Title Page

Title: Bura Field Project (typescript, 1973)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00095983/00001
 Material Information
Title: Bura Field Project (typescript, 1973)
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: Balami, John Chiwi
Cohen, Ronald ( Compiler )
Copyright Date: 1973
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Bibliographic ID: UF00095983
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Special and Area Studies Collections
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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Full Text

Bura Field Project

Names of those to be interviewed at Puba are:

1. Dukori Avikding

2. Lawan Iya

3. Mallam Gana Balami

Others at Pelambirni

1. M. Thlama (Dudi) Kadamadar Bulami

2. M. Yaro Bulami

3. Kwabali (Goldima) Gana Bulami

4. Maina Mari Bulami

c Written and Compiled by

John Chiwi Balami

A.B.U. Zaria July, 1973

Staff of the leadership of Balami (Pabu)


All made of metal


Introduction: The Aim of the Project

This is an academic exercise with the aim of gaining a deep insight into the

Bura society on the sociological point of view. Not only that, it is aimed at, one

can add that, recording and by so doing preserve the basic social institutions of the

Bura people which are fast disappearing unnoticed. The present Bura society is to a

great extent a polluted one. Thus if the interviews were conducted with the young it

is likely that what they would give may be the polluted one. For that reason it is of

great i rportance that old people who are in the position to remember events and activities

of the original society are consulted.

What follows are interviews conducted in two villages namely Puba and Pelambirni

where the Bulami clan is dominant. If however time allows one two other villages Kwajaffa

and Bwala may be interviewed. In these other two villages Puba and Pelambirni are found

two different clans of the Balami which once segments but which have developed into a

clan. At Puba one finds the Pubarite Bulami commonly known as Piyakizhu, Hingndimaria

and at Pelambirni the Balami clan there is known as Didi Porwa. It is on these clans that

this piece of work is devoted. Essential details are include those in a paraphrased

form in way that one stranger can comprehend the culture of these two clans.

Ethnography of Puba

Puba is an administration centre in Kwajaffa District.- East Bura District. It is

located on the west of Kwajaffa twon about 5 kilometers. The village head administrator

through ward heads of over twenty villages of average size (Nigerian standard). Puba

twon itself used to be a big village historically. It used to be an urban centre as

compared to medieval towns of Europe. However, today Puba village is reduced to about

forty compounds scattered over the top of the plateau into 4 wards (Zara), directed by local

dry season streams. Reasons for the reduction in siae and perhaps of importance would

appear in the interviews that follow below. 'he Zaras themselves are well scattered.

As revealed in the plan of the village. Farms are to be found between compounds and ZARAS.

Plans of Compounds

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Medium Alihaji Mohammed compound
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Alhaji (Galadima) Salvia Balami village head's compound

Farm Plots

The farm plots of this village Puba, like any other village in the area is well

scattered around the village in a circumsinbed manner for up to 4 miles radius. What is

mote one man has different farms plots on different areas. For example a man may

have a groundnuts farm on the lower sandy plain, whereas his cotton and perhaps his

guinea corn plots on the top of the plateaux where the soil is rich and loamy. Because

of this scattered farm plots on different areas farmed by the same man one can't precisely

tell the exact the acreage. What is more the farm plots on the plateau side seem to

appear so much exaggerated i size. However if it is necessary to tell the acreage,

one can guess and give a rough size. If one is to have each of the farm plots put

together, the average acreage for one man would roughly fall around 2 4 acres for

the average farmer. For the woman who also take part the average acreage is about 2-3

acrea. For those above average the average may fall between 4 and 6 acrea.

Crops Grown

The crops grown are varied. But they include the following in orderof acreage:

guinea corn, groundnuts, cotton as, the major (staple) crops. Others include, maize

close to the homes, beans along with guinea corn, or planted as inter crop with ground

nuts, peppers, cucumbers, okra, sweet potatoes, and vegetables. One other grain which

is recently being introduced is rice but due to the uncertainty in the planting

seasons it is haphard to depend mn it. Guinea corn however has the largest acreage

as it is the staple food crop. Cotton and ground nuts are the main cash crops. Men

grow most of the cotton and women grow most of the goundnuts.


Cattle@u, Puba village was once well known for the number of cattle. In fact, as the

administrative centre and being a cattle centre the Ardo (Chief Cattle herder of the

Puba area resides in village) about 1000 square kilometers. But of the number rared

presently only few people own cattle. As indicated on the map of the village there are

only two cattle pens. But about 20 people own 2-h cattles and about 5 people have more

than 5 cattle each. Alhaji (Galadima) Sahriaalone owns more than ten cattle including

those which he rises on the farms.

Sheep and goat as to sheep and goats, it is again difficult to say exactly the

number of people now keep then. The problem here like that of cattle is that if one

finds a land of sheep or goats it is not own by one man. Rather many people own it.

However there are about one out of every two compound which has a sheep or goat or sheep

and goats. In fact as for goats almost every compound has a goat pen.

The cattle, sheep and goats in the village are never given to the Hilami neither for

herding or taking care. In the recent past it was customary for a Fulani man to come and

settle in the village to help keep cattle for them. His reward or should we say renumeration

war free milk free food occasionally and a small calf :.ich year. Presently the villagers

take turns to herd the cattle in the wet season and in the dry season the cattle are left

on their own. The cattle will go in the near by bush and return in the evening.

In the case of sheep, or goats, each farmer keeps his own village and finds feeds

for them in the wet season and in the dry season both for animals are left on their own

too. Poultry are found in every compound.

On the farm both men and women, young and old, work. In fact men have their own farms

and so do the women. Some rich people do hire labourers especially the Honas from Alamawa

province. These rich men sometimes provide free food and lodging for these labourers,

through out the year. Others who are less richer do hire labourers for a week or some

few days. In preparing new farms a man may call out a small labour party who help him.

He in turn prepares special mean or rather feast for his guest. Not only that he himself

will one day be invited by another friend. In that way they (those within the labour Party)

work communally. There is however a division of labour based on the sexes. When the

guinea corn is ready for harvest, it is the men who cut the standing stalks and help bring


the ears of the corn in bundles (sheaves). When the stalks are cut down it is the women

who cut the ears from the stalks and collects them on one place.



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Interview of Dakori Avikdi Balami

This man has been eager to give out information (It's 8:00 pm 4th July 1973) about

this clan. In fact he was very happy that what he has in mind will not perish since it

is being recorded by his grandchild. He longed that I should have recorked all these

long ago. He was delighted beyond description and he spoke knowledgeably, frankly and with

great care. He claimed to be about 100 (He was very young about h years old during the

great famine called Damin) years old and to have been responsible for establishing the

present clan as the village head of Puba administration area. This he spoke about in

detail. I chose him for the simple reason that he's renown as reasonable, knowledgeable

about past events and perhaps one of the oldest, if not the oldest in the village. He is

the ward head and in charge of the clans "Haptu" (idol god) and the clans 'Kwaja'

that is, quiver and arrows used bg the first known great great grand fathers.

The actual interview-

1. Asked about the origin of Bura, Dakori laughed and was somehow perplexed. In

his view Bura seem to apply to southern people. For example for the people of Bishi theLr

Bura would be those around Kida. Kida people will regard Shaffa people as Bura our Shaffa

people will regard Puba and Ganggirang people as Bura. In some quarters people around the

river Hawal are the Buras. In that way, the Southern people who speak related language

that is what is known today as Bura language (Myu Bura). In other way Dakori added the

name Bura came to be applied to the warlike tribe, the Bura, speaking the same language

from around the Hawal River Basin and the Biu plateau. According to this view the ura

people don't want to be worried nor troubleE. If anybody touches their property they're

brassen (quick to respond in a very pugnacious manner). Alternatively, the name Bubur

came to be applied to people who use another people's property without any legal right

to do so that is usurpers of another people's property. And for that matter try to show

that might over people properties is right. From this description it is funny but that

is his only explanation as far as he knows. He denied that as the name seem to be applied

to the people of the south, the name Bura may likely mean south. To him it is not quite

certain as to whether the name has any proverbial meaning. His exploration above is his

only knowledge of the origin of the name Bura. When I was asking him his aged wife

was around but both of them found it odd and funny to explain the origin of Bura.

If Dakori found it odd and difficult to express the word Bura, he was not able to

express nor define the name (Dur) clan. Partly because think it is not customary to

ask such questions.

However as for as I understand his explanation of a clan arise from the fact that

when a child is born into a society he is related to those people by blood. It is not

customary that a person can adapt another clan under normal circumstances. It is not

even liked by anybody. Because everyone is proud of his clan (Dur). It is considered

a taboo, a defeatest attitude for one to change his clan. No one is pleased to do that.

Whereas it is customary that one could adapt one's mother's clan it abhored to change to

a new unrelated clan. Only captives can claim any clan they found themselves in. Dakori

gave example of how some Hona people or eve the Buras themselves when brought to a rich

man's service. Once that they come, the rich man is responsible for his marriage. Any

chap (child) that results from such a marriage would ultimately be a member of the rich

man's clan. It is not wholly correct to say that in such cases the children df the captive

clams. It is not 'claiming' in their view. For a female captive, the rich man will

claim her as a daughter or wife and any chap (child) produced will definely belong to the

man's clan.

If the captive female is taken as a daughter she will marry with the rich man's clan

name and her children -would then be related biologically as newphews of the rich man. Under

special conditions for example if the father of the child of the captive female who

marries out side the owners clan dies, then in case there are no relatives, such a child

could come to the rich man and stay within his clan. In the initial stage the captive may

be strained as a slave but over time usually after one or two generations, this attitude

would vanish. His claim to the clan would then be legal.

As to the presence of many clans Dakori's explanation attributed it to one of the

following or all of these. That a sheer number would cause a division of not only clan

but also segments which would eventually become two clans with marriages taking place

between them. Another reason co ild be among others, the behaviour of those clan member

which wo Jld cause division. The first arise from the fact that a great number would mean

many different interests to accommodate more conflicts to resolve therefore result. The

second stem from the fact that even with a few number the behaviour of the people varies

differently. Some people may be infuriated. For example it is believed that the Bulami

clan stemmed from one man. -But two brothers could not accommodate each other. lome

people went to Bwala and others went to Pelambirni. Some dessipated into other directiaos.

Today they think of themselves as different clans. Another cause of division could be war.

One clan may be invaded by another strong and more united clan. The weaker clan would

dissipate as they flee from the wrath of the stronger one. Over time each would establish

himself as a clan and in those days it was possible that there may be no contact between

them. All these would answer the cause of division. Even disease outbreaks can cause

a division.

It is often very very occasional that people from one clan join another clan and

become aasimilated. In fact, Dakori, said that except on special cases it is unusual to

have such things taking place. The cases often occurs when the assimilant is a captive

as has been mentioned earlier or when one tries to adapt himself into his mother's clan

rather than his father's.

Dakori himself is known as Sorkin Baka (Chief hunter) for many villages around.

In some cases when people kill games, they are expected to bring a portion of it to

him even if he is not around when the game was killed. This is universally accepted

because of the hunter does not give the 'Sorkin Baku' a portion of his game, it is the

belief that such a hunters likely not going to kill anymore games. Not only that it is

believed that when eating the game at his home, either the child of the unfaithful hunter,

either a bone will stick in either his nick or the pieces of bones thrown would harm any

of his relatives. This special privileges enjoyed by Dakori has its root in the past.

In the course of the interview Dakori emphasised the fact that this clan (Dur) were well

known as hunters. In fact according to his report the first two founders of the clan did

not eat anything but meat. It was for this reason that the founder of the clan were attracted

to the present site of the village. The present site of thelvillage was said to have been

a thick forest area with thousands of games. This therefore attracted the hunter. Over

time this founder begun to rare animals and were and are still well known as the 'Ardo'

('Sorkin Sanu') of the administrative centre. Hunters were feared in those days of

the Balami's of Paba were feared to have super natural power which made them invincible.

So even if they would leave their properties around, it was rare that other clans would

claim it. Many people including the clans of Hench, Madani, some other Balami's, came to

settle under their jurisdiction. Thus Puba was once an urban centre by medieval standard.

(After an interruption for 45 minutes the interview broke up at 10:15 amp about 2 hrs.)

The Origin Story

The origin of this village and the clan is yet well known to Dakori. This is

because according to him his story is not complete as he could tell the name of the founder.

The founder of the clan was according open to many interpretation. One view has

it that the founder was a kind of Fulani mah who came from Gidu in Shani district. This

unknown man was a hunter. He used to hunt (Laha) hippo. So as he was hunting he found

that this particular species pf animal lived along river valleys. (I would personally

guess that this unknown man might have come from the valleys of the river Gorgola where

the small tributory Hawal joins it at Ghani district of Southern Biu Federation). The

man was believed to have migrated together with his wife upwards towards the Hawal River.

During those days the present area was very thickly forested. He was believed to have

settled first at J-angula around Hokoja area still further south of the Biu division.

Like any hunter, this unknown man used to go out and hunt the Laha (hippo)species.

When the species seem to be disappearing he would move to a new area. So he left his

first settlement at Danggula and followed the Hawal River. He first settled at Gidikau

further north. The Gidikau area today former the area between Garkidu, Uidau, and Ganggirang.

He shifted to Shafata, a very swampy forested region to the present day. There he found

the tracks of the laha and so he settled there. As time passed on the 'laha' species

began to diminish in the Shafta. At Gidikau the unknown man was attracted to a very tall

tree surrounded by a profuse growth of smaller trees. The man then saw that he would

like to go and settle in his next migration to this area. This is the present plateau on

which the Puba village is situated. The name of the village came from the predominate

species of the bush there called Puba. So the village retain the name Puba. But it is

sud today or perhaps ironical that no puba tree can be found in the area. o one version

has it that the unknown man came from Gidau area and was guessed to be from a "ulani

stock. This view is supported by the fact that the descendants of the unknown in the past

were expert cattle herders like the Fulani herders.

The other version of the origin of the man revolves around the idea that this man's

origin was unknown and he some people guess that he might have come out of water. `ut the

opponents of this view are not sure whether this is true. The view seem to be supported

by the idea that this man was very mysterious and was said to have possessed super natural

power. In view of his possession of super natural the exponent of this iew are not surprised,

if nne claims that this unknown man might have origin out of wateror would have been dropped

from somewhere else. his proponents also agree that the man first settle around Danggula

and the moved to Sha Suta and finally to the present site of the village. Nor does this

view dispute the idea that the unknown man was a hunter who possessed special or supernatural


Dakori himself confessed that it is probable that one of such view was correct.

He however declined to categorically justify which was right. All the time he always stressed

the fact that "no oreknows exactly but stories had it that..."

So far about the origin of the clan to the present site. Now events, and activities

from son of the unknown man called Bwala Thlala (BSla 051a) or Bwani Thlala (6onl 0la).

It is from this man that Dukori knows a lot about the real for he maintained that known

stories were told, retold and handed down from generation to generation.

According to his report Bonithlala father whom we have somehow named as the unknown

therefore came and settled at the forest plateau of Puba. He put his quiver full of

arrows on a tree whose young still stands today. It is where the other hoptu of the village

still exist todgy. From here the man would go out to hunt. When it was his pleasure time

he would climb this tree and play his Yargandi (guitar) a two stringed instrument

in order to attract the attention of young women. Dukori's account saw that this man had

a wife whose job was to prepare the meat for her husband where this wife come was not

known. Our time this unknown man used to hear the bark of a dog about 2 miles. Away on

the east. One day he decided to find out which this man was. So being a hunter and

because he was told enough he approached the place where he heard the bark of the dog.

Upon approaching the man he saw a cleared ground and cultivated crops. He move closer

and spoke to the man. 'he outcome of their conversation was that it was negotiated that

the stranger, that is the dog owner, who according to the report was a Hona man of the clan

of Gwayeri often referred to as the Zidi people, was invited to come and settle near the

man (the unknown man). This man's son was remembered as Bwala Thlalu or Bwani Thlala.

Bwani Thlala's father died and Buri Thlala collaborator with the Zidi man (Hyerma shift)

and they become become tight firends. Both used to help the other in times of trouble.

As time passed own Boni Thlalu learnt to plant guinea corn and as games began to dwindle

his fathers cattle begin to multiply and he resorted to cattle herding. This seems to

carry from the saying that Boni Thlala was from the Fulani Stock the cattled Fulani,

of course.

His wife and children learnt to cultivate crops from the Zidi (the Gwayeri) neighbour.

So they were reputed as excellent herders as well as cultivators.

So the Unknown man's son u3uni Thlala collaborated with Hyerma Shifti children on

condition that the latter clan accepts the former's authority, and the forest in which

Borni Thlala's issues hunt and herd their cattle would remain in tact. Over time their

presence were recognized by other people from different clans around and it also attracted

them. The following came and settled under Bonithlalu's authority, the Hinah people.

Dukori does not know the origin of this people. Neither is there any trace of the Hinah

people (It may be that, I think they were absorbed into the clan). But Dukori said that

they disappeared. Other include the Tauri (Mshelia), Maduni, Gimndirwi, and with longer

periods Bulamis the Parwa segment which later became a clan themselves, migrated to the

villa e. It was during this period that one can speak of Puba village as an urban centre

by medieval standard. According to Dukori tuiey were over 1000 (thousand) compounds

covering an area of approximately 50 spuare kilometers. The grand children of Banithlala

were regarded as the master of the lands and were revered as judicious people, who are

pacific in their activities. I asked him why the bonithlala line were so much revered by

the other clans not only in the village, but even the other villages beyond. I further

asked whether the founders didn't find any ot er village around. According to Dukori,

when the founder (the unknown man) that is Bonithlala's father came to the present site

of the village, Yimara village 2 miles (4 kilometers) was in existence. But the inhabitants

of this village, Yimana, were not courageous, nor well known for any skill by the other

people, so the 3onithlala issues were regarded as tne masters of the area.

This particular clan was not known to be pugnacious, but when attacked they were well

known to have the ability, shun any aggressor. In that was they're regarded as warriors

and paradoxically pacific in their activities.

Dakori said the en mass migration to Puba under the protection of Bonithlala's children

resulted in population explosion. Amble farms began to be scarce, famine therefore became

a menace. The situation was aggravated by a kind of plant disease called (Damint. This

'damin' was a dind sweet, sugar, sticky and viscous fluid which accumulated on the ears

of the guinea corn before they be ripe. Affected plants had their leaves, ears and

stalks blackened and covered by the Damin. The corresponding result was a great famine

which also went by the name Damin (from a famine called by the Damin subsistence).

Dakori claimed that he was born before this period but he was too young to know what was

the Damin all about. He aaid that all he knew was that there were shortages of food, people

were selling their children in order to get and small children were kidnapped in order to

buy or exchange food for them. I asked him whom buyer to the slave children. He said the

slave traders were Dlil (an ethnic group very similar to the Chibok but they speak different

dialect and are probably the people who inhabit part of Asikira and Chibok area.

The most sulient effect of the Damin was the en mass migration of people away from

the village to in the quest for food. He the informant and his father migrated to this

Dlil area and he bears the ethnic marks of the Dlil people himself. He said they were

there for four years and they returned after the 'Damin'. "ut while most of the Balami

Piakizhu the other surname returned after the Damin most other clans went away forever.

