Hausa Migrant Settlers and their Involvement in the Trade and Service Sectors of Ado-Ekiti, Southwest Nigeria

London Journal of Research in Humanities and Social Sciences
Volume | Issue | Compilation
Authored by Johnson Olaosebikan AREMU , Olubunmi Stephen ADELEYE, Oluwafunke Adeola ADELEYE
Classification: NA
Keywords: Ado Ekiti, Hausa, Informal economy, Intergroup relations, Migration, Trade.
Language: English

This study examined the role of Hausa migrant settlers in the trade and service sectors of the economy of Ado-Ekiti, Southwest Nigeria. It traced the migration of Hausa from northern Nigeria into Ekitiland in general and Ado-Ekiti in particular in the late 19 th Century. Data for the study were obtained from primary and secondary sources. Primary sources included archival materials obtained from the National Archives, Ibadan, oral interviews with Hausa migrant settlers and some Ado-Ekiti indigenes and residents, as well as group discussion method. These were complemented by secondary data sourced from journal articles, textbooks, newspapers and magazines and other relevant materials including theses, dissertations, and government gazettes. Information obtained was subjected to qualitative analysis. Findings showed that the Hausa community are fully integrated into Ado Ekiti society at large and have harmonious co-existence with their host community. It noted further that the Hausa are deeply involved in the informal economic sector of Ado-Ekiti, particularly in trade and services. The study concluded that Hausa migration into Ado-Ekiti has been mutually beneficial to both the host and migrant communities. While the Hausa community has been able to generate money for survival and capital for trade, as an escape root out of poverty; the Ado-Ekiti community has been able to access needed services and goods for good living. This trend of mutually-symbiotic relations should continue for the promotion of national integration in Nigeria.


Hausa Migrant Settlers and their Involvement in the Trade and Service Sectors of Ado-ekiti, Southwest Nigeria

Johnson Olaosebikanα, Olubunmi Stephen Adeleyeσ & Oluwafunke Adeola Adeleyeρ 



This study examined the role of Hausa migrant settlers in the trade and service sectors of the economy of Ado-Ekiti, Southwest Nigeria. It traced the migration of Hausa from northern Nigeria into Ekitiland in general and Ado-Ekiti in particular in the late 19th Century. Data for the study were obtained from primary and secondary sources. Primary sources included archival materials obtained from the National Archives, Ibadan, oral interviews with Hausa migrant settlers and some Ado-Ekiti indigenes and residents, as well as group discussion method. These were complemented by secondary data sourced from journal articles, textbooks, newspapers and magazines and other relevant materials including theses, dissertations, and government gazettes. Information obtained was subjected to qualitative analysis. Findings showed that the Hausa community are fully integrated into Ado Ekiti society at large and have harmonious co-existence with their host community. It noted further that the Hausa are deeply involved in the informal economic sector of Ado-Ekiti, particularly in trade and services. The study concluded that Hausa migration into Ado-Ekiti has been mutually beneficial to both the host and migrant communities. While the Hausa community has been able to generate money for survival and capital for trade, as an escape root out of poverty; the Ado-Ekiti community has been able to access needed services and goods for good living. This trend of mutually-symbiotic relations should continue for the promotion of national integration in Nigeria.

Keywords: ado ekiti, hausa, informal economy, intergroup relations, migration, trade.

Author α: Department of History and International Studies Faculty of Arts, Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti.

σ: Ph.D Student, Department of History and International Studies, Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria.

ρ: Lecturer, Department of History and International Studies, Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria.


Since the coming of Hausa people from Northern Nigeria to Ado-Ekiti in the late 19th Century, there has been a very harmonious relationship between them and their hosts. The reasons for this are not farfetched. Ajayi and Oyewale[1] suggest that Ado-Ekiti had, and still has, a very liberal socio-political system that was highly receptive of immigrant communities. They noted further that the customs and traditions of Ado-Ekiti allowed immigrant elements to mix with indigenous citizens for “socio-political and economic interactions”[2]. This culture of hospitality and warm reception of foreign elements has continued till date. For instance, a vigilant observer of the population mix in Ado-Ekiti will agree that the city is home to various immigrant elements like Ebira, Igbo, Fulani, Igede, Tiv, and many other non-Ekiti Yoruba peoples. Incidentally, while inter-ethnic relations have been reported to be volatile in most parts of the country, the case of Ado- Ekiti/ Hausa relations has been significantly different. Relations have been largely peaceful except for pockets of disagreements and conflicts in 2012 and 2015 when former Governor Ayodele Fayose officially enforced the relocation of the Hausa people from Atikankan, near Irona to Sasa area, along Ikere road, Ado-Ekiti. The relocation was initially  approved by the Engr. Segun Oni’s administration in 2008. The relocation of Hausa migrants to Sasa has since proved to be a blessing to the economic and socio-cultural activities of Hausa migrants in Ado Ekiti due to the large expanse of land which has aided expansion of Hausa business ventures in the town.

Generally speaking, the Hausa are a Sahelian people chiefly located in the West African region of Northern Nigeria and Southeastern part of Niger Republic. There are also significant numbers found in some other African countries such as Sudan, Cameroon, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, and Chad and smaller communities scattered throughout West Africa and on the traditional Hajj route across the Sahara Desert and Sahel.[3] However, the focus of this work is on the Hausa people from northern Nigeria, with particular reference to their debut and economic activities in Ado-Ekiti over the years.


