History of Kaduna State, Nigeria

Filed in BIOGRAPHIES by on February 13, 2019 0 Comments


The state is located at the Northern part of Nigeria’s High Plains. The vegetation cover is Sudan Savannah type, characterized by scattered short trees, shrubs and grasses. The soil is mostly loamy to sandy type. A substantial amount of clay is found also.

History Kaduna State.

Until the late eighties when Kaduna State seemed to have slid into intermittent sectarian and ethnic violence, its capital city, Kaduna, was one of the most peaceful, cosmopolitan and politically important cities in Nigeria. These crises have, however, merely diminished rather than eliminated the city’s virtues, thanks largely to the effective measures the authorities in the state adopted from 2000, the year of the worst crisis, to curb the hostilities in the state.

Established in 1912 by Lord Frederick Lugard, first as a garrison town and then as the regional capital of the then Northern Protectorate, Kaduna soon attracted people of all races, religions and cultures. Within two decades of its establishment, it grew from an almost virgin territory of small scattered settlements of the indigenous population, mostly the Gbagyi, to a town of over 30,000 people. This population comprised the British colonizers, artisans from other West African British colonies, artisans and clerks from the Southern Protectorate as well as labourers and traders from the Hausa, Nupe, Kanuri, Fulani and other tribes in the Northern Protectorate.

By 1963 the town had about 250,000 residents and nearly 30 years later, the 1991 census put its population at 1,307,311, a little over a third of the population of the entire state.

Kaduna’s history reflects that of the North in particular and Nigeria in general. This history dates back before 1912, the year Lord Lugard chose it to become the dual capital of the North and Nigeria. The road to Kaduna actually started in 1900 when Lord Lugard was first appointed the High Commissioner of the Northern Protectorate. At that time Lokoja, at the confluence of the mighty rivers Niger and Benue, was the centre of British missionary activities and British trade. It was also the headquarters for its wars of occupation of the North.

Lugard first settled in Lokoja as regional capital to continue with the colonial conquest of the region. Two years later, i.e in 1902, he moved the capital from Lokoja further upstream of River Niger, to Jebba. However, Jebba remained the headquarters for only a few months. Towards the end of the year, he moved even further upstream to Zungeru with the intention of making it the permanent capital of the North. Many Nigerians will remember Zungeru, a major railway town, as the birth place of Nigeria’s foremost nationalist and first president, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. His father had worked there as a railway staff.

For a while it seemed as if Zungeru had succeeded where Lokoja and Jebba had failed; it remained the regional capital for 10 years. However, with time, Lord Lugard himself began to doubt the wisdom of his choice especially given the vastness of the North which had been “pacified” by 1906. He then began a search for a more central and more accessible location than Zungeru.

His search finally ended at a location on the Zaria plains, roughly in the middle of the region. Not only was Kaduna centrally located and much more accessible than Zungeru, the Zaria plains in which it was located were well served by two major tributaries of River Niger, River Kaduna, which gave the settlement its name, and River Gurara. River Kaduna itself was so called because it was crocodile infested, kadduna being the plural of ‘crocodile’ in Hausa.

Apart from its centrality, accessibility and abundant water supply, the location also possessed a clement environment. Also, following the not-too-happy relationship of the colonialists with the large indigenous population of Lagos as capital of the Lagos Colony and Calabar as capital of the Southern Protectorate, the British considered the virginity of a location an important consideration in their choice of a capital. Kaduna, with its sparse and scattered settlement of the indigenous population, satisfied this criterion.

No sooner had Lord Lugard settled down in Kaduna as regional capital in 1912, than he began to plan for it as Nigeria’s capital, ahead of the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates in 1914. This followed his promotion that same year as Governor-General of the amalgamated Nigeria. As Governor-General, he did not hide his antipathy towards Lagos and recommended that the capital be moved to Kaduna as quickly as possible. “Government House, Lagos,” he wrote in one of his papers, “would make an excellent hotel if the transfer to Kaduna was achieved.”

The transfer was never achieved. First, the Colonial Office in London thought Kaduna was too far inland for quick and effective communication between motherland and colony. Second, in 1919, Lord Lugard was succeeded as Governor-General by Lord Clifford, who did not share Lugard’s loathing for Lagos. In any case, such a transfer was considered too expensive an exercise by the British.

And so it was that Lugard could not fulfill his wish to see Kaduna become the capital of both the North and Nigeria. However, as the capital of the biggest region in the country – at 730,885 square meters the North was more than three times the size of the Western and Eastern Regions combined. It was also the most populous – Kaduna City was to assume an unmatched political importance in the country, not least because it became the headquarters of the Northern Peoples’ Congress. The NPC eventually became the ruling political party in the North and the senior partner in a coalition government at the centre up to the first military coup in January 1966.

The political status of Kaduna before independence rose a notch higher when a group of Western-educated Northerners led by the late Dr. R.A.B. (Russel Aliyu Barau) Dikko, the region’s first medical doctor, founded the Jam’iyyan Mutanen Arewa A Yau (Association of Northerners Today), in 1948 in the city, ostensibly as a cultural association. The JMA transformed into a political party in October 1951 and subsequently chose Sir Ahmadu Bello to lead it. It held its first convention in Kaduna in July 1952.

The most important symbol of the city’s political importance was and remains the Lugard Hall Complex, named after Lord Lugard. Located at the heart of Kaduna and painted in the national colours of green and white, the complex with its prominent dome sits on a large expanse of land that forms a huge roundabout bound almost right round by Coronation Crescent and by the northern end of the broad Independence Way on its southern entrance. It served as the regional House of Assembly and House of Chiefs during the First Republic. Today it serves as Kaduna State’s House of Assembly.

