Birnin-Ngazargamo, the old capital of the Borno empire has been in a state of depreciation and ruin in the present day Yobe state. But a recent initiative, taken by the government of Yobe state, to conserve the state’s decaying heritage, may save the famous empire and its fantastic historical landmarks from going extinct.
According to recorded history, ‘Gazargamo was the capital of the Bornu Empire from1460 to 1809.
It is situated some 150 km west of Lake Chad in the present Yobe State of modernNigeria.
According to Wikipedia, “the impressive remains of the town are still visible. The surrounding wall is 6.6 km long and in parts it is still up to 5 m high. The town was built by Mai Ali Gaji who ruled between1455–1487 after the final defeat of the Dawudid branch of the Sefuwa ruling dynasty.
At the zenith of it glory, Ngazargamu city was then an important centre for trade and learning, at its height was home to around 20,000 inhabitants.
In 1809, after several years of indecisive warfare, Gazargamo was besieged and destroyed by Malam Zaki, in the Fulani jihad.
Today the famous Birnin Ngazargamu now lies in Yobe state. The state government is now making moves to preserve the structural and other heritages that are incidental to the ancient city’s history.
A press statement issued by the spokesman of Yobe state, Abdullahi Bego, said a committee of eight eminent scholars and politicians have been constituted to handle the task of preserving Birni Ngazargamu’s heritage.
“His Excellency Governor Ibrahim Gaidam has approved composition of an eight-man committee for the demarcation, restoration and conservation of the ruins of Birnin Ngazargamo, one-time historic capital of Kanem Borno Empire”, the statement reads.
“The Committee, which has the Secretary to the State Government Alhaji Baba Mallum Wali as chairman, has the following members:
Professor Yakubu Mukhtar – Vice Chairman
(Yobe State University)
Hassan Gana – Member
(Permanent Secretary Political Affairs)
Abubakar Garba “ “
(University of Maiduguri)
Dr Ali Manzo Usman “ “
(Yobe State University)
Director History and Culture “ “
Ministry of Home Affairs, Information
Lawan Abba Shettima “ “
Muhammad Abare Secretary
“The Committee will produce a design for the project for the short, medium and long term to restore and conserve the ruins of Birnin Ngazargamo and develop it into a cultural and historical center. The Committee will also work to develop and promote the site into a possible World Heritage Site.
“The Kanem Borno Empire, storied and powerful in its days, has ruled over the vast Lake Chad Basin area for over 1000 years.
“The Yobe State Government hopes to tap from the tourism and research potentials of the Birnin Ngazargamo site by investing in the Committee’s work.”