Borno Emirate

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Borno Emirate
Traditional state
Borno Emirate is located in Nigeria
Borno Emirate
Borno Emirate
Location in Nigeria
Coordinates: 11°50′N 13°09′E / 11.833°N 13.150°E / 11.833; 13.150
Country Flag of Nigeria.svg Nigeria
State Borno State
 • Emir Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai El-Kanemi of Borno

The Borno Emirate or Borno Sultanate is a traditional Nigerian state formed at the start of the 20th century. It is headed by descendants of the rulers of the Bornu Empire, founded before 1000. The rulers have the title Shehu of Borno (var. Shehu of Bornu, Sultan of Borno/u). The traditional Emirate of Borno maintains a ceremonial rule of the Kanuri people, based in Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria, but acknowledged by the 4 million Kanuri in neighbouring countries.[1]

The current ruling line, the al-Kanemi dynasty, dates to the accession of Muhammad al-Amin al-Kanemi in the early 19th century, displacing the Sayfawa dynasty which had ruled from around 1300.[2]


The old Bornu Empire collapsed in 1893 when the Funj warlord Rabih Zubayr ibn Fadlallah seized power and transferred the capital to Dikwa.[3] The French, then expanding in West Africa, defeated and killed Rabih they installed Shehu Sanda Kura, a member of the old Bornu dynasty, as the first Shehu of Borno in Dikwa in 1900. In 1901 they replaced him by his brother Umar Abubakar Garbai, ancestor of the current Emirs of Borno. Based on a treaty between the French, Germans and British, the old Bornu was split up and Dikwa became part of the German colony of Cameroon. The British invited Umar Abubakar Garbai to become ruler of the British portion, and he moved in 1902 first to Monguno and later to Maiduguri. Later Dikwa was transferred to the British, resulting in two Shehus, the Shehu of Borno based at Maidgurui and the Shehu of Dikwa based at Dikwa.[4]


Rulers of the Borno Emirate since the beginning of the colonial period with the title of "Shehu":[4][5]

Start End Ruler
1902 1922 Umar Abubakar Garbai ibn Ibrahim
1922 1937 Sanda Kura (d. 1937)
1937 1967 Umar Ibn Muhammad also known as Sanda Kyarimi
1968 1974 Umar Ibn Abubakar Garbai (d. 1974)[2]
September 1974 February 2009 Mustapha Ibn Umar Kyari Amin El-Kanemi (b. 1924 d. 21 February 2009)[6]
February 2009 Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai (b. 13 May 1957)[2]

Local Government Areas in Borno Emirate[edit]

Borno Emirate covers sixteen Local Government Areas:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ al-Kanemi dynasty: Sultanate of Borno., accessed 2009-04-02
  2. ^ a b c Naija Pundit (6 March 2009). "The intrigues, power play behind the emergence of new Shehu of Borno". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
  3. ^ "BORNO STATE: Historical Development". Online Nigeria. Retrieved 2010-09-06.
  4. ^ a b Isa Umar Gusau and Sharafa Dauda (11 July 2010). "How Germany, Britain and France once shared, ruled Borno – Shehu of Dikwa". Archived from the original on 27 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-06.
  5. ^ "Traditional States of Nigeria". Retrieved 2010-09-08.
  6. ^ "Mustapha Amin El-Kanemi (1924–2009)". ThisDay. 5 March 2009. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
  7. ^ Nigeria (2000). Nigeria: a people united, a future assured. 2, State Surveys (Millennium ed.). Abuja, Nigeria: Federal Ministry of Information. p. 106. ISBN 9780104089.