Kano riot of 1953

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The Kano riot of 1953 refers to the serious riot, which broke out in the ancient city of Kano,[1] located in Northern Nigeria, on 1 May 1953. The nature of the riot were clashes between Northerners and Southerners made up of mainly the Yorubas and the Ibos. The riot that lasted for four days claimed many lives of the Southerners and Northerners and many others were wounded.


The remote cause of the riot was the strained relationship between the Northern and Southern political leaders over the issue of self-government in 1956. This strained relationship started with a 1953 motion for self-government for Nigeria in 1956 tabled in the House of Representatives by a member of the Action Group (AG) Chief Anthony Enahoro. The Northerners did not accept the motion. The leader of the Northern People's Congress (NPC) and the Saraduna of Sokoto, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello in a counter-motion replaced in the year 1956 with the phrase "as soon as practicable". Another Northern member of the House moved a motion for adjournment, a motion viewed which Southern members of AG and NCNC viewed as a delay tactics. All the AG and NCNC members in the house walked out as a result of the adjournment motion. When the Northern delegates left the House, they were confronted by hostile crowds in Lagos who insulted, jeered and called them all sorts of names. Members of the Northern delegation were embittered and in their "Eight Point Program" in the Northern Regional Legislative House, they sought for secession. The last straw that broke the camel's back was the tour by a delegation of the AG and NCNC led by Chief S.L. Akintola. That tour which was aimed at campaigning for self-government acted as the immediate cause of the Kano riot. It sparked off a chain of disorder that culminated in the riot. The riot took place at Sabon Gari an area predominantly occupied by southern Nigerians.

Political implications[edit]

The riot left behind great effects which include:

  • The relationship between North and South deteriorated.
  • The Action Group and National Council of Nigeria and Cameroon went into temporary alliance against the Northern Peoples Congress thus bridging relationships.
  • It led to the granting of greater regional autonomy to the three regions.
  • Removal of power of intervention by the centre in all residual matters
  • Sir Oliver Lyttleton announced that it is impossible for the regions to work together, and therefore representatives from each region will be invited to discuss a new Nigerian constitution.


  1. ^ Comprehensive GOVERNMENT for Senior Secondary Schools by Johnson Ugoji Anyaele page 183,Pp.8