There are
many tribes in Zamfara State. These include the majority Hausa, the Fulani, the
Hadejawa, the Gbagyi and the Kamuku.
Below are
my brief profiles of the tribes in Zamfara State: their history, their population,
location, and way of life.


Zabarmawa may have originated from Mali, emigrating southwards centuries ago.
They speak
Zarma, a dialect of the Songhai from the Nilo-Saharan language family.
The region
the Zabarmawa inhabit consist of sandstone plateaus, dome-shaped hills, and
plains that flood easily during the rainy season.
Zabarmawa are primarily farmers. Their staple crops include millet, cow pea and
other nuts .
three-quaters of the Zabarmawa profess to be Muslims, their Islamic beliefs notoriously
intermingle with their traditional animistic beliefs.


Bussawa, also known as the Bisa or Bokhobaru speak the Busa language. They are
found in Borgu local government area of Niger State, in Bangudo local
government area of Kebbi State, and in Kwara and Zamfara States.
There are
just about 15,000 Bussawa, majority of whom are Muslims.


The Dukawa
are closely related to the Kambari. They speak similar language, and are both
sometimes grouped under the large Hausa and Fulani cluster of people.
The Dukawa
make their living as fishermen and farmers, mainly farming millet and guinea
corn in the highlands and onions along the rivers.
The Dukawa
have a history of being great fighters. Successful hunters and warriors wore
black shirts and bracelets made of the skin of their victims.
There are
150,000 Dukawa in Nigeria.


The Kambari
are mainly found in Niger and Kebbi States, however there are also Kambari communities
in Zamfara State.
The Kambari
are grouped into three dialects: the Tsishingini, the Tsikimba, and the
Sishingini. Not all the dialects are mutually intelligible.
The Kambari
are farmers growing millet, guinea corn, groundnuts and yams.
There are
around 150,000 Kambari nationwide. Only a tiny percentage of this live in
Zamfara State.


The Kamuku
are found in Rafi, Chanchaga and Mariga local government areas of Niger State,
in Birnin Gwari local government area of Kaduna State, and in small communities
in Zamfara State.
The Kamuku number
around 50,000, majority of whom have held on to traditional practices. Around
20% have accepted Islam though.


The Fulani
of Zamfara are found in large numbers in Bungudu, Maradun and Gusau local
government areas, and in nomadic settlements that are scattered all over the


The Gbagyi
are found in Niger, Kaduna, and Plateau States and the Federal Capital
Territory. A very small percentage of the Gbagyi population are also in Kogi
and Zamfara States.
In many
places, particularly in the FCT, Kogi and Kaduna States,the Gbagyi are
interspersed with other people.
The Gbagyi
are divided into two main groups. The eastern groups are called Gbagyi Ngenge
or Gbagyi Matai. They are more populous. The Western groups groups are called
Gbagyi Nkwa or Gbagyi Yamma.
The western
and eastern Gbagyi speak different languages, and within them, there are
subgroups and dialects.
There are
over a million Gbagyi. Majority of Gbagyi profess to be either Christians or
Muslims, but still hold on to traditional practices at home.


The Hausa
are the largest tribe in Zamfara State. These include several Hausa sub-tribes
such as the Zamfarawa, the Gobirawa, the Burmawa, the Katsinawa, the Garewawa,
the Hadejawa and the Alibawa.
Zamfarawa, who are the largest Hausa sub-tribe in Zamfara State are found in
Anka, Gummi, Bukkuyum, and Talata Mafara local government areas.
Gobirawa are found in Shinkafi local government area.
The Burmawa
are found in Bakura local government area.
Katsinawa, the Garewawa, and the Hadejawa are found in Tsafe, Bungudu and Maru
local government areas while the Alibawa are found in Kaura Namoda and Zurmi
local government areas.

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