About Borno

From generation to generation, peace has been the common objective of mankind.

The world is dynamic, growth and development is what makes it a pleasurable place to be. This pleasure however cannot be attained without peace. Borno State’s acronym stands as Home of Peace.

This is why, especially before the Boko Haram crisis, people of different tribes and religions from within and beyond the country, troop in, to settle and engage in a range of economic activities.

Borno, for the records, is 1000 years old. It was one of the oldest and longest surviving empire in Africa. At the peak of its growth, its political influence was all over Africa, particularly the corridor that extends from West and Central Africa down to the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

GEOGRAPHY

Lying within latitude 100N and 140N and longitude 11030’E and 14045’E, Borno State which has an area of 61,435sqkm is the largest state in the federation in terms of landmass. Located in the North Eastern corner of Nigeria, the state occupies the greatest part of the Chad Basin and shares borders with republics of Niger to the North, Chad to the North East and Cameroon to the East. Within the country, its neighbours are Adamawa to the south, Yobe to the west and Gombe to the southwest. Based on the 2006 Census figures, Borno State has a Population of 4,151,193 and population density of approximately 60 inhabitants per square kilometer. Today the population is estimated to be over 5 million.

The period of wet season varies from place to place due to the topography, but generally the rainy season is normally from June to September in the North and May to October in the South with relative humidity of about 40% and evaporation of 203mm per year. The state has two major vegetation zones viz; Sahel in the north with severe desert encroachment covering most of the Chad Basin areas and Sudan Savannah in the south which consist of scrubby vegetation with tall tree woodlands.

SENATORIAL DISTRICTS

There are three (3) senatorial districts in the state, namely Borno central senatorial district, Borno south senatorial district and Borno north senatorial district.

Central Senatorial Districts: is made up of the following Local Government area: Maiduguri Metropolitan Council, Ngala, Kala/Balge, Mafa, Konduga, Bama, Jere and Dikwa.

Southern Senatorial District: is made up of the following Local Government Areas: Askira/Uba, Bayo, Biu, Chibok, Damboa, Gwoza, Hawul, Kwaya-kusar and Shani.

Northern Senatorial District: is made up of the following Local Government Areas: Kaga, Nganzai, Gubio, Magumeri, Mobbar, Monguno, Kukawa, Guzamala, Abadam and Marte.

ACCESSIBILITY TO MAIDUGURI, THE BORNO STATE CAPITAL

Air:

Maiduguri has an International Airport and has regular flights to Abuja, Kano, Lagos, Yola and Port-Harcourt.

Roads:

Maiduguri is essentially accessible to all states and Local Government Area of the country by highways. The neighbouring countries of Niger which is a route to North Africa and subsequently to Europe can also be reached by road. Cameroon and Chad republics are also accessible by roads as well as Central African Republic and beyond.

Car Hire Services:

Car hire is operated in the Maiduguri metropolis. Borno Express is a public owned transport service which also provides car hire services on request.

Motor Parks
  1. Ultra Modern Kano Park mainly for passengers travelling to Kano, Jos, Kaduna, Abuja, Biu, Shani, Kwaya-Kusar, Bayo, Numan, Jalingo and Gombe.
  2. Bama Road Motor Park mainly for passengers travelling to Bama, Banki, Gwoza, Uba, Askira, Mubi, Yola, Cameroon, Chad and Central Africa.
  3. Muna Motor Park mainly for passengers travelling to Dikwa, Marte, Ngala, Cameroon, Chad and Central Africa.
  4. Baga Motor Park mainly for passengers travelling to Monguno, Kukawa, Gubio, Magumeri, Damasak, Abadam, Baga shores of lake Chad, Niger Republic and north Africa.

