History and Development of
The history of Buratai has been compiled by interviews by W. B.
Malgwi and.Jiri Mshelbwa as well as the history of Kamumyaby Jiri .
Before I start on the real work I will like to point out the diffi-
culty we encountered, which influenced the method of our contacting our
On racing the village we contacted the Head of Buratai Village.
He then directed us to his Wakil (adviser) and other informant, Alhajo
Ayuba. These are the eldest people in this village, who had stayed with
their grandparents, and collected lots of stories about their origin and
However, we were somewhat confined to these informants for most
information. This was because the lawan seemed to have taken this affair
seriously. Such that he infered those in the royal family should be the
ones to give us information. However did interview some people seriously
and some tend to give viergent information with those from the royalfamily.
Such that since we had rather specific informants I am writing up the
information collected in a composite form and pointing out where other
information gave us different view to the questions.
Because of the season of high labor demand on the farm, we were not
able to meet some of our informants during the daytime. Except Wakil
who is too old to attend to the farms. But Alhajo Ayuba joined together
in the evening after dinner and delivered us information.
Note: You must try to get out of this circle! especially for head-
ship history, etc., there are generally conflicting stories.
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Place Buratai, in Alhajo Compound.
Informants Alhajo Ayuba and Wakil Abayamta who hold the title
Wakil Bodai. There was no other person present except
my co-worker Jiri Bwala.
Time 8:00 P.M. The time was fixed at 8 P.M. because Alhajo Ayuba
had to finish eating and say his prayer before meeting us.
And they agreed with the lawan to be two because in case
one forget or say the other, then the other informant would
be able.to remind or correct the other.
I (8) ORIGIN OF BURATAI
The people of present Buratai came from Gadzargamu. When asked
whether Gadzargamu has meaning he said he has no idea. But his
grandparents,just told him their ancestor came from there.
From Gadzargamu they settled at Mdla, under their chief (Bura
Kuthli Shitra;(1). The informants were not sure of the cause for
their movement but commented that in those days people moved for
betterment, either in search for a better farm land or running away
? from their enemies, or if they hear of dlira (Bura) invaders approach-
Dlira ing from a particular direction then they would move before the
in Bura, invaders arrived in their village. They said this was particularly
word(Bura) true during the dry season when harvesting of crops have been completed.
Dlira, is 'If the invaders were believed to only wage war against villages for
Bura looting they could bury some of their properties in the bush and
move away. So that, when the invaders couldn't find them and pass
their village or retreated back." they could come back to their land
and collect back their properties which were hidden.
At Mdla, they settled on a plain land surface. Such that, they
feared Kanuris and Fulanis who were attacking them for slaves and their
they had .women as well as to convoy their horses and other goods. Because of
long ago? the fear they settled and settled on a hill. Which is just to
the right, while travelling to Damaturu. The hill is about 10 miles
from the present site of Damaturu.
According to the informants the direction of Gadzargamu is from
the east and they were moving from east to west although they sometime
move towards west but often in conflict with the Kanuris who they
try very much to avoid. So they tend to move more towards west and
southeast. Using a Bura term the informants said they were labelled
(Mjir Rahi), which means people from east. Mji (Bura) means people,
and Rahi means east.
By the time they went settle at Mdla, Kuthli Shitra- died, and
his eldest son took over, his name was Kuthli Diwamza .(2 However
on this hill they had difficulty of water supply. They had to go down
the valley in search for water. However they didn't know where to go
if they should leave this hiss (broad flat-topped mesa). This was
because the hill used to defend them very much, because they could
see their enemies at afar and could prepare to defend. He said
Fulanis .especially their enemies thel T^and the Karuris used horses and
their basic weapons were spear (Bura Mwasu) and Katsakar (Bura)
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These were the basic weapons of the Kanuris .They use horses as a
means for transporting their soldiers. Later on the Kanuris started
using bidigu yigu (Bwa),(Dane) guns. Bidigu means gun, and piju means
ash. 'This name was given because of the use of gunpowder. And the
part that after one shot it has to be filled up. Such that if the
shooter missed his enemy he is likely to be the victim. In fact the
word bidigu piju is used as a proverb or parable, which I couldn't
translate the meaning as the example cited by the informant. But
action? if say, if all soldiers were with the gun, all ready for(action
optimistic?They would be optimistic of victory. But on firing if all their
enemies should hide, and they should missed, then they were likely
to be all victims before they could fill up their guns gain. Bidigu
"piju" could mean that of putting on hope on what is not reliable.
