Borno State, which was created in 1976, initially comprised the present Borno
and Yobe States. The creation of the state was,
of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital
for the Kanuris who constitute its dominant ethnic group, the revival of a
lost glory. Borno State, in 1976, covered 116,081 sq. km and embraced a greater
part of pre-colonial Borno.
The emergence of this political entity, within a Federal Nigeria, gave the
people the opportunity to do away with the anglicised name "Bornu" and replace
it with "Borno," which is how the indigenous inhabitants refer to their area.
Later, in 1991, Yobe State was carved out of Borno State.
The present Borno State, which covers 69,435 sq. km, lies within the ecumene
of the Borno Empire which existed from the 14th century to the beginning of
the 20th century (Borno State, 1993).
The history of Borno has its roots in the history of Kanern expansion westwards
from Bahr-el Nur, an area east of Lake Chad. Not much is known of the people
who lived in this large inland drainage basin of Lake Chad, between the 9th
and 13th centuries. The Saifawa rulers (Mais) of Kanern moved to the area west
of Lake Chad in the 14th century.
These people were referred to as the people from Bahr-el Nur. This name was
later corrupted to Borno (Cohen, 1969) It was under the Mais, that the Kanuri
emerged as a nation northwest of Lake Chad. Initially, they controlled settlements
bordering River Yobe up to Geidam, with their capital at Ngazargamu. Borno reached
the peak of its imperial power under Mai ldris Aloma.
Borno, in the 19th century, was very extensive and the region around Lake
Chad was the ecumene of the Empire (Brenner, 1973). Because of its location,
the Borno Empire performed an integrative role in the trans-Saharan trade and
the hajj movements to the Middle East, which brought much prosperity to the
empire. Furthermore, the vast undulating Chad plains with scanty vegetation
Consequently, there were intrusive waves of migration of different groups into
the region over the centuries. The most important of these groups were the Arabs,
known locally as Shuwas, and various nomadic groups, known generally as the
Fulanis. The Fulani Jihad of the 19th century greatly weakened the authority
of the Mais. Borno lost Hadeiia and Kataqum to the iihadists. It was during
this period that a Kanembu Islamic scholar, Muhammed EI-Amin lbn EI-Kanemi,
displaced the Mais, established the EI-Kanemi dynasty, took the title of Shehu
and transferred the capital to Kukawa. Rabeh, a Shuwa Arab and his army, in
1893, sacked much of Borno, including the capital, Kukawa, and became the ruler.
He transferred the capital to Dikwa. European colonisation which was fiercely
pursued, especially in the last decade of the 19th century, led to Rabeh's defeat
and the dismemberment of the Empire. A greater part of Borno then came under
British rule, while the remaining parts were under the Germans and the French.
In 1902 the British reinstated Urnar, the son of EIKanemi, as the Shehu of Borno.
The defeat of Germany during World War I in 1918 brought the German part of
Borno under British Trusteeship and another Shehu was appointed for Dikwa. This
is the origin of the two Borno emirates and two Shehus the Shehu of Borno and
the Shehu of Dikwa. However, in 1939, the Shehu of Dikwa was moved to Bama.
Today, Kanuri politics is dichotomised along this line.
The imposition of indirect rule by the British brought about the relocation
of the capital from Kukawa to Yerwa in 1907; and the movement of the Shehu of
Bornu and his court to Yerwa. Yerwa was the chosen name of the new capital by
the inhabitants, while Maiduguri was the name of the colonial township. Maiduguri
is now the official name of the capital of Borno, but the older generations
of Kanuris still refer to it passionately as Yerwa. Borno became a province
in 1907 and was part of Northern Nigeria until 1967 when the Northeastern State
was created, with Maiduguri as the capital.
Borno State was carved out of the former Northeastern State by the Murtala
Mohammed administration in 1976. In August, 1991, the Babangida regime carved
the western part of Borno into Yobe State. Borno State now comprises twenty-seven
local government areas (LGAs). This shows an increase of six LGAs over what
existed in 1993. Each LGA serves as a constituency for the State House of Assembly,
irrespective of population size while some LGAs have been merged to form federal
constituencies for the National Assembly.
The state is divided into three senatorial districts: Borno North, Borno Central
and Borno South. Borno North andCentral districts are inhabited mainly by the
dominant Kanuris, while Bomo South is for other ethnic minorities. Furthermore,
under the traditional setup, Bomo is made up of three Emirates (Bomo, Dikwa
and Biu); and four chiefdoms (Shani, Askira, Uba and Gwoza). These emirates
and chiefdoms are sub-divided into about forty Districts and over 200 village
There are twenty seven LGAs in the state. The LGAs are subdivided into districts.
Some LGAs have only one district while some have more than one. Each district
is headed by a district head who is the official representative of the traditional
authority in his area of jurisdiction. District headship is, to a large extent,
of Borno's Palace,Markurdi
The district head has an office, staff and an official car. He is initially
placed on salary Grade Level 08 and can rise up to GL 14. The districts are
further subdivided into village areas. A village area is a settlement or group
of settlements under a village head (Lawan).
There are altogether 395 village areas in the state (Bomo State, 1989). The
village head is appointed and, to a large extent, is hereditary. The village
head liaises between his people and higher level authorities (LGA, Emirate Council
and State Government). The restructuring of districts and village areas is an
on-going process sometimes dictated by political considerations.
There are three emirates and four chiefdoms inthe state. The largest is the
Borno emirate with sixteen LGAs namely Maiduguri, Jere, Guzamala, Mobbar, Abadam,
Nganzai, Gubio, Kukawa, Monguno, Marte, Mafa, Konduga, Magumeri, Kaga, Damboa
and Chibok. The Dikwa Emirate has Bama, Dilwa, Ngala and Kala-Balge.
The Biu Emirate has Biu, Hawul, Kwaya Kusar and Bayo. Shani, Askira, Uba and
Gwoza are Chiefdoms. Traditional rulers of the emirates and chiefdoms constitute
the Borno State Traditional Council with the Shehu of Borno as Chairman. The
traditional rulers advise the LGAs and the state government on traditional and