They founded the following hamlets along the River Hawal valley. These villages include

those which are still inhabited and those that are now left as Kifa (cifu) abandoned

land but where traces of old houses. Some of these among other are: Pelambirni, Ganggirang,

Tsakusimta, Demira, Cirmobilu, Kwagu Tani, Mberi, Kwapatu, Ginakora, Dabim, Gobila, Dim,

Barn, Kitsa, Gelavirwa, Kwagu Wucjim, Pukumahadlu, Wadiki, Whomsal, Wharaki, Rabasu,

Mlrangfadil, Bwalapakila, and Garsigwi. These are among other villages unnamed or perhaps

forgotten as Dakori explained. In the light of this most of the inhabitances of these

villages pay reverence to their origin Puba. One other group the Honah migrated toward

Hina area that is in the Shani division.

Asked if he can give a detail of the split he spoke of earlier at 'Shikda ka Bala'

(the names of two rivers toward Wokoju area)not the big Wokoja on the confluence of the

Benu, Niger confluence this is a small Wokoja on the way to Shani and it is on the Howal

river just about south east of Marama. After the settlement of ihikdu and -ula, Dakori's

explanation had it that there was population explosion. He said that with the increase

in number there arose different people with different attitudes and behaviours which rendered

them incongruous with their brothers. He did not specify what behaviours caused the split

of the Balami which was onee one clan instead of the numerous apparent segments but which

claims to be a clan itself. Into is because of this attitude that we noticed earlier that

answers the presence of different Bulami clan and segments. One of the behaviours that

caused division was that some Nyarmbwa (segments) could be pugnacious. In their activities

they may offend other people. Tilis would provoke a vindictive attitude on the aggressed.

Their only hope lies in their ability to avenge. In those days nothing would stop them

from revenging as there were no social institutions to control anybody outside a clan.

'his is not to claim that there were a strict social control within a clan or a segment.

The individual was a liberty to do any thing he deems necessary. Dakori was emphatic of

such freedom of action. So if a segment of a clan make an aggression against another it

become an obligation that the aggresed clan should revenge on any body of the aggressor

clan. He gave an example of how a man from Bwala (whom he could not name) helped the

Pubarites to trap their enemy who was his friend. The man who was about to be trapped

slot the man from Bwala his friend and another man from the Balami of Puba. When

the Pubarites reported the incident to the Bwala people, the Bwala Balamis deemed it absolutely

necessary to revenge their son on the Pubarites. The situation was saved from becoming

a perpetual battle between the two salami by the bravery of one of the Pubarites who

was feared as invincible. Dakori made a point here by saying that it was because one

was expected to sacrifice his life for his brother, fath.. that when one's related ones

die as mentioned above, it was necessary that the deceased person's property including

his wives belongs to his son, father and brother.

Dakori however declined to say what the troubles were that caused the division of the

Balami clan at Shikda. His was of the view that all present day Balami clans once

belonged to one stock. Their leader was the unknown man, the founder of Puba village and

the leader and founder of Balami clan at present day Puba village. As each segment went

into different direction, ans as it was impossible to communicate with each other, each

segment would in the long run become clans on their own without any connection either by

blood or acquaintance with other Balamis clans who were onee his 'brothers' in the African

definition of the word.

Dakori does not know any detail of any other Balami clan except those of the Bubarites.

He for example mentioned that the Parwa Balamis from Pelambirni settled first at rMwakva

and later move to three places, Hadang, Tiruku, and Golam. Over time some of those at

Tiraku were met by those as Hualang and together with those at Golam moved to Pubu to seek

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protection of the Pubarite,Balamis. They became prosperous but with the Damin, this group

were lead by Yanderang and they founded the present day Pelambirni village. After the

famine some became prosperous again and social intercourse became often. With coming

of the Baours some of the practices which were done under the freedom of action were

abhored by the Baburs. For example some began to use married women and adultery became

rempant within the segment (or should not now regard them as a clan). When this adultery

extended to other clans the result was that the aggressor husband if he was not strong

would approach the Bubur who would then impose a fine. If for example the fine was

N2.5, almost a flock of about 40 cows would be sold and because the Parwa Balamis feared

that their wealth would be finished bb the Bubur. Some mnigtaeto Kwandi except few (He

did not name these who left for Kwanda). As time passed they found that most of their

wealth were diminishing and knowing now that a new order has been instituted whereby

their new wealth would be protected. Some returned to Pelambirni. Others led by Macor

and his segment went to settle with the Hone society at Aorja. This man died in the

1960's and the rest returned to Pelambirni. One of them now recedes at Tiraku by the

roadside. As far as he k own those at Bwala remained where they grandfathers settled

some time immorials.

Of the Pubarite Dakori further went to give more details. He said that BoniThlala

was the father of Yabwala, Yabwala was the father of Yabuchiri. These were the children

of Yabuchiri, Yapato and Yadigana. Yapati's children wer Yabirma, Jigin Kuwa, Zamadara

and Ndalangakta. The last born died with out a child. Zamandara had Yabuta Tagwi,

Dakori (informant), Kacudi, Alhaji Mohammed Adamawa. Each of these now have children and

grandchildren. Alhaji Mohammed Adamawa is the father of one time Lt. Umaru Balami Puba

whose is now in the United Kingdom Studying A.C.C.A. and Tagwi who was later Christened

as Adamu is the father of Lt. Bello Biu, second in charge of the Nigeria Army at Nsukka.

Yabirma's children were: Balama Barka, Njakau, Yaro, Ardo Dangi, Buloma Barka's children

are: Maina All, M. Gona, Lawan, Alhaji Goladima Salvia, Ngoba. Njokam's children are

Lawan liya, Maina Baba, and Midala Wuli.

Yaro's known child was Wakshama Kudi (my father who died 12th January 1968),

Ardo Dangi's children's include the following. Malan Abba (Ngamdau), M. Bakari, M.

Buba, Kura, Cpl Yirowfu Ardo, M. Ali Bulami Puba (my guardian) and who works in Kano

Chib Box 9,) Pt. Yusu Li All, Pt. Golu Brikor, and the late M. Aasson.

Jijankwa was never known to have children.

The diagrammatic representation will appear in the opposite.

I was wondering why Dakori failed to mention the name of any woman. His reply

was not so precise. He said partly due to lack of knowing the women except of the

latter generation. Secondly it was part due to what he called the insignificance

of women when talking about the geonological order of any clan. So since the women

were insignificant no attempts were made to include, know and remember the women concerned.

It was not customary to include women anyway in the traditional way of looking at this

problem. So because I could not get the names of the earlier women, it saw that there were

no need to include the women of the latter generation.

Dakori was so emphatic about the fact that t ere were many cattle in Puba village.

He gave many examples of cooperation between the Pubarites and their neighbours. ne said

that some people in Ximara were friendly. They used to help buy raid and protect the

Pubarites cattle. The fact has been mentioned that in the past especially during -apati

time there were ao cattle that Fulanis were called to take care of them. One sect

of people however were not friendly to these Fulani. They would sometimes go and steal

in the Fulani's houses and eat anything they saw especially the milk. The Fulani

resented this but they could not do anything to arrest the situation. Since they're

fewer in number and less stronger. 't was because the trouble makers, the Lidi neighbour,

revered Yapati so much that they spared the Fulani's or else the Fulanis could be sold

into slavery.

He illustrated this by giving an example. This was a case when a Fulani was trusted

to take care of the cattle about 150 in the flock. The Fulani was called Jabu. The

Lidi (that the Gwayeri) neighbours used to invade the Fulani's house of and cause

havok to his wife and children, property and even Jabu himself. The maltreatment was no

longer bearable so the Falani tried to poison the Lidi. This he did by tieing a huge

bull near his house so that upon hearing that he has left but has left behind a bull

led to a tree near his house the Lidi people might attracted to the bull and might

tempted to kill it. But before tying the bull he prepared to mysterious magic in which

if the Lidi clan would eat the meat of the bull it would cause confusion amongst


He prepared his magic with the bull but warned Lapati that he should not under

any circumstance eat the meat of the cow and should warn his people as well not to

eat the meat.

The following day the Lidi invaders came as usual and because they did not meet anyone

and being exasperated in such a manner, they felt that the only they could appease

themselves to kill the bull tied to a tree near Jubu's deserted house. But before

killing the meat they informed the neighbour the Pubarites and because Yaputi new the

trick and he sometime wisely delayed his men from reading the deserted home where the

bull was killed. With delay therefore before the Pubarite could reach the place the

Lidi were already affected by the magic prepared by Jubu and they developed a vendetta.

Many dangerous weapon especially knife were used and many lost their lives. As a result

some of them left Pubarite in fear of other subsequent battle that might follow. -ut

if Jubu's trick on the Lidi people had materialized his trick on Yaputi, his friendly

employer also magnificently materialized. He fooled the cow owner that he was going to

(bam) a salt pond at Mbeji and feed the cows there and would return within a few days

time. Before he left for the 'bam' at Mberi he had already made arrangement for the

departure of his family. Their rendezvous was the said Mberi. His plan was to abduct

the whole flock of 180 cows. This he succeeded and he reached Hina safely. Dakori

emphasised the fact that in so far the Fulani or any other invader, thief who might have

been escaping from the consequence of what he had committed, for that matter, has

crossed the Hawal river he remained safe. So upon learning the trick played by the Fulani,

Jubu, Yapati's men pursued the Fulani. It was unfortunate for them and fortunate for

the Fulani that before they could saw he had crossed the defendable border. Dakori aaid

that there were many tactics adapted to delay a pursuer from catching an escapee, especially

when a herd of cattle were stolen. The thief would cut one leg of a huge bull with the

fact if the pursuers saw this, some of them would stop and kill the bull and

return home. After another distance of two or four miles the thief would cut off the

leg another coveted bull and this proactive would continue until the pursue were reduced

to an insignificant number. And so before they catch thief it would likely be that

some of these pursuers would be taken captive with their cattle. So Jubu escaped. But

some of pursuers went in a friendly manners and negotiated with the Hina chiefand they

given only six cows out of the 150 cattle. Dakori was so emphatic and confident that

the Jubu still owned at of those cows as his children and grandchildren continued to take

of the cattle. This is not to say that the original cows are still around. Rather

it means and should mean that, the cattle herd referred to continued to multiply and

as some died others continued and so it was those first that continued to give birth

and this continued for generations to the present day. From that date Fulani were

never trusted to bin.

Let us now turn to the other social activities apart from cattle herding and the

Fulani dishonesty, this time social activities (his of course) between the

Pubarites and the neighbours to the coming of the Babur and the establishment of Babur

dominion (rule) over the Bura and how the Pubarites were given the power to rule

over a vast region of the East Bura District to the west.

The Rentension of the Pubarites Authority over the Puba Administrative Centre in the

Kwajaffa District

Dakori's View -

This is i portant to us, according to Dakori, as other issues depend on it. Such

issues as the leadership --Lawan ship of the Puba administrative cnetre depends on the

complicated facts and how the question of Lawanship co. ld be resolved in the near future.

This is so because the Lawanship was generically heriditory.

As has been noted earlier tie Balamis of the Puba village whom we have earlier

referred to as the Pubarites, Bulami Piakizhu (Pl\yIap) they were regarded as expert

hunters who were feared to possess mystical powers t at constituted an advantage in any

ceturity hunting, fight (mpa), dlira (war), farming and what have you not. Not only

that they were in the first place the head of the Balami clan as a while before the

Great Split. When it was singlily united under one head until when they came to

Ghikda Ka Bulu as mentioned earlier. In addition to all these, they were considered

as the founder of Pubu village a pioneer village in that area. For all these reasons

and others not mentioned, perhaps often forgotten and so of little significance, the

Balami (Pubarites) were revered, and known as the owner of the vast area which aggragate

the present day Puba village administrative area. The informant emphasized that

anytime a Pubarite left his property and where in the bush, any recalcitrant member

of another clan who played with that property the punishment to be applied was dangerous

and severe. The Pubarites were not fierce warriors themselves. They welcomed strangers

who did not question they leadership and authority. In fact other clans namely the

Zidi neighbours, and some Parwa Bulami from Yinanra and their neighbours all came to

the aid of the Pubarites. As has already been mentioned they helped them but more

cattle and slaves so the trend continued with the Pubarites exercising their authority

over a vast region. Their command was not strictly obeyed by any kind of police

activity nor were the others strictly bounded to obey the often 'trampled' orders.

The others obey for reciprocal reasons. e.g. When attacked the Bulami (Pubarites)

would come to their aid or when would be invaders would learn of the fact that the

Pubarites leadership extended there, these would be invaders unless if they trusted

their bowa and arrows and unless they superbly trust in their own capabilities, the

safest action for them was to leave in peace, to spare their strength in orderto

resist an unexpected invasion from outside.

One segment (Nyarmbwa) of the Balami Parwa clan under the leadership of Tagwi

who was resident at Yimano proved a hard nut to crack. He was very very brave,

someone who confidently trusted in his own capability and so he became a thorn in

the flesh of the constituted Pubarites clan to the extent that in an attempt to

capture him, the Pubarites under Bulama Burka (Lawan garka in the chart which appears

on the chart between pages 18 and 15) almost finished their wealth in preparing magic

in order to rtap him. This stone appeared on pages 28 and 29. "But I must emphasize,"

said Dakori, "that not all the Parwa Bulami segment were enemies to the Pubarites.

In fact the cause of the trouble between Tagwi Nyarmbwa and our Pubarites was over a

simple friendly wedding ceremony. The woman who died last year (her name was Madawi

Kubili) was married to Bulama Borka. To start with she'was introduced into the clan

as a slave. It was customary that she's the Bulamis property legally. The eldest

was either supposed to marry her himself or to one of his sons. This time Bilama

Borka chose to marry her himself. And so it was during Madawi Kubili's wedding ceremony

that the incident occurred. This was how i- was customary that a beloved woman or man

when drinking in any of the wedding ceremonies, the woman was expected to hold the

bowl (cup) of beer and the man drinks it. So when Madawi attempted to do this to Tangwi,

Ardo Dangi was infuriated for it was illegal that a married woman should hold a bowl

of beer to any one other than her husband. Ardo immediately reacted by abusing Tagwi that

he was poor (ngudi) and as such was not capable of doing such a thing. His reply was

disastrous. Disasterous in that he so much trusted the ability of his Knife from its

case. It was a poisoned knife and what followed was the sad story which had appeared

previously. In the war that issued too Njakau was killed. Settle disputes either between

their own Nyarmbwa (segment)or between clans in their areas of jurisdiction. I

asked Dakori to give any example of such reconciliation but he declined to give any

example. He only emphasized that such acts were common and it depended on the readiness

of all parties involved in the disputes in question and on behaviours of men of good

will. He said any man of good will could volunteer to go and settle any disputes to

the best of his ability. Only before taking any step (should we say before taking such

a venture) the adventurer should in form the leader of his clan in case something

might happento him which might touch on the intergenty of his own clan or tneir security

and dignity.

Before talking of any retension one may be in suspense as to whether there was any

attempt made to usurp, or steal jway the.authority from the Pubarites. Ges there

was an attempt to do that although it was not clearly shown that way. The informant

claimed to have beer the brain behind the retension of the Lawanship.

Dakori's information incidated that when the founder of the village first settled

on the present site of the village he discovered the presence of another man of the

Gwayeri clan living on a subsistence farming about 6km to the east of the present sit

of one of the haptus(idols) of the village called Wakuda. The name of the haptu came after

the mane of the place. The pioneer founder negotiated with the Zidi man (pp 15). In the

agreement that followed Bwani Thala's father the Unknown man brought the man near to

his residence about a kilometer and requested that he should stay near him ior mutual

benefit. The Unknown man instituted the Zide (Gwayeri) Hyerima Shifti, to look after one

of the Haptu's and to be responsible for some local administration of the suburbs. I

asked Dakori whythe Unknown man authorised the Zidi man to do such a job. His explanation

was that the Unknown man was a hunter and a herder. He thought that if he combined this

work with administration, he would be what we would today say a 'jack of all trade

master of none.' So he authorised the Zidi man under his own jurisdiction to do such

works as administration. Why could the Unknown man left the Haptu to Zidi, Dakori

explained t at with his wealth (for he had a her of cattle, and a large family), he

(the Unknown man) would not take care of the Haptu well. However he took the care of

the other Hoptu called Bwangsangdana himself. To this day the care of these two

village Haptu's still remain in the care of the two clans according to the agreement

made hundreds of years ago. At present Dakuri keeps the Bwangsangdana and Adamu

Adlurawa keeps the Wakada.

As time went on the agreement remained as it was originally agreed upon. When th4

Babur people the Pubarites were friendly to them whereas the Zidi were hostile. In the

Bubars first ventures they were weaker and less in number and so the Zidi were not troubled

even though they continually harassed the 'ubur strangers. The Pubarite counterparts

were friendly partly because it was not their attitude to any stranger as it was

noted earlier that the Pubarites were not pugnacious. Their only concern was to

establish themselves in a prosperous man and a situation state of continual war was

not conducive to successful establishment as the Pubarites conceived of it. Not only

that as they (the Pubarites) were friendly their milk was very suitable a food for the

Baours. Not only that, the Pubarite would kill cows for the Buburs. So right from the

start there was a friendly relations between the Pubarites and the Baburs. To that

effect Bilama Borka was allowed to marry a princess of the daughter of one Kabala Bilor

(warrior) and the 'Kokuna' or Kuhyi Mari called Miyamta Biya. This woman's father

Katsala Bilar was killed in a was of conquest of the Babur in their attempt to establish

their authority over the Bura. He was a Bilgwi man and because Kuhyi Mari was friendly

with one Gwena who married the widow of Kutsala Bilar. It was from Bilgwi that

(Lawan) Bilama Burlea married Myanta Biya. Bilama Barku had Lawan Salira (the present)

Lawan of Puba administrative area by her.

This marriage was significant. Firstly it showed the relations between the

Pubarites and the Babur. Secondly the appointed of the first Bura man as a 'Wakil' the

King makers and those of the courtiers and later the appointment of the Bura District

head at Kwajaffa after the present Mai, Alhaji Aliyn Mustafa left the post of the

District head to become the emir, was this Lawan Salira who was corronated (installed)

as the Galadi;ia of Biu in late 1972. Furthermore it was becuase of this friendly

relations between the Pubarites and the ,uber, that though the Pubarites in the first

instance refused the Lawanship of Puba, they were able to regain their title after

the death of Bilama Thlama Gwayeri.

Although we have stressed that a friendly relations existed between the Pubarites

and the Bubur, the Pubarites under Yabirma Pati refused to accept the leadership of

the Lawanship. Dakori's reason was that Yabirma Puti had great riches he had herds

of cattle numbering over 200 cows, a lot of sheep and goats and abundant food guinea

corn. The money in those day that was 'Kuntu' a kind of weaved rectangler piece of

cloth wound into bales and there was another kind the 'bul' a large sown piece of cloth;

and the spinner threat which was winded around a stick all can be used as a means of

exchange. These Yabirma Pati had in amny numbers uncountable. so he feared that if

he were the leader the Bubur would waste these wealth away. He only allowed Njakau to

be his representative on the Lawan's Concil. All these happened during Colonial days.

As has been mentioned on page 25 the Zidi people were hostile to the Bubur and

had it not been to Yaberma's admonition and warnings they could have been exterminated

by the Babur assisted by the Bata Hadla that is Lord Lugard. So as colonial conquest

came and was engulfing all of Northern Humi groups including the Bura people, the

Zidi remained rebellious.