The Hausa of Northern Nigeria are the largest ethnic group in Nigeria. With an estimated population of 67million as at 2018, the Hausa make up about 25 percent of the population of Nigeria[4]. As a relatively migrant stock, a sizeable number of the population may be found in Ado-Ekiti. They live in peace in Sabo area of the town with their host community.

The Hausa are predominantly engaged in agriculture involving crop production and animal husbandry. Apart from agriculture, they are mostly engaged in petty trade. Their wares include every known consumable in the neighbourhood of their residence. It is essential to note that the Hausa are also very popular for their involvement in long distance trade since some centuries ago and have produced many successful long distance traders in the history of West Africa. For instance, Abdulkarim U. Dan-Asabe[5], Lovejoy[6] and Price[7], cited in Aremu[8], report that Alhaji Alhassan Dantata (1877 – 1955) was regarded as the wealthiest man in West Africa at the time of his death as a result of his involvement in the kolanut trade between Kano in Northern Nigeria and the Akan people of the Ashanti region of Ghana in the pre-colonial period. Other notable kolanut traders from Hausaland then included Umaru Sharubutu Koki and Maikano Agogo, all of whom, together with Dantata, invested a substantial proportion of their business profits in the Bank of British West Africa when its branch was opened at Kano in 1929[9]. Hausa also have a reputation of producing many large commercial centers in sub-saharan Africa such as Kano, Sokoto, Zaria, Kaduna and Katsina[10]. But apart from agriculture and trade, Hausa people in Ado-Ekiti are notable service providers in the informal sector of Ado economy. This is why this research examined the factors that motivated Hausa migration to Ado-Ekiti; their contributions to the development of the informal economic sector with particular reference to trade and services in the town as well as the impact of Hausa activities in the sector on both the immigrant and host communities. This is expected to fill the gap of dearth of information and published research works on the subject of Hausa activities in Ado-Ekiti during the period of study.


Ado-Ekiti is the capital city of Ekiti State; one of the six states in the Southwest geopolitical zone of Nigeria’s thirty-six states federation. It would be recalled that Ekiti State came into being on 1October 1996 during the regime of late General Sani Abacha. It was carved out of the old Ondo State. Ado-Ekiti, which also doubles as the headquarters of Ado-Ekiti Local Government Area, is located between latitudes 70 3’ and 70 49’ north of the equator and longitudes 50 7’ and 50 7’  East of the Greenwich Meridian[11]. It is bounded in the north by Ido-Osi and Oye Local Government Areas, in the West by Ijero and Ekiti West Local Government Areas and in the South by Ekiti South West Local Government Area. The temperature of the area is almost uniform throughout the year, with very little deviation from the mean annual temperature of 27oC. February and March are the hottest with 28oC and 29oC respectively, while June with temperature of 25oC is the coolest. Rainfall is highly seasonal with well marked wet and dry seasons. The wet season lasts from April to October, with a break in August[12].


The history of Hausa migrants in Ekiti revealed that the first set of Hausa settlers migrated from Pategi via Ilorin to Otun Ekiti in the 18th  and Ayede Ekiti in the 19th century during the Kiriji war before their inward migration to Ado Ekiti[13]. Majority of the Hausa migrants came into Ekiti land as slaves, especially, during the 19th century Yoruba wars. Most of the slaves were part of the Afonja team at Ilorin. Some of the Hausa migrants also came to seek jobs as casual labourers, night guards and so on. Most of them were self-employed before they dispersed. In addition, the fact that the northern atmosphere was no more conducive as a result of the jihad made some of the Hausa peasants to move from the north to Ekiti communities[14].  

It is clearly evident that the Hausa migrants in Ado Ekiti live in Sabo and kept their norms and socio-cultural life, yet, the relationship was symbiotic. This invariably led to the adoption of some cultural traits of Ado Ekiti people. The process of Hausa migrants’ integration into Ado Ekiti was gradual. They were involved in cattle trade and other components of agricultural rural economy.

Meanwhile, the Sokoto Jihad of 1804-1810 served as a watershed in the process of integration of the Hausa migrants in Yoruba land[15]. The first set of Hausa settlers in Ado district came purposely to transact business and to propagate Islamic religion. It was evident that during the reign of Oba Atewogboye (1836-1886), the first Muslim Ewi of Ado; people had already accommodated the Hausas, and they embraced the Islamic religion. Most of the children and grandchildren of those that accepted the Islamic religion when the Hausa Muslims first came are still Muslims up till date. Moreover, the acceptance of the Hausa religion (Islam) shows that Ekiti people were very hospitable and accommodating. They were not hostile to the migrants[16].

The geographical location of Ado Ekiti, which favoured the Hausa/Fulani traditional cattle herders because of its abundant green pastures, was another important factor that motivated the migration of Hausas to Ado Ekiti. The Hausa cattle rearers settled in Erifun where they were able to get enough grass land to graze their cattle.[17] Some of them also lodged around lrasa and the vast area of land now opposite Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti at the initial stage of their coming.

