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The history of Nigerian societies has been characterized with different forms of migration and inter-group relations since the pre-colonial era. Hence, the phenomenon of migration and intergroup relations has remained inevitable overtime.1 This is because no community or society lives in isolation, and no community is self-sufficient in both production and consumption of goods and services by necessity of luxury.2 In like manner, the Nigerian societies, even before colonial period, were considered as neighbors as a result of migration and inter-group relations.3In other words, various scholars who studied migration provide different explanations on the concept. Abdulwahab,4 Amin,5 Crisp,6 Russell,7 Ahmed,8 Bako,9 and so many others have made reference and relate it to the movement of people of different categories and tribe such as workers, laborers, merchants, scholars, etc. from one village, town, city, area, geographical zone, state, country and continent to another.

For centuries, several groups of migrants have been migrating to Katsina metropolis for various reasons that hinge on either push or pull factors. A significant feature that characterized the arrival of these migrant groups is the promotion of inter-group relations, a feature that was accelerated in the colonial and post-colonial period; especially with the colonial conquest of Katsina in 1903, the 1914 amalgamation, the independence of Nigeria in 1960, the post-civil war period (1970) and the creation of the state in 1981. These migrants are from both within and outside Nigeria. Thus over the years the migrants have form sizable communities and have been displaying visible impact on the different aspects of the Katsina economic and social life through interactions with the host community.10

In the contemporary Nigerian society, it is generally accepted that the Igbo are synonymous with business. A scholar of the Igbo extraction has even termed the Igbo “a migration race” a phenomenon he asserted has an economic undertone. However, studies have revealed that the trend of economically motivated migration became common among the Igbo at the beginning of the 20th century and has remained their trade. The trend developed throughout the colonial period and led to the emergence of migrant Igbo in Katsina metropolis whose economic activities has had effects on the socio-economic development of Katsina during the period of our study (1987-2015). In like manner, Igbo presence in many part of the country has become so pronounced that in some cases, they dominate economic activities in the societies they reside and work. There is also a popular assertion in Nigeria that any society in Nigeria that does not have Igbo presence finds it difficult to make economic progress.


Many changes or development have taken place in Dutsin-ma town due to the settlement of the Igbo migrants in the town. However, little or nothing has been written on the contributions of Igbo to the development of Dutsin-ma. Nevertheless, Igbo migrants have made contributions to the socio-economic development of the town and helped in the modernization process.

This neglect has indeed left a vacuum in existing literature. The research therefore attempts to fill this vacuum and make useful contribution to the historiography on inter-group relations.


This study attempts to interrogate the contributions of the Igbos to the development of Dutsin-ma Town. It attempts to achieve the following objectives:

1.                  Trace the origin of the Igbo migrants in Dutsin-ma

2.                  Examine the push and pull factors of Igbo migration into Dutsin-ma town

3.                  Enumerate the economic specialization of Igbo’s in Dutsin-ma

4.                  Identify the major contributions of Igbo to the development of Dutsin-ma town

5.                  Examine the Igbo/Hausa relations in Dutsin-ma town


The year 1976 marked the starting period of the research because it was the period Dutsin-ma came to be a town while the terminal period of study 2015 is the period that the country changed government which caused most of the Igbo to migrate back to their home town because of fear of violence.Language barrier was one of the problems encountered by the researcher, some of the people who have information and experience patterning the research topic were not ableto speak English. This was a major problem because interaction with these people became impossible, due to the fact that the researcher was not fluent with the indigenous language. However, this problem was overcome through the use of an interpreter, who helped to solve the communication problem. It should be noted that the unwillingness of the interviewers to divulge some vital information on the subject matter, scanty of sources have all hindered the ability of the researcher in the course of carrying out the research, thereby, limiting the extent of the research. Similarly, in the course of carrying out the research, it was discovered that some of the informants who are to provide some vital and relevant information about the research topic either died or have relocated to order area. Resources for conducting this research was a challenge as well as the time frame allowed for conducting the research. This problems forms part of the limitation of the research work. Nevertheless, the researcher will do everything possible to overcome the problem by sourcing information in places within the area of study and put in his best to see that the research work is finished on time.


The research will generate useful information towards understanding the push and pull factor towards the emergence of Igbo to Dutsin-ma and certainly the research will be a spotlight to the socio-economic and political impact of the Igbo in Dutsin-ma town.

Furthermore, the study will also add to the existing literature on the history of Igbo in Dutsin-ma. Finally the research work will be seen as an appropriate medium that will enhance and boost the wealth of knowledge of researchers and those that will come in contact with it or make use of it in the future.


The study heavily relied on sourcing information through primary and secondary means. The primary means entails the use of oral information which can be retrieved through an in-depth verbal interviews with some important individuals, who have relevant knowledge of issues concerned in this study and national archives materials. These include elderly Igbo people in Dutsin-ma, elderly Dutsin-ma people and the political leaders in Dutsin-ma. This information is often regarded as first hand because they often obtained either from participants or those who serve as the only source of information left to a particular issue involving this study.  Published and unpublished materials such as published books, journals, articles, B.A projects, M.A dissertation and Ph.D. thesis from History and also sources from other discipline will be utilized for this research.


