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Borno State

Borno State is a state in north-eastern Nigeria. Its capital is Maiduguri. The state was formed in 1976 from the split of the North-Eastern State. Until 1991 it contained what is now Yobe State which was split from the Eastern regions of the old Borno State.

The state is dominated by the Kanuri ethnic group, and is an example of the endurance of traditional political institutions in some areas of Africa. There, the emirs of the former Kanem-Bornu Empire have played a part in the politics of this area for nearly 1000 years. The current dynasty gained control in the early nineteenth century and was supported by the British, who prevented a military defeat for the group and established a new capital for the dynasty at Maiduguri in 1905, which remains the capital to this day. After Nigerian independence in 1960, Borno remained fairly autonomous until the expansion of the number of states in Nigeria to 12 in 1967. Local government reform in 1976 further reduced the amount of power the emirs of the former dynasty had, and, by the time of Nigeria's return to civilian rule in 1979, the emir's jurisdiction has been restricted solely to cultural and traditional affairs. Today, the emirs still exist, and serve as advisers to the local government.


Borno State has borders with Yobe (west), Gombe (South), and Adamawa States and also with the republics of Niger, Chad and Cameroon (East). The state has a land mass area of about 69,436 sq km. The state occupies a large part of the Chad Basin and the state has a population density of about 45 inhabitants per square km. The vegetation is a mixture of Sudan Savannah and Sahel savanna, the former stands in areas close to the Northern limits of Sudan vegetation in the country and the latter the Southern part of the Sahelian vegetation in West Africa. The vegetation includes Acacia nilotica, Acacia Senegal, and Acacia Seyal, the last two are major sources of gum arabic and grown in semi-arid areas, the vegetation also includes the non leguminous Ziziphus and Balanites aegyptiaca, though betweem 1975-1995, the Acacia woodland suffered mild depletion. The state witnesses rainfall around June/July-September and from December to February it undergoes the dry harmattan season. A large portion of the state is classified as semi- arid or arid. Major geographic features of the area includes the Borno plains, Biu plateau, and the swamps located south and west of Lake Chad. Potential tourist sites also includes, Lake Alau, and Tilla, the tombs of the Shehu's at Kukawa, El Kanemi's tomb, Gwoza hills. The mandara mountains close to the border with Cameroon is located in the state

Lake Chad flora and fauna

The major fish found around the lake includes, Alestes, Tilapia and Clarias while the soil of the lake floor is extremely fertile and many farmers utilize the area to plant corn and cowpeas.

Borno State also use to have a sizable number of elephants but the size has greatly diminished in recent years (1998).


Pre-independence period (1900-1960)

The Province of Bornu or Borno largely denotes the area west of Lake Chad. British rule in Bornu started in 1902. Five years later in 1907, Colonel Morland whose garrison was stationed in Maifani recognized Shehu Abubakar Garbai as Shehu of British Borno. Also in 1907, the Shehu was asked to transfer his capital from Kukawa to Yerwa (Maiduguri) which was a town close to Maifani. The choice of Yerwa as the capital of the Borno province and emirate resulted in increased infrastructural facilities and also residents in the town. During the colonial period, the economic interest of the colonial officials in the amalgamation of Lagos and Southern Nigeria and more like the subsequent amalgamation of the southern region with the Northern protectorate saw a drift in Borno external relations which was mostly contacts with peoples of the Northern Sudan and Sahara transport routes to neighbours within the borders of Nigeria especially ethnic groups close to the Atlantic ocean.

During the colonial period, Maiduguri (Yerwa) gradually became an important settlement, rising from a village in 1902 to become an urban center with a population 88,000 plus in 1963. It attracted migrants from nearby villages of Mairi, Boliri, Monguno, Kaga, Dikwa, Gaidam, GujbaNguru and Kukawa. During the expansion, new wards were created in the city, this wards included: Shehuri North and South, Bulabulin, Limanti, Lamisula, Gwange, Wulari and Gambaru. Other capitals of districts and divisions in such areas as Tera, Biu, Kare-Kares and Bedde saw increased populations.


The state is dominated by the Kanuris (largely Muslims) who have dominated the area for over a millennium but also has the, Buras (Christian/Muslim), Baburs, Marghis, Bolewas, Kare-Kares, Gudufs, Gwozas, Fulanis, Hausas, Ngizims and from latter migrations in the latter part of the millennium, the Shuwa Arabs and Fulanis.

Important cities and towns

The largest city in the state is Maiduguri, other important settlements are Biu, Bama, Kukawa and Gwoza.


Borno inhabitants engage in various activities of economic value including agriculture and trading. Sorghum, gum-arabic, wheat, mango, millet, onion, maize, sesame, indigo and cattle herding are major farm produce from the state. However, flocks of migratory Quelea birds sometimes pose a threat to crop output. Fishing is also a significant occupation around Lake Chad. The state also has investment potentials in the utilization of various agricultural raw materials for industries. Already in existence is a vegetable and fruit processing factory, Maiduguri flour mills, Borno Wire and Nail factory, Dallaram soft drinks, and Pioneer Enamelware. Some locations within the state also holds potentials for utilizing windmills to generate power.

The government through its budgetary allocations also participates or is formally interested in stimulating economic development.

Arts, tourism and culture

The state host an important festival called Durbar which showcases martial and royal prowess.

Located in Maiduguri is the Borno State Museum on Shehu Lamido way and the National Museum on Bama rd. Also, located in the city: Saharan Restaurant, Hot Bites Restaurant, Maiduguri International Hotel and Saharan Suites.

Northernmost parts of the state has features of rolling sand dunes.


The University of Maiduguri is located in the state, also present in the state is the Ramat Polytechnic, Borno College of Education, Science and Technology at Bama, College of Education at Maiduguri, a college of Agriculture at Waka Biu, a college of Legal and Islamic Studies at Maiduguri, and various primary and secondary schools located in the 27 local government areas of the state.


Borno State is divided into 27 Local Government Areas:

  • Abadam
  • Askira/Uba
  • Bama
  • Bayo
  • Biu
  • Chibok
  • Damboa
  • Dikwa
  • Gubio
  • Guzamala
  • Gwoza
  • Hawul
  • Jere, Nigeria
  • Kaga, Nigeria
  • Kala/Balge
  • Konduga
  • Kukawa
  • Kwaya-Kusar
  • Mafa
  • Magumeri
  • Maiduguri
  • Marte
  • Mobbar
  • Monguno
  • Ngala
  • Nganzai
  • Shani

Politics and government

Some Governors

External links