Religious factor also accounted for the migration of Hausa to Ado Ekiti. It would be recalled that the 1804 Jihad of Usman Dan Fodio was aimed at reforming Islam in Northern Nigeria and to rouse the allegedly oppressed and degraded Fulani peasantry against their Hausa overlords and ‘exploiters’. The success of the jihad and the eventually replacement of the Hausa oligarchy by the Fulani aristocracy made most Hausa to flee their home states.[18] Some of the Hausa emigrants eventually came to Ekitiland enroute Ilorin[19]. The Hausa community in Ado Ekiti originated as a necessity for maintaining trading posts. Hausa men developed as specialized dealers in cattle which was abundant in Northern Nigeria but very difficult to breed in Ekiti. The need for cattle among Ekiti people and kola among Hausa people eventually created an avenue for trade relations. For the maintenance of peace and harmony among the host and the migrants, coupled with the need to maintain their identity, separate quarters were allocated to them in their communities named Sabo Quarters where they decided to settle. Sabo is a small geographical area where Hausa migrants live to create a distinctive socio-political quarter to foster their cultural heritage and economic interests in the midst of a different ethnic group, while at the same time owing some informal contractual obligations to the host communities. At about 19th Century, a stream of Hausa migrants  began to settle in major communities in Ekiti land, as a result of their desire to embrace their traditional customs and their "different" norms; they preferred to own their space in foreign towns under the ruler ship of a Sarkin Hausawa.[20]

Meanwhile, the first set of Hausa migrants in Ado Ekiti were said to have been accommodated by the Ewi of Ado Ekiti before the establishment of Sabongari. The migrants later moved to Oja Oba (Sabo Ijoka) to a place called “Shagokinfi”, a place where dried fish is sold inside Oja Oba market. Some of the migrants then resided at Igbeyin Street at the back of Chief Aruwa’s house. Late Sarkin Adamu came with Hausa labourers from the north to work for him in making local sponge, (Kankan Ibile). Land was allocated to him around Isato, near Ijigbo roundabout .The land was given to Late Adamu for commercial purposes. The making of local sponge began on the land which later changed the name of the area to “Atikankan” in Ado Ekiti till today. The trade in local sponge was so pronounced that Yoruba traders in Ado Ekiti and other neighbouring communities in Ekiti patronized him.


Hausas are variously engaged in the informal economic sector of Ado-Ekiti. In this section, we attempt a general discussion of the elements of involvement of Hausa people in trade and service sectors of Ado economy.


5.1  Trade and Marketing Sector

i.  Kolanut and Cattle Trade

The impact of Hausa migrants in Ado Ekiti is mostly felt in the trades and services sectors. The main trade items in the Hausa communities in Ado-Ekiti, like in other Yoruba towns, were cattle and Kolanut. The trade in cattle and Kolanut involved a long chain of sellers, dealers, cattle drovers, commissioned agents and other intermediaries, many of whom were either Hausa or Yoruba. It has been noted that there is a low level of literacy level among Hausa settlers. This has exacerbated the language barrier between the Hausa cattle sellers and kola sellers on one hand and the Yoruba cattle buyers and kola sellers on the other at the initial stage of their interactions. The communication problem has greatly reduced today as most Yorubas now speak Hausa, even Fulfude languages; just as Hausas now speak Yoruba.

The trade conditions and situations as they affected the cattle and Kolanut trades in most Yoruba towns required a great deal of togetherness or the spirit of ‘Hausa-ness’ that must be emphasized by the Hausa landlords. This was essential in order to gain the trust of the northern cattle dealers who would entrust their goods and money only in the hands of his kinsmen in a ‘strange land, who live seemingly in a stable and organized Hausa community. There were needs for smooth trade transaction in an atmosphere of trust, especially where credit facilities were required. The cattle sellers sold on credit to Yoruba butchers and there were no documents signed, also there were no bank services or official civil courts to intervene in the business.

Similarly, pounds of kola were collected annually by Hausa brokers from various Kolanuts producing areas in Yorubaland, prominent among which is Ado Ekiti. The Kolanut stocks were sent to the north through chains of intermediaries. This also involved credit arrangements in many of its stages of exchange. Hence, dealers of cattle and buyers of Kolanut needed to rely upon their ‘brother’ Hausa landlords, who provided the necessary trade security for the dealers. The intermediaries’ role in the cattle and Kolanut trades were played by the various agents, most of whom were dealers themselves and doubled as trade agents. They mediate between the dealers from the North and from the South. They were given a special commission known as ‘Laada’ in Hausa language. The Hausa Sabo business landlords usually had many commissioned agents known as, Yau Kwamisho, who directd the general affairs of the agency. They are, however, held responsible for the outcome of the conduct of their clients. The commissioned agents get their special fees as commission from the sellers of either Kolanut or cattle.[21]

The landlord acted as buyer for the Kolanut dealers from the North. The dealers offered money through other dealers to their business landlords who were entrusted with the purchase, packaging and transportation of the goods to the north. When they returned to the quarters, they supervised the packaging and assisted him [small scale dealer] in dispatching the goods to the North or sometimes accompany him. The Kolanut landlords also provided packaging services. They employed skilled workers to pack the nuts in baskets, covered with special leaves and tied with ropes that were either bought from the Hausa rope makers in the Sabo communities in Yorubaland or brought from the North. Different Hausa people served as porters of the nuts to and from the suppliers’ houses to the lorry for transportation to the north. The business landlords employed the services of the transport agents who arranged for lorries that carryied the goods. These transport agents were also Hausa residents of Sabo quarters. Some of these goods were sent by rail in railway towns such as Osogbo, Ibadan, Agege, Abeokuta and Sagamu. However, in the case of Ado-Ekiti, the Kolanut were transported by lorries. The commissioned agents negotiated business and mediated between the drivers and the dealers. He also had a team of clients in his service and he was paid by the drivers for his activities. He was responsible for the accommodation of lorry drivers as well as passengers in transit.[22]

In the cattle business, the cattle dealers entrusted the sales of their herds to the landlords, with whom they also resided. The landlords served as commissioned agents, but the dealers always accompanied them to the cattle markets where the cattle were sold. Dealers could not sell directly to the Yoruba butchers because cattle were usually sold on credit. This was where the landlord, who had known the intricacies of trade and customs of the Ado-Ekiti people became relevant. Such landlords served as sorts of guarantor to the dealers. The landlords had clerks who helped as errand boys to collect such money from the butchers. The money was kept by him until the dealer was ready to go up to the North for fresh consignment. The landlords’ income came from the commission he received from the cattle buyers. The landlords’ commission was not fixed, he rather fixes his own commission which he deducted in bulk from the amount sent to him.[23] However, leniency was usually applied in doing this. This was done in order to retain the confidence of his dealers. In both kola and cattle trades, the landlords venture into buying and selling with their own capital. Some of them sent their clients to the north to act as their own agents, buying cattle and sending them down south to such landlords. At times, some landlords buy cattle where it is less costly in the northern parts of Yoruba towns for sale in Ado-Ekiti. However, there were checks to landlords’ double dealing as well as the landlords and dealers at the same time. Agents that were stationed in the north may defraud or escape with the capital sent to them for the purchase of the cattle. Also, dealers would not be enthusiastic to entrust their money to such landlords for fear that they may use their own money to run his own trade.[24]

Similarly, in the Kolanut business, the Kolanut landlords often acted as dealers.  They {the landlords} bought the goods from their dealers as well as their own personal productions and sent them together to their dealers in the north for sale. This reciprocal trust helped to gain the confidence of their dealers in the north. As in the cattle trade, such landlords that doubled as landlords and dealers were not pleasing to the dealers. This was because both dealers and landlords were usually engaged in mutual suspicion and unhealthy competition for profits.

The impact of the Hausa settlers on the Kolanut trade in Ado Ekiti remains important in the area of consumption and marketing of kolanut. The presence of Hausa community has really increased the demand for Kolanut, thereby increasing its cost. The Hausa kolanut traders and their Yoruba counterparts transport Kolanut to the north far more than any other item from Ado Ekiti from which income is generated for both the Hausa and Yoruba traders.  Trade in goods like orange, carrot, lettuce, green pepper, water melon, garbage, plantain and so on is also enhanced with the coming of the Hausa traders to Ado Ekiti. These have provided employment for many people. The Yoruba women [Alajapa] do export orange, plantain and Kolanut to the north in exchange for tomatoes, onions and pepper. These Yoruba traders usually make use of many agents on their business trip.[25]

Furthermore, it is pertinent to note here that, most of the Hausa migrants came to Ado-Ekiti with herds of cattle. The most important factor behind their coming to Ado Ekiti was informed by the greener pasture for their cattle which was available in abundance in Ado-Ekiti. The first sign of recognition shown the Hausa in Ado-Ekiti was when the Ewi of Ado allocated a piece of land to them somewhere around old Oja-Oba as Iso-onimalu (cattle rearers market). This was later extended to where they are today which is a separate quarters named Sabon- Gari . Sabo Gari as it is well known is exclusively meant for the Hausa settlers in Ado Ekiti.

At this juncture, it is important to highlight the multifarious economic importance of cattle to the society.  The most common use has remained the production of beef. After breeding the cattle to maturity age, the herdsmen sell some to the people either for daily consumption or for special occasions. Until 2003, the cattle were killed in the numerous abattoirs scattered across the nooks and crannies of the town. However, Ado-Ekiti now has a central abattoir which is located beside Radio Nigeria, along Ekiti State University road, Ado Ekiti, from where the beef is distributed all over Ado-Ekiti and the neighbouring communities.[26] Meanwhile, it was observed that the presence of Hausa cattle herdsmen in Ado-Ekiti has helped the Ado Ekiti people to get cattle at relatively cheaper prices for their ceremonies because they buy them directly from the Hausa herdsmen without the involvement of middlemen.  

Another important use of cattle is in Suya meat production. Suya is a kind of meat roasted with pepper and other ingredients. It is mostly done at night at restaurants and hotels, roundabouts, bus-stops, motor parks and some popular junctions.  However, the Hausa people have made the secret behind Suya making a secret to themselves. That is why it is very rare to find a Yoruba man or any other tribes making Suya in Ado-Ekiti.

