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Sultan, emir meet over constitution review, insecurity

By Gabriel Omonhinmin

Ningi is a town in a local government area in Bauchi State. The Ningi Emirate comprises two local government areas. They are Ningi and Warji. It has a combined area of 5,250 kilometers and a population of 501,912 , according to the 2006 Census.

The area is inhabited mostly by Warjawa, Duwa, Ningawa and Fulanis. His Royal Majesty, Alhaji Yunusa Mohammadu Danyaya II, is the current Emir of Ningi and has been on the throne for 43 years, thus making him, one of the longest reigning Emir in Northern Nigeria.

According to Hausa oral history, Ningi is one of the few Hausa towns in present day Northern Nigeria that was not conquered or refused to surrender to Usman Danfodio during his Jihadist invasion and Islamization of the North.

The historian says, all efforts by Danfodio to hoist his Jihadist flag in Ningi in pretext that he was trying to convert the people of Ningi to Islam was resisted by the Ningi people, who said that they were already Moslems long before the coming of Danfodio.

Alhaji Ibrahim Aliyu is the Wakili Gabas, one of the ranking Chiefs in the Emir of Ningi’s palace. He spoke with Palace Watch on sundry issues including the details of the meeting between His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, CFR, and His Royal Majesty, Yunusa Mohammadu Danyaya II, OON.

Palace Watch: Wakili Gabas, you raised a very important issue in the course of our discussions that Ningi people repelled several attempts by Usman Danfodio, to hoist his flag in Ningi land during his Islamic Jihad crusade.

And that the Ningi people were never conquered. Could you give us some details about this very incident?

Wakili Gabas: Ningi was founded by an enclave of Islamic scholars known then as Mallams in the 18th century. This is around 1847 under the leadership of Hamza.

“Ningi leaders were hitherto called Mallams until early 19th century. Fa’awa are the first tribe to gain the benefit of Western education, but the remaining tribe came to Ningi as visitors and they remain due to the abundant food items provided by the Fa’awa people.

Mind you, these Fa’awa people were never Fulanis. The Fa’awa people met the Marawa people, who are the original settlers in Ningi land.

“According to oral Hausa history, the legendary Hamza migrated with forty other Mallams and their families from Tsakuwar Kano, in the present day Dawakin Kundu Local Government Area of Kano State in the year 1827.

They settled eastward at Mara, in the process, they shared themselves into two groups, Butu Kudu-Yamma district of Ningi and Lame district of the Toro Local Government Area in Bauchi State.

These Mallams were protesting the payment of a tax called Kudin Kasa in the Kano Emirate during the reign of Sarkin Kano Mohammed Bello.

While at Mara, Sheikh Hamza used his Islamic knowledge and magic –Sihr, to convince the local people under their leader called Dandaura to break their allegiance of the Amanah Agreement entered into with the Fulani Emirate in which they paid tribute –Jizya to the leader.

By 1830, in order to change the status quo, Hamza had to crush Dandaura and remain the undisputed leader.

He immediately brought all the neighbouring stateless societies especially the Butawa, Fa’awa Warjawa, kudawa, Sirawa, under his control.

“As to be expected, this act became a threat to the peace and security of the neighbouring Emirates of Bauchi, Kano, and Zaria. As a result, Bauchi and kano combined their forces and launched an attack on Hamza.

After the demise of Hamza, the people were not deterred, although they suffered due to Hamza’s death. They remained resolute and organized themselves and selected Ahmadu in 1850 to be their leader.

Hamza’s wife, Atta, was very influential following the death of her husband, she helped in choosing the new leader of Ningi. Ahmadu, the new leader reigned for five years and died in 1855.

The Ningi people with the great influence and political dexterity of Atta Hamza’s wife, the then council of Mallams decided to choose Hamza’s son-in-law, Abubakar Danmaje, as the next leader of Ningi. Unlike his predecessors, Danmaje started an expansionist policy and devised a very effective raiding strategies.

Danmaje raided far and wide up to Kano, Hadejia, Katagum, Jamare, Gombe, Zaria, Birnin Gwari, Kontagora, Wukari down to Illorin, in present day Kwara state. The motives behind Danmaje raid strategy, was principally to recruit slaves into his ranks.

The ultimate result was the creation of a strong, formidable, and insurmountable force, which was commanded by him. The force, he personally commanded was known as “Mai Tabaryar Mshi.”

“I can go and on, but one point that must be placed on records, is that it was the obscure location of present day Ningi town then, that gave this town its name. Ningi got its name from Butawa language, which means a “hiding place.”

After Danmaje’s death in 1870, his successor was Haruna Karami. Haruna died in 1886 and Abubakar Gajigi was appointed the leader of the Ningi people.

“Then came the reign of Usman Danyaya. Usman was succeeded by Mamuda, who was under the guidance of the British. This continued with Musa Dangwido, who reign from 1905 to 1906.

We again had Mallam Mamuda from 1906 to 1908. Adamu Danyaya was the second longest reigning Emir of Ningi, having ruled for 32 years.

The present Emir, Yunusa Mohammadu Danyaya II, ascended the throne in early 1978 and has reigned for 43 years. He is so far the longest reigning Emir in Ningi.

“Despite the independence of the Ningi Emirates, the present Sultan, since he ascended the throne, has maintained a very cordial relationship with the Emir of Ningi.

So also is the relationship of other Emirs, who usually pass through this route when travelling from the North-East to the North-West. They usually stop over to pay courtesy visit to the Emir of Ningi.

“His Eminence, the Sultan was passing over Ningi to Bauchi, where he commissioned the Hajji Camp at the Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa International Airport in Bauchi, as it has been customary, he graciously stopped over and see the Emir of Ningi.

Palace Watch: Could you please let us into what the two traditional rulers discussed during their meeting.

Wakili Gabas: The two traditional leaders generally reviewed the ugly security situation in the country, especially as it affects our people in Northern Nigeria, and examined areas of cooperation, and see how they could be of assistance to security agencies to enable them defeat the current evil that is going on in the country in the name of insecurity.

They also seized the opportunity to look at areas in the Constitutional Review Committee work as it affects the traditional institutions and traditional rulers.

They specifically look at the areas that will accommodate the traditional ruler’s inclusion in the constitution that is now under review.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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