In addition to being the political capital of the North, Kaduna soon developed into a pre-eminent center of media ( Broadcasting Company of Northern Nigeria, New Nigerian and the defunct Today, Hotline, Democrat, Citizen and Reporter) and of commerce and industry in the region and in Nigeria. These developments started in 1957 as the city became the most important hub of the country’s railway network connecting Lagos to Kano, Port Harcourt to Maiduguri and Baro, the country’s then biggest and busy inland port on River Niger.

The Arewa House lies on twenty acres of beautifully wooded land with equally beautiful landscape in the quiet neighbourhood of the former Ministers’ Quarters. It is located on No. 1 Rabah Road, on the grounds of the official residence of Sir Ahmadu Bello, the regional premier who was assassinated in the first military coup in the country.

Apart from the Arewa House, Kaduna has a large concentration of educational institutions including the Kaduna Polytechnic, possibly the largest in Africa, and the Nigerian Defence Academy, which doubles as a military training institution for officers of the Nigerian military and a degree awarding institution.

Local Government Areas

Kaduna State consists of twenty-three (23) Local Government Areas. They are:

  • Birnin Gwari
  • Chikun
  • Giwa
  • Igabi
  • Ikara
  • Jaba
  • Jema’a
  • Kachia
  • Kaduna North
  • Kaduna South
  • Kagarko
  • Kajuru
  • Kaura
  • Kauru
  • Kubau
  • Kudan
  • Lere
  • Makarfi
  • Sabon Gari
  • Sanga
  • Soba
  • Zangon Kataf
  • Zaria


Image result for kaduna People and Culture

Kaduna State, north central Nigeria, is politically classified as belonging to the now ‘North – West’ zone of the current six Geo – political zones of Nigeria. It is populated by about 59 to 63 different ethnic groups, if not more, with the exactitude of the number requiring further verification through genuine field work [Hayab, 2014]. The question as in the last paragraph with the Hausa and Fulani as the dominant ethnic groups followed by at least 60 others. These groups include:

  1. Adara (dubbed Kadara)
  2. Akurmi (labelled Kurama by the Hausa)
  3. Anghan (dubbed Kamanton by the Hausa)
  4. Amo
  5. Aruruma (named Ruruma by the Hausa)
  6. Atachaat (dubbed Kachechere)
  7. Atyab (dubbed Kataf by the Hausa)
  8. Ayu
  9. Bajju (dubbed Kaje by the Hausa)
  10. Bakulu (Ikulu by the Hausa)
  11. Bhazar (named Koro)
  12. Bur (Sanga)
  13. Binawa
  14. Dingi
  15. Fantswam
  16. Fulfulde
  17. Gbagyi (Gwari in Hausa)
  18. Gure
  19. Gwandara
  20. Gwong (Kagoma in Hausa)
  21. Ham (dubbed Jaba in Hausa, which is a derogatory name)
  22. Hausa
  23. Jangi (dubbed Gwari by the Hausa)
  24. Kaibi
  25. Kahugu
  26. Kanufi
  27. Kigono
  28. Kinugu
  29. Kitimi
  30. Kiwafa
  31. Kiwollo
  32. Koro
  33. Kuvori (called Surubu)
  34. Kuturmi
  35. Lemoro * not sure
  36. Mada (Mardan) Mada must have migrated during colonial rule
  37. Nandu
  38. Nduyah
  39. Numana
  40. Nindem
  41. Ningeshe
  42. Ninkyop
  43. Ninzo
  44. Nyenkpa (Yeskwa)
  45. Oegworok
  46. Pikal
  47. Pitti
  48. Ribang
  49. Rishuwa
  50. Rumada
  51. Ruruma
  52. Rumayya
  53. Shemawa * Hausa name?
  54. Sholio (Dubbed Marwa)
  55. Siyawa (Bauchi state?)
  56. Takad, (Attakar)
  57. Tarri
  58. Tsam (Chawai)
  59. Tuku (Atuku by the Hausa)

Available records show that Christian mission activities in the area began formally in the 1900s with the establishment of Sudan Interior Mission (S.I.M.) in the Ham town of Har Kwain (Kwoi), hence today these people groups are Mainly Christians. Culturally, the people groups of the then southern Zaria who are now Southern Kaduna, with some exception it must be acknowledged, share a lot in the cultural practices of marriage rites, naming, burial, farming, social organisations, kinship, etc. Until full scale research is undertaken, the diversity of Kaduna state remains blurred as some ethnic groups are so small in population that they are often overshadowed by the larger groups who live near them.

See Also: Kaduna International Airport and Location


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Kaduna is one of the education centers in Nigeria, with many tertiary institutions.

  • Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA), Kaduna
  • Kaduna State University
  • College of Education Gidan Waya-Kafanchan
  • Shehu Idris College of Health Sciences And Technology, Makarfi
  • National Teachers Institute (NTI), Kaduna
  • School of Midwifery Kaduna
  • National Institute For Hospitality and Tourism
  • Kaduna Polytechnic (1968), Kaduna
  • Nigerian Institute for Trypanosomiasis Research (1951)
  • Federal Government College Kaduna
  • Kaduna International School (KIS)
  • Nigerian Tulip International College
  • Danbo International College
  • Essence International School
  • Zamani College
  • Barewa College
  • Sardauna Memorial College
  • Kaduna Capital School


Kaduna State has over 1,000 primary healthcare facilities to cater to every resident – even in the most remote village or ward of the state. To further improve on healthcare delivery, in 2016, the Kaduna State Government partnered with the UK Department For International Development (DFID) to install over 1.3MW of Solar Systems in primary healthcare facilities across the state

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