Apart from Suyamaking, the Hausa migrant settlers in Ado Ekiti also made another special and delicious meat called kilichi.  Kilichi is a special part of cow sliced into very thin layers. After adding ingredients like pepper, magi, and salt; it was dried in the sun and ready for consumption. That is why people call it dried suya. We can see many Hausa children selling kilichi at various bus stops and motor parks in Ado-Ekiti. One amazing aspect of kilichi is that it can be preserved for many days, weeks or months without losing its taste.[27]

Ponmo (cow skin) and Tinko are another set of products made from cattle. Ponmo is produced from the skin and Tinko is a specially processed meat. The most important thing about Tinko is that it can be preserved for months without losing its delicious taste.  Ponmo can be used as meat in stew and can be used to make pepper-soup. Tinko can also be used to make stew and can be kept for months before use. Ponmo and Tinko are believed to be affordable to low income earners; therefore, they provide succour to the poor. Ponmo and Tinko have since become very important meat in Ado-Ekiti.[28]

Wara (processed solid cow milk) is another common product obtained from cattle. Its production and marketing are usually handled by Hausa women.  Wara is believed to be a very rich natural product that is very nutritious for the body. The Hausa women also produced a natural milk product called Fura de Nunu. It is nutritious than the processed milk. Hausa women are the main producers of Wara and Fura de Nunu. They are seen selling it at various bus stops and motor parks, schools, post office and various markets in Ado-Ekiti.[29] 

ii.  Leather Products

It was observed that some Hausa sell leather products which include belts, slippers, purse, bags etc. The leather materials are brought from the north to Ado-Ekiti in different sizes, colours and shapes. The high quality, distinctive looks, durability and affordability of the Hausa leather products have endeared them to the hearts of Yoruba buyers.



 iii.      General Sales/Merchandise  

Another area to note in studying the impacts of the Hausa migrants in Ado Ekiti is general sales. There are some groups of Hausa traders who sell whatever comes their way such as wall clock, umbrella, transistor radio, sunglasses, wristwatch and different kinds of other useful items. We could find Hausa traders selling these general items in shops at Oja Oba market near Sabongari in Ado Ekiti while some hawk their wares on wheelbarrows and moved from one area of the town to another. Through these general sales, the Hausa traders have increased the availability of the above products over the years, thereby forcing the price level to come down. Most of these wheelbarrow markets are usually cheaper, therefore having positive impacts on the low income earners in Ado-Ekiti. The wheelbarrow business also brought the market directly to the door steps of their customers.[30]

 iv.   Sales of Islamic Materials

Some Hausa traders in Ado-Ekiti also specialize in the distribution of different Islamic paraphernalia such as Prayer mat, Tesibyu (rosary), Quran cover, Islamic decorations. These items are usually brought from the north like most of the other Hausa goods, particularly from Kano and Kaduna. The traders can be seen at the various mosques in Ado-Ekiti displaying their goods every Friday. They also make use of markets and social functions to sell their goods. The availability of these Muslim items has been of great advantage to the Yoruba Muslims in Ado-Ekiti and the other towns in Ekiti State.  

5.2   The Service Sector  

 i.  Bureau-de-Change 

An important economic activity that has remained the exclusive preserve of Hausa people in Ado-Ekiti is the “bureau-de-change”. Hausa are engaged in buying and selling of foreign currencies ranging from the Saudi Riyadh, the German Dutch Mark, the Japanese Yen, the French Francs, the French West African CFA, the British Pound Sterling to the American Dollar. Though most of this Bureau-de-Change are illegal outfits, their owners and operators are able to sustain their business because they buy the foreign currencies from sellers at higher rates than the formal commercial houses and sell to their buyers. There is competition in this business as many of the Hausa bureau-de-change vendors solicit for clients openly. Their customers include tourists, businessmen and academics, among others. It is important to state that the presence of these Hausa bureau-de-change vendors has led to the enhancement of businesses. Many people can easily convert dollars or pounds sterling to Naira or vice versa without the formalities of the commercial houses. Most tourists and foreign visitors patronize these vendors regularly. The reason for this is that it saves time and it is easier to transact business with the vendors. It has indeed contributed immensely to the liberalisation of the exchange system. One vital point to be added is that these Hausa bureau de change vendors have proven to be very reliable. According to some of their customers interviewed under conditions of anonymity, the vendors sell only authentic foreign currencies. This has increased the credibility and reliability of these outlets among their customers.

ii.  Sales of Gold 

It was observed that some of these bureau-de-change vendors and different groups of Hausa people also engage in buying and selling of gold. They buy new or old gold chains, bangles, earings etc. Some of them also buy and sell iron rods, or used iron. Most of these are probably taken back to some of the northern towns where they are remoulded into other tools. The buying of used irons in Ado-Ekiti helps people to get rid of the various iron rods that have constituted dirtiness to the Ado-Ekiti environment.

iii.  Hausa Diggers

It is important to begin here by stating that the coming of the Hausa migrants to Ado Ekiti has led to the increase in the population of the town, which has brought a huge increase to the provision of labour in Ado Ekiti and its environs. The introduction of Western education and white collar jobs to Nigeria was greatly accepted in Yorubaland more than any part of the country at the early period. The Hausa migrants are, however, mostly illiterate with no specific academic skill; they are, however, ready to do any menial job to make ends meet. The Hausa migrants in Ado-Ekiti, therefore, became known for strength-demanding jobs like digging of well, pit latrine and soak- away.  

These works are only meant for those who have strength, and the Hausa people were not found wanting in this regard. They have been the only commercial diggers in Ado-Ekiti for ages. This effort helped to promote water supplies and thereby increased the provision of drinkable water, especially where the majority of the population make use of well water. It has also increased agricultural production as, most of the vegetable garden owners make use of the well during dry season to maintain their farms. Also, poultry operators and livestock farmers have equally benefitted from the provision of wells in the community.

The availability of pit latrine greatly enhances the healthy life of the people of Ado –Ekiti. In the pre-colonial period, Ado-Ekiti people mostly made use of bush as their toilets, and when the pit latrine was introduced, it has helped to significantly reduce human wastes prone diseases. Currently, for those families who could not afford the modern water system toilets, the pit latrine has  provided succour to them. Another advantage of pit latrine worthy of note is that two or more houses can share and maintain only one toilet. The Hausa diggers are also useful for digging other outlets like soak- away, waterways and waste outlets. This has been helpful in managing drainage system in the town of Ado-Ekiti.[31]

iv.  Hausa Axe men

Another interesting area where the impacts of the Hausa migrants could be noticed in Ado Ekiti is splitting and breaking of planks and wood.  This remains the first kind of job that new Hausa migrants do when they arrive in Ado-Ekiti. It is common, therefore, to see them going round the town with axes, looking for who will engage them. These Hausa men rendered their services to restaurants and food joints in Ado-Ekiti by helping them to split big planks to firewood for their daily cooking. Their services are also engaged by commercial firewood sellers at Irona and Textile areas of the town. They also provide their services to housewives, especially before kerosene stove and gas cookers became prominent or whenever there is increase in the price of kerosene and gas. The Hausa axe men usually have more to do at the saw-mill where they split planks into smaller portions. Apart from splitting the woods, they also help in loading the wood into Lorries at sawmills.

The impact of Hausa migrants in Ado Ekiti could also be noticed in the area of making local sponge also known as “Kankan” in large quantity. Sarkin Adamu is credited with the innovation of the local sponge in Ado Ekiti which later changed the place of production to ‘Atikankan”. The impacts of the local sponge could be felt among the host community from time immemorial.

v.  Fashion Designing  

The post office area and king’s market (Oja-Oba) are two of the areas in Ado-Ekiti where Hausa tailors that sew clothes of different styles could be found.  One thing that may surprise first comers to Oja-Oba about the tailors is that most of them are northerners. The Hausa tailors make various Hausa dresses in varying styles for their customers who are mostly Ado Ekiti people. The most common of these dresses are Babarigas and caftan with fine embroideries. Without prejudice to the tailoring expertise of Yoruba tailors, only an insignificant number of them is well grounded in the art of embroidery. This explains why a large number of tailors patronised the Hausa people from far and near for their embroidery designs. According to Mallam Suleiman Ismaila, an embroider at Oja-Oba in Ado-Ekiti, he was trained as an embroider as well as a tailor. However, due to the number of dresses he received on a daily basis for embroidery, he has forgone tailoring for the embroidery business.[32] 

It is common nowadays to see some young Yoruba people learning the art of embroidery design. Some Yoruba tailors are also learning embroidery. For these reasons, the Hausa people have brought improvement to the fashion culture in Ado-Ekiti. The young school leavers are also learning tailoring especially embroidery design from the Hausa embroiders. The increase in the number of the available tailors has paved way for healthy competition which may have positive result on the people of Ado Ekiti and its environs.  The Hausa embroiders brought about new designs and exchange of knowledge and ideas about tailoring and embroidery which have greatly led to better performance in the fashion industry. Mention must also be made, however, of some itinerant Hausa tailors who do not have shops but parade the streets of Ado-Ekiti looking for customers, though most of their services are only to sew tattered clothes.[33]

vi.        Shoe making and repairs

The Hausa also serve as shoemakers and shoe repairers. They could be seen at Oja-Oba, where they use different plank shops for their businesses. Some also make use of umbrellas and sit under it with their tools every day. However, most of the Hausa shoe makers do not usually have a particular shop for their business; they move from one part of the town to the other knocking their hammers on the tools box to draw the attention of prospective customers. It is common for someone in Ado-Ekiti to hear the Hausa shoemaker shouting “shine your shoe, shoe polish” round the town.

 vii.      Food Production and Distribution 

Hausa migrants are also important in the production and distribution of food and vegetable products in Ado-Ekiti. The first sets of these products to be analysed here are the perishable goods such as tomatoes, pepper, onions and big pepper called tatase. These are very important ingredients for stew/soup making in Yorubaland but are imported in bulk from northern Nigeria. The Hausa migrants in Ado-Ekiti play two main roles in marketing of these products in Ado-Ekiti. Firstly, they serve as the link and intermediaries between their brothers in the north who are the original producers of these products and their Yoruba customers. Secondly, the Hausa migrants also play a very prominent role in the distribution of these products in the town, while some sell to the Yoruba retailers who in turn sell to the final consumers. Some Hausa people also specialise in selling legumes to inhabitants of the town, either at specified locations in stalls or on wheel barrows. These legumes included carrots, water melon, lettuce, cucumber, and green pepper, among others. Only Hausa traders could be found selling the above products in Ado Ekiti.[34] The Hausa businessmen in Ado-Ekiti also bring food items like millets, yam and beans in very large quantities to Ado-Ekiti from the north.[35] The various Yoruba food stuff sellers in Ado-Ekiti and its environs find it easier doing business with the Hausa businessmen. The Yoruba traders enjoyed credit facilities from the Hausa traders based on trust. The local tomatoes and pepper retailers in Ado Ekiti also patronise the Hausa traders. It is, however, worthy to state here that the Hausa traders who bring most of these food products to Ado-Ekiti also help in transferring some of the available food products in Ado-Ekiti to the north.

By and large, the Hausa community in Ado Ekiti consolidated their economic interests by monopolizing their trades, most especially cattle business and kolanut trade, using Sabo ethnic enclaves as territorial base. The Hausa migrant leaders in Sabo community uses shrewd business and administrative talents and powers to co-ordinate Hausas’ interests in trade, politics and religion. They protect and advance their economic interests against the host community. These systems continue to function to the advantage of the Hausa community in Sabo.              

viii.      Divination and Spiritual Services

Hausa Malams have always provided divination and spiritual services to their Yoruba hosts.  Their spiritual knowledge of the Holy Quran and the powers in it are useful in serving the interests of the Yoruba. They are consulted for spiritual guidance and support by Ado-Ekiti people who had one problem or the other. These services are, however, rendered to Ado-Ekiti indigenes and non-indigenes alike. The lucrative nature of this business has attracted more Hausa Mallams or muslim clerics into Ado-Ekiti. Many Yoruba either from Ado-Ekiti or other Yoruba towns are always seen trooping in and out of Sabo-Gari in Ado-Ekiti for spiritual consultations as great diviners. One of the most prominent Malams in Ado-Ekiti presently is Malam Abubakar Abdul-yussuf who is very popular for his religious teachings in Ado-Ekiti. People visit him from different places as far as Osun and Oyo States. The fact that most of these Mallams speak Yoruba has really helped their work.[36] 

The establishment of various Quranic schools in and outside the Sabo-Gari by some of these Malams in Ado-Ekiti has also led to the promotion of Islamic knowledge among children and young adults in Ado-Ekiti. Many Yoruba Muslim children are sent to these schools, especially after they return from the regular schools. The Hausa Malams serve as consultants and teachers to many Quranic schools in Ado-Ekiti.

It is, however, pertinent to conclude by stating that the various economic activities of the Hausa people have brought jobs, income, and satisfaction to most families in Ado-Ekiti. The involvement of the migrants in the socioeconomic activities of Ado Ekiti had contributed to economic growth of the host community. The main importance of the Hausa migrants as revealed in this research is their dominant roles in the trade and service sectors[37].


For over a century, the Hausa migrant settlers and their Yoruba hosts in Ado-Ekiti have been living together in peace. This offers a good example of harmonious interrelationship between hosts and migrant stocks in Nigeria. We should not fail to add here that the two ethnic groups have recorded intermarriages as a way of cementing the inter-ethnic relations between them. This peaceful co-existence is, however, not limited to Ado-Ekiti/Hausa relations. The same scenario was observed in intergroup relations between Ado-Ekiti people and other migrant elements in the town such as the Fulani, Igbo, Ebira and Nupe ethnic groups. This peace has been built largely on mutual tolerance and interdependence in trade and commercial matters. Suffice to state that the coming together of divergent traditional cultures of these groups did not lead to complete cultural assimilation of the migrants, neither did it lead to violent conflicts, rather, there was  a respect for the traditions and cultures of the various groups.[38]

This study, therefore, challenges the contention that it is ethnic, cultural and religious diversities that are inherently the bane of Nigeria’s disunity as witnessed in the incessant conflicts in the country. The implication is that we should go beyond the ethno-cultural and religious diversities in seeking solutions to the various crises that take place in the country. We shall discover that it is the manipulative activities of the political class that often lead to these violent conflicts.


  1. Agiri, B.A. “The Yoruba and the Pre-Colonial Kola Trade”, .JHSN No.12,vol.3, July,1975.p.12.
  2. Ajayi, A.T. and  Oyewale, P.O. “Socio-economic Impacts of Settlers in Ado-Ekiti”.
  3. International Journal of  History and Cultural Studies (IJHCS), Vol. 3, Issue 2, 2017.
  4. Ajayi, J.F.A. and Smith, R. Yoruba Warfare in the Nineteenth Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1964.
  5. Albert, I.O. “Urban Migrant Settlements in Nigeria: A Historical Comparison of the Sabon-Geris Kano and Ibadan, 1893-1991”. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Ibadan, Ibadan. 1994.
  6. Aremu, J.O. “The Fulani Jihad and Its Implication for National Integration and Development in Nigeria”, African Research Review, 2011, 5, (22), 1-12.
  7. Aremu, J.O. “Nigeria-Ghana Diplomatic Relations, 1960-1999”. Unpublished Ph.D Thesis, Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, 2013.
  8. Aremu, J. O., Exploring the Role of Trade and Migrations in Nigeria-Ghana-Relations in the Pre-Colonial and Colonial Periods. International Journal of Arts and Humanities, Vol.3 (4), S/No 12, September, 2014. Pp. 142-156.
  9. Awosusi, O.O. and Jegede, A.S. “Challenges of Sustainability and Urban Development: A Case
  10. of Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria”. International Education Research, Volume 1, Issue 1, 2013, pp. 22-29.  
  11. Dan-Asabe, Abdulkarim U, “Biography of select Kano Merchants, 1853-1955”, FALS Journal of Humanities, Vol. 1, No.2, 2000, Archived from the original on 6 Dec., 2010 at http:// +kano+merchants. htm
  12. Lovejoy, P.E. Caravans of Kola: The Hausa Kola Trade, 1700-1900. Zaria: Ahmadu Bello University Press, 1980.
  13. NAI-Oyo Prof.1/592: Hausa Settlement in lbadan.
  14. A.I, CSO. 26/4/2015, N.A.C. Weir, Intelligence Report on Akure District, Ekiti Div.Ondo Prof., 1934.
  15. Price, J.H. “Alhaji Alhassan Dantata, An Appreciation”, West Africa. Archived from the original on 15-11-2010 at http://www. Webcitation. org/5uGLnsafra.
  16. Smith, M. G., The Hausa system of Social Status, Journal of the international African Institute,  No. 3, 1959.

