa people. In the 9th century as vibrant trading centers competing with Kanem-Bornu and Mali slowly developed in the Central Sudan, a collection of Kingdoms merged dominating the great savannah plains of Hausaland, their primary exports were leather, gold, cloth, salt, kola nuts, animal hides, and henna. [1]

"Kabara" and or "Magajiya" is the title used by the matriarchal monarchs that ruled the Hausa people in prehistoric times. The Kano Chronicle gives the following list of Matriarchal monarchs that was said to have culminated and ended with the rule of Daurama II, the Last Kabara of Daura

Mali Republic in West Africa

Mali, officially the Republic of Mali, is a landlocked country in West Africa. Mali is the eighth-largest country in Africa, with an area of just over 1,240,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi). The population of Mali is 18 million. 67% of its population was estimated to be under the age of 25 in 2017. Its capital is Bamako. The sovereign state of Mali consists of eight regions and its borders on the north reach deep into the middle of the Sahara Desert, while the country's southern part, where the majority of inhabitants live, features the Niger and Senegal rivers. The country's economy centers on agriculture and mining. Some of Mali's prominent natural resources include gold, being the third largest producer of gold in the African continent, and salt.

Leather durable and flexible material created by the tanning of animal rawhide and skin

Leather is a durable and flexible material created by tanning animal rawhide and skins. The most common raw material is cattle hide. It can be produced at manufacturing scales ranging from artisan to modern industrial scale.

The Seven Hausa states included:

Daura LGA and Town in Katsina, Nigeria

Daura is a town and Local Government Area in Katsina State, northern Nigeria. It is the spiritual home of the Hausa people. The emirate is referred to as one of the "seven true Hausa states" because it was,, ruled by the descendants of Bayajidda's sons with Daurama and Magira . The University of California's African American Studies Department refers to Daura, as well as Katsina, as having been "ancient seats of Islamic culture and learning."

Katsina Place in Katsina State, Nigeria

Katsina is a city and a Local Government Area in northern Nigeria and is the capital of Katsina State. Katsina is located some 260 kilometres (160 mi) east of the city of Sokoto and 135 kilometres (84 mi) northwest of Kano, close to the border with Niger. In 2016, Katsina's estimated population was 429,000. The city is the centre of an agricultural region producing groundnuts, cotton, hides, millet and guinea corn and also has mills for producing peanut oil and steel. The city is largely Muslim, and the population of the city is mainly from the Fulani and Hausa ethnic groups.

Zazzau Traditional state in Kaduna State, Nigeria

The Zazzau, also known as the Zaria Emirate is a traditional state with headquarters in the city of Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria. As of September 2019 the emir was Alhaji Shehu Idris.

The growth and conquest of the Hausa Bakwai resulted in the founding of additional states with rulers tracing their lineage to a concubine of the Hausa founding father, Bayajidda. Thus they are called the Banza Bakwai, meaning Bastard Seven. The Banza Bakwai adopted many of the customs and institutions of the Hausa Bakwai but were considered unsanctioned or copy-cat kingdoms by non-Hausa people. These states include:

Bayajidda was, according to the legends surrounding most West African states before the 19th century, the founder of the Hausa states.

Hausa States

Between 500 CE and 700 CE Hausa people, who are thought to have slowly moved from Nubia and mixing in with the local Northern and Middle Belt population, established a number of strong states in what is now Northern Nigeria and Eastern Niger. With the decline of the Nok and Sokoto, who had previously controlled Central and Northern Nigeria between 800 BCE and 200 CE, the Hausa were able to emerge as the new power in the region. They are closely linked with the Kanuri people of Kanem-Bornu (Lake Chad), the Birom, Gwari, Nupe and Jukun. The Hausa aristocracy, under influence from the Mali Empire adopted Islam in the 11th century CE. By the 12th century CE the Hausa were becoming one of Africa's major powers. The architecture of the Hausa is perhaps one of the least known but most beautiful of the medieval age. Many of their early mosques and palaces are bright and colourful and often include intricate engraving or elaborate symbols designed into the facade. By 1500 CE the Hausa utilized a modified Arabic script known as Ajami to record their own language; the Hausa compiled several written histories, the most popular being the Kano Chronicle. [2]

Fulani Empire and Bornu Empire

Usuman dan Fodio led a jihad against the Hausa States and finally united them into the Sokoto Caliphate. The Sokoto Caliphate was under the overall authority of the Commander of the Faithful. Under Dan Fodio, the Empire was bicephalous and divided into two territories each controlled by an appointed vizier. Each of the territories was further divided into autonomous Emirates under mainly hereditary local Emirs. The Bornu Empire was initially absorbed into the Sokoto Caliphate of Usman dan Fodio, but broke away a few years later. [2]


Initially, the British involvement in Northern Nigeria was predominantly trade-related, and revolved around the expansion of the Royal Niger Company, whose interior territories spread north from about where the Niger River and Benue River joined at Lokoja. The Royal Niger Company's territory did not represent a direct threat to much the Sokoto Caliphate or the numerous states of Northern Nigeria. This changed, when Frederick Lugard and Taubman Goldie laid down an ambitious plan to pacify the Niger interior and unite it with the rest of the British Empire.