Dakori's interview revealed that there was a case when one of the Zidi (Gwayeri)

people was so pugnacious and troublesome that he attacked a Bubur messenger of Lord

Lugard. This hostile man was called Honashinakwi. He chased this messenger up to Zimandi

near Gilmbi. The Babur messenger was saved from death when the arrow shot at him missed

hi t but hit hes saddle. The messenger reported the incident to Lord Lugard who were

stationed at Bilgwi. 'he colonialist reply was to send soldiers against the

Zidi. They first clashed around Parathlarwa just a few kilometers from Puba Gilmbi

road. In the battle that issued Honashinakuri the trouble causer treacherously tricked

nis people and he escaped unhurt. Bilama Thlama's father was killed and many others.

The Bubur and their colonialist collaborators, Clifford Lord Lugard burnt the Zidi

peoples house, looted their homes and killed all those that were left. The story

(though I think it has so much been exaggerated) had it that one of the Zidi as he was

fighting was retreating backward. But as he was retreating he was at the same time

watching the firing colonial soldiers. The covered a distance of over 30 kilometres and

when he turned he found that he was in the Hawal river. Bilama Thlama and those who

remained escaped and they left the village and settle at place new the Hawal River.

It was therefore an incident which left the Lawanship vacant as Yabirma himself

was not willing to accept the leadership for reasons mentioned on pages 26 and 27.

Yabirma's next action was to invite 'ilama Thlama, the remnant of Zidi people, back

to the lawanship. During Bilama Thlama's absence the following were made the lawan

(he could not mention their names).

The Bilama Thlama died but werj almost no capable Zidi man to be the Lawan.

There was a change of attitude on Yabirma's children led by Bilama Borka the eldest man

of the Pubarites at that time. Ardo Dangi was credited to have brought the topic before

their father Yabirma. His idea was that since the young Pubarites were ambitious and capable$

if the lawanship was not given them, they would cause some disturbance which would

ruin the good relationship between the Pubarites and the Bubur a situation which

favoured the multiplication of their wealth. If such a situation was not nipped in the

bind, their apparent state of being 'millionaires' would soo come to an end. So to avoid

the disappearance of their wealth and since there were now no capable Zidi people to become

Lawan Ardo Dangi advocated that the Pubarites should collect their staff back. (I may

add that they might have seen the benefits of bieng the Lawan) All these reasons

spurred the Balamis of Puba to agitate for their staff crown back.

But their problem was so enormous. Firstly this required a judicious negotiation

with the highest authority the Babur of Biu during Kubyi Ali Dogo's reign. Secondly

although it is paradoxical to see this, it is important to say that their reluctant father

Yabirma had died and there were possible chances of who was to succeed hima and should such

a successor look after the wealth or be the lawan only. But as the saying goes that

"blood is thicker than water" all these problems were tackled in a piece mean manner.

Firstly, the problem of negotiation with the Biu was simplified as the informant Dakori

had a friend the prince Maina Midala Garga. So he was sent to make a private negotiation

through his prince friend Maina Midala Garga. As to the problem of succession it was

resolved through the spirit of brotherhood and so their eldest brother, Bilama Barka, was

made to take care of their wealth and to be the lawan.

The outcome of Dakori commission to Biu, on the negotiation with Kuhyi Ali Dogo

through the prince Midala Garga, the Kuhyi (Emir, chief) Ali Dogo finally agreed

that Dakori (whose is also Mwajim) claim were justifiable and granted. He was sent to

his people to call the person to installed as the next Lwawn.

Lawan (Bilama) Borka led a team of eight men. These eight men were Kwatikar, Midal

Ngolsa Tagwi, Ardo Dangi, Gashau, Yabata (Ajiya Garga) and Borbor.

At Biu they presented their case that they wanted to regain what was theirs. It

was theirs on the grounds that they're the founder of the village and in those days

a founder of a village (Bilama) was the leader designated. They argued that they gave

out the leadership to their neighbour wha was helping them as a good samaritan. Because

of the long established relations and because of the genuineness of the case and

because there were no people to argue or the Zidi (Gwayeri) side, the lawanship was

finally restored to them. The first men refused on the grounds which were no longer

justifiable for their children.

The first Balami to be officially installed by the Biu Mari, Ali Dogo was Bilama

Barka. Bilama Barka died in 1960 and was succeeded by his son the former District head

of Kwajaffa District, Alhaji Lawan Salvia who is still on the throne today. We don't know

whether the Zidi issues are interested after this man but there still seem to be no

capabel, and interested man. We know that they were almost exterminated by the war

between them and Lord Lugard. Those who survived that war were dissipated where they

died earlier. Those who returned with Bilama Thlama were dead some years ago and the

others are not so mucn interested today.


There were elders in the past. We may right away ask the qualification of an

elder. The qualification according to the information given was age. The work of

the elders in past when Dakori was asked to describe them said that the elders did the

following: spinning cotton, it was very comnon indeed, since the spinned cotton could

be used as a means of exchange for other goods. After spinning the elders engaged into

wearing the cotton threat into what we earlier referred to as Kuntu the weaned thread

before it is sewen into a big gown like a shirt called 'bul.'

rolled thread
around a stck

,-C; rolled weaved piece cloth \J

gabaka abaka role
"Kusar puwa" it. :

..Another work done by the elders was the settlement of disputes between segments,

"Dhr", and other clans too. This is how a dispute can be settled. Let us take for

example that a man's wife was taken abducted away by another or that someone has

committed adultery with another persons wife. The aggrieved's propensity to act was to

seek revenge. However the elders could intervene in wiich such courses of action could

be taken depending on the kind of crime committed. If a woman was abducted from her

husband, the abductor was expected to return the woman with six 'Kuntu's' and a 'bul.'

The six kuntu (see top of page) were shared among the elders involved at the settlement

and the 'bul' was for the aggrieved suitor. By bringing all these things the aggressor

was showing a si,n of repentance and reconciliation. The aggrieved was expected to

accept such jestures. If some one had committed adultery with another person's wife

his fines were almost the same as the above case. If one clan's man was killed the

killer clan were expected to repay with a man or the elders would try and find fault with

the deceased so that no one was at fault in which case the aggrieved party would be

contented to rescind their vengeance. If someone steals he was expected to return whatever

he stole with some gratification (usually some 'Kuntu'.).

A very important role played by the elders was taking care of the clan's haptu (idol)

or Chiw Ibo. In this particular clan it was the oldest person in the clan that does

this job and when he dies his successors was the only oldest people and so this continues.

In some cases if the oldest man has some wealth or children, it was not appropriate

that such people should keep the hoptu because the hoptu does not like such people due

to careless handling of the hoptu. For example the hoptu caretakers were subjected to

some acts at certain times. For example no one was expected to whistle in such a

house at night. He was not expected to go to the haptu witn his children. In some

cases where some parts of the hoptu are kept in the house the keeper should kiep some

of the haptu intact. With children these local laws might be difficult to fulfill.

But Dakori said unless the oldest person refuses to take care of the haptu, in this

particular clan the oldest pers .n takes care of the 'haptu' and his predecessors and

successor were also the oldest persons in their clan.

Asked whether they're were special titles Dakori said that except in special cases

there were no special titles. One of the special casks he cited was when one had

distinguished himself either as a warrior, hunter or has special abilities to administer

or manipulate all circumstances (such as arotory or boldness in speech) to their own advan-

tages. For example an expert h nter, well known for shooting and the ability to possess

mystical power so that he exercise such powers in his profession, might be called "Muzumaker."

Although the name muzumaker generally had and often did have the connotation of a hunter.

A distinguished fighter or warrior was called "Katsala." In fact he emphasized that

even if one was an expert hunter he was called "Kabala." When going to war for example

the Katsala was expected to lead and whatever he says must be obeyed and no one could

afford to disobey a leader of this sort. Dakori gave an example of one man who was called

Yabuchiri. His name at birth was Kuhyi Kandora. He gained the name Yacbuchiri because

of the fact that he knocked a huge bull. The incident occurred at Golam in market on

Thursday. This huge bull (buchiri) was brought to be killed in the market but it

escaped from the hands of the killer and was so fierce. This man went and took the bull

by surprise and knocked it down and they killed the bull without using any rope. And for

this bravery and wonderful strength he was christened Yabuchiri.

This same man was revered and his 'disciples' followed him out of fear and love.

For example it one of the followers would go out to look for honey, he was not supposed

to eat the honey unless he brings it to Yabuchiri. If he attempted to eat it before

bringing it to Yabuchiri the honey would stick in his throat until he come to Yabuchiri

who would warn him not to do it again and Yabuchiri would give beats on the man's back

and he would be healed instantly.

Another title was for a rich man he was called "Ardo". Asked where the name came

from Dakori's explanation was that it came from the Fulanis.

Native doctors were addressed as Mallam.

Just as anybody could be rich and so be "Ardo" so anybody could be a "Katsala"

even if he was not aged. This titles depended on someone's personal achievements and

special natural gifts.

Mshel was a title given to a gentle man.

Kwatam also was a title for a princess. A prince was called Maina.

The role of a "Katsala" was to led and he could do anything he desires and he was

well respected. His only privileges were therefore his freedom to order anything he wiad

to be executed. If there is any attempt to wage war on the clan he must be aware of it

and the warriors must take his directives He plans for any invasion, defences and other

actions to be taken in order to remedy a situation. He does not act as a first might

privileged someone at any wedding.


(Dakori's view) Asked to give an account of how one obtains wives in those days

Dakori's account was as follows. As one was mature enough he begins to use bangtang

and he goes out to see his peers of both sexes either in his village or in other villages

around. It is during this period that one makes a choice. There are no formal steps

taken at such a stage. But as one goes out and stays out till around midnight, he falls

in love with any girl he meets. In some cases the girl may not know that she has been

chosen as a wife. If however she seed a young man coming to their house frequently she

will suspect the intension of the young man especially if she is matured and if there

are many girls in that particular house but she is the eldest. Asked why marriage follow

age on both sexes for example the eldest girl or boy was expected to marry before the

younger. Even if that eldest stays for more than thirty years in their home the younger

ones were expected to wait. Except in special cases when the eldest could not marry

for special reason (such as physical inaapacitation or if one too ugly or has been

delayed from marriage for many years the older younger ones were expected to wait for

her or him. He could not give reasons why this was, so but he said it was 'Mahala'

(a taboo) to do that.

After one has made a choice, he was expected to bring the following: one in

Ngirzang (the woven piece of cloth which has not been sewn but rolled into bundle in the

same manner as a solar tape is role like this but has been 'dyed.' Ngirzang is a dyed Kuntu.

-Iop iew

This Ngirzang is a dyed Kuntu, and takes 4 (four) jabi wrist ring used on the hands

and loot made of metallic iron as shown here.

In addition to the dyed cloth which is called Ngirzang one is expected to give two

undyed others which we have earlier:.referred to as 'Kuntu.' If these were taken and accepted

it meant that one has betrothed that girl.

Another means of choice was the real betrothal. There are many ways of doing this.

One was done when a man promises before a woman is pregnant that he will marry her

daughter. At birth such a man was expected to damp in pieces of leaves (any tree) when

labour is over and by this taken he would bear the idea that the baby girl was going to

be either his wife or his child's wife. As the girl grows the man takes in occasional

gifts(not obligatory) and the mother in-laws on both sides would respect each other as


When a girl is six to eight years one could also betroth her. Dakori's explanation

was not detailed. He only mentioned that one could betroth a girl like this (However

I would certainly suspect that, like after one has made his choice as explained on page

32, the same gifts would be expected of a.man in the same manner.

When a betrothed girl begins to mature and aged, the man is expected to bring the

following: four more 'jabi' and another brand of the wrist ring (hand wove) plus a two

pieces of 'gabaka' sewn as shown below. It's name is 'Kujir.'

ri -~---~ -;:- --- -- ~-


A piece of cloth called Kujir, (not according to size) but it was said to be very

small one to two pieces sewn together and a piece was not more that nine inches wide.

These plus another handware (called "Mungza") particularly used by those who were

suspected to be 'abitku' (tangwayi in hausa) also called haja mbuli or twin. The

man takes these plus a pot of beer and he throws a feast at his in-laws house. All will

drink the beer and the 4 'jobi' (hand ware) 4 ordinary (hand ware) plus the other called

"Mungza" will be shown to the generality of those at the party. At the feast it was

really merry making.

As all these gifts are taken official courting continues but there was to be no sex

yet. In fact unless one betroths a wonam he will never meet his fiancee and the fiancee

will not talk with the suitor in the public except at night when in privacy.

When the two sets of gifts have been received and appreciated on both sides especially

the in laws sides, the woman is now officially his wife. But she does not stay with him

in his house. At this stage the man can call out his peers and they would go and force

the girl to come to his house. The girl may not want to come and was expected to be

reluctant. In fact she was expected to cry and the man would carry her just as one

carries a dead person to the grave.

Now that the bride has come to the bridegroom's house, the bridegroom would throw

another party. The quality of the party (what the guests eat or bring as a gift) varies

from person to person. It all depends on the capacity of the bridegroom's pocket. If

he's rich he could slaughter a goats or sheep or even a cow.

After this, the bridegroom cooks more pots of beer (17-18 large pots) and a he-goat.

Tiis time the bride would be excorted home with all these. At the bride's home the bride

was expected to call her best woman (for this best woman or rather in her name a piece of

cloth would be provided For the next best wonam a piece of large intenstine would be

provide and the third small intensine would be provided. Together with this twelve

(12 Kuntu's) would be given out and a bride price payable in either 'Kuntu,' cow,

bul (gown), or spinned thread rolled around a stick but there was not all in all purpose


About the meat in the above paragraph a fried blood plus ribs either a cow or sheep

this complements the intenstine and rib-. As she names a friend a rib would be cut (two

bones), the next is the intestine and the third another intestine. All these would be

prepared and the girl returns to her home with the meat. The party ends at her home where

she invites those she mentioned and they would all eat it the meat.

The bride remains in her home. Asked why after all these ceremonies and gifts

the bride still remains at her parents home his explanation was that all this depends

on the bridegroom. If he was rich he could have the girl at his home if he can pay the

price but he could not give the exact price since it was not possible to talk in terms

of money. But I asked about the bride price up to 12 bul mentioned on the preceding

page, he said that that was not enough. He said that the woman can give birth to up to three

children for her husband at her parents home. After she returns the first time she could

stay for up to six month and she works on her parents farm. Before she stays too long

after her return from her husband the husband was expected to bring meat, "in order to

remove the rubbish she ate while she was her husband's house."

She would return to her husband after six months but she stays fop only few months.

Unless if one has paid the bride price, the woman would continue to come periodically to

her home until the stipulated bride price is paid, since the 12 bul was very difficult

to make and so scarce, it was very costly and only few people could possess one let alone

to talk of 12.

Asked where they got wives that explanation indicated that wives could be found in

and around the village. However it was forbidden to marry someone in the clan, the

incest taboo prohitited, nor was it frequently, not even did it hardly happen that one

marries from a within his ethnic group. One could however marry a slave whether male

or female a male slave could hardly marry other free borns but female slaves can be

married to anybody. But over time their identity would fade away. There is no

inter-ethnic marriage.

Another kind of marriage as it was true of most ethnic groups was the k nd of

marriage when a man marries his father's, or brother's or related person's wife, if

the said kin is deceased. There were no strict methods except that most of these marriages

were already ascribed, so that if a man is deceased his property including his wife and

children are looked after by his brotherss. However these were some of practices done.

When the husband has died and if he is aged or even young, the man who wants to marry

his wife would kill an animal like hen, goats or sheep depending on his wealth. This is

to give her so that she can cook food for "the deceased husband" "Vi Diva" and for her to

feed her sympathizers. After two days the man was expected to pay occasional visits to

the woman. Asked whether the would-be husband can have sex with the lady the answer

was not concrete. It depended on circumstance. But it was not strange if they have sex.

As the man goes there every day they wold make agreements of the next live together.

On the final day of mourning the husband would-be kill a goat to celebrate the

final mourning. The woman uses this also to feed her sympathizers and herself for the

late husband.

On the following day the man can claim the woman provided he has paid six "Kuntu"

to his in-laws.

In case of when trouble arises as to who was to marry the woman, tie cnoice of the

next husband depends on the woman herself.

Asked why one should pay 6 Kuntu and kill the he-goat when the wife was their property,

the answer was that the woman would be considered as nothing if one inherits her without

payinL. anything to her in-laws.

Today if such practices were allowed a man inherits his brothers wife without

paying anything except the killing of the he-goat. No one knows why the changes come

about. Even in the normal marriage it has changed. As for today a man goes to ask a

girl and if she agrees she will be given ~4 and two clothes (Zabi). Then the suitor

next calls a Mallam and buys more cloths and other wedding garments and provision. The

bride price varies but the standard one today is N40. The wedding therefore can be

proceeded with the ("tying marriage") actual marriage in which case the suitor buys

kalor nuts and calls people to witness the actual marriage. After this, the woman is

your wife legally after t is the ward head and village head have been notified and a

receipt would be issued by the latter. So today marriage seem to be easier. Real

wedding ceremony (bathlu lakisu) as practiced in those days are rarely observed today

especially if the husband is at the cities.

8. The Haptu found in this village belongs to the clan and it is called Bongsangdana.

There is another one which also belonged to the clan in the past but because the leaders

of the Pubarites in the past were not ready to keep this Haptu called Wakuda, it is no

longer in their control today. However it could be used for their good but of course

with the kind permission of the owners the Zidi neighbours. Dakori, when asked why

other villages had a village idol and not clanish Hoptu he said that all other clans had

their own Hoptu taken care of by their own leader and so all of these Hoptu work

for the good of their villagein general and their clan in particualr. He also said that

there are some private Haptu which the Ibos of Nigeria referred to as the personal 'chi.'

These small idols work for the good of the family.

The Bangsangdana and Wakada could be approached by anybody be he or she a Bura,

Buber, Fulani or Kanuri. But such strangers would come and approach the idol under the

strict permission of and led by the 'Hoptu' keeper. A privilege is also given to

anybody of the village even if the keeper is not around especially in emergency cases

(e.g. if a snake bites someone's chap in the absence of the keeper) the guardian, father

or mother of this chi d can prostrate before Bangsangdana, of course in the right manner.

The appropriate approach of course was to bring beniseed and throw it in different

direction as one talks one's problems for help. I asked him whether the Hoptu helped

and his reply was affirmitively. I then asked if he can give examples He talked of

how some contagious diseases would break out and spread like bush fire in the village.

If he the keeper himself, went to the Hoptu and offered it sojie enchantations, the

contagious disease died down. In some cases if the said kind of disease broke out in a

nearby house, the guardian of that house would go and prostrate before the idol, the

disease would also died down even if the contagious disease would died down. '-his

kind of case was in innumberatable according to his report. According to him there was

one case when one of the Pubarites in the army was reproached and convicted. There were

alternatives of the verdict.- the boy was either to be killed or to remian in prison for

years. Dakori's claim was that because he had been in the Haptu, time without number,

the judges reduced the time of the prison and acquited the boy. That if he didn't help

that perilaps the body might have been killed. Not only that he said all of us

Pubarites Bulami in urban areas are always looked after by the secrets acts of their Haptu's


The freedom given to strangers to approach the hoptu is not without its limit. If in

the case of emergency a stranger may approach the Haptu without the keeper around

provided he or she has taken permission from any body in the village. That person will

then go back home and if the outcome of the mission was successful, such a stranger was

expected to bring either a goat, hen and her won guinea corn flour to be offered to the

idol as a kind of thankfulness or thanksgiving. This ti e the keeper of the village

or clan 'Hoptu' was expected to lead the woman. When the animal is killed its blood is poured

on the idol and some of the meat is prepared in its name. This food offered to idole

could be given to anybody and it should be cooked outside the home. If that person deemed

it necessary to come a.ain any year apart from the first one he or she is allowed to

do so led by the keeper again.