[1] See A.T. Ajayi and P.O. Oyewale, “Socio-economic Impacts of Settlers in Ado-Ekiti” International Journal of  History and Cultural Studies (IJHCS),Vol. 3, Issue 2, 2017, p. 19.

[2] Ibid.

[3] M.G., Smith, “The Hausa system of social status”. Journal of  international African institute, vol 29, no. 3, 1959,pp.239.

[4]. See “Largest Ethnic Groups in Nigeria”. @https.//www.  (accessed on 13 April, 2019).

[5] See Abdulkarim U. Dan-Asabe, “Biography of select Kano Merchants, 1853-1955”, FALS Journal of Humanities, Vol. 1, No.2, 2000, Archived from the original on 6 – 12 – 2010 at and http:// Biography  + of + Select + kano + merchants.htm.

[6].See P.E. Lovejoy, Caravans of Kola: The Hausa Kola Trade, 1700-1900. Zaria: Ahmadu Bello University Press, 1980, p.16.

[7].J.H. Price, “Alhaji Alhassan Dantata, An Appreciation”, West Africa. Archived from the original on 15-11-2010 at http://www /5u GLnsafra.

[8]J.O. Aremu, “Nigeria-Ghana Diplomatic Relations, 1960-1999”. Unpublished Ph.D Thesis, Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, 2013, pp. 34-35.

[9] J.H Price, “Alhaji Alhassan Dantata, An Appreciation.

[10]. Ibid., p.35.

[11]Population Compendium, Ekiti State of Nigeria. “Population Projection by Towns and Villages 2000-2005”, Population Report Published by the Department of Population Activities, Cabinet and Special Service, Ekiti State Governor’s Office, Ado-Ekiti, 2006.

[12] O.O. Awosusi and A.S. Jegede, “Challenges of Sustainability and Urban Development: A Case of Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria”. International Education Research, Volume 1, Issue 1, 2013, pp. 22-29.  

[13] Oral interview with Mallam Adamu, A Hausa Community leader, Trader, 52, Location: Ado Ekiti. May 29, 2014.

[14] Oral Interview with Professor A. Tijani, a Professor of Economic and Social History at Ladoke Akintola University, Department of General Studies. March 24, 2015.

[15] I.O. Albert, “Urban Migrant Settlements in Nigeria: A Historical Comparison of the Sabon-Geris Kano and Ibadan, 1893-1991”. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Ibadan, Ibadan. 1994. p.77. See also NAI-Oyo Prof.1/592: Hausa Settlement in lbadan.

[16] Oral evidence from Alhaji Kureje, Hausa Leader, Sabo Community, Ado Ekiti, October 15, 2015

[17] Ibid.

[18] J. F.A. Ajayi and Robert Smith, Yoruba Warfare in the Nineteenth Century. Cambridge: University Press, 1964. pp.6-7.

[19]J.O. Aremu, “The Fulani Jihad and Its Implication for National Integration and Development in Nigeria”, African Research Review, 2011, 5, (22), 1-12.

[20]Oral Evidence from Chief  Aladesanmi, Palace historian, Ado Ekiti, January 29, 2015.        

[21]B.A. Agiri, “The Yoruba and the Pre-Colonial Kola Trade”, .JHSN No.12,vol.3, July,1975.p.12.

[22] Oral Interview with  Alhaji Garuba, Chairman,Cattle Sellers Association, Sabongari, Ado-Ekiti. .April 14,2017.

[23] Ibid.

[24]Oral Interview with Alhaji Mustapha, 61, Sabongari, Trader, April 18, 2017.

[25]Oral Interview with Yekini Olawale, 54, Trader, Sasa Market, April 19, 2017.

[26]Oral evidence from Ibraheem Muhammed, Suya Seller, Atikankan,AdoEkiti, April 21,2017.

[27] Ibid.

[28]Oral interview with Abdul Yunos, 41, SuyaSeller,Atikankan,AdoEkiti, April 21,2017.

[29]Personal Interview with Fatimah Oseni,38+, Fura de Nunu Seller, Erifun, Ado Ekiti,April 25,2017.

[30] Oral Interview with Mallam Ibraheem Rasheed, 52, Islamic Scholar, Central Mosque, Ado-Ekiti, April 16,2017.

[31]Interview with Muhammed Sanni, 35, Labourer, Isato, Ado Ekiti. March 24,2017.

[32] Interview with Alhaji Zungeru Yinusa, 61, Embroider, Oja Oba, Ado Ekiti, March 28,2017.

[33] Oral evidence from Alhaji Aro,58+,Sasa Market, Trader, March 16,2017.

[34] Interview with Alhaji Adamu Imam, 58, Sabongari, bureau-de-change operator, March 13, 2015.

[35] Personal interview with Mrs. Babatope Felicia, 51,Irona Street, AdoEkiti, March 28,2017.

[36]Alhaji Adamu Lateef, 48, Islamic Teacher, Central Mosque Sasa, March 29, 2017.

[37] Personal visitation to Sasa Market, April 14, 2017.

[38] Interview with Ohaneze Ndi Igbo, Ado Ekiti branch, Chief Nathaniel Uzonna, 56, bank road, Ado Ekiti, May 13, 2017.


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