The Fulanis warriors also used spear (Mwasu Bura) on horse
Get draw- when waging war. They also used Ausir Bura). (I am not familiar
describe with this weapon.) But according to description is like a long sword.
Used by the Fulani soldiers on horses or on foot.
While they were still on the broad and flat mesa hilll) their
enemies never beat them. So the belief that this hill (Gar-Bwa) was
good to them. The informant said "Gar ni ku dlu da." This means
this area has been of good fortune. They usually associated hills
with spirits and assumed that the spirits of this gar(hill) were
guarding or protecting them. So they adapted one stone which they
used to sharpen their weapons when they attack invaders or chase
invaders. This stone was adopted as their Mili M (shrine) Bwa, or
haptu. It is surrounded by trees and then they surrounded the trees
with stones. And in the pre-colonial days sacrifice of cow and ram were
made to it when there was a threat of war. And they were never con-
This stone was called 1 mzha Dzaku.
However despite their security on the mesa they found it difficult
to go to farm when their enemies surrounded the hill, as most of their
farms were on the undulating plain which was at the base of the mesa.
Of equal magnitude was the problem involved in getting water for their
own consumption and for their animals, especially horses. The problem
was aggravated by their increase in population on the mesa. So their
Kuthli Diwaramza decided that they should move down to the lowland
where they could secure more water and farm lands. But it wasn't long
after that Kuthli Diwaramza died. He was then buried on the hill.
Then either his son or his brother took over the leadership. Because
the informants were not sure of who took over, whether he was his son
or brother, so they were said he was the next Kuthli but the Kuthli
had to be either the junior brother of the deceased or his eldest son
who was found to be physically and mentally fit to take over.
The Kuthli who took over the reign of Diwaramza was Kuthli
Buratai(. He carried out the intention of his father to move to
a new site. So he moved from the mountain to Bukur which is on a
flat plain just near the present Buratai about only a mile or less
,to the north. They settled on a relatively thickly forested land.
.The actual site was on a gently sloping land. The forest served as
a protection against being seen by distant enemies. Moreover, since
the forest was thick only where compounds were built was the forest
cleared. Such that it made it difficult for horse raiders of the
the Kanuris and the Fulanis difficult since they could get at them
with bows and arrow easily at a distance.
When asked why the Kuthli on this site happened to get a name
analogous to the name of the village, and what the name of the
village Buratai implied in the past and now, the informants said it
was the name given to the Kuthli when he was a child. Such that
when he became Kuthli the name came to be used for the village even
after his death.
*N.B. As pointed out on the first page that we were directed by the
lawan to two specific informants. We felt that there is bound to be
a biased view about some questions.
Particularly the elder people or the majority of people in this
village identify themselves as Babur and don't call themselves Bura.
When the question on what Buratai means was presented to another
elderly person in the village with less attitude about Babur-Bura
business he said, the meaning of Buratai is that means Buras On
il soil Hi)which means Buras living on alluvial soil. A rocky(?) soil -
'ut to make
3ense could called pel-pela. While sandy soil wuyaby,and fine.soil koauilitu(?)
Low land. in nature after it rains is usually muddy just like some parts of
Bur. Such that when people came to this area and found them in
this valley (undulating plain. People were saying Ohl look at Bura
muddy soil). However (hi) or flat land as time went on the Bura "ta-hi"-
was formed (Bura on soil) into one word Buratai. (Hi could also
mean plain land sometime).
They settled on this plain for some time but still thought
their present position on the plain wasn't safe. So they moved on
to a hill still north of Bukur and settled on it. This time their
SKuthli Buratai died and Kuthli Dimama took over He was also
his son or junior brother of Diwaramza but the informants were not
sure of the actual blood relation too.