If the idol is going to be approached and a hen is killed for that reas-ne, there

used to be special people who used to prepared the hen for them. The people according

to his explanation are friends in the village. In the case of the Balami (Puba) their

Madani neighbours help them. Oome other set of Balamis who have lost their identity

helped the Madani prepare the hen when they approach their 'Milim' (idol).

Asked whether Hoptu could be used for evil practices, Dakori said that it was possible

to use the Hoptu in that way. But if a man hates his brother especially if they are both

from Puba, it was not possible to work an coil against each other. If such a case would

happen the man who approached the idol in order to work coil against his brother, he

would died or be maddened.

The Haptu could also be used to determine offenders. The suspects would be brought

before the Hoptu led by the keeper. The keeper would ask individuals to confess themselves

or else if they know their guilt but have refused to confess and they as approach the

Hoptu something such as madness or leprosy would 'catch' them, that is to say, they

would be mad or be lepers in a matter of seven days. This is a way of "walling" the name

of the Hoptu in vain as mentioned in the Bible. They would how the idol an repeat after

the keeper or the leader the following: "Oh Lord Bonggangdana, you know my guilt and

my innocense. If I am guilty and I approach you like this, let me die, or be made mad,

be a leper and so guide me." It was interesting to note whether anybody was made mad

or leper or anything for simple the reasons that he called the name of the 'Hoptu' in vain,

Dakori's information had it that he couldn't cite any example. He explained that people

fear the 'Hoptu' very much that they would confess their guilt either before approaching

their guilt either before approaching the idol or right before the 'Hoptu.'

9. The dominite religion in the village today is Islam. As was indicated on the

map of the village there are no churches except minor mosques and one big one. He said

that Islam was brought from Gwanysi on the Biu Damo Macdiyiri road. In those

days people from the village used to go to GWanyeri to sell groundnuts and buy some

provision such as guinea corn, salt (two times one is pure white NaC1 and limestone

called "UnBura" in Bura). Also some kinds of 'bul' different from what was obtained from

home and some shirt. What happened to this group of travellers was that as they were

uncurcimcised, the people (I guess the Kanuris) used to tease them that they're 'Gentiles'

and so cunclean. This criticism continued and the more it continued the more they are

exasperated by it. The only solution was for them to circumcise and onee this has been

done, they were no more gentiles ans do were no more pagan so they could accept Islam

and be genuine moslems. This was new to their land. He also said some Fulani 'mallams'

who both practiced the Islamic religion also used this religion to prepare secret magic

of the sort referred to on paes 20-22. These people helped the Gwanyeri traders to be

moslems and as they were never made to know their idol (Hoptu) except the older people

who did not travel, there were no conflicts between their new religion and the traditional.

What is more in the first place those to be islamised if they had any personal Hoptu were

allowed to keep them until and gradually they accepted Islam on its own and three away their


10. 'He cited the example of real circumsion and so Islamisation in this town as was

started when this present Lawan, Salira, was cirQumcised and so they started to practice

Islam (I know that it also be that the present lawan, Lawan Alhaji Guladima Salira was a

grandchild of a Bubur man one of the courtiers of Kuhyi Ali Dogo. As such since the

Buburs were moslems themselves he was influenced by them too). Islam continued to be

practiced by some whereas the majority kept their "Hopth."

I was witness when the whole village was baptised during the late Ath. Ahmadu Bello

the Sardaunas of Sokoto's Islamization campaign in the early sixties. I was myself

baptised in 19,9 and christened Buba.

As for christianity there are no christian except those school boys who attended

mission schools at Pelambirnl Tiriku and Hyera. Christian missionaries came from Garkida

and these wer-3 the people he cited M. Amsa, Mr. Hekman, Kulp with some other helpers. The

problem here was that when the missionaries came they only gathered young boys and preached

to them. They knew that if they approached the old people to drop their 'Hoptu' it

would not only be difficult but it would cause some commotion. And so their tactics

were to convert the young ones who were not introduced to the idolic ideas. They asked

them to attend schools which would make it easier for them to convert the villagers in

an easy manner. But the elders were not willing to either listen nor to allow their

children attend school. As has been mentioned earlier this clan was in the very beginning

were interested in wealth. And it was not surprising that they had hundreds over hundreds

of cattle, sheep and goats. So they didn't enter school. The missionaries built a school

building twice but all to no avail. According Dakori it was due to the reason that Bong-

sangdana was not willing to accommodate the idea of the school that the idea died down.

And so the missionaries returned to Garkida and went to Pelambirni and establish a base
there. That base is today, Pelambirni Primary School (my old good school). This also
answers for the absence of Christians in the village. In those days there were no conflict
in the actual fact. As a matter of fact one can't speak in terms of conflict as
experienced in other areas. This is not to deny that there were conflicts. Dakori himself
couldn't remember any actual case nor could I.

11. Dressing

/ bed +1e6 around

the wh stc
tx+fwen the
and +I(a+ ithec
L loaot;

b a~d o


' Danchi k

Ut 11 I's

when drQd In

ea\\U "NaW '" or
+rad'" Kno ed

f rad ltona\

&otala (+wIns onl8)



ah\r s

U3\r (two piectd)

Fron* \bi

madte o s-in

bacN 'I '&wJ

eFr8 maY
%,03ncw,i "

c\i bula wearc'

aced woman


PJz ((roh Gorda)
aaed u14a fasb

in Traditional A+nYes

OonC3 Glyur

5ome People

ran Wravl\y

*wangafa "

maede o skhr


On pages 41-43 are some of the traditional dresses used in the early days. As has

been mentioned earlier young of thirty use 'bangtang' and if they are from a rich family

such a person though aged can use 'Dangciki.' Aged people use 'Dangciki' but elders

who are rich use 'Bul' though occasional. On the opposite are men in traditional attires.

In some cases some men use earrings. The informant himself has holes made in his ears

for that purpose. ((But this seemed to be a copy, right of a certain section of the

Fulani called 'Boororo' or a copy right of the Hona people. I think that it was not

original any way because not all aged people use this earring but only those who probably

travelled outside their area of residence.

Men tying blackets

Tying blacket is customary of aged people who enjoy blacket more than the shirt.

Asked whether the 'bul' was indigenous Dakori said that it was imported. He diverted from

here and was telling stories of all sorts. For example the preparation of beer His

account has it that one of the men who possessed special powers saw 'devils' or

evil spirits preparing the thing and they taught him how to do it and so he came and

taught his people. All of these were also originally taught to the people b the same

evils spinning, weaving, cooking food, using fire, preparing them with poison. So

he concluded that the making bul of 'bul' became known to them. (This contradicted his

earlier statement that it was from Fulani that they learnt how to make bul.) Here are no

thick clothes and even the blackets are light. That is why the young men prefer to

use 'bangtant.' This is because of the tropical whether.))

Women on the other hand used to cover only a small part of their body as shown on

page 42. Their clothes, as shown, complemented by handwares, are worn as part of the

dressing. In fact old women almost cover their arms and ancles all has different names.

Some are called 'Jabi' and are tied around the arms above the elbow as shown on the

diagram on page 42. The rings worn on the wrist are called 'Ausa'. The ons worn on

the fingers are called 'lenduwa'. Some times the women make holes on the lips and

nose, through which they can use some other 'lenduwa' but it is very difficult to show

it on the diagram. But it was customary that women decorate themselves with all these

handwares, and rings. Sometimes the women make many holes and around the lips and the

rings seem to sew the lips together. Another kind of rings are worn around the ancles.

Beads were used but the old women used black stick called 'ulu' around the neck.

The other part of the dresses called 'Kujir' were of different sizes. Young girls

of about fifteenth used two to three piece of 'Kujir' and the older women use six to

twelve pieced 'Kujir.' 'Gotala' was a special kind of Kujir sewn sometimes in mixed

pieced colours 'black and white( as shown and someti es it was sewn in white. But what

is special about this 'go ala' was that it was used by only special people. These

special people are called 'twins' and were said to possess special eyes sights able to

see spirit. This 'sight' seeing was considered bad and if an 'abiki', Gomba or 'buli'

in Bura used the 'gotala' the special 'sight' was suppose to aanish as it was believed.

Asked whether the original people in those days used to be naked Dakori denied it bitterly

nor did Bello Maina who was present when the interview was conducted. He only said that

young people of both sexes rarely use dresses. Aged girls however wear clothes

earlier that their male counterpart.

Very old men prefer to use the bangtaang more frequently.

In the past 50-70 years the dress patterns have changed radically. 'Bangtang' gave

way to trousers and shorts first made of indigenous weaned cloth. Dangciki however

persisted to this day. The styles have changed. Sleeves were added to some dangciki

and sometimes more decoration appeared on the necks of the shirt. Also added to the

Dangciki was collar. Today European styled shirt, trousers, shoes, and eaps have

invaded the whole area and even old people used European styled shirts, trousers and


As for women's dressing 'Kujir' gave way to some other clothes which are much

bigger, and sometime more beautiful than the 'Kujir', Blouse and skirts are used by

young ladies and the head tied have also changed. Viels are used as part of dressing

in Moslem communities by the women.


2. 3.

Nyat Gundi m bothlu
from Garkida Ramta Ramta

mya auya

5. 6.

4. /jii,
tera //j

Traditional Facial marks-

The traditional marks seem to have lost these days. Nor could Dakori give any

example of traditional marks which distinguished the Bura as a unique group of people.

Above are some of the marks with an indication of the direction the mark came from.

(1) above were found on women's face. In fact old women of today bear these marks.

(4) is practiced by men too. The rest could be found on both men and women's faces,

exceptfive. In addition to these men had traditional marks on the army (sometimes a pair

each); thigh (three marks) and on the back about six or less.

With the case of women apart from the facial marks, there were found marks on the

stomach as shown below. These kinds of marks were a hybrid of different ethnic groups.

Some came from Hona area, others from unknown places.

Kutu Hina hina

vi shimwi--

Kutu Hona Hona
Hona Area


Shixamapu Jutau neck

tafida waist, Midlir waist (Bul, and 2 Kuntu price)

Zol lingga, waist, Gurzumi fingers

Kwatau to be placed on the plaited hair

Gondaliwa hand


Asked whether there are differ mnces in burial, Dakori only gave differences between

young and mature man, children on one hand and the old people on the other hand. Asked

whether a head of Dur was given a special burial at death Dakori replied in the negative.

The first category of burial is those children and young men. When such people

die there wer great mourning as it was abnormal.that children and young should die.

The great sadness made it difficult to ever mention their names after their death. They

were buried in an ordinary tomb. And there wer no kill ngs of animals at all. The

mothers of such deceased would leave her un plaited for many months and in case of a

beloved one, it could be for years, no ceremony at all.

In the case of old people their death were celebrated in a jubilant manner. On the

day of the death if the old man was rich a cow would be killed and if even he's not

rich but his son(s) is/are, they/'he would kill a cow., The cow was to be shared among

the deceased relatives to feed their sympathizers. He would beburied with the skin in

a special tomb. The tomb was dug in the form shown on the bottom of the page.

i> *w Tomb of a man who died with spoilt
06 ~( especially if his ciiildren were the causes. This
is so because if any
then get side the tomb
l- Ay5 would be opened so that his
bone can be used in
preparation of some (
concoction unlike the
happy man at death.

Tomb of a man who died a
happy man

Any old woman could have any of the tomb but the same case applied to her too.

For mere details she Lawan Iya's account as he agreed with most of the account. He also

agreed with Kolouli Gona account;

Conclusion: The interview with Dakori revealed many facts about antiquity. Many of the

other informants agreed with his account. He seemed to provide many more facts which

could not be recorked about any topic.

The Interview with Lawan lya

Date lhth July 1973
Time 8:00 10:30 am

He can't give his age but guessed t at his age could be around 70 years. He was

once the Lawan of Puba from 1960-1961. I chose 1dm because although he exaggerates

so much, he can give a valuable information which we shouldn't overlook.

When asked to give how the name originate and how it came to be applied to a

particular people b the name of 'Bura' as an ethnic group, Lawan Iya could not give a

precise explanation. He only said that Bura is a language spoken by people who inhaoitated

the Biu plateau and the Hawal Valley and its tributaries in Bornu Province and a little

part of Adamawa. When reminded of the idea of "Bura" as warlike people and the Baour as

those who used or uses other people's property illegally he said t at the name Bura could

be applied to someone who is unkind and warlike and that is all he knows about the

origin of Bura.

Subsequently his view of Yamtarawalla as he claimed is inadequate. He only new

Yamtarawalla as the founder of Bura. But before settling at Biu he first settled at

Mandaragirau. He said further claimed to know that Yamtarawalla was the father of

Kuhyi Mari. ne however knows a lot about the lines of kingship and he was quoting names

of Kings (Maris) of Biu.

His definition of a Dur was not precise either he said that Dur means people who are

biologically related. "Dur" can be applied to clan and the dura people as a whole. When

asked about the reasons for division his reason for the explanation was sheer number.

When people grow in population it was very difficult to accommodate each other. Like

Dakori, his explanation confirms that some people were pugnacious and in those days

pugnacious action warrant revenge on an member of the aggressor clan. If some of such

clan members continue to bring trouble to themselves and their other clans members it

was ver easy to perceive a division. But he could not categorically state the reasons

for the division. In some cases he said that some people could decide to migrate while

the others would not follow them (and without efficient communication and it was indeed

very difficult to see each other, we can perceive that division amongst segments of the

same clan was very east this way.

According to Lawan Iya thisBalami Piakizhu was well known for their judicidus

settlement of disputes, not only in the village but also in the surrounding hamlets.

Since they were no official courts or any real established ruling institution Lqwan

Iya said that this Balami wer brave and whatever they said, they the others will agree.

Secondly this Balami were well known as hunters. In fact the earlier name Piyakizhu came

from the fact that the early original settlers and their sons were known to have slept

under the 'Kizhu' thicket (a kind of throny bush much like the acacia but it grows to

average size only.) They also slept in grasses (Kusar) and so piyakuakusar or

Piakusar ("piya" means slept).

According to Lawan lya no man, not even a captive can claim the membership of

the clan. In some cases as those of the captive such a person cnn't claim the

membership but it was likely that his children can be Balami over time. Although his

children can't inherit anything (wealth cows) they're legally Balami and could inherit

a wife if loved. But if two captive give birth to some children, such children can't

claim member ship. Accordng to him a captive female can't marry outside the clan

as she is their property.

As far as the genealogy is coin the man's account confirms Dakori's. In fact he

could not give anything better that Dakori and he himslef confessed that to me.

(In veiw of this I found that it was not necessary for me to record anything since he

confessed that his was incorrect and inadequate.

The Origin Story Lawan lya's Account

Like Dakori he agrees that the first two three generations were unknown but

their succeeding known generation was Bonithlala. He agrees with Dakori that they came

from towards Shani area along the Gongola Valley in quest for hippo (laha). The first

settlement was knwon to have been at "Shik da ka Bala." He said that prior to this settlement,

all Balami's were one clan but there grew in number. This sheer increament could cause

division but he could not give the reasons for division. In the division some went

to Bwala, some the Parwa went to Mbwakva. He only could say that the father of BoniThlala's

father and his segment continued on their hunting. It was in quest of hippo that this

Bonithlala's father was attracted to the present site of the village. According to

him it was probable that the unknown was bachelor or perhaps a widower. All the same this

man found that some one lived about 5 kilometers away at the present site of Wakada

where one of the village Hoptu resides today. There was an agreement in which this time

Bonithlala brought the said neighbour whose generations today are the Gwayeri which

we had earlier called Zidi people Bonithlala married Zidi daughter.

Lawan lya further alleged that the two men collaborated and found the 'Wakada' a

famous 'Hoptu' and Bongsangdana. The former Bonithlala allowed his in laws to keep whereas

he himself kept the latter.

As far as leadership was concern Lawan lya said that the Pubarites did not want to

be leaders because they were concerned with their hunting and cattle herding and so tney

found it difficult to combine this occupation and administration and so they allowed the

leadership for the Zidi to administer 'for them.' The first of the Zidi to be installed

or rather be given the leadership was a man called Hyerma Shifti. During the Yabirma's

time (one of the leaders of the Pubarites) still refused to accept the leadership but

appointed his son Njakau Shinar to help the Zidi people. When the Buburs came Njakau was

in the fore front but he was only a helper. Over time when the Zidi people got block headed

to the Babir (for reasons unknown but probably because they're just warlike I believe...

John Balami) they're almost exterminated. Some of the Zidi under Bilama Thlama left

for a place at the Hawal river Basin. Not all the people at Zimata left so Yabirma again

allowed them to be the administrators. Helped by his son Njakau the issue there died

and Yabirma again recalled or repaltriated Bilama Thlama who became the first real

Lawan in today administration set up of Nigeria's local government. Bilama Thlama died

and by now two things helped to cause conflict. First Bilama Thlama issues were almost

gone. In fact he was recalled alone. Secondly Yabirma had grown old and his sons

wanted to get their crown or staff of the leadership. All these were aggravated by

the fact that the new administrative dander Babur homogeny was not incongrous with

wealth and so Yabirma's fear which was that his wealth would be wasted if he accepts the

leadership proved false. The ambitious sons of Yabirma therefore asked for their leadership

to be given them. Lawan lya however did not agree-that Dakori was the sole negotiator.

He claimed that he wasn't so much involved as Dakori claimed. (I don't know the version

but I do know that Dakori and Lawan lya are parallel because Lawan lya claimed that

Dakori took part in the conspiracy that saw Lawan lya out of the Lawanship in 1961,

and so Dakori's claim may be justified because his account was not so adequate when asked

to narrate the story...John Balami)

However he agrees as recorked in pages 27-30, the lawanship came to the Pubarites


He confirms Dakori idea that Puba was a large settlement area but the famous famine

by the name of Dimin destroyed the village.

Asked the relation of the Balami clans Lawan lya account as has been mentioned earlier

all were brothers before the Great Spilt of 'Shikada ka Bala' from 'Shiknda ka Bala'

some went to Bwala, other left to Mbwarva (Parwa). He said that the Bwala grouj did not

move up to now but the Parwa moved from Mbwakva and some went to Golam others to Tiraku aid

Hadlang. At Tiraku Yanderang led the Parwa group to Puba where they settled under

the Pubarites leadership. 'Dimin' scattered them and Yanderang founded Pelambirni. After

the coming of the Bubur the Parwa's wealth were in constant mortgage because they always

liked to marry someone's wive and they committed adultery quite often. Their punishments

becuase of such actions according to them was too heavy and would waste their wealth. So

they migrated to Kwanda and from their some returned and other migrated further to

Marja. He gave an example of how one Yakorwaya took Ngyilari someone's wife. In those

days the fine was N2.5 but this would amount to h to five cows. So Yakarwaya had to

fled to join his brothers at Kwanda.

This Pubarites according to Lawan Iya were not warriors, nor were they weak. They

were generally feared Perhaps as pioneer settlers but mostly they due to their bravery.

Because the Pubarites were kind they were called as 'Tsiya masa'. This means times

because of their kindness they would help someone but their rewards were often

disastrous. If for example they could capture a person they would offer liim settlement

but over time thier amnesty would bring trouble for them. Consequently from this account

we can say that the Pubarites were kind people who took one another's bruden and helped

others as they wished to be helped.

Becauseeof what has just been mentioned the Pubarites were settlers of disputes.

If for example someone might have wrong another person the Pubarites would call them

before a committee of elders from the Pubarites and the held of the Zidi people. The

aggressor was expected to bring six 'Kuntm' and a 'bul.' The 'kuntu' goes to the elders

and the 'bul' to the aggrieved. The elders would tell them that it was wrong for them

to aggrieve each other and it was good that brotherly love -hould continue. The

aggressor and the aggrieved would accept whatever verdict was passed by the Pubarites

committee of elders.

They were friendly unlike the Zidi people, their close neighbours. Not only that

some of the early strangers who come wer. friendly to them. 1hese were among others:

Henabu, Tauri(Mshelia), and other Balami.

He mentioned one friendly Balami those of Yimana.These Balami (Parwa) used to

help the Pubarite buy cows and to fight for tnem. In fact it was becuase of such

friendship that Tagwi whose story appeared on pages 18-10 that he was invited to attend

the wedding ceremonies of Balama Barka and ^adawi Kubili. But the situation grew in

an undisered manner.

Another group under Yabisi of the Parwa Balami helped them in ties of trouble.

Ngoti a Mshelia man from Yimona was also friendly. Other individuals Yopima Salki

from Bwala, Yanggathlama from Tiraku all were friendly and helped the Pubarites buy

cattle and slaves. Those peaceful Fulani were readily offered shelter and food to

then motably during Yabirma time e.g.Juba story. During Yabirma time was during

Kuhyi Mori, the Mai of Biu's reign.

The head of the clan was and still is the most senior person in the clan and it

was not based strictly on merit. In addition to the head of 'dur' there were elders who

converge at the palace of the head when it was necessary to take some decisions on

matters affecting them all. Some of the elders during Yabirma's time were Yabadi from

the Zidi, Yabishu, Yanderang from Parwa, Yapukuma Yabirma from another set of Balami.

This committee of man formed a sort of tribunal headed by Yabirma. There were no overnight

privileged elders or head of 'Durs.' The committee elders were head of a clans and

segments. The head of Dur and elder were there to settle disputes, provide some process

of advice to the other young adventureous people and sometimes they negotiate

wifes for the young men by sending people. They're to see that any disaster coming over

the clan should be combated by all means. When time for migration it was the elders

and the head of the clan that takesthe decision as to why it was necessary to move, to

what place and so on. In all they're a kind of government official of today. 'heir

privileges were limited, they were free to take nny decision and the younger people

were obliged to obey in order to please them. These included obeying whatever the

elders ordered, such as going for a war, and helping in looking the cattle. There were

no accurate account of the genealogy of of-ice holders as the office were always the

head of the Dur. However from known accounts one can speak diagramatically as follows:

Unknown Man
Balama Barka
Ardo Dangi
Dakori Avikdi

(It is probable that each head of Dur represent a generation) The Bala Pubarites

genealogy of office (head of Dur) holders (pg. $5).

Residential Units

Residential Unite were built by segments around the head of the Dur. They built

the units close together for security reasons so that the compounds were close together.

The Nyarmbwa (segments) was headed by a father and his sons converge around him and there

were no definite number of people in a Nyarmbwa (segment) as such. It also depends on

the number of children and grandchildren and whether the other brothers love each other

or not. If there were good relations as the Pubarites used to be, one Nyarmbwa which would

latter grow into a clan can be a whole village.

If a stranger comes, he was expected to built his units outside those other segments.

But not too far again for security reasons. This answers the scatter (ZARA) wards in

the village today. Strangers were never absorbed at all.

Lawan Iya talked of how one relations left one of the early and original settlement

plot which has recently been deserted. He advocated that some one of the clan should

built a house there and no stranger should be allowed to stay on this 'revered' plot.

The strangers could be fortune seekers such as the Tauri, Madani, Gimndiwi.

Over time the strangers could bein laws as is found today. This has cemented the present

relationship between the original settlers and their strangers.

There no village 'Hoptu' (Milim) idol. But there are two clan 'Hoptu'.

One is kept by the Balami and it is called Bongsongdana and the other is kept by the Zidi

people and it is called Wakada. In addition to that information, Lawan lya was of the view

that Bonithlala and Hyerma Shifti (the original known members of the two clans, Zidi and

Balami of Puba, calloborated and found the two Hoptus for their village). He also

agrees that strangers could approach the Hoptu as has been stated by Dakori. He however

denied that those who were rich and have large families could take care of the 'Hoptu'.

His reason was taat such a person could not kept the Hoptu well. He further said "Lukwa

Hoptu" going to Protestrate before the Hpptu on official occasion usually takes place

on Saturday and Sundays.

As far as he can remember Njida Borbor was the keeper of the Hoptu after his

unknown predecessors. After Borbor Njida, Yabata (also known as Ajiya Gorga) kept the

Hoptu. In 1961 Yabata died and Dakori took over. This applies to Bongsangdana. is

for Wakada the first keeper he could remember was Yabadi, after Yabadi, Njira took over.

After Njura's death a woman took the over. Her name was Salanggawa Papa Nywa. This

woman was succeeded by Kuhyi Angili Kuhyi Angili died in 1971, the Hoptu is now

in Adama Adlurawa's care.


As to marriage Lawan lya's account goes along with those of Dakori. However certain

facts vary.

Like Dakori he talked of betrothal of young girls and even babies. His was more

detailed in that he talked of the exact steps to be taken when betrothing s woman. One of

such cases was the betrothal of small baby. He said that when a woman gives birth to

a baby girl, a man if he wants to marry would break (cotton) native cotton leaves and

would drop it inside for the mother(the leaves were to be used for chasing flies) and

informs the woman of his intension. In most cases, once a woman who has just given see the

cotton leaves she knows what it meant and she only needs to know who dropped the leaves.

When a girl is aged about 6-8 years a suitor who might want to engage or better say

(should we not) that it is still an act of betrothal, he goes to the parents and inform

them of his intensions. asked whether he brings something Lawan reply was negative. But

when they, that is the suitor and his fiancees are well acquianted with each other, the saitor

brings a hand ware called "ausa tsi" that is hand warn around the wrist. As the affair

tightens, the man would bring one two pieced cloth, 6 more ausa handwares, four pieced

cloth, 6 more ausa handwares, four pieced cloth which is decorated by sewing black and

white alternatively, and any quantity of beer. This ceremony is called ("Sa mbal ka Mwala"

literally it means "drink beer with a woman") it really means throwing a party for the

fiancee. 'he lady was expected to call her friends to witness the occasion. One of the

pots of beer should be sweet to be given to the mother in-law. She would in turn invite

her peers in order to witness to them that her daughter has been engaged. From here and

after few weeks one, that is the husband, brings more pots of beer and this was in order

to show the community the "jabi" and "ausa" brought earlier. As these are shown to the

community the beer is served. The quantity of beer varies with the requests of the in-laws.

For example if the in laws have many relatives and friends only their particular village

but also outside (as all those friends and relatives would be invited) 2 pots of beer would

not be enough. So that h or more pots of beer would be asked of the son in-law. He brings

the six pots of beer (a pot of beer varies, but normally its volume is equivalent with

a tin of kerosine about 7 gallons) together with two "bul", 4 "kuntu", later meat. 'nis

is the first leg of the bride price. Within another short period 2 more "bul", one "jabi",

one 12 pieced "jabta" (a jabta is a piece of cloth sewn in the same manner as Aty ordinary

clothes used by women), 8 piece of cloth sewn with black and white alternatively, and

six pieced cloth. These clothes were the only number required to give to one's

fianciee. Asked whether a man give all the required quantities of beer, the jubaa,'

'ausa', and pieces of clothes plus other such as necklieses as "shiyamapii," "Jatau",

waist wares "tafida", "Zol lingga", "midlir" (price of a midlir was ai bul and 2 kuntu)

and the number of goats required, would it be possible to get your wife within a week or

so he agreed. But if one's not rich his comes to him periodically about 4 times in which

the man would be able to pay the bride price of 8 buls). do it was in this periodical

coming and going of the wife that Dakori earlier talked of how a woman can give birth

to four or 2 children at her mother's place. During her absentees, the suitor was

expected to go and pay occasional or frequent or else another intrude would marry of the

wife in which he the intruder was expected to pay the first suitor his money from 8 buls

to all the jabi, the kuntu, beer and whatever he spent in the marriage. In addition

hO pays that's the intruder still, pays 2 "kuntu" and a "bil", the former for the mamy and

the latter for the father and this is called an 'action of building a house for the

inlaws". Latter he pays 2 bul and six Kuntu and the wife is his if he can defend himself

fro-1 the aggrieved first husband.

Marriage of Deceased wives.

She Kombali Gana's account.

Traditional Dressing

According to his report there are no differences with those of Dakori. He only

added other things worn as part of the dressing. The man and the women don't shave but

the hair is plaited and some kind of small metal called "Kwatau" made for that purpose

is placed on the hairs. Sometimes the women use cap locally sewn. Some of the necklieces

such as "Shiyamapu", "jatau," and waist wares such as "midlir", "tafida", and rings

such as "Zol lingga", gurzami were imported from Hausa land and those who used to go

to Gwanyeri, Kikeru, Kauji all towards Maidaguri Biu road via Damboa. For the other

part of dressing see Dakoris account.


Burial Ceremony

When a child dies a Kuntu white cloth, is sewn and the child is wrapped in it and

a small tomb is dug. People usually and in most cases cry for hours and the morning

continues for 7 days. No one was expected to call or talk about this kind of death.

If however an a.ed person is dead especially those wo dies at the ages of 70 and

above, his children including the women call a heavy dance to celebrate it. On the

day of death the inlawa were all expected to kill either hens or a he goat and the sons

of the deceased do the same. People cry but it was done in a joking manner. There

used to be some people who are customary called "mjir sardzi" "Jokers". These people

would come and act strangley such as to wear a quiver and a bow and arrow and would

participate in what was called "fil cambwi." (see below) When the deceased relatives are

crying the jokers would come, and repeat after them whatever the person crying says. They

would also say funny things such as your old man died a poor man and if denied they

would go inside the granneries to chidk his guinea corn. And they would also say the

deceased died thin and so without fact and for that reasons the relatives were fools to

have killed their thin father. At other occasions thes two groups of people would joke

by trying to wrestle, getting or 'usurping' things from one another e.g. if one of has

a hoe staff or knife, the other would try and get it, if he succeeds these would be his.

Asked how two groups become "mjir sardzi" Lawan Iya's account had it that it was a kind of

arbitrary choice. This kind of relationship exists between the Bura ethnic group and the

KareKare of Potis Kum area or Fika Division in the former Bornu province.

So this mjir sardzi performs funny dramas when the dead has not been buried and

even after.

The grandsons of the deceased especially one of the beloved ones was expected to be

given a hen and he kills the hen by hitting its head against the gate of the diceaeeds

fence.. This hen would be given to the children who would roast and divide it amongst

themselves. I tasted such a hen in 1960. If it was customary and if the dead man is rich

a cow is killed on that day of his death. He would be buried with the skin (and even

the skin it is not all of it). I asked why the cow was killed for the sake of the dead man

but his mournErs would be the only benefators Lawan said that this is an act of arrogance,

just to witness that the diceased was a rich man until his death. The meat is divided

amongst all the relatives and is cooked so that all those other sympathizers also eat.

A "bul" is sewn and the old man's dead body is washed and wrapped in the "bul."

Sometimes the pieces ar sewn in black and white alternatively. The dead body is placed

on a chair where everyone comes and pays his last homage to him.

Then comes the 'fil cam bwi' in which the old men dressed with their quiver, bows and

arrows, long knives which have been decorated, jump up and down at the rhythm of a drim.

The dramatist personnel would jump on the deceased house and remove some grass. It has

been claimed that some men would stand in the room and jump out through the roof and in

this way the room of the deceased would be spoiled. During this drama, "mjir sardzi" especially

the women would also participate although women would also participate although women were

not suppose to participate but this privilege is given to the 'mjir sardzi's' women only.

After all this drama, a bed might have been prepared called 'algau' on which the dead body

could be carried first around his house three times Before he's taken to be laid for his

final re.t. The tomb is dug in a special way and is big to.

On the second day 'jungali( (cooked beans and guinea mixed,) is cooked to the

mourners and their sympathizers. On the third day it is called 'Kilmbwa humbutu' a

soup called 'Ki ba thlu' is cooked and the mourning is suspend for a short period until

the final end of mourning.

The final end of mourning varies form. But it takes place 3-h or even five weeks

after the death. But before this final another ceremony called "Hirkul" in which the

tomb is well prepared and built in a desired way. During this ceremony some goats and hens

are killed.

The Kuri Tuwa final then comes. It can be delayed by the son in-laws. If they

request for allowance of time in which to find their goats and hens to be slaughtered to

mark the final end of mourning. On that fine day, another dance is done and the man's

wealth is shared among his children and daughters.

The deceased's wives since his death were not allowed to beth or to shave or plait

their hairs. Rather the hair should be made to look loose so that anybody who sees them

will know that she's in a period of mourning. But on the final day of mourning those

father deceased's wive was expected to kill a goats and he does so in order that the

woman would be happy and to plait her hair and come to his house.

The female children of the deceased also kill a goat each and they would give their

guardian (to be promulgate on the final day according to her choice) the rimb of the

animal. And so ends the mourning with the cer mony.

Asked whether a head of a dur is given an special burial, Lawan lya answered

in the negative. Connected with this is the idea of installing a head of "Dur." If a deceased

was a head of a "Dur" on the final day of mourning another head of Dur would be nominated.

This nomination depended on age and it was customary that the oldest person should be

given the leadship. If however there were many old people who are peers, the deceased was

expected to name his successor before he dies. If however he fails to nominate his successor

before he dies this would cause some conflicts. Such a conflict would lead to the division

of the Dur into separate segments. This was exemplified in 1969 when the head of the

Pubarites Ardo Dangi died. Hyiman was the oldest person left in the Dur but Dakori Airkdi

was given the headship. Hyeman Dlakun was so much infuriated and he uttered all sorts of

talks. He said that those who decided that the leadership should go to Dakori were dming

nothiing but trying to separate himii from the other segments. I was a witness to this. These

kind of decision would cause a severe conflict which would lead to a division in those


So Lawan denied that there were any ceremonies when installing a head of Dur. Thf

present installation ceremony were of recent invention or adaptation. (It would rather

think that there are not so significant difference 52 years ago as to the present day).

Wedding ceremonies has already been touched on.

There are no annual ceremonies nor could Lawan lya or even Dakori speak of any

ceremonies. There are however some practices which we can say are ceremonies but are

minor ones.

In the wet season a rich man would throw a party and call out a labour party. The

party would include people from different village around, in addition to his village. A

goat or two would be killed or even a cow, beer would be in thousands of gallans,

porridge would also be cooked, "food" or "mush" would be provided so that those who

don't drink beer would take porridge or food.

The labour party would go and plough a new field for the man and then at lunch time

the food, and drink would be taken to them.

After the work on the farm the party would come and dance at the man's house and they

would eat more food and drink more beer. This kind of celebration goes own annually for

different people.

"Alukwawkwa Hinariya"

Alukwawkwa Hinariya is a ceremony celebrated annually to mark the comings of the

first rains. That is when it first rains then this ceremonies takes place. This is done

by, first taking a calabash, placed it on the water pots in each compound. The calabash

is rolled to make some sund as the roller calls out the words alukwawkwa Hinariya

for a minute or two. Then the young bo-;s makes fire before each compound. This is an

act of chasing the evil spirits that 'prevents the rains' and to chase the devil that

would destroy plants (crops in particular). Like the sign of the blood of the lamb

to painted on the gates of the Israelites houses at the Lord's Passover, each person was

required to do this, that is roll the calabash on the water and to built the fire before

the house, so that the evil spirits would go away. More rains would come.

What remains is for the younger boys to play with fire. Each person ties a bundle

of grass and lights it, he would then chase another friend of his who also has the same fire.

This act is practiced for seven days. In many cases the young ones of one "Zara" would

rival another group of another "Zara". It is very interesting and thrilling to play with

the fire during the "alukwakwa hinariya". (Perhaps we can say that because such a

ceremony is no longer observed today, the drought has invaded the area)

Connected with first rain is the idea of cooking beans and guinea (not grounded) called

"junguli kakaki". This is done when there was a drought. Sometimes mush is cooked wihh

'Kubathlu' soap by everyone in the village. A small portion of this food would be

placed at the junction of paths. The food is cooked outside. Some beer is cooked

instead. This is not a ceremony as such, but it is practiced annually in the area. It is

a celebration.


The dominate religion is Islam. His explanation agrees with Dakoris. Nor was there

any disagreement as to how the religion came nor the conflicts or rivalries between

Christiany and Islam, or any of them with indigenous religion which is the Worship of

Hoptu. If we to expect a Jihad, no Jihad really took for both religion came gradually

without any conflict. Except during the 2nd part of the 1960, when Sardauna, Ahmadu Bello

who was the former and late premier tried to Islamised the north by force did a little

force ever showed up as far as religion is concern.

The Porwa Balamis of Pelambirni

Ethnographic description of Pelambirni

Pelambirni is a village south of Kwajaffa District under the lawanship of Puba

Administrative area, about 5 kilometers away from Puba and about 10 kilometers from

Kwajaffa village. It is 9 kilometers west of River Hawal taking the nearest point

(as the crow flies). The village is 20 kilometers (25 miles) south east of Biu town, at

the boarder of Bornu and Adamawa provinces.

There are seven wards ZARA in the village made of many compounds about seventy in

number. The names of the ZARA correspond with the founders or the eldest person left in

the "ZARA". And so we can talk in terms of a man, his full and half brothers, perhaps

their father making a "Zara"in those days. It still persist today.

The village is located on a plain sloping towards the Hawal river 9 kilometers

aways. The plain is sandy and so it is an ideal soil for groundnuts. Two streams, one

dissecting the village in the west and the other on the east, are found water used to be in

plentiful supplies in those days and in fact stories had it that they used to live

large crocodiles and other acquatic reptiles. Today, however, even the wet seasons streams

rarely overflow their banks. In fact in the dry season water becomes scarce and people have

to travel for kilometers before they can get water for domestic uses.

Guinea corn is given the largest acreage and the farms are many kilometers away.

Most of the groundnuts farms which have the second largest if not more than the acreage

of guinea corn are found right around the village just few kilometers away. Some species

of surghum mainly the "Kilbu dwarf" are ground in and around the compounds together, with

maize. Because of the recent market for beans, beans cultivation is gaining more and more

acreage. Rice grown well along the river valleys in a place called Yimirshika. Around

the village compounds cattle driving is used as to fertilize complemented by sulphur and

sulphate fertilizers. Men and women and children work on the farm. Some Hona labourers

are also hired.


