History of Suleja


Suleja is a city in Niger State, Nigeria , pop.
(2006) local government area, 216,578, just
north of Abuja , capital of the Suleja Emirate . It is
sometimes confused with the nearby city of
Abuja , due to its proximity, and the fact that it
was originally called Abuja before the Nigerian
government adopted the name from the then
Emir Sulayman Barau for its new federal capital
in 1976.
It was established in the early 19th century by
Mohammed Makau, the last Hausa emir of Zaria
and his followers who were fleeing the Fulani
jihadists engaged in the conquest of northern
Nigeria. Zaria, or Zazzau , was one of the Hausa
city/states of Northern Nigeria which were being
conquered by the Fulani jihadists under their
charismatic Sheik, Usman bin Fodio.
Apart from its closeness to the Nigerian federal
capital, it is also recognised as a centre of
excellence for traditional West African pottery ,
namely the world-famous Ladi Kwali Pottery
Centre, established by Michael Cardew in
1950 [ citation needed ] . The leading exponent of
this school of pottery was Dr. Ladi Kwali, who
received worldwide acclaim for her works, the
originals of which are on display
worldwide[ citation needed ] .
Discoveries of ancient sculptures of the Nok
culture, both at Suleja town and in the
Makabolo River bed, have helped prove the
influence of Nok on the Yoruba art of Ife. Today
Suleja is well known as an exporter of Gbari
pottery. Cotton weaving and dyeing, with locally
grown indigo, and mat making are traditional
activities, but farming remains the chief
occupation. Local trade is primarily in
agricultural products. In addition to the Pottery
Centre, a government secondary school and a
hospital are located in the town. The Dorben
Polytechnic has a campus in Suleja. [1]
The emirate’s wooded savanna area of about
2,980 square kilometres (1,150 sq mi) originally
included four small Koro chiefdoms that paid
tribute to the Hausa kingdom of Zazzau. After
warriors of the Fulani jihad (holy war) captured
Zaria (Zazzau’s capital, 220 km (140 mi) north-
northeast) about 1804, Muhamman Makau,
sarkin (“king of”) Zazzau, led many of the Hausa
nobility to the Koro town of Zuba (10 km or
6 mi south). Abu Ja (Jatau), his brother and
successor as sarkin Zazzau, founded Abuja
town in 1828, began construction of its wall a
year later, and proclaimed himself the first emir
of Abuja.
Withstanding Zaria attacks, the Abuja emirate
remained an independent Hausa refuge. Trade
with the Fulani emirates of Bida (to the west)
and Zaria began in Emir Abu Kwaka’s reign
(1851–77), but, when Abuja’s leaders disrupted
the trade route between Lokoja (160 km or
99 mi south-southeast) and Zaria in 1902, the
British occupied the town. Alluvial tin mining
began in Emir Musa Angulu’s reign (1917–44).
In 2011, Suleja was hit by several bomb
assaults. Ten people were killed on March 3rd.
[2] On April 7th, another bomb killed 25 people.


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