Title: History and development of Buratai (typescript 1974)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00095985/00001
 Material Information
Title: History and development of Buratai (typescript 1974)
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: Cohen, Ronald ( Compiler )
Publication Date: 1974
Copyright Date: 1974
Spatial Coverage: Nigeria
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00095985
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.

Full Text
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

their history.

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.

- 2 -

Interview Record

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.


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
means war,
in Bura, invaders arrived in their village. They said this was particularly
thus the
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
written in
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
horses [
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)


- 4 -

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
ing or
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

5 -

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

6 -

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(?)
aean flat
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"-

7 -

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

8 -

Matsayibi means he was a short man. But the word Matsayibi, might be the real
Mr. Hewby
:? 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.

- 9 -

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.

- 10 -

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
give a
simple first Kuthli to move to present site of Buratai.
dynastic (6)
diagram. After Kuthli Kadala Diangga died he was succeeded by Midala
19 names
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
,le sacked?>
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

12 -

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

of Buratai.

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.

Interview continues

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

- 13 -

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
Land of
Buratai Baburs. Its when they were in their old settlement, it was only
belongs to
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

living there.

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
Why onions.
\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

- 14 -

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
This is
very impor-similar to onions which is not eaten like onions and is generally
tant. We
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
groups who
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
linked to
pre- (-the Kwara or Kuthla group. But most of them don't accept it now.
org. and They just call themselves Baburs.
titles and
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

how were
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
basic -
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
colonial I
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.
burn?? ?
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

- 16 -

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
people know
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
How were
they ,sub- then even MirAga was a bush. But it was Ajiya Garga who moved to
ejected and
defeated. Miringa when he was Lawan of Buratai. Since Ajiya Garga went to
What is
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
appeal to
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
what kind
of tax. a liberal mind person on who came to Buratai first and to whom
Why took
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)

17 -

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
Why ?
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
non descent
group referred to commonly as Babur Thlali. Which means Babur (leaver
or Babur by direct translation because Thlali means leaves. But the ex-
like leaves
on a tree. planation is that they are Babur which has been assimilated into
Can wither
and fall the "real" Babur and in fact they are not the "real" Babur. Such
off tree
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
to it.
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
GOS clan
Babur real members of the clan.

Babur Thali The name Babur Thali is usually used to all the assimilated
refers to
assimi- Baburs which starts around Miringa northwest to end of Buris.
lated Baburs
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

- 19 -

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

their cattle.

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
these points
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
cleared up
when you original people of Buratai were Dlila which later identified them-
get a
complete selves as Baburs. And this informant seems very liberal. And
story of
the org. personally through it is difficult to draw conclusion from these
of the
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
story has
got itself land was put to the Wakil Abayanta he doesn't give the answer
mixed up
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


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)
tough plan
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
read this.
Please do people have another house another gate generally referred to
eain as to Cham. Where the husband of the house (NclirKi) receive

4v ,strangers.
Cham ldg.
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

24 -

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

left Gadzargamu.

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.

/^6?X^ c^^ ~ ^ > -

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs