Unlike what
most outsiders think, Bauchi State is not a monoethnic , Hausa or Fulani state.
The northern state may now be predominantly Hausa-speaking and have a
population who are majorly adherents of the Islamic religion, but it is made up
of around 60 distinct tribes most of which have gradually lost their languages,
their native religions and their ways of life to a much stronger Hausa language
and way of life during the turbulent years of precolonial Nigeria.
Below I
introduce you to some of the different tribes in Bauchi State, where they are
found in Bauchi State, their brief histories, their religion and their
population estimates.


The Hausa
are one of the largest ethnic groups in Nigeria. They are found mostly in the
north and north-west regions of the country.
The Hausa
have been heavily involved in long distance trading for centuries. Traders
exchanged gold from the middle east for leather, crafts and foods. Hausa
communities can also be found in other West African nations such as Chad, Ghana
and Ivory Coast.


The Fulani,
also known as the Fulbe or the Bororo are scattered mostly in Nigeria and
Cameroon. These semi-nomadic people fiercely reject anything they percieve as
contrary to their lifestyle of roaming with their cattle herds. These include
education and permanent homes.


The Warji,
also known as the Warjawa are found in Warji, Ningi and Ganjuwa local
government areas of Bauchi State, and in Birnin Kudu local government area of
Jigawa State. This areas fall under the Ningi emirate, and is quite fertile
being well-watered by the Delimi and Bunga Rivers. The Warji are also found in
small settlements in Kano State.
The Warji are
closely related to their neighbours, the Afawa, with whom they share
similarities in language and culture. The Warji are also geographicially and
politically related to the Butawa.
their own Warji language, the Warji speak the Hausa language as a second
The Warji
people in Bauchi are mainly adherents of their native religions, and continue
to follow traditional practices and ways of life. However, the same cannot be
said of Warji people who have settled in Kano, across the boundary of Bauchi
who have adopted the Hausa language, the Hausa mode of dressing and the Islamic
There are
well over a 100,000 Warji in Bauchi State.


The Gra, or
the Gerawa are the main inhabitants of the city of Bauchi and other parts of
the city of Bauchi and the southern Ganjuwa districts of Bauchi State.  The Gera speak a Chadic language which
contains many words that resemble the Hausa vocabulary.
The Gera
claim to have come from Misera in Sudan, living in various places before
settling in Bauchi.
Because the
first Emir of Bauchi was Gera, the Gera remain the most influential tribe in
the Bauchi area.
The Gera
are mostly farmers, living in compact villages protected by hedges or walls.
Grouped in enclosed family compounds, huts are round with conical thatched
roofs and mud walls. A village headman handles affairs at the village level,
however the Emir of Bauchi rules over the entire Bauchi emirate.
There are
over 350,000 Gerawa in Bauchi State.


The Bolewa,
also known as the Bole are found in Dukku, Alkaleri and Darazo local government
areas of Bauchi State, and also in Gombe, Pkateau and Yobe States.
documents complimente by oral traditions have it that the Bolewa appear to have
eastern origins, tracing their westward movements from the Middle East. The
Bolewa are believed to have left Yemen a little after 940 AD. Between 1100 AD
to 1500 AD, they moved westward to the shores of Lake Chad and into the place
that is now known as Nigeria.
There are
over 200,00 Bolewa people nationwide. They are found in virtually all sectors
of the Nigerian economy.


The Zaar
people, also known as the Sayawa are found in Toro, Dass, Tafawa Balewa and
Bogoro local government areas of Bauchi State, and in Mangu and Kanem local
government areas of Plateau State.
The Sayawa
are said to have come from the east to present day Chad republic between 9th
and 13th century. It is believed that they migrated together with the Jarawa,
the Warjawa, the Famawa, the Angass, and so many other tribes.
The Sayawa
language, the Saya is of the Chadic group of languages.
There are
over 300,000 Zaar people in Bauchi, with 90% of them being adherents of the
Christian religion.
first prime minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa is said to be Sayawa.


Karekare, also Kerai-Kerai or Jalalum are found in Gamawa and Misau local
government areas of Bauchi State, and also in Yobe and Gombe States.
There are
well over 350,000 Karekare, most of whom are adherents of the Islamic religion.


The Kanuri
consist of the Yerwa Kanuri, the Manga Kanuri and several other smaller
majority of the Kanuri live in Borno and Yobe states, however the Kanuri are
also located in several other states across northern Nigeria, and in countries
like Niger, Chad and Cameroon.


The Butawa,
also known as Buta-Ningi are a small ethnic group of around 30,000 people found
in the Ningi Plateau region of Bauchi State. Burra is the capital of the Butawa
where they claim to have lived for many generations.
The Butawa
language, the Ningawa is rapidly disappearing. The Hausa language is now spoken
by the people, and even Butawa children are now taught the Hausa language.
religion, te Butawa have also been greatly influenced by the Hausa and the
Kanuri who are mostly Muslims.


The Jarawa,
also known as the Afizere are found in Toro local government area of Bauchi
State, and also in Jema’a local government area of Kaduna State, and Barkin
Ladi local government area of Plateau State.
There are
just over 60,000 Jarawa people, most of whom are adherents of traditional


The Kirfi,
or Kirfawa are found in Alkaleri, Bauchi and Darazo local government areas of
Bauchi State.
The Kirfi
are estimated to be around 40,000, with majority of them being adherents of the
Islamic religion.

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