It is very difficult to name each person that owns cattle. For example in ZARA

Fuma almost every one of those in the ZARA has cattle except few people, at Zara Hamtamya

it is indeed dery difficult to know cattle owners. It is only important to know that

there are many cow; and every able bodied farmers own bulls to help him on the farms. In

some cases two people pair up to own a pair of cattle and plough to help themselves.

As for sheep and goats, it is again very difficult to tell because it is not possible

to go in the seventy compounds, and see if there are sheep or goats. However it is safe to

say, confidently, that in almost every compound there are sheep or goats. To be precise

guessingly almost one out of every five compounds has a sheep or goats pen.

In those days pigs were reared since the entire majority of the population (about

2000) are Christians but today only few rear pigs. The same applies to donkeys.

The cattle are never given to Fulani. In the past Fulanis used to syay in the village.

In fact, one Fulani was credited to have christened the village Pelambirni. 'Pela' means

stone, and 'birni' means town. So the Fulani man predicted that near the stone where the

original settler and founder Yangerang settled, would grown into a town. So the name

Pelambirni. So those Fulani were given the cattle. But some played treachery and consipired

and abducted the herd of cattle over 200 in number. Today the cattle are kept by their

owners and no one Fulani can be trusted to be given the cattle.

There are Balami, Wakawa, Kudaba, Mshelia, Mhya, Malgiwi, and Gwari in the village.

The Balami clan is the founding group and the segment of Yabishi son of Yamallim Koksa

keeps the shrine of the village. The Bulama still comes from t..is Balami clan since they

are the founding group for the colonial administration sought Builama's to be from the

founding group of any village.

Of the Balami there are h segme ts one from Balami Bwala, the other three are

cldsely related. However three segments can be distinguished. One has already been mentioned

Yamallim Koksa's segment, the others, one of which is founder are Yanderang, from Yadlandira's

segment, and the last one from Kadar Madar and Amna Call's segment according to M. Yaro's

and M. Thlama's explanations. None of these Nyarmbwa (segments) can inherit each others

property amongst themselves not even women, though they were and are still descendants of

two half brothers way in the past.

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Farm Plots

As indicated on the opposite page the farm plots circumscribe the village. One

can't give the exact acreage of the individuals. However one can guess that the average

(if all farm plots of the same man were to be put on one place the average) acreage would

be 2-3 acreas. The crops grown in order of acreage are guinea corn, groundnuts, oeans (planted

together with groundnuts and guinea corn) maize planted around the homes, rice along

river valley, cotton and cocoyam.

Farms plot can be seen about 10 kilometers away from the village. In such places

as Pirfa, the farmers built a kind of temporary house when he either sleeps there or goes

every morning around 5:30 am. He stays there until 6:00 pm when all wild animals and

birds are absent or have gone into their hide outs. In some cases as in the case of

groundnuts apes of some kinds, baboon, monkey and black money are a serious threat to the

plant when ripe and so it is preferably planted close to the homes. In case of beans aid

cotton their plantations are found away from the homes to avoid the problem of domesticated

animals such as goats and sheep as these crops ripe in Novaber/December/January wheh it

becomes difficult to keep the goats by giving them fodder at home.

Young boys and girls, mature men and women, old men and women work on the farms. In

fact like the women in Puba, women here had their won farms and a husband is never the

only bread winner. Rich people hire Hona labourers and in fact the people hire some of the

Hona faom Ganda to be permanent labourers. When a family lacks guinea the propersity is

for the family to go and work in another mans farm who would give them either money or

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Parwa Genealogy

The genealogy of the Parwa Balamis is very difficult to construct. There are many

complicated accounts which are not only uncertain but were so contradictory. The one

c instructed was solely based on Kobuli Gana's (Galadima Gana's) account assisted by

M. Ali Mwajim. Galadina Gana's immediate full brother M. Thlama Palambirni, gives

a different account, even on the question of who was their father. One man's accounter

(Galadama's as shown) gives their father's name as Dzarma Wabi, whereas M. Thlama's

account has it that their father name was Njika. Whether their father was known by two

different names is not certain. M must have misunderstood M. Thlama or M. Kombali.

I decided to construct the genealogy based on Galadima Gana's view because it was easier

to do so, secondly he was being assisted by another knowledgeable young man. Whereas

his counterparts just listed names of old people without any specificities, Galadima

Gana went a long way to specify people according to their fathers and brothers.

However Galadima Gana's account suffers from many uncertainties and it was also brief.

He rarely mentioned dead people especially if the deceased was younger than him or

about his age. According to him the generation in red on page 70 were not related to

those in the blue on page 71. But today they appear to be the same clan. M. Yano

confirms this too. So they are actually two segments (Nyarmbira) in the account although

three can be distinguished.

Because it is so brief it has eliminated many people and at times I had to remain

him of some of those I knew were from their Parwa. Perhaps he wanted the interview

to be that way, I don't know.

Nonetheless what is drawn is a rough idea of the clan's genealogy to the best of

Kombili Gana's and Ali Mwajim's account.

Goladima Gana (also known as Kobali Gana) His interview

Gadima claims to be over 75 years old. He was not born during Dimin but was born

during the period that followed immediately. He said he was about a little over thirty

when he married. His married life is about 45 years. When I asked h.m before the actual

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interview on the 2nd of July the following were around M. Ali Mwajim, M. Bulama Wakawa,

M. Musa Juman, M. Alidu Balami.

When asked about Yamtarrawalla he said that he does not know anything about the name.

Neither did the people around comment about his ignorance of Yamatarrawalla although

some argued that he was much older than seventy-five.

Bura originated as a language and the early speakers and their generation were called


M. Kobali Gaka agreed with his brother M. Thlama that one of the reasons for the

division of clans was for the purpose of marriage. For example it was not possible

to marry up to 6 or more cousins. This means that the cousins of both sexes will not

get wives and husbands since it was not possible to communicate with other communities

around especially if the communities were hostile. It was also their view that they

should marry each-others cousins to preserve their identity. So ane of the causes of

the presence of many clans was marriage. The elders would come and call brothers and

fahters so ti-at they would go before a Hoptu of the Nyarmbwa and declare that they were

no longer relatives to the extent that would prevent marriage between them (this is called

"Pu Hoptu or Shiu Hoptu" between clans).

In connection with division by "Pu Hoptu" was the case of constant vengeance by

other aggrieved party. The aggrieved party might have been aggrieved by a member of

a clan. There were many people in a clan who might like to fight, steal or abduct other

people's wives. Their such action would cause trouble for their entire clan. If this

continues and some other members of the clan die in consequence, the aggressor's

segment would be chased away. What was done was to call other communities and tell them that

such a segment was no longer a member of their clan and whatever they do they would be

responsible and they alone must suffer the consequence. Kombali Ga a gave an example

of the Parwa Kwagutara. In the past they're the some segment but under Mazau Bata

Angurta their segment was changed from their entire segments and so today they're of different

Parwa. Still with the case of death, if a man has many children and he suddenly discovers

that his children are dying without and known sickness n a mysterious (manner) wqy even constant

snake bite he would suspect his other brothels of witchcraft and he may likely leave his

brothers and deny his relations with them by ("Pu Hoptu").

Another cause of division is lack of food. This comes with population explosion.

In the case of famine due to large numbers, a father, his children, and grandchildren would

run away in a different direction and eventually these different segments would become

clans by themselves.

Another case of the run aways was when one man of the "Dur" kills another person

from a different "Dur." If the news comes the best thing for these "Dur" of the aggressor

was for them to run away or put up a risistence. When they decide to run away segments

by segments may flee in different directions over time and with limited communication

there may grow to be different "Dur" independent of their former relation.

A similar cause of division was if the "dur" was invaded by pestilence. This kind

almost happened with this Parwa when a epidemic broke out and hundreds dies. Those that

survived the pestilence left in different direction but later they're able to come together.

Galadima denied any allegation that someone can claim the "Dur" for any reason.

Origin Story

No one had ever suggested this idea except Galadima. He agreed with many informants

that the Parwas was once a segment of one whole Balami clan. But when asked what happened

that the founders left their native land somewhere towards Gidu to come and settle in

foreign land, Galadima brought this new View. His explanation was that the founders of

most of the Bura people were chased out of their original land the present day Bura land

by a what he described as "Mangga." Asked what the "mangga" was, at first he said no

one knows perhapsp he was thinking that I wanted to know whether he has seen Mangga

I don't know). Later he explained that Mangga were a group of invaders who came and

ate up all they found. This group had the means of exchange more thai the original

settlers and so they bought up all they found. The only means open to tile victims

of the Mangga was to migrate away into other areas where they could afford to get

food. So this particular segment of the bura people of the Balami in particular migrated

towards the Hawal, Gongola and Binue Valleys in Adamawa province. Some went to the

Bata area with the hope that one day they would return to their mother land. After

awhile it became possible to return. But most of those who left died during the flee from

the Mangga. So according to him and how oral tradition says the men who were the only

Balami their names unknown came from along the River Banue and Hawal Gongola River. So

their known settlement was at Skikda and Bala. Over time his wealth (cattle) multiplied,

his children grew in number. They must have stayed there for a long time and must

have been a large settlement for oral traditional had it that the Shikudu and Bala were

two rivers made as consequential of the water the women used to feed their babies and the

weather they bath their babies with. fhe water was so plentiful and so strong that it eroded

the two rivers ShikudaKa and Bala streams.

M. Galadima agreed w th the others that there were divisions here. However he

does not agree with the others that there were many divisions. He is of the opinion that

there were two divisions one was the Pubarites and the other the Parwa. The Pubarite went

straight to the present site of the village Puba but the Parwa moved to Mbwakua. However

the plains of Mbwakva was not enough and so some of them left to Bwala the name Bwala

came from the fact that the leader of the group hanged his quiver, bow and arrows on a tree

called "Bwala" after some years some fund that there were no enough room and they migrated

away to Golam.

Galadima Gana does not agree with the alaim that Yanderang's segment was their one

relative as others seemed to emphasized. He says that the man's father came and settled

at Tiraku where Yanderang himself was born to Yermadlandir. His did not settle at

Shikudu Ku Bala nor Mbwaku.

Now we have some of the Parwa at Bwala who are do ng to be different from their relation

and others still at Mbwakva. As time passed when those segment at Golam were dying and

those who survived joined Yanderang's group at raku on the pretext that he was their brother.

This was the beginni g of how Yanderang's children though not officially known to have been

the relation of the Parwa joined hands with them.

It was coincidental in that the gr up at Mbwakva and thosewith Yanderang met at Puba.

Details have not been known as to how those at Mbwakva accepted Yanderang (But we might

guess that since the two segments have come to 6ther peoples village it is likely that their

relations would be cemented together especially when some segments of the Parwa at

Golam have accepted Yanderang as their brother). They all settled in Zara Bandding at

Puba. Yanderang's children were found to be unhappy and so were their other Parwa, because

their only job was farming and yet they were denied good aroble land in a secured position.

hey had to travel outside where it was easy to take them captive.

One day they came at the edge of the Puba plateau and in the distant scenery they saw

the Pelambirni plain. They asked permission from the owner of the Haptu of Robasu Marki

about 8 kilometers on the east. The owner, a man by the name of Yamondiya allowed them o

to go and settle on the plain. There these would have the advantage of eating palm

tree fruits in times of famine. So Yanderang after he had been given the permission

left Puba and settled near a rock called Pelambirni. Some segments of Yamallimkoksa and

his brothers after people like Yamallim Koksa died went and joined Yanderang's segment.

These were the known people and their family that joined Yanderang. Mazau Bata Anggurta,

Gornia, Katsala, also Yabishi.

They became properous there and lived and farmed the valley of the Hawal. However

one kind of manjcatis broke out killing thousands. Yanderang left back to Puba where he

died. Some others went to Pirfa. After some years of silence they returned to Pelambirni.

'he first person to return was Nyatau and his brother Haman Tiku. They settled at Gajuri

then others came and Pelambirni was never left empty. Macar was the last to return. With

the coming of the Babur things began to change. Although ilacar Yangkurma (no relative -

means Yangkiker -a) came late but because his father was the founder of Pelambirni

he was called to be the ward head of the village and he accepted it and his Nyarmbwa still

hold the wardheadship today.

but something happened to them again in the they were fund of committing

adultery and the Baburs would fine them hearily. When they were here at Puba Macar Yangkerama

eldest som of Yanderang acquired a herd of cattle and so he became wealthy. So he feared

the Bubur would wast this wealth. They, therefore, migrated to Kwardu. Some did not leave

the village. Agter a while they returned.

However Macor and h s sons left to Morju partly because of his herd of cattle. Some of

his sons such as the late Yerma Ntawa and yerima Kanawa refused to go with him. He

died there (that is Macar) in 1963 and his segment returned to their village. But the man

who inherited the wealth left the village and is not stationed at Shidiffi. His name is

Shetima Thlama.

Yamallimkoksa children namely Yabisi did not leave the village where he kept the

village Hoptu. The Hoptu is kept by his segments his sons grandsons.

while at Pelambirni and as Macar Yangkurma got riches, his segment despised the Yamallim

Koksa's or Yabisi's segment. As for the segment of Amncieau and Kada Madar they used to

be a segment on their own because they're said to be pugnacious and when they go out

they used to cause trouble for themselves and their relations. Yanderang's children were

not good fighters and when the Arinancau group would cause trouble, the Yanderang family

always suffered. Yanderang found that they are a thorn in his family's flesh. Many of

his sons were killed and wounded. Fearing that if this Armacau group has not been checked

they as trouble causers would be a sources of extermination to their clan. So Yanderang (Pu

Hoptu) and Amnacau's segment left to Pirfa. However because those pugmacious elements were

eliminated or have died, their remainder Amnacau himself came back and allied himself with

Yabisu's segment and so although they used to be a segment the Yobisi family liked them

and they seem to ally themselves in a way that they can hardly be distinguished as a different

segment. Beca se the Yanderang family dispised them, the Y both hate the m. This is not

to say that an animosty exist between Yanderang segments and the other two segments.

However a more friendly relations exist between the later two group than with the former

group. Inheritance however is strictly disallowed among the three segments. Some people

disagreed that Amnacau's gru#p is a segment on its own. They didn't share the view that

Kada Midar and Amnacau's group are pugnacious. The person who was present M. Ali mwajim

during the interview and others enformants disagreed. They rather believed that it was

true that Kada Madar and Amnacau's group left. The others in one of their migrations to

Pirfa. But when they returned to their former other segments they were received without

any trouble. Ali Mwajim however agreed that Yanderang's and Yabishi's segments are two

different segments.

Asked about the relationship of the 'Dur' and their other communities Goladima said

that there were no any established relation which we can call friendship. During 6ne

of the talk about the history of the origin he talked of how Macar Yangkurama was a friend

of the Pubarites. (Because of the going to Pelambirni and back to Puba and finally

to Pelambirni I can however say that the Parwa must have been friends of the Pubarites.

For as the saying goes a friend in need is a friend indeed, the Pubarites were friendly

to the Parwa when the epidemic monigeaties broke out)

We can also infer that as the Parwa were at Puba and because they asked Ymmondika the

owner of Rubasu, they were in the Pubarites jurisdiction.

As Kobali Gana has said the Parwa were not warriors at all. So we can't talk

in terms of having enemies or rivals. They're all pacific in their doings and when they

migrate to a new village they accept those peoples leadership. But one of them Macar

Shitami was brave and he was well in his villages and even beyond.

There is someone who is the head of the Dur today. But the same person combines this

post as well as the wardhead. However if we are to follow the traditional the head of

a Dur Galadima Gana is the eldest member left so he can be considered the head of the

Dur. There were elders too and here Kombali Gana agrees with Dakori's account of theizi

duties; and how they make decisions.

Today there can't be elders as in the ancient times. If by age there are elders of

course Elders in the sense that they are the most senior members. But Kombali Gana

aaid that elders do nothing of the sort as obtained in the past. They have become like

children of those days. Settlement of disputes can be tried before the head of the ur

say about the question of inheritance amongst brothers. They still keep the Hoptu of which

Kobali Gana sadly lamented had been ignored by all the youngsters who appear to be or are

in the position of serving a different God on different grounds.

There were no special titles except as the account of Dakori revealed apart from

that there anr no titles. Asked hf the name Galadima he dedlined to explained. As we can

say for Abubakor Tafabasawa so did the people of the past addressed their respectable

gentlemen as Ya. So if it were in the past Kobali Gana's name would be either YaKobali

or Yagana. So we can approporately address him as Yakobali Gani.

As has been mentioned there are theee Nyarmbwa's here. No one could give the

genealogy of the office holders at all.

Resedential Units

As the clan migrates their settlemtnts were strictly based on segments. He was

so emphatic here too. le gave for .example of how one brother in-law of his called "aman Aki

thought that he could leave his father's residence and build his house near his friends

at a different village despite his fathers constant warning of the consequence. As this

man left he prospered in the first decase but later he became ill and none of the firends

whom he left his fathers residence, village and care for their sake was ready to help

him. So it was advantageous to stay as near as possible to one's father's or segments;

place of residence. In case your segment may other clans if you are not near

your father one may not have a devence put up by his friends. He gave an example of another

story in a legion. The man did not like his father, nor his brot ers. He left their village

and he and his friend founded another village of their own. Theywere very tight frineds.

Each time this man's relatives would come to him he used to get hostile at their coming and

he despised them so much.

One day, a widow called this man and advise him that he was very very ignorant to

do this to his relatives. She advice him that a friend will not substitute a relative.

She told him that blod is thicker than water. In order to make her admonition meaningful,

she told him to try his frined and the brother he hated. The trial was this. She gave

him a goat and told him to go and kill the goat and semar himself and his knife with the

blood. 4hile the knife was smoking with blood, he was to show the knife in such a state

and he was to tell his fired that he has killed another man.. He was to do the same for

his brother. According to the woman the man who loved him best would follow him as

he flees from the enemy. When he showed his brother he told-the brother that he has

killed a man. Ao although he has treated his bother in an unpleasant manner, the vengeance

was coming on all of them and so let them forget what had happened before and let them flee

together. So the brother, agreed to follow him, but his friends who l&ved him

very much declined to follow him but only promised he would keep his property in custody.

So they left with his brother to pack his luggage. While at his uouse they talked, the

brother warmed and admonished the one he hated before and they went back to their father

residence together. The case of when one goes to stay with chis uncles he would miss

many privileges of security, happiness, encouragement and general welfare.

For the number of people living in Nyarmbwa see Dakori's explanation. The other

houses spread around the "Dur" head by segments.

There was a clan "Hoptu" but it was not as strong as the other individual Hoptu.

Kobali Gana has a hoptu called Kubista which he said was very powerful. The Hoptu was

the secret behind their success wherever they went. It was taken from Hina area. Something

was removed from it. He said in the past there was a horn of bibbirdang (I don't know

it's name in Englixh but gives it has two large horns and it looked like goats but

much bigger) attached to the hoptu. Once a fly touches it, the children of the segment

wo Id suddenly be short tempered and wo ~d cause trouble within the clan and other clans.

So their father left the horn f.r white ants and they ate up the horn and so the other

piece was thrown. Oo however if one would slap them without any justifiable cause they

willnot fight back.

In fact Mallam Thlama Pelambirni, the informants brother, got the title Mallam from

the fact that their segment were good doctors becuase of this idol.

As to the Hoptu Nyarmbwa they share it the Balami at Bwala because it was their

great grand fathe 's Hoptu.