Historical Development of the State

People have been living in the Chad Basin Area even before the empire of Kanem Borno was founded in the 9th century. The Basin, which stretches from Tibesti Mountain in the north, the Mandara Mountains in the south, from the ancient town of Air in the west to Ennedi in the east, has an area of open water, which had once covered its wider parts. Although, the shorelines still vary, it has been relatively confined to its present size for over 4,000 years. According to oral traditions, the Teda (Tibesti), Kanuri, Tomagrah and so on who lived around the lake and rivers were called Kanembu. Legends described them not only as giants and famous hunters but also as people who have founded towns. Archeological evidences show that the early societies around the Lake were farmers and fisher men and the discovery of cattle and sheep bones at settlement sites indicate that animal husbandry was another economic activity. The presence of huge clay vessels in and around Borno towns of Ngala and Ndufu in Ngala Local Government Area proves the great skills in ceramic technology of the settlers. Some historical sites in Borno and outside have also revealed a great wealth of artifacts.

In the 9th century, Kanem Borno came to historical prominence when an Arab geographer, Ahmad Al-Yaqubi, mentioned it in his writings. By the 13th century, the empire had reached its peak, the Sayfawa rulers. Following that, a period of instability set in, leading to flight from their first base, Kanem in present-day Republic of Chad. They moved into Borno by the 15th century where they met, assimilated and displaced a group of loosely organized people, the Sau.

This would have been the time when the corpuses of oral traditions were formed. The ancient Sayfawa dynasty is said to be the longest ruling dynasty in man’s history.

Present day Borno State was created out of the defunct North-Eastern State in 1976 and further subdivided into two in 1991 when Yobe State was carved out of it to form the present State.

People And Languages

With a rich but diverse historical and cultural heritage, Borno State is pluralistic in ethnic composition. About thirty languages are considered autonomous languages; those whose speakers have either lived for a long time in the state or those who live permanently or even exclusively or who have majority of their speakers now outside the state. Linguists classify twenty six of the Chadic languages spoken in Borno. The Kanuri with rich cultural heritage is however an exception and a member of Saharan group of languages and are found predominantly in the Central and Northern parts of the state, which forms the present Borno and Dikwa Emirates. The Fulfulde is an Arab language of considerable antiquity while Arabic is mainly spoken by the Shuwa Arabs. The Babur/Bura, rich in oral tradition and the second largest ethnic group mostly inhabit Biu Emirate in the southern part of the state. Distinct in language and culture, the Babur/Bura have a lot in common with the Kanuri and centuries of interaction with Borno Emirate have left many marks. Kingship traditions of today appear similar to that of Borno Emirate.

Gwoza is cosmopolitan in nature with a great number of languages and has cultural links with the people living in Cameroon. They were in the former German Cameroon and after the First World War, came under trusteeship of the League of Nations and later under the United Nations Organizations with the United Kingdom administering it. When a plebiscites was held in 1961 after Nigeria’s independence in 1960, Gwoza opted to join the nation of Nigeria. Gwoza has a conglomeration of languages. The major ones are Glavda, Jehode, Mandara and Waha.

Askira and Uba Emirates came into existence as independent emirates as a result of boundary adjustment. In 1921 when there was a boundary adjustment between the provinces of Borno and Adamawa, a piece of land was given to Mai Maina under the seal of King George in recognition of his service to the British Crown. He virtually became the founding father of the town and Emirate of Askira. Like the Gwoza Emirate, Uba Emirate is also cosmopolitan in nature as the Marghi language is further divided into dialectical “tonati” and is mostly inhabited by the Dera. They record a long list of capable leaders, Billa Wati being the first ones grouped mainly under the North and South of Marghi-speaking people.

Emirates

Borno State is also divided into Emirates viz: Borno, Dikwa, Biu, Askira, Gwoza, Uba and Shani. The Emirates are headed by a Shehu and Emirs respectively while the Borno State Council of Emirs is headed by His Royal Highness, the Shehu of Borno.

COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY

Borno State is located within the Lake Chad plains to the Biu plateau which is fertile for agricultural activities. Agriculture has been the main pre-occupation of its people as over 80% of the population is engaged in crop cultivation, animal husbandry and fishing. The state has over 10,555,000 hectares of cultivable land suitable for the cultivation of crops such as Millet, Sorghum, Rice, Wheat, Groundnut, Cotton, Maize, Sweet-potatoes, Gum Arabic, Fruits and Vegetables. Livestock rearing is undertaken all over the state and constitute over 35% of the National Herd being the largest producer in the country and indeed the West African Sub-Region. The state also possesses one of the richest fishing grounds in Nigeria. These include Lake Chad and sundry rivers of Yobe, Kumadugu, Yadzaram, Alau Dam, Hawal, Gongola and Ndivan.