However the problem of security, drinking water and water for
animals continued so they moved to a plain section of the present
site of Buratai about 4-6 miles. That site was more or less an
undulating plain and they were able to obtain water from well as
well as from rivers, especially river Wutirtir After staying
on this site they went to stay on a new site about 8 miles east of
the present Buratai. This place is a plain and they had ample
supply of water by well as well as from rivers. This area was very
fertile by then for farming. However because their security must
be guaranteed from the constant threat of the Ka and the
Fulanis they then thought of making a wall around the whole village.
The whole village then made a joint effort and built a wall.
No good' Please give details of (1) how they decided (2) how the
building of the wall was organized (3) according to what
design, from where (4) in whose reign. (See p.20, #5)
They stayed within the wall up to the time when the first
,Europeans came to Buratai. The first European that came to Buratai
was Gagene Matsayike. Comment: This name Gateri means short, which
Matsayibi means he was a short man. But the word Matsayibi, might be the real
:? name which has been distorted for easy pronunciation in the local
dialect. The second to the first white man that came to Gujiba was
Mata Hadla Mata Hadla, and the third white man that came was orgi Gungdu.
= Mr. Elder -
All these white men were dealing with the road construction which
Williams?. came from Buri (or Damatum to Biu. The people helped a lot on the
road construction under forced labor.
(Check this carefully. I have good records on this from
archives.Were the workers given any compensation at all -
tood and/or wages.)
It was after the construction of the road from Damatum to Biu
that. the white men asked them to come and stay along the road, so
they moved away from their walled settlement to the present site
which is a very low and flat watershed.
The reason why they agreed to come on this plain, leaving their
old settlement now called Kufi, was because they were guaranteed
their security. Such that the Fulanis and the,Kanuris could no
longer come and invade them. The road also provided them better
means of movement to Buri or Biu. It is the new site now along the
road that is called Buratai. And their old settlement is now called
Kufi which means an old settlement that has been left. Similar to
a compound in which the occupant is dead and no one Lives there
could also be called Kufi. Those in Biu Saoth would call such an
Fiya old settlement Fiya and not Kufi.
Now there are no people who were the original or first settlers
there in Kufi. Only the Fulanis who have occupied Kufi recently
as all the people migrated to the present site of Buratai.
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However the site of the old settlement is being farmed by
the people of Buratai.
When questioned why they all decided to move out and not leave
some to work and stay there he said in those days if your elders
decided to move (migrate) you have to follow them, because the
.shadow of elders (=rulers) provided security. Such that the young
could not make their own decisions. Therefore if the elders agreed
to move it means all had to move and no one would like to stop at
the old site at the same time. They were not quite sure whether their
security was really guaranteed by the coming of the white men so
that they preferred staying in one place rather than dividing up,
with would reduce their cooperation in case of defense against an
attack. Moreover, people move with their brothers.
Comment: Most information was given by Alhajo Yakubu. He
was giving the information and Wakil only corrected him or reminded
him whenever he forgot. At times they disagreed continuallybut sort
out and came to agreement especially about their Kuthli. Sometime
Alhajo would say Diwaramza came earlier than his senior or before.
But they never ended up in complete disagreement. Also they were
trying to so detail in their information of their movements. And
we at times tend to be oscillating of the theme of discussion. As
when they started they tended to bring information that affected them
in each of their former settlements.
Although Alhajo Yakubu is younger than Wakil he seemed to be
.more filled up with information than the Wakil who is in his 70's.
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And when I asked Alhajo Yakubu how he came to, or how was one
opportune(?) to learn so much information in the pre-colonial
days he said the reason why he has enough history of their people
was he stayed with his grandfather when he was a young boy. And
during the events,work much as spinning cotton,his father used to
tell him all these facts.
Interview continues at Alhajo Yakubu's compound. Wakil Abayamta
was present also.
Continuation of origin of Buratai.
When they moved to the present site of Buratai from Kufi(old
settlement) their Kuthli was Kuthli Kadala Diangga(5). He was a
Can you very close relative of Kuthli Dimma whom he succeeded. He was the
simple first Kuthli to move to present site of Buratai.
diagram. After Kuthli Kadala Diangga died he was succeeded by Midala
Jakwa. Midala Jakwa was the grandson of Kadala Diangga.