History of the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria

Map of Nigeria, 1909 Nigeria 1909.jpg
Map of Nigeria, 1909

The protectorate of Northern Nigeria was proclaimed at Ida by Frederick Lugard on January 1, 1897. The basis of the protectorate was the 1885 Treaty of Berlin which broadly granted Northern Nigeria to the British sphere of influence, on the basis of their existing protectorates in Southern Nigeria. Hostilities with the powerful Sokoto Caliphate soon followed. the Emirates of Kotogora and Ilorin were the first to be conquered by the British. In February 1903, the great fort of Kano, seat of the Kano Emirate was captured, Sokoto and much of the rest of its Caliphate soon capitulated.

On March 13, 1903, the Grand Shura of Caliphate finally conceded to Lugard's demands and proclaimed Queen Victoria as suzerain of the Caliphate and all its lands.

Governor Lugard, with limited resources, controlled the region with the consent of local rulers through a policy of indirect rule, which he developed into a sophisticated political theory. The geographical area included in the Northern Nigeria Protectorate included the Okun-Yoruba land of Kabba, Ogidi, Ijumu, Gbede, Yagba, as well as, Ebira land, Igala land fashioned collectively under Kabba Province. The Ifelodun, Offa, Omuaran, Ifelodun and Irepodun areas, also Yorubas, were fashioned into Ilorin province. Lugard left the protectorate after some years, serving in Hong Kong, but was eventually returned to work in Nigeria, where in 1914 he sought the merger of the Northern Nigeria Protectorate with Southern Nigeria, creating the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria.

Agitation for independence from the radically different Southern Protectorate, however, led to a formidable split in the 1940s. The Richards constitution proclaimed in 1945, gave overwhelming autonomy to the North, including eventually in the areas of foreign relations and customs policy.


Northern Nigeria gained self-government on 15 March 1957 with Sir Ahmadu Bello as its first premier. the Northern Peoples Congress under Bello dominated parliament while the Northern Elements Progressive Union became the main opposition party.

In 1967, Northern Nigeria was disestablished by subdivision.

Government and politics

The government of Northern Nigeria was modelled after the Westminster system. A premier actee as head of government and presided over the day-to-day affairs of government, while a Governor of Northern Nigeria acted as viceroy and as commander-in-chief of the constabulary.

The lower house of parliament, called the House of Assembly was composed of elected representatives from the various provinces of the country. The Upper House of parliament, called the House of Chefs, was similar to the British House of Lords, composed of unelected emirs of the various Native Authority Councils of the nation's provinces.

In 1967, the Federal Military Government of General Yakubu Gowon broke up the four regions that until then had constituted the Federation of Nigeria, creating twelve new states. Northern Nigeria was divided into the North-Eastern State, North-Western State, Kano State, Kaduna State, Kwara State, and the Benue-Plateau State, each with its own Governor and government.


The High Commissioner or Governor of Northern Nigeria, originally the High Commissioner of the Northern Nigeria Protectorate, after 1914 the Lieutenant Governor, Chief Commissioner, or Governor-General of the Northern Provinces of Nigeria, was effectively the viceroy of Northern Nigeria, exercising British suzerainty as representative of the Crown.

The office of High Commissioner was first established on 1 January 1897, by letters patent from Queen Victoria. After the departure of the British in 1960, a Governor continued to be appointed until 1967 as representative of the new administration in Lagos.

The governor presided over all ceremonial functions and appointed the members of the nation's upper legislative house, the Northern Nigerian House of Chiefs.

President of the House of Chiefs

Speakers of the House of Assembly


The highest point in Northern Nigeria is Chappal Waddi at 2,419 m (7,936 ft). The main rivers are the Niger and the Benue River which converge at Kabba province from where it travels southwards ultimately emptying into the Atlantic Ocean.

The expansive valleys of the Niger and Benue River valleys dominate the southern areas of the region. To the southeast of the Benue river, hills and mountains which forms the Mambilla Plateau create the highest plateau in Northern Nigeria. This plateau extends to the border with Cameroon, this montane land forms part of the Bamenda Highlands in Cameroon.

