Yoruba migrants in Dutsin-ma Local Government Area of Katsina state from 1976 – 2015

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Yoruba people are seen in every part of the country and in many communities of the world, they are people who have left their homes in South-western Nigeria and have moved to other places to settle either temporarily or permanently. The movement of such people mostly from their places of origin to a new place occurs due to multiple reasons often summed up base on lee Everett “push” and “pull” reasons or factors of migration. Push factors have tended to drive people out in search of better living conditions while pull factors are believed to be socio-economic and political reasons that have attracted them to a particular place for better means of livelihood across the world. Migration is defined by Eisenstadt as the physical transition of individual or group from one society to another. This transition according to him, normally involves abandoning one social setting and entering another and different one. His emphasis is mainly on leaving a whole set of social life and of a person’s previous residential region and establishing a new set of social life in a latter or new region where they migrated,1 such people are generally referred to as migrants. In most cases, migrants play vital roles towards the development of the communities which they settle while in some other cases, the impacts of the migrants can also be negatively felt in the new environments they settled. Because relationship is prone to hiccups due to the fact that sometimes indigenes feel threatened by migrants usually as a result of land tussle or economic struggle over scarce resources. Places like Kano, Minna, Kaduna, Benue, Jos and Nasarawa state are examples of where indigenes have felt threatened and this has led to clash between migrants and host communities. Cases like this have led to security threats and displacement of people. Udo explains that migrants to rural areas do not require special skills to function effectively as farmers or petty traders, he further ascertain that migration leads to the development of rural areas and all exert considerable impact on the economy of the origin of migrant itself.2

Among the various ethnic groups that have been active in migration processes across Nigeria for a long period are the Yoruba people who are highly mobile, town dwelling people, who built kingdoms and empires long before they came into contact with the European.3They are among the oldest surviving groups in the forest of the South of Nigeria including the Edo speaking people who have successfully established and maintained vast kingdoms within the forest environments of Nigeria.4

Yoruba people in Nigeria, apart from religion affinity, can be said to be liberal that is why they easily go along and settle among other language groups as it is seen in Northern Nigeria. The Yoruba–speaking people of Nigeria are concentrated in Ondo, Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Kwara, Ekiti and Lagos States. While majority of the Yoruba live in Western Nigeria, there are also substantial Yoruba communities in the Republic of Benin and Togo as well as in the United States and United Kingdom.5 The Yoruba share a linguistics homogeneity as well as common traditions and traced their decent from a common ancestor called Oduduwa, who is believed to have established the Ife dynasty.6 The Yoruba were never united under a common government rather Yoruba land consisted of several powerful monarchial states such as Ife, Oyo, Egba and Ijebu etc. However, certain political positions were recognized throughout the whole of Yoruba land, the most important has been the Oni of Ife, who was regarded as the spiritual ruler of all Yoruba and the Alaafin of Oyo who was the political leader of the Yoruba people.7

Most of the Yoruba city states were controlled by the Obas (or royal sovereigns with various individual titles), and councils made up of chiefs (Oloyes), recognized leaders of royal, noble and often even common descent, who ruled over the kingdoms through a series of guilds and cults. Different states saw different ratios of power between the kinships and Chiefs councils. Some states such as Oyo had powerful, autocratic monarchs with almost total control, while in others such as the Ijebu city state, the councils held more influence and the power of the ruler or Oba referred to as the Awujale of Ijebu land was more limited.8The kingdoms of Yoruba spent hundreds of years fighting one another in wars of supremacy, conquest and expansion, none of which resulted in a permanent victory over the other. Yet the only thing that they had in common amongst themselves was their language, historical stock, affinity and respect for Ile-Ife and acknowledgement of it as their spiritual home and anthropological source.9

The Yoruba are pre –dominantly an agricultural people. The main occupation of the men is farming of yam, cassava, maize, beans, cocoa, rubber, palm oil and tobacco production. Most of these foodstuffs are used as food crops. The Yoruba also engage in mechanized agriculture in order to boost food and cash crop production for human consumption and industrial demand.10 The women engage primarily in trading such as selling of clothes, food stuff which are mostly seen among the women and it has become part of their culture as means of earning livelihood. There are also a considerable number of professional artists and craftsmen who excel in activities such as wood carving, smelting of iron, gold smelting, pottery, dyeing, weaving, cloth making and others.11

The migration of Yoruba people to Hausa land have been attributed mostly to trade, trade has been their most common occupation and it has linked this two different people together even before the coming of the Europeans, although colonial rule have intensified the movement of more Yoruba people into Hausa land because of the man power the colonial government needed. According to Adegbola, migrants he asserts are able to break social rigidity which hinders economic development and therefore they introduce new skills, techniques of production and so on, which they had earlier gained during their migration career.12 New skills introduced by migrants in rural are learned by the indigenes through this inter relations are forged. Ajaegbu on the other hand opines that rural to urban migration are most frequent and partly reflects due to the wide range of ecological situation, population resource relationship and availability of various local resources and opportunity.13 This has prompted migration into places like Dutsin-ma as economic inter-dependence serves as a major factor for mutual co-existence. In the case of our study area, Yoruba people in Dutsin-ma have settled there for number of reasons, they came for mostly commercial purposes as widely seen across the town. The Yoruba migrants have established quite a number of commercial enterprises such as printing press, photography businesses. They have also ventured into artisanship like automobile repairs, iron bending and welding, among others.

Yoruba women also operate a number of food restaurants around Dutsin-ma such restaurants are popular joints enhancing intergroup contacts, more so they also specialized in tailoring and others. All these have served as a bond of unity in the town. The coming of the Yoruba people to Dutsin-ma can be seen as place which have provided better opportunity to their businesses and livelihood, introducing the local community to different dimension of entrepreneurship unlike the places they came from that have high competition.


Statement of the research problem is the foundation of any research work; this is because every historical epoch has its peculiar problem. The choice of choosing this research is influenced by various factors, to list but a few among is:

Much had been written concerning migrants in different areas, societies and communities in Nigeria. However, only few works of historical relevance on migration which has led to inter-group relations have been done in areas of Dutsin-ma Local Government Area. Thus far, there have not been available written literature on Yoruba migrants in Dutsin-ma Local Government Area, this have made materials limited for the conduct of the research. The interest on how both Yoruba and Hausa have had cordial relationship over the years prompted the research on the subject matter in order to understand the case of Yoruba migrants in Dutsin-ma unlike other natures of inter-group relationships seen in other parts of Nigeria.

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