Mineral Resources such as Potash, Soda ash, Trona, Glass, Ornamental Limestone, Quarts, Gypsum, Diatomite, Feldspar, Alum, Kaolin and Manganese are available in commercial quantities. Borno state, which is essentially an agrarian society, is strenuously making efforts to progress into agro-industrial economy so as to achieve economic diversification, create employment, generate wealth and promote sustainable growth, towards this end, dormant and ailing industries are being resuscitated or strengthened. Principal among such projects are Borno Industrial Estate which comprises Tin-Tomatoes Plant, Bottle Water Plant, Plastic Production Plant, and Solar Panel Plant. Borno Plastic Recycling Plant, NEITAL Tannery and Shoes Factory, Borno Livestock Company, etc. Borno State Ministry of Trade, Investment And Industry were set up to promote the industrial and commercial development and growth of the state. The Borno investment company oversees and monitors the existing government investment portfolios and encourages foreign investors to patronize the state.

Tourism Resources and Potentials

Tourism in Borno state is based primarily on its natural resources, impressive history, rich traditions and cultural heritage of the people. In the state are found sceneries of poetic beauty in the hilly south and historic monuments representing the past grandeur of Kanem Bornu Empire in the north. The state which is described as the “Home of Peace” is endowed with lots of tourist attraction centres, viz:

SANDA KYARIMI PARK (ZOO)

The zoological park is situated within the metropolis along Shehu Laminu Way, which was initially established in 1970 as a community forest reserve. It was developed into a two acre wildlife sanctuary as well as botanical park. It houses a lot of animal species of great beauty and serves as leisure for people, especially during festivals.

LAKE ALAU

The Lake Alau is situated off Maiduguri Bama Road, Some fourteen (14) kilometers away from Maiduguri. The lake is a natural water storage formed by River Ngada characterized by a charming, undulating landscape, which is further beautified by savannah vegetation and its sparkling shores around it. Legends have it that the basin is the spot where Idris Alooma, one of the famous warriors, hero and charismatic leader of the ancient Kanem Borno Empire was buried, hence the name “Alau”. Lake Alau is a site for intensive farming, especially irrigation during the dry season where spinach, onions and tomatoes are being cultivated by individuals. Fishing is another economic activity that takes place on the lake’s shores. It also provides water to Maiduguri metropolis through the water treatment plant.

THE GWOZA HILLS

The Gwoza hills with height of about 1,300 metres above the sea level provides scenery of poetic beauty and is made up of ranges of mountains/hills known as the “Mandara Mountains”. These mountains/hills form a natural barrier between Nigeria and the Republic of Cameroon, starting from Pulka with its attractive tourist rock in Gwoza local government area meander towards Mubi and beyond into Cameroon. The mountain, with promenade-like paths along Gwoza vicinity is conducive for mountaineering, trekking and picnicking. It has several streams, ponds, and springs and is dotted with various settlements. The mountain has varieties of attractive animal species which can be spotted during feeding times. The government also used these hills as training ground for mobile police, members of the man-o-war and various national orientation courses.

BORNO STATE MUSUEM

The museum is situated at the premises of the open air theatre within the sate capital. It is an epitome of Borno’s famous history and cultural heritage which was collectively enriched by its heterogeneous ethnic groups. It was established primarily for the preservation, exhibition, promotion and research of the antiquities as well as the contemporary art works. Craft and other historical artifacts of the people of Borno State.

LAKE TILLA

It is a crater lake, some seven (7) kilometers southwest of Biu and Hawul Local Government Areas. The lake varies in size according to season. Government is currently developing the lake as a holiday resort and already chalets and restaurants have been provided for the comfort of guests.

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