After the death of Midala Jakwa, he was succeeded by Midala
Haman He was a half-brother to Midala Jakwa.
Thlerima!! V- Midala Haman was succeeded by Thlidima iyaluku(8) who was in
Was he under (9)
someone? turn succeeded by Bir Ma Dilugga On the death of Bir Ma Dilugga
he was succeeded by Thlidima Yamta(10). Thlidima Yamta was
succeeded by Garga Asur ll)on his death. And Midala.Asun 12)
succeeded Garga Asumawho was his senior brother. After the death
of Kuthli Midala Asura he was succeeded by Kuthli Meli 13) Kuthli
'Meli was in turn succeeded by Jakwa Zara(14). On the death of Jakwa
Zara Bil/Ma Mamza (15)took over the throne. Bir Ma Mamza was in turn
Headship includes 19 names
19 = 10 15 11 -
succeeded by Bulama Midala. (16) 80 270 years
Bir Ma Mamza was succeeded by Bulama Midala. On the death
of Bulama Midala Lawan Mallum Kuluku(17) took over. However Lawan
Thy was (Mallum Kuluku has been sacked of his office and how Lawan Ka Buratai
is the present Lawan of Buratai.
Asked what led to the sacking of Lawan Mallum Kuluku, the
informant said he was involved in embezzelment and brought friction
among the people of Buratai as well as these villages around him.
He was found misusing the tax money. He however refused to explain
what he meant by causing friction between the community of Buratai
as well as those under Buratai.
Comment: When we gathered the information about the rulers of
Buratai we discussed it with some teachers in the area. They advised
us to check with some people who they gave as free-minded people.
We called on one man Oni ni Kabura. This .is that the man said.
According to this man, the list given are not quite correct.
He agreed that they were one time ruler. But some names have been
omitted. He said he couldn't say much about the first 4 leaders.
I have numbered them in the margin. But starting after Thlidima
Yamta the Garga Asura was the Lawan of Buratai. But by then he
Guinea was suffering from one type of worm called Tishi in Bura. This
worm once the egg is taken in water hatches in one's body and the
worm grows into a long threadlike size. And it can come out on
any part of the body. It usually results in swelling of the part
.of the body where it comes out. By then many were suffering from
it. This worm in the Buratai. So he felt that Buratai wasn't
safe for him. So he decided to move to Miringa as his headquarters.
By them Miringa was. under the Lawan of Buratai. At that stage
Buratai was more like a district head and since this transfer to
Meringa, then Meringa, was made the district headquarters. He
however said Garga Asura was not an indigene of Buratai but was
sent from Biu. Such that Garga Asura was the first district head
of Meringa. When Garga Asura went to Meringa Tashikalma was sent from
Biu to be the Lawan of Buratai. This has been completely omitted
by the two informants who gave us the information. When asked
whether Tashikalma has a meaning he said Tashikalma is a title used
only at Biu. The title is given to leaders of slaves (walar mafa).
Such that he was sent to Buratai as representative of Biu authority.
But after Tashikalma died the Lawanship returned to the indigenes
According to this informant also Ajiya Garga Asura who left
Buratai to Meringa wa- also sent from Biu. He was a Mshel thus
a descendant of Yamtaru Wala and was not an indigenous person of
Buratai. He was the first district head of Meringa.
Place: Wakil's Compound
N.B. As you must observe throughout the interview, ownership
of land has not been pointed out. Since we asked of who came to
the land first he (informant ) were only telling that we (which
according to ? the Baburs ). We allowed him to finish up the
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history of their movements. Before we could ask the ownership.
This was because we didn't want bring out direct question on
Babur as they knew we were from Marawa (Bura area).
Now we put on the questions concerning land ownership.
According to Wakil Abagamta, the land of Buratai belongs to
Buratai Baburs. Its when they were in their old settlement, it was only
Babirs of Pabirs with four wards. It was surrounded with a wall
comprised with four gates. And when they moved to the present site they all
moved together as already pointed out. Such that this still makes
their present site to be in their control as well as their old
walled settlement now occupied by Fulanis.