6ome other NON-Dur can come into it in the manner Dakori described. The Hmptu

has no special powers. The Deepers like the Kubistu wer the eldest after a predecessor

has died. Today both Hoptu's are almost losing their powers as they're not trusted and


The present religion of the 'Jur is Christianity. This has been so far quite a long

time. No one could give the exact date but only to say that after the missionaries arrived

at Garkida in 1923, they shortly came to other areas, Pelambirni inclusive. One could guess

that since the late 190O's and early 190's Christianity came to Pelambirni.

Like Dakori Galadima Gana talked of how traders who used to ply the Gwangeri, Kauji

and other roads towards Kanuri land, they were converted, to Islam. These travellers

were converted because of the criticism they suffered from at the hands of their Kanaru

counterpart who were moslems. See Dakori's explanation and that will suffice.

As for Christian Galadima's account revealed that the early missionary were Malam

Aonga Mr. Kulp. And Malam Aku Bata (At Garkida now). When they came they lived on

exemplary life. They never steal, cheat, quarrel, cornmit adultery and were very pious.

'hey preached that anybody who accepts the authority of Jesus would be transformed in that

manner. Not only that they were expert preacher's and they brought according to him

something very good. They have according to him bro Lght reading and writing and for

western education Galadima was very thankful. He tackled of how the missionary taught people

to be pious and had never attempted to be violent. Their criticisms were mild and so

they could accommodate Bible teachings easily especially the young bodys who were never

introduced to their idol yet.

He said they lo ed everybody and helped orphans. -or example M. Thlama Bulami, the

newly installed Pukuma of Biu, was such aman. His father and mother died. The missionary

tood and educated him. He became a big man at the Hoppital. But because ne was full of

life and living in manner for that he was chased from Garkida but was accepted

and employed by the Biu Vocal Authority. Not only that when they invited some one they

would him bytgiving him money, a pair of bulls and a plough. Because of this the

wooed men helped preached the gospel to all the world eagerly. The others being awed

by these wooed men's vicissitude would accept Christianity with the hope that they wcuad

experience such a vicissitude too. Almost all of the Parwa are Christians and this was

because they did not like the auburs and their ruling constitutuions and so they accepted

the missionary instead. (Perhaps we can infer here tbo that because the Pubarites liked

the 3ubur's way of life they chased missionaries from their village and accepted the Islam

village John Chiwi's view)

He denied that the Fulani ever come to their area. 'hose who only invaded

them wer*3 the Bubur. He said Fulani also helped preached Islam in Juraland. For they

settled with the Bura for many years.

During their stay, they Fulanies were strict moslems but they raised no force to spread

the religion.

He also denied any competition between the indigenous religion or between Islam and


Kobali Gana's account of traditional dresses correspond with Dakori's view. However

t:iere are some things which Dakori did not mention. For example he mentioned that there

are for example two kind of aisa one is for the lower arms, the other for the upper

arm. That only 4 were worn on the upper arms and as many on the lower arms. His account

agrees with Lawan.

lya's in most respect. As such see Lawan lya account.

His differed for Lawan lya and Dakori in the respect that he said that people use

'juggum' or 'Yambul' all long knives which can be worn around the shoulders, plus bow

and arrow in the quiver which has been decorated with coloured skin and some silky


He also confirmed Lawan lya's idea ofmen plaiting their hair's. But he denied that

"Doncilu" and some shorts were in use. He said these were of recent invention or importation.

In fact he said that all these dresses were seen with the Pulani.

As for marks the same with Dakori.


He agreed with Dakori and Lawan lya of the steps and so see their account. He gave

another specificity of betrothing a woman when she's aged or by giving ones 'lia mbuli'

or fjabi' of one kind. 'his is comparable with a western idea of wedding ring.

Marriage as it is done even today varies from place to place and kom country

to country. Oo although his account is similar with the other two informants, I deemed

it necessary to write his account out (an afterthought).

So the declaration of one's love to a girl means giving her your handware "lia

mibuli." By now her parents are aware and she knows you intensions too. If she jelts

you she does not accept. After this one brings a pot of beer, 6 "jabi," or maximum

of eight, eight "ausa" rings, With all these things one now has engaged his wife.

The beer was to me given to the invited guess mainly relatives, friends and others. This

is the first time that the general public will know that the woman has been married to

another man and anybody who nurtures an affair with her must be responsible for the

consequences. From now too the husband was expected to pay frequent visits very often

and during the visits the husband could bring gifts such as neclaces of all kinds

like "Shiwi" (white small beads).

After this the suitor takes 7 kuntu then followed by two pair of 8 "Kuntu",

one "bul" or two "bul." This is part of the bride price.

After these one brings three more "Kuntu" so that his wife comes to his house.

In his h use the wedding ceremony takes place. A guitarist will be invited, a kind

of goat or sheep would be killed and friends and relatives would be invited. They

would be playing on a stipulated jute from 6:00pm till dawn. After a while the wedding

ceremony will come to end.

The end of the wedding ceremony (bathla Gulum) the bush and cooks eight pots of

beer, kills a huge he goat, plus 7 Kuntu and 4 arrows. These will all be taken to the

wife's house and the meat will be divided among themselves, person b person, from

the mother and father to their brothers and sisters and other relatives.

After stay ng for a while (. or 6 weeks) their house the man gets the wife again and

they play for six weeks. This periodical going and coming goes on for up to four times.

After the fourth she would never return to her fathers house. She would be escorted with

calabashes, guinea corn, flour, pots and household utensils. This does not agree with

Lawan lya and Dakori view that unless all the bride price is paid the woman will continue

to come to yoir house and return to theirs as long the bride price is not paid.

While at their house as has been mentioned uhe husband pays occasional visits

and he is expected to help work on the mother-in-law's farm especially in extending

her farm or preparing a new farm for her.

The marriage of a widow correspond with Dakori's account.

There has been a lot of changes firstly the use of "Kuntu" and "bul" have

been obsolete. Instead money is used as a means of exchange. Secondly the periodical

going and comings of a woman to her husband's house has also bee something of antiquity.

So was the use of beer. Another important observation is the involvement of the native

author ty in today's marriage. The father in law was expected to pay 25 kobo for the ward

head and 75 kobo for the village head who then gives him a receipt. The reasons behind

the involvement of the local government being that the authorities have officially

approved of the marriage and to that effect if any one would abduct the woman from

her legal husband the authorities will take appropriate steps to solve the problems that

might aries.

Above all all marriages toward follow three way traffic. One of these ways is

the marriage based on Christian marriage, the other on Islamic marriage. The last

which is rarely practiced today is the marriage besed on the British Ordinance Law

in which it takes place before a magistrate in a law court. All these changes can

hardly be explained. One can only guess t at they are an attempt by the society to

adapt the so called 'modern' or 'western' ideas of social life.

There are no ceremonies in the street sense of the word. However as Dakori has

explained Kaboli Gana also ga e the same account.

Neither cou:d Kombali Gana talk of titles in the Dur. One would hav. thought that

the name Galadimi must have been a title but Galadima was only his name and nothing.

Dakori's account should be consulted. Galadima is a recent name.

There were no traditional installation for according to Kobuli Gana installation

applies only to authority or government. So because there were no formal ruling

institutions there were no installation ceremonies.

The head of 'Dur' was not chosen as such. He inherits the leadership from his

grandfathers. If a head of a "Dur" dies another successor would be named on the final day

ending the mourning. His qualification was based on a.e. If he is the eldest and

could comprehend property and has the sense of leadership he would automatically become

the head of the "Dur." In fact no younger pe son whuld accept the headship of a "Dur"

when an elder person is still alive. Kobali Gana gave an example of one man called

Abdu, the son of Macar, whom because of the youthful ambition wanted to be the head of

the "Dur" while another older person was alive. He died immediately at a youthful

state. The explanation of his death was his ambition to be a head of "Dur" before

he's old enough.

If there are however many elders who are peers, the man with the sense of leadership

and who could be called a "Kataala" would be named the leader of the "Dur."

There might be a case when the eldest person might refuse the headship of the "Dur."

Such an elder was in the position to name another elder person to be the head of the

"Dur." Things have however changed today. Kobali complained of how people are

confusing the ward head of a village (political) and the head of the "Dur." In most

cases the ward head was to be the head of the "Dur" though he was not necessarily the

eldest person. Not only that the headship seemed to rotate within a limited circle.

If a head of "Dur" dies and as he is the wardhead too, only his children or full and

half brother could be named even if they were not the eldest person left in the "Dur."

This is the traditionalism in modernity which Kombali Gana sadly lamented.


When Kombali Gana was first contacted he was reluctant to give out information.

But with the help of other people around he gave out a lot of information, one of

which is the genealogy of the Parwa Balami. Although his information is to me, a mere

epitome, he is the only one who gave a more tangible story.

Information From Malam Thlama's Interview

M. Thlama claims to be around 70 years old. He is the immediate brother of Kobali

(Galadima) Gana. The title Malam came from the fact that he is a native doctor.

In fact all native doctors are addressed Malam (Malim). He is known for the simple

reason that he is an orator and does not forget anything. When I first contacted some

people they informed me that he is the right person for the information I want.

When I contacted him at first he refused to talk unless if I can bring his brother,

Galadima Gana and the head of the "Dur", Kuhyi Gashadi. But after I explained that it

was very difficult to get all these people around and because many people have confessed

his oratory he agreed to give information on only the history of his "Dur." So he did

not say anyt ing about clan, Dir, and the origin of Bura.

Below is the detail of the interview. The following were around: a stranger from

Dungguma, M. Buta H. Balami, later M. Yaro and M. Ali Mwajim. There were alot of

information as there was been for sale in his house that day. One more comment about

the inter view with this man. As he was known to have good memory' and to be an orator,

he was not ready to accept any question from me. So I found it difficult to organize

the thousand and one stories, the thousand and one neames of old people and many

irrelevant stories which were very confusing too.

He offered us colar and beer.

The Interview:

The Origin History.

Like his borhter Malim Thlama agrees that the origin of the first Parwa was from

Hina area, and the first knwon settlement was at Shiknda ka Bala. He also agreed that all

Balamis were from the same ancestor who was the first settler at Shiksda ba Bala. He agreed

to the division which his brother been referred to as the Great Divide which occurred

at Shiknda ka Bala. Like the others he could not account for the division. But as for

the division he guessed or rather reported what rumors said that, a division of that kind

dould have been the result of quarrels, invasion from outside and perhaps a conscious one.

In the conscious case he said that a division could have been asked for the reason of

marria e. When young boys a d girls of the same Dur grow up they found it difficult and

in fact outrageous to marry each other. This would probably mean that since there were

no contact n the early days marriage could have been almost impossible. So in order

to facilitate marriage, a division would have been called for. This is done by "Pu Hoptu."

Galadima Gana also agreed with this view.

M. Thlama like others also attributed fighting or what we can say vendetta to be a

cause of division and consequently the presence of many clans. He also agreed that

sheer number wo.ild have caused a division. He quoted the example of a division and the

break away of one Ali Anggawa's segment who were so fond of fighting. Because of this

action, some of Vanderang's children who were being killed by those who took vengeance

as this was the rempant in those days. So Vanderang invited the people of Wadang, Golam,

Kwangu, Yimana and Gimbi at Puba and witnessed to the whole gathering that Ali Anggawa's

children were no longer related in any way with his segment and any trouble they cause

should not be considered Vanderang's and his segments palaner. So Ali Anggewa

(Yanggawa) left Vanderang's segment and they settled at a place near the Hawal River

called Domna.

He couldn't give the detailed of the genealogy but he gave some other names which

were not included in Galadima Gana's genealogy (found on pages 122-123). Such names

as: Abilatakadaka the brother of Yahyelasu, Ya mbewa, Yajikui, Jikta, Hogi, Yagederu,

Yadzarma, Yayaktiya, Dawi, Yakusora, Saki Mwajim, Borbur Tandirka, Goura, Sulbi, Yarima

Dadi, Ndachara and Mshediyambu.

So the division occurred at Shiknda ku Bala for the reasons numerated above. According

to him they stayed for only one year at Mbwakva from Mbwakva then they went to Puba. It

was a Puba when condition proved unpleasant that some of the Parwa dissipated. According

to his account Yamanmadi (Hyamammadi) and Yarimadlandirang were told to go to Tiraku;

Yagwamsa was told to go to Golam, Bila Salki went to Bwala. However he emphasized that

although the clan separated into segments they were to remain closely related as before.

(John's: While one can't agree with the venue of the division of the Parwa clan

that is at Puba, one could sugeest that such a division occurred at Mbwakva as most accounts

seem to verify.)

He was not precise as to how they returned to Puba and so my earlier comment seem

to be justifiable. He only mentioned that at Puba the Parwa found it difficult

to acclamitize themselves. Firstly as farmers they needed sufficient land. Secondly

they needed to be left on their own but when their children wold pass stools in the

farms of others around their house, some of their neighbours would come andpour ashes

on the excrete. This was believed to bring anus harm to their children. One day they

went to look for some ropes at the dege of the Puba Pl.teau. There they saw the vast,

attractive Pelambirni plain. As Kombali Gana's account showed they asked permission from

Yamindiya who was the owner of Rubasu Milim. They settled there. Before the Dimin

an epidemic meningitis broke out and killed many. Some of those who survivors went to

Pelambirni under the leadership of Yanderang who died at Puba.

After some years had passed, and with the meningitis gone, Macor Yangkurma, son of

Yanderang Macar Shitami, son of Yabisu, Annacau, and Hyelapali led a group of twelve

segment or house families returned to Pelambirni. From here the town was never deserted

comp etely.

While at this turn the Bubur came. As Kombali Gana showed, Macar led others to

Kwandi and there some return while others left to Marja, still in fear of the Bubur



The same as Kombali Gana and Dakori.

From here he declined to talk anj further. In order to avoid any trouble and

embarrassment on my side and his I left him.

M. Yaro's Interview

Date of Interview 15th July 1973, Time 10:00am ll0OOam

Malam Yaro was born in 1923. He attended Garkida Primary School from 194h-1950.

He worked as a teacher from 1952 until he retired in 1970. He was chosen young though

he is, because it is hoped that he might have a lot of facts about the culture of the

people as an educated man.

When he was first contacted he claimed to have known the origin of many clans. But

he said it needs to be emphasized that we cannot speak in terms of one origin for

the $ura people as we can speak of the Yoruba's originating from Oduduwa. As an

introductory message M. Yaro said that all Balami were one but Parwa and Bwala came in

one direction towards Hima area and the Pubarites from Gidu. The Mshelia people came

from their role as blacksmiths. But as a people they probably came from Tabira towards

Biu area.

Origin of Bura

No known but it might have been the people themselves. He however could not say

why and how the name 3ura came to be applied to the people.


He could not define "Dur" in a precise and conaise thought nor could M. Yaro

give reasons for the presence of so many Durs. He only spoke of how they moved in

different direction in those days. But no real reasons for the presence of many clans

except the view that in the first place we talked of how we could not refer to the

Bijra people to have originated from the same person. "o the different represent different

people. Membership of the Dur was by birth. Membership therefore arises from the fact

that one is born into the clan ans is related to them biologically However someone

especially a stranger who had no strong base and had almost lost his identity can over

eons of time be absorbed into the clan. ions of their slave could claim the membership

though such children would in no way be in a position to inherit something. He gave an

example of how Macor, Dika a Chibok slave who was bought by a Bimba head (Yaah by name).

The said Yadika was absorbed into the Bimba clan. Such cases were very rare and

in fact today there are no such cases at all. People from the same clan rarely never marry

amongst themselves.

The Origin Story

Like the other Malam Yaro agreed that the first Balami originated from the south

along the Benue and he in fact gave the origin place as from Gidu. As farmers the original

Parwa settled along the Hawal River at a place called "Shiknda ku Bala." It was

from there that the Great Split occurred. He does not share the view held by M. Thlama

t at the Great Split occurred at Puba. The name 'Shikndu ku Bula' signifies the names

of two feeder streams of the Hawal River. The two streams "Shiknda am Bula" were made

by water pouring down from women who used to feed their babies. This means that the

settlement here must have ueen for a long time before the water used b; the women could

haxe formed a stream. This sounds like a legion as Malam Yaro said. The reasons for

the split might have been population explosion, marriage reasons, as has been mentioned

by Galadima Gana and M. Thlama.

At "Shikndu ka Bula" some of the people went to Mswakva and some to Golam then

Tiraky and Bwala. Then it happened by chase that all left Mbwakva, Tiraku, Golam, to

Puba. From Puba they came to Pelambirni. For the rest of the story see Galadima Gana's


M. Yaro did not sha e the view vwith Galadima that an epidemic alone sent Yanderang

back to Puba, according to him Yanderang led the people to Puba because of famine

coupled with the epidemic.

What seems to be interesting here was that M. Yaro mentioned something of

slavery. Jhen Yanderang founded Pelambirni he founded a market. This market which

was held on Hondays was popular for slaves. Dlil people would come with guinea

corn and they wfuld in turn he given slaves. A child would bqghis father to sell him

so that he co Id go to the master and eat food. Or sometimes strong men would

invade a village and capture slaves. These slaves would be sold for guinea corn.

The rest of his story agrees with the others.


When I was interviewing M. Thlama, M. Yara was there and both of them gave the


He himself went to give these points as a landmark in Pelambirni History without

me asking for them.


There are two religions. But the dominate religion is Christianity. He liked

to give an important event like Christian missionaries. He gave the follow-ag as the

first people who brought Christianity around the 194O's as Mr. Eikenberry, M. Afani

from Zaria who he said is the present chief of Wasasa, Zaria. Sinde the coming df

the missionary the place had only a C.R.I. During this period young men were taught

how to read and write so as to ue able to read the Bible. since it was difficult

to get boys and young men the missionaries asked boys and gave them gratification to

attend the C.R.I. gatherings.

Like the others he denied any conflict between Christianity and Islam or any of

these religious and the indigenous religion.

As the C.R.I. continued a school was established in 1958 where he became the first

headmaster and teacher.

As for Islam it was not popular in this area. Consequently Malam Yaro could not

give any vivid details. From what he knew, however the follow ng has been expanded on.

He said long before Christianity ever came there were Fulani's who had settled among the

Bura people. At Pelambirni one famous Fulani called Malam Musa was said to have preached

to the whole people. Most of the people became what we can say 'nominal' moslems who

accepted the religion but at the same time were practicing paganism. These Fulani's

however took no care to see that everybody observed the principles of the religion

as written in the Koran.

So when Christianity came with material things, these nominal moslems left the

religion and became Christian. The missionaries spared no ti e to baptise them and

preach them the Bible. And as the people could read the Bible after a long period of

attending C.R.I. they know learn the whole Bible faster. Whereas the Palanis did not

teach the people of how to read and translate and interpret any verses in the Koran and

whereas the Fulani were immaterial and less sophisticated than their Bura counterparts

the Missionaries brought fascinating things material n appearance and they taught

people to read and interpret the Bible and to preach to others the message. So Islam

*Christian Religious Instruction

failed to attract the majority of the people.

Later in the early 1950's through to the late sixties, Malam Bayal and Malam

Sikwari (both now living in !ashau Alade) came and were preaching, baptizing people. But

as the saying in Bura goes "As dry bamboo wood can be bent" those who have received

Christianity continued with the Practice. By now sons of the people were becoming

teachers and enjoying the benefits/material as well as spiritual of missionary activity

in their town.