How else can history be preserved?

Oral traditions are distorted in transmission and disappear with time but written records live forever. Written records exist in form of literatures and in them generations learn and relearn their past, the opportunity to analyze facts and make inferences made available to them. However, literature review is a critical summary that identifies the strength and weakness found in literatures. A statement must be made on how your work attempts to fill the gap you find in literature, how the literature will add to your research work and how the literature will fill the weak links in the literature. For the purpose of this research work the following literatures will be reviewed;

The first major work consulted for this research is the book authored by Y. B. Usman, “The transformation of Katsina 1796-1903”11 the book discussed the overthrow of Sarauta system and the establishment and evolution of Emirates in Hausa land through the forces of the 1804 Jihad of Shehu Uthman Danfodio which changed the political landscape of the Hausa states. His work was geared to the Jihad and how it precipitated to the collapse of the Sarauta system and the installation or establishment of a new political order in accordance with Islamic tenets. He failed to discuss the nature of economic activities and the roles the Igbo played in the development of Dutsin-ma town. This research will therefore fill in the gap by providing a detailed account of the Igbo factor towards the development of Dutsin-ma.

B. Barkundo et’al in their work “Africa and the Wider World”12This book disclosed that Africa witnessed extraordinary growth of cities between 1940 and 1955 because of trade. They noted that the European trading firms and their distributing agents who had their stores only in towns which were administrative center’s or cash-crop collection centers. Other cities were said to have emerged at railway junctions where trade was active. They stated that those interested in petty retail trading had to leave home to seek business in these centers. Once in town a new arrival often looked for his townsmen already established there and consults them, probably borrow from one of them as small capital after some period of apprenticeship. After he must have established, the latter would send for one or two of his relation at home to help in his petty trade. This research will benefit immensely from the book as it discussed the pull factor that attracted people into a particular community, which was also the case of the Igbo people but as failed to address the push factor that was responsible for pushing people in ward into the local areas especially my area of study, as such locations had no railway junctions nor any European firms in the location. Indeed, these research work tends to fill this gap that have been left behind.

A. S. Kabir in his work titled “Igbo Migrants of Katsina Town C. 1970-2009”13 Kabir discussed the migration and its types in an attempt to knit the nature and category of migration which the Igbo are related with. He therefore discussed the push and pull causes of migration as well as the positive and negative effects of migration. He traced the migration and settlement of the Igbo in Katsina to a wave of migration from Arabia led by Jabkigbo who he claimed entered “Gobir” in present day Katsina. He further looked into the customs and culture of the Igbo and stated that the host community did not have any socio-cultural influence on the Igbo migrants rather they embrace Western cultures and socio way of life. However, he explained that the relationship between the host community and the Igbo migrants is good and cordial most of which has to do with economic activities centered on the exchange of commodities. This work will be useful in understanding the origin of the Igbo in northern Nigeria and their eventual settlement into other part of the north especially my study area (Dutsin-ma).

According to L. Y. Kofar Sauri “Historical origin and development of Dutsin-ma”14 is one of the accounts that discussed about the origin and development of Dutsin-ma. The writer discusses extensively about the movement of Yandakawa from Mani to Kwami near Katsina and finally to Dutsin-ma town, where they became the dominant ruler. In Kofar Sauri’s work, the writer did not bring to spot light anything about the Igbo migrant and their contribution towards the development of Dutsin-ma town, which would have be relevant to this research work. This research tends to fill in the gap that the writer has left behind.

B. Kabir “The origin and development of Shema industry in Dutsin-ma”15. The writer discusses the contribution of Shema plastic industry as an important center of business and production. The writer explains how the industry contributes towards the development of Dutsin-ma, economically socially and politically. However, the has remained silent to the contribution of the migrants especially the Igbo towards the development of Dutsin-ma town but nevertheless, this research work has come to fill the loophole that has been created by Kabir.

L. Kabir “Socio-Economic Characteristics and Uses of Information and Communication Technology (I.C.T) in Dutsin-ma Local Government Area”16. The writer stated that the use of information and communication technology (I.C.T) in different areas of human endeavor brought benefits not only to the individual but also to the stakeholders in the communication industry. He identified information and communication technology (I.C.T) as one of the major contributory factor to Nigeria economy as a whole. He goes a long way to highlight the benefits that comes with Information and Communication Technology (I.C.T) ranging from the creation of employment opportunity, increasing productivity and cheaper communication to discourage rural urban migration and enhancing the socio-economic tie among rural farmers. This literature has stressed the important of information and communication technology to the development of Dutsin-ma but has failed to talk anything about the origin of the Igbo in Dutsin-ma and their eventual contribution to the development of Dutsin-ma town. This research work of mine tends to fill the vacuum left by this writer and provide or discuss exhaustively about the origin of the Igbo in Dutsin-ma and the factors that brought them to settle in Dutsin-ma town.