When they first came through their constant(?) movement.
There were no people living there. Such that they acquired their
land ownership not by conquering the tribes who were previously
When asked what other tribes are among them, and why did they come
he said the tribes which had been there before and which have lost
their identity (assimilated are called Dlil. These people were
speaking almost the same language as Baburs but differ a
Wbit. Their first coming was through trade. They came to sell
\onions. When it was towards evening one of their young men went
to a well to drink water, where girls were fetching water. One of
the Babur girls said she likes to marry that young man. They(the
strangers) brought their onions on donkeys. During the evening
they feared that. it was going to be dark and feared making their
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journey home. So they requested an accommodation from their
leader. And they were allowed. The next morning that young man
who had been admired by one of the Babir girls, two Kuntu for
the parents of the girl. Kuntu is a woven cloth which has been
rolled into a circular form. Just like a ("Cello" tape). They
agreed for the boy to marry their daughter so they got married.
And the stranger found these people kind so they decided to stay
with them. This was how they came to Buratai. And they were
identified as Mjir Kwara (and Mjir Kuthla in Babur)Kua Mjir
Kwara means people who used donkeys. And MjirKuthla means people
who sell onions. This was because there is one type of plant
very impor-similar to onions which is not eaten like onions and is generally
need more called Kuthla in Babur (Bura language.) Although some Kuthla
here = is used for medicinal purposes. Before they never knew of onions
stories of so when they saw the onions they were thinking that it was Kuthla.
differing The man said that up to now we don't cultivate onions, so our
started people just called Kuthla, which they were familiar with.
This must be Up to now it is possible to point out those who belong to
pre- (-the Kwara or Kuthla group. But most of them don't accept it now.
org. and They just call themselves Baburs.
wards, Other tribes which have been assimilated were the few slaves
etc. by the
interview/ -hey caught who were mostly Kanuris and Fulanis.
Needs more ~
DETAILED and After the Kwara or Kuthla people there has been recent
discussion migration into Buratai by Chiboks first, Fulanis and recently by
they caught, Kanuris and Shua Arabs and recently after the Nigerian civil war -
how did they
assimilate. bos. He said most of the recent settlers came after independence-
- 15 -
Most of the Chiboks have been on the eastern side of the
village. And the Kanuris southwestern side of the village. The
Ibos along the main roads as they mostly engaged in trading and
some the village engaged with corn milling. (See Map of Buratai -
first page.) The Shua; Arabs are interspersed in the village.
There are also Karekari from Potiskum area. These people are also
intermingled in the village and is difficult to find them out. The
Karekare came a long time ago during the colonial period. This is
because we are playmates.(Joking relations to local people.) The
This had Kplaymates are the result of our sharing grand ancestors. And in
ancestors the past even if they fight with Baburs they will not be sent to
pre- jai but only warned and rarely will there be fighting although
jail?? there was "hot" jokes. Because if they see you with a shirt that have
hot?? a ur on it even is very small they could remove it in the past.
And Babur could do the ? for them. However, such "hot"
PC!! jokes are dying out gradually now. Why?
The informant said Babur are the oldest settler in Biu area.
And said Babur, Bura, Dlil, Chibok are all the same but because
Section?L ~of these(se ctions ? individually which makes them ? or
reduced their significance. He gave an example that .Nvwa which
is the local term for Kanuris is made up of many tribes. But generally
are called Nwa since they speak the same language.
When asked, apart from the similar language they speak (Bura,
Babur, Chibok etc.) could there be other factors whihh could tell
whether they are the same the informant said all these different
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groups were from the same are(?) but came at different times.
As\when each sub-group came tended to look at the other group as
different. For instance, he said Buratai was existing when Yamtara
Wala came. By them they were living at Kufi, the walled settlement.