Dressing and Traditional Marks and Hair

Style asd ;,ell as Marriage in traditional past see Dakori's and Galadina Gana's

account. He confessed that those people know better.

M. Yaro's view of Yamtarawalla. He does not know exactly except that he heard

stories that Tamtarawalla originated from the Kanuri from towards Tabara. He settled

first at Mandiragirau. There was a division at Mandigirau of which he could not account

for. Some of those at Mandigeran left and founded Biu town (present site of the town)

There arose conflict as to who was to rule the Babur. Were those loyal ones left with

their father, Yamtarawalla, at Mandigirau to rule or those rebellious sons who had fled

their father and settled at Biu? At the end those at Biu won and so the Mai was from

hither to stationed at Biu. But he explained that before the final victory came to the

Biu people, one of the daughters of Yamatarawalla revealed the secret of theinvicibility

of Yamtarawalla. The secret was that there was a sacred horn of a horse which Yailtarawalla

planted in his village. That horn had the power to preserve their safety. bo the daughter

w o knew the secret removed the horn and so defeat came over those at Mandirager. When

Yamtarawalla knew his daughter's treachery and his son-in-laws rebellion he knelt

down in a ready position to shoot them. Where he knelt a stream was formed there

todcy as his foot dug a stream. The son-in-law escaped but Yamtarawalla rode his

horse after them yet they escaped. He was so annoyed that the steps of his horse

are still found on the rock today. Seeing the treachery and consequently, the defeat,

Yamtarawalla sunk into the ground and did not die a natural death. He is believed to

be alive today.


In most of his answers to the questions I asked him, he confessed that he does not

know the real answer but oral tradition the answer is such an. such. He was frank with

himself. The questions he did not know he would refer me to i. Thlara or Kombali Gana.

So his information above must have been well comprehended by himself.

Maina Mari's Information

Age 75 (about 76,} Time of Interview 4:15pm 5:30pm Religion Christianity

Date 13th July 1573 He is one of the oldest who can give information, as was

reported by M. Yaro Balami.

The Origin of Bura

His explanation was shallow but he said that this was an ancient name. However

Aura means the people, the language and the land. These Bura people have special

characteristics. One who acts in a traditional and indigenous way is said to act 'Bura

Bura'. Someone who likes to fight is said to be a Bura man. When asked to explain

why some people in north section of the Bura referred to the southerners as Bura, he

explained that in this context Bura means people around the Hawal River. He epitomized

that in the beginning the work Bura was good and it mesas three phenomena the land, the

people and their language. But this original definition and applicability suffered

from Bubur imperialism which has successfully been established in collaboration with

Western imperialism. Prior to this event the Bura people were owners of themselves

without ant established ruling system. After the estaolishement of bo h imperialisms

the Bara people were looked upon as wild people and so it was used in an obnoxious way.

However today it is understood that Bura has gained its original definition.

He could not define what is really meant by 'Dur' out it cane to mean those

who are related by blood as clan and by language such Bura 'Dur' is a whole.

Like his counterparts Maina Ma1i attributed the prevalence of many clans to

population, explosion, fi hting, famine. See earlier explanations about these.

Membershnip of the "Dur" also arises from the fact ti-at one is related to a group

of people biologically, No person can claim membership for he did not hear the rumors

nor did he know of any example. He however made one specific case when one obtains

a slave woman. This female slave was supposed to marry someone from the masters clan

not as a slave again but as a legal wife. Recognizing the ever importance of the family,

it was observed that if such a lady is left without any information about her family

relations she would not live a happy life. So what was done was for the owner clan to

give her in name to a different socail group like the Mshelia to their friend. She

would socially and legally have a father, mother and brothers from the siad Mshelia before

she is married off the the husband of the owners clan. A man from mshelia clan could also

send their slave and they would give that female slave a father from the Bulami. She was

related to the rest of the members of the clan socially and legally. This was done oft

of humanitarian motives, to retain the importance of belongingness and gregariousness.

In exceptional cases did a captive male be a member of a clan. If for example Kuhyi

Gosham owns a male slave. It will not be strange if the name of that slave is Adamu,

and so his full name would be Adamu Kuhyi Gushau. Overtime and if the humanitarians of

good will did not tell their successor generations of this Adamu's relationship he would

eventually be absorbed into the clan.

The Parwa were well know for heir farming method. This according Maina Mari

was one of the reasons why slave market thrived here. Dur ng the famous 'Dimin' some of

their left over guinea corn were used to purchase slaves. So many slaves were bought.

Some external traders from Dlil area came and bought back the slaves and so the market

thrived. As the "Dimin" came to be permanent the Dlil area came and bought back the

slaves and so the market thrived. As the 'Dimin' came to be permanent the Dlil

brought more guinea corn and would excahnge it for slaves. The Parwa were not good

warriors. But one of them called Macor Shitami was a brave man (Katsual). He was

well known for this valour in his villages and the other villages around to the effect

that when Gwanyera traders used to travel to this Gwanyeri area, they usually go under

the leadership of Macor Shitami. Like the Omani Arabs, under Said Seyyid travelling in

East Africa in the l9th century, so the Gwanyeri travellers around Pelamnbirni, travel

around Macor Shitami.. Even if they went without him, they would claim that tliey went

sent by him and no Dlil done touch them. So although the clan can't claim to have good

warrior hist ry certain individuals made the clan well known in those days.

Origin history

Like the others Maina Mari said that the first Balami and subsequently the

Pariwa segment came from Hina, south of Biu. He agreed with M. Yaro about the formation

of the two rivers "Skiknda ka Bala." He stated that the first settlement was near

Shibira. As has been stated t ds segment were good farmers and so they settled on the

flood plain of the Hawal River. When the land was exhausted they moved to northwoods to

a place called Mbwakva. But the top of the Mbwakva plateau was too little and after

two weeks some of them found that they must move and some of them went to Bwala. The

top of the plateau was also too small and so some left again to Golam. Yarimadlandirang

was one of those who went to Bwala and he later left to Tiraku. Yamallim Koksa did not

leave Mbwakva but over time he moved his segment to Puba. By now his sons Yakwyaku,

Yabisi and others, were small children Yamdlandirang's children. Yanderang led his other

group and they coincidently met at Puba. Some stayed at Yimani. Those at Bwala did not

nove from the present site of the village Bwala.

We don't know what happened to the Parwa segment at Puba, however we must assume that

there was s ortage of land for c Itivation and so when they discovered the plain of

Pelambirni they migrated to the place.

At this time the Babur were arriving with their bad behaviors as they like to waste

other peoples property and so because the Parwa's action were incompatible with the Babur

and because the Parwa had wealth they decided to migrate to Kwandu. When peace once

returned to Pelambirni some came back and others led by Macor Yangkurma went to Marja.

When Macar Yangkurma died at Marja some returned to Pelambirni and one came and settled at

Shidifu Twaku.

He did not distinguish the segments at Pelambirni. However, he agreed that Yanderaang's

segment were related to the whole Parwa, unlike Kombali Gana view.

The Parwa were friendly and had a good sence of leadership because the Parwa

were not the founder of Pelambirni. But because of their examplery leadership they

overshadowed the founder whom he could not mention his mane. There were no enemies

nor were there any rivals when asked to elaborate on 'mjir sardzi' talked of earlier.

He said that there was no relation but only friendship establishes this relationship. If

this Parwa clan goes to war, they asked their neighbours especially where they found

themselves living together. While at Puba Macur Yangkurma was said to have been a good

friend of Yabirma and subsequently Bilama Borka. that answered why they fled to Puba

in times of trouble like the famine and menjeatis So at Puba they would ask the

Pubarites to help them as their frined and leader as the Pubarites were the founder of

Puba. He confirmed Macar Shitami's valour and the name he had established in the municipality

and other areas.

He said that there were elders and head of the Dur w ose both qualification depended

on ate. The duties of the elders were to take decision on behalf of the clan in matters

affecting their welfare and this includes the settlement of disputes, the migratory

establishments and when and when not to fight, keeping the village and clan Haptu. See

how settlement is done according to earlier views. There are three Nyarmbwa which are

closely related Yanderang's segment, Yamallim Koksa's, and Kadamador and Amnacau's segment.

The distinction between the latter and the second was very faint.

The genealogy of office hDlders of each Nyarmbwa

Yamallimkoksa Yerimadlandirar Kadu Mader and Amnacau

Yabisu Yanderang Unknown

Catikar Macar Yangkurma
Bilama Salbi Abdu

Yerma Ntawa

Kuhyi Gasha

These heads of clans also were not well informed by him but this is what he could


Residential Units

See M. Kombali Gana's (Galadima Gana) description for he agreed with the account.

He siad that the Dudulom clan here were the founders friend and inlaws too, the Malgwi

was also an in-law and so were the Mliya.

There was/is a clan 'Hoptu' just as stated by Kombali Gana. For more information

see Kombali's Gana's account. He in addition talked of Dzarina Wabi, Kombali Gana's

father, keepin- a 'Hoptu'- for the purpose of giving birth to male babies. This special

Hoptu might have been the Kubista, and so non-Durs could not / can't approach it.

He agreed with Kombali Gana's account of the history of Islam and Christianity in

appertain of t is area. And like Kombali Ghana, he denied any conflict between

Christianity and Islam.

He mentioned nothing more different from M. Yaro, M. Thlama and Kombali Gana about

traditional dress. Tribal marks are numerous and from my own observation the original

traditional marks are missing which was called 'Nyat Guch.'

Marriage has been described by almost all and t ough their accounts vary, I think

there are correct with a few errors which was various from area to area. So there is no

point trying to write the full account again. However there is one kind of marriage

which others did talk about. This was what the Buras say 'San Mwiwla.' This is a kind

of illegal marriage. Illegal because the bride has some how been married to someone.

jhat the illegal bride groom does here is to abduct the woman with the knowledge of the

parents from her husband. Being an illegal marriage it was the kind that would provoke

and one that warranted a vendetta and inter ethnic wars. It was this kind of marriage that

caused wars of separation of a clan.

One does not pay a lot of goods and services at if one was to perform a legal

marriage. Nor does he celebrate all the other ceremonies. However he should be

ready to pay the legal husband his bride price or face the consequences. He gives only

two bul and six Kuntu and beer to mark the only celebration here.

There were no ceremonies he could remember apart from those mentioned earlier by


See former accounts made by Dakori and the others.

In this village and Parwa clan as a whole I was directed to those I interviewed

by the first person I contacted after I explained thing that I want some facts about

the past. He referred me to all these people: Galadima Gama, M. Thiama, M. Yaro, and

Maina Mari. The head of the Dur was not contacted because they said he is not a good

rememberer nor could he give logical information about the traditional and history of

the clan. This is not to say that he does not know the. Naturally we would expect

the head of the Dur to be knowledgeable about the people whom he rules. But the point

here is that he can't give logical tangible explanations of events in a desired way.

I could not interview so many because although there are many old knowledgeable

men and women, they are hardly to be found anytime of the day and some are not willing

to give out fact about the past. Suffice it that the fourmen have given no more than

is required to the best of their memory.

M. Gana's Interview

Malam Gana is about 60 years old. He is the first Pubarite Piakizhu that Bulama

Barka sent to school at Garkida in the 19hO's. He was a teacher but after his retirement

in the 1950's he became the chief scribe of Puba. Now he is the chief scribe of Hizhi

a village h kilometers north west of Shafa. He is also a farmer. M. Gana is the father

Mr. Sulemanu Gana Balami who graduated in the 1971/72 session B. Sc. Govt.

Chose to interview him because he is reputed to beone of those who are able to

give a lot of information about the past of the Bura. Politically speaking, M. Gana

has been in the forefront as far as Kwajaffa District is concern. Perhaps that is why

being about twenty kilometers away from Hizhi and not being in that administrative area,

yet he is maBe the Chief Scribe of the Lawan of Hizhi.

When contacted he himself said that many missionaries had often approached him

about historology of the Bura people especially from colonial conquest and the establishment

of Babur authority in Bura. But that could be more of a history than sociology. However

sociology is science study of the history of a society and would be of enormous benefit

to us here.

The Interview
Date 27th July 1973
Time and Duration: 6:30pm to 8:00pm

When asked abo t the origin of Bura he was perplexed but two minutes of silent

thinking he said that it is believed that Bura is the land and so those who inhabited

it bear the name Bura. He said too that during a certain dialogue between him and one

big Babur man by the mame of 'alam Camaliva, the said man revealed to him that some of

the .ura are related with the Shuwa people. (This according to him is a secret)

As to the questi n of the definition of Dur M. Gana's explanation has it that

a 'dur' has two meanings. First it meant people who have the samle mother tongue as

we say Dur Hausa or Dur Bura. All we are saying here has the connotation of people

who possess the same mother tongue. It does not follow that as I can speak Engliah

I am English. No, far from it. Sedondly Dur when used often has the connotation of

realted people biologically, it is like a descent group in an African context. He did

not quite agr.e with the view expressed by others pertaining to the question of the presence

of money clans. He did not despite the fact that those reasons could have led to a division

of clans into different segments and then those segments in turn grows to become

differ nt clan group themselves. But in the case,'of the division it was thought that

the this kind of activity did not come consciously. Two brothers especially if they

were not full brothers would each move away with is segment from each other. Residential

Units were located primary in segmentary units. A man builds a compound. His sons

cluster around him with their compounds. The sites of the compounds may not be suitable

for more c pounds. Since the father won't let his son build a house away from him, the

whole segment of that man would move to a larger and more suitable site. Over time and

as they were migratory settlers the segment grows to be a clan on its own with a

forgotten other members of the same clan they parted many years after they left. He

quoted how Lot and Abraham divided a grazing area themselves. It was difficult, M. Gana

maintained, that some other non "ur settes among a group. So it was difficult to see or

hear actual cases of how one can claim a Dur. However a lost person in place couid be

absorbed and his children by different Dur. He gave an example of how some slaves of

our great grandfather Yabirma, some Kilbus, were absorbed and were eventually called

Balami when slavery was outlawed and we don't know when because real slavery did not

take place here as far as M. Gana could remember (except during the famous famine called

Dimin when people exchanged slaves with food materials) these Kilbus left to their araa.

But they are still Balamis today. Another person called Lokmaja were among such absorbed


Membership is by being born into the descent of the clan. This agrees with what the

others gave earlier.

Like Lawan Iya and Dakori, M. Gana said that this Pubarites clan were well known

as hunters and as hunter expert shooters. Since the greatest weapon of those days were

the bow and arrow this Pubarites were revered out of fear and love. According to M.

Gana this answers the question of how the village was never deserted since it was

founded from time immomerial. This also explains why there were many strangers who came

to seek the Pubarites protection from invaders. Consequently the village grew as a standard

urban centre by medivil standard which we earlier heard.

The Origin Story

Malam Gana's account corresponds with those of Dakori and Lawan Idya (which was

written earlier in most part). However certain points conflict.

Like Dakori he believed that tise Balami Puba (the Pubarites) originated from the

south in Gidu in the Adamawa province. These unknown people settled at Khiknda ka

Bala there was a division in the Balami people as a whole for reasons as explained.

From there the Pubarites followed the Hawal Valley and settled at Gidi Kan and Dengala sath

of Garkida about 20 kilometers. This unknown Balami was a hunter. He said his father

Balama Borka said that people guessed that the unknown man was called 'Puba' where

the name of village came for he was the founder.

As he was staying at Dangula and Gidikau, he used to hunt hippo at the present site

of the Puba village. The present site of the village was said to have been thickly

forest and large lakes abound. His first settlement at Puba kas been marked on the


the map at the beginning as X.

As he was hunting he used to shoot at the hippos but when he misses the hippo and

the arrow would hit a stone and it would bend. He was his own blacksmith. So he built

fire place like an oven where he used to mend some of his broken arrows. He kept his

quiver and the arrows one of whose actual size appeared earlier. In the process of

blacksmithing a Hona man from Zor Wo (earlier referred to as Zidi or Gwayeri) heard the

norse and he came. They met and negotiated between themselves. The unknown man

(puba) told the Hona man or "Zimanta" to settle near hin and so the two places are

called after their names Puba and Zimata. Their meeting as is given here disagrees with

Dakoris which appeared on pages earlier.

Puba married Zimata's daughter and their knwon son was not Bonithlala according

to M. Gana, but Bir Ma Kadula Dakwi. He justified himself by saying that old people

joke with the name Kadala and some people namely Musa Madala was named after this man.

This Kadala Dakwi was a rich man because he had 777cows.

Here an important point was made by M. Gana. One Balami sect has their compounds

at Zimata. This group once was a segment of the Piyakizhu (Pubarites) but during

Kadala Dakwi's tile there occurred a division but M. Gana did not hear of the reasons

for the division. In fact they were both from the same ancestor but because of that division

these Balamis at Zimati are different today. In those days there was no marriage between

them. But about forty years ago Midala Wuli started to marry fromthere. Today they

are inlaws of each other. (When copying I asked Lawan lya to relate whatever he

knows of Birma Kadal or Dakwi. He agreed that he was from the Pubarites Balami but

carried the saying that Birma Kadala Dakwi was the father of Yabwala. Yet he confessed

he does not know exactly.)

At Birma Kodala Dakwi's time because he had such number of cows 777 in number, he

forgot about tue hunting and blacksmithing and he took herding cattle. So the person

who led the other sect took the bow and arrows and the equipment for blacksmithing. So

iirma Kadala Dakwi became Ardo and the other set became the hunters and blacksmiths.

M. Gana disagreed that Bangsangdana was looked after by the Pubarites. rather the


Balami of Zimata who onee a segment of the Pubarites Balami wer the keepers. It was

after Yapukuma's time that thB Pubarites Balami got their Bongdangdana the rest of the history

agreed with Dakori's view.

The earlier statement by Dakori and Lawan lya about the relation of Pubarites and

Durs are acceptable to L.

'here were elders and their duties as expounded upon by M. Gana agreed with the

others which appeared earlier.

He agreed with Kombali Gana's, Dakoris and Rawan lya's views about the duties and

privileges of the elders and head of a Dur. He said it slightly however. For example

he said that if a man at Pelambirni wronged another person at Puba, like stealing his cow

or abducting his wife, the aggrieved in those days would go to the head of Dur of the

aggressor who would, if he were a man of good will and often the head of Dur were men

of good will, go and receive the wife or whatever was stolen for the aggrieved. He

would rebuke the aggressor and has the privilege to ask for gratification from the

aggressor as well as the aggrieved. If by giving the wife or stolen property back did not

pacifity their relations, the aggressor was expected to buy beer and two "EBuntu."

The elders of the aggressor and the aggrieved would serve beer to them and they would

(the enemies) forgive each other. From here none of the enemies harboured an rancouras

attitude towards the other.

SeeLawan lya's, Kombali Gana's, and Dakori's accounts of residential units.

About Hoptu see Dakori's view.

The dominate religions are Christianity. He lectured a lot about the.two. His

lecture revealed that there were no moslems or Christian Bura's as far back as 1903.

He agreed with the others view that some moslem Fulani's came and settled among the Bura

people. I was confused about his account. My understanding therefore is ambiguous

here. He earlier stated that the first group to be moslems were the mshelia from

Subwang. They became moslems because in the first place they came from towards Kanuri

area and so they knew how to curcumcise. Secondly one of their elders perhaps the

head of the Dur married a Fulani girl. The Fulanis promised him their daughter on the

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