Bako also in his work Sabon Gari Kano: A History of Immigrants and Inter-group Relations in the 20th Century17 examined migration and urbanization, the political and economic history of Sabon gari Kano during the colonial period where he argued that migrant communities such as the Igbo, Yoruba, Nupe and lot more started their settlement in Kano since the pre-colonial era but move in large number during the colonial period in search of economic opportunities. For instance, with the conquest of Northern Nigeria by West African Frontier Force (WAFF), migrants as argued by Bako moved in large number and established social and economic relations with people of Kano. Likewise, the construction of Lagos-Kano railway, Zaria to Funtua and the construction of Makurdi bridge connecting the East and North subsequently paved way for massive movement of Igbo to Northern part of Nigeria. Even though his work was on Kano but his discussion and analysis on the settlement pattern and contribution of Igbo migrant community in Kano will serve as a key and guide to the understanding of Igbo in Dutsin-ma town.

Isichei also in her work, A History of the People18 points out that, the 20th century was the striking feature of Igbo Diaspora; an era which witnessed the movement and influx of the Igbo across the national and international boundaries. According to her factor of colonialism/British hegemony attributed to the Igbo waves of migration across their ancestral homeland; as colonial employees under the construction of railway in the North West. Such make some Igbo settled along the route, especially where there was camp and later form land. She further added that, the Igbo came as individuals (single/singly) after sometimes they brought their, brothers and sisters usually to assist them in domestic work, but over time, the Igbo diversified into trade and produce buyers and so it continue to develop. As such their population kept on increasing. No wonder in 1931 in Kano, the Igbo came to be regarded as the people taking the opportunities of the local people as well as exploiting them. These make Igbo to be held responsible for the economic hardship of the “host” community. This further made other Igbo spread to different parts of Nigeria while some beyond the shores of Nigeria, to countries like Gabon and Fernandopo as migrant laborers. She also noted that, apart from Igbo migrants in Northern Nigeria, there were also parties/couple of Hausa Elephant hunters living in Igbo land before the British came. This corroborate the proposition by Sani (already cited), and then Ukwu and Hodder in their work Marketing in West Africa, where they reveal that Igbo had maintained trade link with the North and other parts of Nigeria prior to the imposition of colonial hegemony. Ukwu and Hodder point out that, the Hausa traders and craftsmen who later settled in the garrison towns in the early parts of colonialism dominated cattle traders. So Isichei’s expository account for the Igbo is quite enormous and revealing. It is no doubt relevant to this study. Notwithstanding, her work is general to the specific Igbo economic activities in Diaspora but this research work is on Dutsin-ma town

Consequently, Meagher in her work, Identify Economics: Social Networks and the Informal Economy in Nigeria19 reveal that the Igbo Diaspora created a network of Igbo Inhabitants in nearly every corner of Nigeria She added that the rapid expansion of the Igbo Diaspora was a product, not only of population pressure at home but of the blue prints for migration in pre-colonial Igbo social organization. She further that the Igbo system of Nnewi entrepreneurs, system of apprenticeship also followed a Diasporic pattern, in which maters settled apprentices in other parts of Nigeria in order to widen their networks and avoid oversupply in a given area. These confirm Afigbo’s affirmation that, “wherever the Igbo are they have great impact on their neighbors. This shows the clear picture of why Igbo entrepreneurs/entrepreneurship spread so fast in Northern cities and Dutsin-ma in particular. So this book would be of great help in clarifying the concept of Igbo migration, Diaspora network, and entrepreneurs/entrepreneurship system as an area of study.

A similar work is a study of Osagbe, Trend of Political Organization in Nigeria: The Igbo in Kano20 were he examined the evolution, growth and development of Igbo Community Association (ICA) where he affirm that, the trend of Igbo ethnic group and migration is a growing phenomenon, which is likely to spread to other migrant groups in the country in future, and this is what he call “migrant ethnic empire building”. He further that the ICA was established to protect and advanced the interest of its members in competition with other ethnic groups over the determination of public policy. In the same vein, he observed that the ICA in Kano gradually becomes formidable and transformed into a centralized political institution with the view to propagate Igbo ethnic agenda. In spite of that, Osaghae’s study over generalized and exaggerate the role of ICA which is mainly to unite Igbo people wherever they, and also to promote Igbo culture, provide security, welfare assistance to members (in terms of capital/loan, assistance in case of death and disaster), engage in community development and to ensure cordial relationship/peaceful co-existence between the Igbo community, the “host” and other migrant communities.But notwithstanding his work will help this research in understanding the nature of ICA in Dutsin-ma in their relations with the host, Non-Indigenous Association (NIAKS) and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) all in Dutsin-ma town.


Thus far, this chapter attempts to present a general introduction of the study, briefly tracing what led to the migration of the Igbo people to Dutsin-ma local government. This chapter also sheds more light on the concept Migration which led to inter-group relation. This chapter also contains details on the statement of research problem, the aims and objectives, the significance, the scope and limitation of the study, research methodology as well as review of literature related to this study for proper guide and to shape the nature of the study.

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