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KEBBI STATE
PHYSICAL SETTING
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PEOPLE, POPULATION AND SETTLEMENT
Posted to the web: 1/30/2003 1:37:18 PM
 
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Ethnic Composition: Kebbi State has diverse ethnic groups, the dominant among which are Hausas, Fulanis, Kabawa, Dakarkaris, Kambaris,Gungawa, Dandawa, Zabarmawa, Dukawa, Fakkawa and Bangawa. These ethnic groups speak diverse languages and dialects, with the Hausa language spoken all over the state.

The distribution of these ethnic groups shows that the Gungawa are found in Yauri local government, Kambaris in Zuru, SakabaWasagu and Yauri local government areas, Dukawa in SakabaWasagu, Zabarmawa in Arewa, Dandi and Bunza local gov ernment areas and Dakarkaris in Zuru local govern ment.

The majority of the people in Kebbi state are Moslems following the 1804 Fulani Jihad. However, there are minority groups of Christians and traditional worshippers particularly to the south of the state. These ethnic diversities and religious differences notwithstanding, the people of Kebbi live in peace with one another.

Culture and the Arts: Diversity is also reflect ed in the works of art and crafts, as well as culture. Famous among the works of art and crafts are gold smithing, weaving, carving, sculpturing and knitting. Through these, various items such as domestic utensils, agricultural tools, body adornments, decorative materials and fishing equipment are produced for local and commercial consumption.

Occupation: With over seventyfive percent of the state population residing in rural areas, farming is the major occupation. A significant number of urban dwellers also engage in farming to supplement their income. Next to farming are non-farm activities such as trading, fishing, animal rearing, various art works, food crop processing, building, construction works, etcetera.

About twenty percent of the people engage in these activities to either supplement their income from the farm, or those from the private or public sector. Less than 2.5 percent of the state active labour force are engaged in formal public or private sector employment (Kebbi, 1996). The state government is the highest employer of labour and accounts for eighty-seven percent of the paid formal employers. The relatively small proportion in the private sector (10 percent) can be explained by the fact that there are few formal jobs.

Population Structure and Distribution: Using the 1991 population census and based on 2.83 percent growth rate, the projected population of Kebbi State for the year 1999 is 2.587 million (NPC, 1992). This increase is the result of improved med ical care, better nutritional standard and internal migration since the creation of the state in 1991. At this rate and given these factors, the projected population of the state for the year 20002002 and beyond is shown in Table 21.1.

Migration: This is an important feature of the population of Kebbi State. It is prevalent mainly among the poorer farming population in rural areas. After harvest in November/December, male adults from the ages of eighteen to thirty years move to urban areas in search of jobs during the dry season.

Such jobs could be on farms where lowland/fadama cultivation is practised, within the state and in Sokoto and Zarnfara States. Sometimes they migrate to take on nonfarm employment in urban areas within the region and frontiers such as lbadan, Lagos, Enugu, Port Harcourt just to mention a few.

Many have taken to trading, manicure and other jobs in their places of destination with the hope of raising some money to take back home and augment the little that was harvested. There are cases of wet season migration particularly from the south which is common with the Dakarkari and Kambari, Zurmi, and Silami emirates.

It is common among those who finish their first weeding early to migrate northwards in search of farm labour. This type of migration is usually short, between four to five weeks after which they return home and continue with subsequent farm work. Overall, the high incidence of rural urban migration which characterised the 195080S, has declined following a reduction in job opportunities in urban areas.

Since the beginning of the Structural Adjustment Programme in the mid 1980s, mosturban industries have operated below capacity and construction works have declined, thus providing limited or no opportunities for migrants in urban areas. Many cirani migrants are contented with dry season farm work in the fadama and on govern ment irrigation projects.

Urban and Rural Development and Patterns of Human Settlement: By the amended 1991 local government edict, all local government headquar ters are designated urban. This is not necessarily on the basis of population size, but the administrative function they are expected to perform. Such functions have led to the siting of relevant departments and offices by both federal, state and private companies.

Their newly acquired status has also led to some road construction, provision of basic amenities and services such as electricity, pipe borne water, health and postal services. Telephone services are available in Birnin Kebbi, Argungu, Yauri and Zuru only. Kebbi State has twentytwo urban areas including Koko, against the twentyone designated local government headquarters. Using population size, the eight major urban centres in the state are listed on Table 22.2.

These urban areas account for only about 12.5 percent of the population of the state. Thus more than eighty percent of population live in the rural areas in basically three forms of settlements; dispersed, nucleated and linear, with most residing in what could best be described as nucleated. People have concentrated along river valleys and close to sources of drinking water particularly in the drier parts of the state in Gwandu and Argungu emirates.

Whereas, in the more humid areas such as in Yauri and Zuru emirates, many nucleated settle ments have been relocated. Linear settlements, mainly as a response to the penetration of road network to transport farm produce and more recently to move people, have emerged.

These linear settlements always have an indigenous or early settlement where the village or district head resides. Incidentally, due to easy access, linear settlements have attracted more people at the expense of the older nucleated settle ments which at best could be said to be declining. Younger generations and a number of prospective businessmen have settled in the new (linear) settle ments leaving the aged at the older site.

One can, in many cases, see the distinction between the old and new (linear settlement) in the types of building and morphology. In the drier areas of Arewa Dandi and part of the humid south, where animal rearing is a major occupation, dispersed settlements are common amongst the Fulani, Arawa Dakarkari and Kambari. Many dispersed settlements are also common even amongst farming communities in these areas.

By their nature and design, therefore, they represent the least developed groups and areas as it has always been difficult for the state to provide them with any of the basic facilities and services. Development in the rural areas has been geared towards improving the life of the rural dwellers so as to discourage rural-urban drift.

Towards this end, the government has embarked upon a number of projects which include rural water supply schemes, rural electrification using diesel generating plants, construction of rural feeder roads and rural health centres, building of schools for both regular and nomadic children and the provision of basic farm inputs, credit and implements.

Problem of urban Primacy: Kebbi State has no problem of urban primacy. Prior to colonialism, Birnin Kebbi (the state capital) had to contend with the supremacy of Sokoto, the headquarters of the caliphate, and the emirates headquarters of Argungu, Zuru and Yauri.

Each of these, except Sokoto Emirate, consists of different cultural groups and at various times were at war with Kebbi before European colonisation in 1780 (Last, 1967). Furthermore, even after 1900, the emirates were allowed to develop independently, with a disposition towards Sokoto. Since independence in 1960, and following early state creation, the city of Sokoto had always been the state capital, (Northwest and Sokoto State) until 1991 when Kebbi State was created.

The creation of local government areas, the location of emirate headquarters away from major roads linking the north to the south, the decline in oil revenue and the fact that many of these emirate headquarters were basically agrarian with no commerce or industry, have militated against the emer gence of primate cities in Kebbi State.

Today, Birnin Kebbi accounts for eight percent of all urban popu lation, while Argungu, Zuru and Yauri account for fif teen percent, 13.5 percent and fourteen percent respectively. The balance is distributed among Jega, Koko, Kamba, Bagudo and other LGA head quarters (Kebbi, 1999).

 

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