The great savannah belt of the Great Plains of Hausaland dominates much of the rest of the province. this region experiences rainfall between 20 and 60 inches (508 and 1,524 mm) per year. The savannah zone's three categories are Guinean forest-savanna mosaic, Sudan savannah, and Sahel savannah. Guinean forest-savanna mosaic is plains of tall grass which are interrupted by trees. Sudan savannah is similar but with shorter grasses and shorter trees. Sahel savannah consists of patches of grass and sand, found in the northeast. In the Sahel region, rain is less than 20 inches (508 mm) per year and the Sahara Desert is encroaching. In the dry north-east corner of the country lies Lake Chad, which Northern Nigeria shares with Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

The South Western part of the region included Ogidi, Iyamoye, Iyara that have deep forests inter spacing the guinea savannah areas (and borders the forested areas of southern protectorate and as such shared similar rain patterns and given to the cultivation of cash crops such as coffee and cocoa).


Northern Nigeria was divided into nineteen provinces:

Kano, the largest of the provinces in terms of population and economy, is in the North-Central part of the country. The Kano Native Authority, an offshoot of the fula Kano Emirate, inherited the ancient trade industries that fuelled the trans-Saharan trade with North Africa. The Province of Zaria is home to the City of Kaduna, an autonomous capital city that serves as the nation's capital and home to its national institutions.


Groundnut and cotton industries in the province of Kano provided the main source of revenue for Northern Nigeria. Tin mining in the Province of Plateau, Steel mining in the Province of Benue, and other metal industries in the Province of Sokoto, buildpt up the diverse mining industry of the region.

Cement industries in Sokoto and Bauchi and leather processing industries in Kano constituted the main manufacturing sector.


Northern Nigeria though an ethnically and religiously diverse region, is an overwhelmingly majority Muslim region. The Hausa, Fulani, and Gbagyi people dominate much of the North Western and central parts of the Country. While the Hausa and Fula are chiefly Muslims, they also have a Christian history, an Ancient Hausa King of Gobir known as 'Mai Sakandami' - the Cross bearer was a Christian long before the coming of European evangelists and a minority Christian Hausas and Fulbe thrive in the North Western Provinces. A small part of the Hausa population also adheres to the ancient religion of Hausa Animism.

The Biroms and Ngas of the Plateau and the Tiv and Jukun of the Benue are chiefly Christian, they were converted to Christianity after the colonisation of the country by the British. The Nupe, Kebawa and Yoruba peoples (Kabba, Ogidi, Iyara, Ilorin, Offa, Omuaran and others) occupy the south western parts of the region, these people are also mainly Muslims with Emirate type Native systems that predate the country's existence in the case of Ilorin and traditional king systems for the other Yoruba towns.

See also

Related Research Articles

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Hausa Kingdoms former country

The Hausa Kingdom, also known as Hausaland, was a collection of states started by the Hausa people, situated between the Niger River and Lake Chad. Hausaland lay between the Western Sudanic kingdoms of Ancient Ghana and Mali and the Eastern Sudanic kingdoms of Kanem-Bornu. Hausaland took shape as a political and cultural region during the first millennium CE as a result of the westward expansion of Hausa peoples. They arrived to Hausaland when the terrain was converting from woodlands to savannah. They started cultivating grains, which led to a denser peasant population. They had a common language, laws, and customs. The Hausa were known for fishing, hunting, agriculture, salt-mining, and blacksmithing. By the 14th century Kano had become the most powerful city-state. Kano had become the base for the trans-Saharan trade in salt, cloth, leather, and grain. The Hausa oral history is reflected in the Bayajidda legend, which describes the adventures of the Baghdadi hero Bayajidda culmulating in the killing of the snake in the well of Daura and the marriage with the local queen Magajiya Daurama. According to the legend, the hero had a child with the queen, Bawo, and another child with the queen's maid-servant, Karbagari.

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The history of Northern Nigeria covers the history of the region form pre-historic times to the modern period of Northern Nigerian state.

Okun peoples is the term generally used to describe groups of Yoruba-speaking communities in Kogi state, North-central Nigeria. Their dialects are generally classified in the Northeast Yoruba language (NEY) grouping. They are collectively called "Okun", which in the Yoruba language means 'vitality' or 'strength', and is the word commonly used in greeting among the people, although this form of greeting is also found among the Ekiti and Igbomina groups of Yoruba people. This identity, which was probably first suggested by Eva Kraft-Askari during a 1965 field expedition, has gained wide acceptance among the indigenous Yoruba people and scholars. The individual Okun subgroups share some historical and linguistic affinity but still maintain individual peculiarities. "Okun" therefore refers to the distinct, but culturally related Owé, Ìyàgbà, Ìjùmú, Gbede, Bùnú or Abunu, Ikiri and Òwòrò peoples, who together are said to make up 20% of the Kogi State population, according to the highly controversial 2006 National population census.


  1. Ibrahim Ado-Kurawa. "Brief History of Kano 999 to 2003". Kano State Government. Archived from the original on 2010-05-01. Retrieved 2010-09-12.
  2. 1 2 "Kano Chronicle," ed. Palmer, pp. 70-72.

Coordinates: 10°31′N7°26′E / 10.517°N 7.433°E / 10.517; 7.433