Buratai But Yamta wanted to rule as he was an ambitious person and loves
Z Yamtara power. Also he had a supernatural power. So he defeated them
==-== and they became his subjects. Otherwise they were acting like an
Independent state prior to the coming of Yamtara Wala. And by
they ,sub- then even MirAga was a bush. But it was Ajiya Garga who moved to
defeated. Miringa when he was Lawan of Buratai. Since Ajiya Garga went to
the story: the Miringa then Buratai is put under Miringa. Prior to the coming
Once de- (Explain why not Kuthli)
feated how of Yamtara Wala Lawans were known as Thlidim That was the title
did they show
their Lawan holds. It was after their defeat that Buratai started to
station = pay tax to Biu (Yamtara Wala).
tributes, Comment: During the interview on land ownership the informant
higher as observed to be very cautious on whatever he said. Especially
or what. n the Babur Dlil question. He then sought if all that he says
Annual there were correct, He sought the ideal of that old man who is
of tax. a liberal mind person on who came to Buratai first and to whom
it? Very does the land belong to.
Interview with Oniai Kabura. According to this informant the
first settlersto Buratai were the Dlils. They came from the
direction from which from the start. That is from
the east. :The name originated around Chibok area. When they
were moving from east to the west. They heard about Dliva (invaders)
advancing in their direction. So they were moving away from them.
They came across Chiboks (by then not identified by this name). So
they asked them (the present Chiboks) whether they have seen the
Dlira (invaders). And the would be Chiboks said they had not
seen them. But they came across their recent footprints and recent
horses footprints. To quote in his own word. The would be Chiboks
said "Yem wata kur silada Chibuk." That is we have seen their
footprints just freshly. So those who questioned the Chiboks on
whether they have seen the invaders called those who said they saw
their footprints Chibok which means fresh sign of invaders who
have left. While in turn the Chiboks called those who questioned
them about invaders (Dlir), Dlila. Whick is related to the question
of invaders. It could mean that those who were running away from
invaders. But he (informant) was not sure whether it signifies
anger of cowardice since they were running away from the invaders.
The people now known as Dlila came to Buratai where they
walled their village against the invaders. Later on Yamtara Wala
came to Biu and he conquered them and he (Yamtara Wala) established
himself his kingdom over all the conquered people. However, Yamtara
Wala and his people were not Dlila but Babur. This Babur means
someone who likes to have power and be leader of people. Because
he has conquered many areas those people look at Yamtara Wala as
an ambitious person who likes to rule. Therefore they henceforth
Why call called him and his followers a Babur. Since all the individual
Babur?? states like the Buratai and others now have to pay some tribute to
Biu (Yamtara Wala) by then at Mandamgurvu. The way Dlila were
- 18 -
conquered was not through fierce battle but they just submitted
themselves to the conquerors. The Baburs were looked up to as
Were Babur4uperior. So they wanted to identify themselves like the Baburs.
So they called themselves Baburs too.
Babur Thali = As a result frequently these people (Dlila now Babur) are
group referred to commonly as Babur Thlali. Which means Babur (leaver
or Babur by direct translation because Thlali means leaves. But the ex-
on a tree. planation is that they are Babur which has been assimilated into
and fall the "real" Babur and in fact they are not the "real" Babur. Such
still that if we view the name Babur Thlali, as part of a tree then
Leaves add "leaves" make sense. A tree has branches. Branches indicate a
Help it a branch of stem from the main trunk (Yamtara Wala) while the
leaves are then attached to the branches. The branches will always
exist but the leaves often die and fall. This name'Thlali" is of
of the a great importance to the real Baburs as they were not(considered
Babur real members of the clan.
Babur Thali The name Babur Thali is usually used to all the assimilated
assimi- Baburs which starts around Miringa northwest to end of Buris.
north from When asked about the Kwara and Kuthla who came to Buratai he
agreed that it's true that such a people did come and now clarify
themselves as Baburs too. He said these groups were -still a sub-
group that of Dlila that came and joined other Dlila already in
Buratai. But because they came afterwards they were looked up as
separate Nyaranbwa. And before their coming they might have contact
with people who trade in onions and people who used donkeys as when
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they came, they came along with donkeys and onions. That's why
they (already settled Dlil) called Kwara (donkey) and Kuthla
(something similar to onions).
