BY: SULEIMAN GINSAU HADEJIA A YAU! HADEJIA TOWN WALLS AND GATES "Hadejia was a large town with 5 town gates and excellent walls about 30ft (9.14m) high, and 30ft (9.14m) thick " (Captain Philips 1909)
Hadejia Town walls had a long history dating back to the pre-jihad period. The walls were built to provide security to the people, and to serve as fortification against external invasion. Though mostly in ruins now, with a great proportion having completely disappeared, the walls were intact up to the time of the colonial invasion in 1906. Hadejia A yau!
The construction of the walls was done by direct labour using local building materials. Over the years, the walls have been taken subjected to several phases of development. Expansions and reinforcements were made to accommodate a growing population or to enhance security against attack by powerful enemies. The walls were invariably complimented by gates whose history could be linked to that of the walls. The gates provided the only entry points into the town. They were made extremely strong, thus making it very difficult for an enemy force to break into the town through them. Hadejia A yau.
The gates were manned by gate-keepers or porters (sarakunan kofa) appointed by the Emir. These keepers used to close the gates everyday from dusk to dawn, thus controlling the movement of people in and out of the town during these periods. Visitors or strangers were not allowed in unless with the express permission of the Emir. It was reported that one Emir ordered the gates to be left open permanently, confident that no enemy force would dare attack the town.
The first town wall in Hadejia was believed to have been built during the pre-jihad period. Though the exact date of its construction cannot be determined due to lack of proper records, its perimeter is marked by certain well-known local pits: Mai kilabo in the west, Atafi in the south, and Dallah in the East. It was said to be one mile in circumference, and had four gates. The second wall was built by Sarki Sambo in the early years of the Jihad. It was wider than the previous wall, with its perimeter approximately put at 2 miles 170 yards. It had 5 gates. The present wall, which was the third, was also built during Sambo's reign. It was built at a time when Hadejia was at the centre of a bitter rivalry between Sokoto caliphate and Borno Empire. As such it was much stronger and wider than the previous walls. An extension to this wall was later made on the Eastern side during the reign of Sarki Haruna (1865 -1885) encompassing a large space to harbor fugitives from surrounding villages in times of war.
The Habe settlement of Fantai, which hitherto was outside the wall, also became sheltered in the new extension. This brought the wall to its present size of 4miles 135yards, with 5 gates, namely:
Kofar Gabas (also known as Kofar Gwani) Kofar Arewa KofarYamma Kofar Kyalesu (also Known as Kofar Kogi) Kofar Mandara (also known as Kofar Talata) Apart from the Kofar Mandara gate, which was destroyed by the British in their attempt to gain entry into Hadejia town in 1906, the other gates are still standing in their original positions.
They have, however, undergone several modifications over the years, the latest being in1985 which saw the total re-construction of Kofar Arewa and Kofar Yamma. The Hadejia town gates now stand as historical monuments rather than as security outposts. HADEJIA A YAU BY: SULEIMAN GINSAU -- Sent from A. Sabo note fad. HADEJIA A YAU!