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Brief History


Kebbi State is a Nigerian state, located in the northwestern region of the country with 21 local government areas. Kebbi state was carved out of the old Sokoto State in August 27th, 1991. The capital of Kebbi State is Birnin Kebbi. Kebbi was founded towards 600 BCE by refugees of the Assyrian Empire conquered by Babylonian and Median forces in 612 BCE. A major local event was the conquest by Songhai in the second half of the fifteenth century CE. In the pre-colonial period, the area that is now Kebbi State was mainly controlled by the Kebbi Kingdom, a Hausa Banza bakwai state, until the early 1800s, the Fulani Jihad seized part of the area and attempted to incorporate it into the Gwandu Emirate under the Sokoto Caliphate. Over the next century, Kebbi rulers fought Sokoto on-and-off until the 1900s and 1910s, when the British seized control of the area as a part of the Northern Nigeria Protectorate which later merged into British Nigeria before becoming independent as Nigeria in 1960. Originally, modern-day Kebbi State was a part of the post-independence Northern Region until 1967 when the region was split and the area became part of the North-Western State. After the NorthEastern State was split, Sokoto State was formed in 1976 alongside ten other states. Twenty years afterward, a group of LGAs in Sokoto State’s west and south was broken off to form the new Kebbi State. Kebbi state is named after Birnin-Kebbi (The Capital of Kebbi Kingdom which is now the capital of Gwandu Emirate), the state’s capital and the largest city, and nicknamed as “Land of Equity”. The major ethnic groups living in Kebbi State are the Fulani, Hausa, and Zarma, while other major ethnic communities include Achipa (Achipawa), Boko-Bala, Bussawa, Dendi, Dukawa,Dakarkari, Kambari, Kamuku Gungawa, Lelna, Puku and Shanga. Kebbi State is largely based around fishing and agriculture, mainly of sorghum, groundnuts, millet, onion and rice crops. Kebbi State is one of the major producers of rice in Nigeria. Other key industries are trading, especially in the city of Birnin Kebbi, and the livestock herding of camels, cattle, goats, and sheep. Kebbi has the lowest Human Development Index and sixth lowest GDP in the country.


Festivals and Traditions

There are different festivals in Kebbi state, aimed at celebrating their culture and heritage. These

  • Argungun Fishing Festival: The annual Argungun Fishing Festival is one of the largest cultural events in northern Nigeria. The Festival has a long history. It was first staged when the Sultan of Sokoto, Hassan Dan Mu’azu, visited the Argungu Emirate in 1934, and was held to display the fishing ability of the Kabawas by the Emir Muhammed Sama. Until the 1960s the festival was a local affair, but in 1972 it was attended by the Nigerian Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon and his counterpart from Niger, Hamani Diori. For political reasons, the festival lost support and no festival was staged from 1999 until 2004. The festival has now been revived and
    is becoming a major tourist attraction.


  • Argungu Fishing Festival Grand Durbar: The Argungu Fishing Festival included a grand durbar with 500 well-decorated horses and their riders, and 120 well decorated camels and their riders, led by the flag bearer of the Argungu Emirate and including participants from many other ethnic groups.


  • Uhola Festival: This is a yearly festival in Zuru Emirate of Kebbi state of thanks given to God for spearing their lives. The festival is normally held around December/ January in all towns and villages of Zuru Area. It is at this festival that some age group teenage boys are considered matured to go into manhood while some age groups of girls also were considered matured to
    go into woman-hood. The festival takes two to three days of colorful events such as: Dances, Music, Wrestling exhibition of works of art and crafts. It holds in the ancient cities of Zuru area. During this festival, the local populace moves to the ancient city which is normally situated at a hilly area, because of defense against invaders. 


  • Yauri Annual Regatta Cultural Festival: Regatta is an annual cultural festival of Yauri people that involves water sports maneuvers and varieties of entertainment. According to Alhaji Babale Umar (mni), the Secretary to Kebbi State Government; Regatta is a Gungunci language of Gungawa (one of the ethnic tribes in Kebbi State) word meaning Marine Wars. In its social context, the word connotes buoyancy and prestige. He said the regatta is fundamental to tourism in the history of Yauri kingdom, adding that Yauri is an ancient city in Hausaland with rich historical and cultural heritage. 

Tourists Attractions and Locations

  • Kanta Museum: The museum building, adjacent to the main market was built in 1831 by Yakubu Nabame and served as the Emir’s palace until 1942, when the British built a new administrative palace during the reign of Muhammed Sani. On 1 July 1958, it opened as a museum, offering an insight into the turbulent history of Kebbi State. The museum has a notable collection of weapons, consisting of charms, spears, swords, wood, stones, bows and arrows, local guns and even drums on display. The museum is also known to be a place where dead emirs of the local
  • Karishi Traditional Settlement: The Karishi town is situated around Sakaba town in Sakaba local Government. This settlement is a traditional one and not yet been changed, the people there still holds to the traditional belief and customs. It is hilly and the people come down for anything, they have a fence surrounding their town and watchmen all the day against invaders. The ruler of these people is seen once a year by his subject, he only comes out once a year during one festival.
  • Tomb of Abdullahi Fodio: The tomb of Abdullahi Fodio the brother of Sheikh Usman Danfodio the great jihadist of the 19th century, the tomb is located at Gwandu in Gwandu Local Government Area. Abdullahi Fodio also participated in the Jihad and he played a role in the 19th century jihad, he was the founder of Gwandu Empire and rule this place until his death up to today his descendents still rule this great place.


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