Now those who call themselves Babur (formerly Dlila) are
living in the center of the village, mixed with a few people who
identify themselves as Bura. Most. of these people who boldly call
from? themselves Bura are those who recently came to farm in the new
site of Buratai. Also there are some Bura pupils and teachers around
the school area. There are also some Bura who went there earlier
who have long felt somewhat inferior to call themselves Bura
minority small population
because of their size. And they tend to comply with the people
who call themselves Babur. ...also call themselves Babur.
According to this informant the people who came later to
this village are the Chiboks. Some came right when the road was
constructed, and some Fulanis who had been keeping cattle away
from the village. But now the Fulanis in Buratai are farmers.
Those who keep cattle are not in the village but are living outside
the village. And the women only come to the village every day to
sell milk. During the dry season they usually move away from the
village to different places where they could find enough water for
Other settlers in the village are the real Baburs who were
sent to Buratai when they came under Yamtara Wala. Of such people
,he said is Yakwadiga, the father of Bulama Bala (a ward head).
He came from Biu and settled there. The Nyambwa came from Yamadu
- 20 -
who died at Biu since five days of Yanta.
They are also some Karekare very few in number but spread in
the village. Then there are some Kanuris who came recently as
well as Ibos, and Shua Arabs.
When asked does the land belong to the former Dlila or to the
real Babur he said the land belongs to the Dlila (now Babur Thluli)
since they were the last settlers. But after their conquest by
Yamtara Wala they had to pay tribute to the Kuthli Biu (Yanta Wala)
and his followers which meant that the land (Buratai) is less
independent. At the same time when they initially came under
Yamtara Wala people from Biu are sent to rule them. Such was
Taslu Kalmu and Garga. However now all the land of Buratai is
under Buratai and any new village is under Buratai.
Some of Comment: We seem to be getting contradictory view of the
will be real people of Buratai. Whether they were formerly Dlil or real
cally Baburs. But I had chats with many people who said obviously the
when you original people of Buratai were Dlila which later identified them-
complete selves as Baburs. And this informant seems very liberal. And
the org. personally through it is difficult to draw conclusion from these
Kufi two views. I tend to agree with this man's viewpoint because of
ment.The every time the question of who were the original owners of the
got itself land was put to the Wakil Abayanta he doesn't give the answer
with quickly but later would say it belongs to the Babur. According
Buratai to the Wakil they no now claim name as the Buras have something
on the road.
like Mshilia or Magir. But according to Kabua there are
many Mbuya and Dibal in the village who do not want to be identified
- 21 -
with such clan names now.
This man drinks and when drunk he ? nothing. Also his
liberal attitude was seen when he told us that although he is a
Muslim he eats pigs because even the Kanuri who taught them the
religion eat pigs. Drinking,he said his ancestors were drinking
beer, so he sees no reason why he should not drink.
Informants: Wakil Abayanta and Alhajo Yakubu
2(9) ORIGINAL SITE AND LAYOUT OF BURA-TAI
The real original site of Buratai is not the present site of
Buratai. The original site of Buratai is now called Kufi which is
about two miles east of the present Buratai. See map front page
to the road leading to Buratai.
The original location of Buratai is the Kufi which is the
walled settlement. The actual site cannot be estimated because
we have not gone there.
There were four( Zaras Bura) in that walled village. And
each Zara had a gate leading out of the wall. But the number of
household in each couldn't be known to the informants.
The Zaras were living very closely in the wall. That it was
difficult to know that there exist Zaras in the village. The
households also were very closely packed. This was because the
village was walled and all the households had to be arranged
within the space provided in the wall.
The Zaras in the wall did not plant tiksha around the com-
pounds. But tiksha was planted just outside the wall. Such that
- 22 -
the wall marked the boundary between farm lands and areas of
residence. All round the wall were tiksha but inside the wall
there was no farming.
Comment: I had a chat with one of the villagers. And I asked
about farming in the walled village, Kufi. I asked in times of
besiege how could they be sure of food supply if all the farms
were outside the wall. The man said they did plant tiksha around
the settlement in the village where even there is space. But of
the section of the village whereby they could reached the wall,
there no space for planting tiksha was available.
At the present site of Buratai there are still four Zaras.
Each Zara has a Maiunegguva (Hausa) or Bulama (Bura). The Zaras
are still very close. As to a passerby would not know any demar-
cation line showing the division of the Zara. The Zaras are only
marked out by narrcw streets. See map front page page drawn by Biro.
The main road that runs through the village divides the village
into two. Each of these has two Zaras, each with their own
Bulamas. There are four Bulamas headed by the Lawam and his Wakil
Abayamta. The present site of the village is less than a kilo-
repetition!metre. But it is a nucleated settlement. The Zaras .are so close
and difficult to differentiate until when told by the villages.
The households in each Zara are also close. But according to
please? the informant, when they were living at Kufi (walled settlement)
the households were closer. Now there is a sort of crude street
- 23 -
I can't plan, which was absent in the past. Because in the past rarely
Please do people have another house another gate generally referred to
eain as to Cham. Where the husband of the house (NclirKi) receive
at the gate. The number of households in each Zara differ but the actual
number could not be stated. Because we tried to contact the ward
heads but were unable to get him at home at several occasion.
But those in Kabala Maman numbered about 80 households. And those
of Mamadu ward is about 70 households. The section of Bala also
numbered almost 80 households. But the section of Badawi we didn't
know as we were unable to contact him. And the people were not
sure of what the actual size of the households in his ward. Some
say it is about 60 or more. However the largest population is on
the western side of the road.
In the pre-colonial days when they were living at Kufi each
of the Zara had a number of wells inside the wall. There are also
some wells outside the wall. But in time of war they were limited
to the use of the wells inside the walls. While, when there was
peace they used water from river Wutirtir as well as some wells
dug near the wall outside.
They said at Kufi the water table is very high.. That was
why they chose to stay there. But the present site gives them
the difficulty of obtaining water. That up to now people still
,go to Kufi and collect water during the dry season when water is
very scarce. At Kufi a well of almost 10 feet will have plenty
of water. But at Buratai a well up to 30 feet will be dry by the
dray season. N.B. We observed some wells on the southern part
of Chibok quarters with many wells, some just almost two feet apart
which are quite deep and very little water in it. Some are even
There are some wells also on'the northern part of the village
which supply the village. There to there is some well under
construction on the southwestern side of the road.
(1) Wall maintenance \
(2) Gate organization and practices /
(3) Ditch yes or no, bridge across
Too much hiphasis on
present day village
3(10) The Village Headship and its History
Buratai is made up of four wards. Each ward has its Buluma
(Head). Now they are usually called with the Aunsa word Maiangwa
which means ward head, or to use typical Bura term they were called
Walir Zara. All the Zaras are headed by the Lawan. The Lawan
heads other villages as well. Such that each of the Zaras are more
or less separate villages (jurisdictions).
The Lawan in case of Buratai was called (Walir di ui) Bwa since
all the four Zaras are closely set up. And each of the ward heads
were termed Walir Zara. Walir Di and Walir Zara mean Head of
Village and Zara (ward) respectively.
Comment: The history of the village headship has already
been outlined in Section 1(8). This was because when the question
- 25 -
of who owned the land and how did they come was put to the
informants they started telling the movement of the people and
their leaders. Not to interrupt them then, we just took down what
they were saying. And we tried to put the questions again as on
Number 10 interview sheet. But they said as we have told you
yesterday. However they had only themselves to the Lawan
the head of the village. And when asked to list the geneology of
the ward heads they said the ward head was not right and people
did not care to retain its history. And they just gave us the
names of the present ward heads. However, we got some information
on the geneology of ward heads from other informants. According
to what we found out was that they thought that the (Bulama)ship
was not lined to their clan and hence didn't want to reveal it.
N.B. The full geneology of the Lawans (village head) has
been outlined. I will summarize it briefly here and only include
the ward heads. And the stories of some office holder.
Interview with Wakil Abayamta and Alhajo Yakubu
The first Lawan (village head) was called with the title
Kuthli, was Kuthli Shitra. By then they were Mdla, after they
After Kuthli Shitra died he was succeeded by Kuthli DiWamza,
who left Mdla and settled at Bukur just north of present Buratai.
After Kuthli DiWamza Kuthli Dimamai succeeded him. After all
those people were closely related. Often as half-brother or sons.
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