The Kano city walls used to be a remarkable historical monument the people of the ancient city were proud of because of its long historical significance.
Although over the years, the walls have almost become a shadow of themselves due to natural and human factors, but at least they were still visible.
However, recent actions of the Ganduje-led administration are today posing a great threat to the city walls. This is because we have it on good authority that the governor is allocating plots of land to the Kano high and mighty along the city wall, and this we believe will certainly totally obliterate this historical edifice that was bequeathed to us by our ancestors.
According to historical records, the foundations for the wall, which surrounds the old city of Kano, were laid by Sarki Gijimasu between A.D. 1095 and A.D. 1134. The building of the wall was completed in the mid-14th Century during the reign of Zamnagawa. The city walls have been known to protect the city from the invasions of enemies during those years of communal warfare and were a beautiful sight to behold. The tourist potential of the Kano city wall can not be over emphasized because it is one major asset that the state has and in fact, right now, Kano does not have anything that can be compared with the Kano city wall as a tourist attraction site. This must be what informed previous administrations of the state to take up the challenge of reviving these great walls.
The immediate past administration of Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, with a vision of reviving and preserving the city walls and gates, being one of the United Nations World Heritage Site, came up with the most comprehensive initiative that saw to the implementation of some measures that were aimed at reviving the famous sites.
The Kwankwaso administration, realizing that need for conserving the traditional outlook of the city and at the same time giving it a modern facade, established what it called the Protection, Promotion, and Preservation of Kano City Wall standing Committee under the Chairmanship of a renowned Historian Dr. Sule Bello, a lecturer in the Department of History, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (ABU) and mandated the committee to undertake a comprehensive assessment of Kano city walls monument and map out areas and undertake rehabilitation, preservation, conservation and reclamation of the walls, including its labeling.
The committee was also mandated to extend the green zone barricade protecting the city walls to go round the entire wall outline where possible and make appropriate recommendations for implementation. It was also to review the existing traditional gate structures and recommend rehabilitation programme that will transform the gates to meet the growing traffic requirements and at the same time retain the integrity and authenticity of the gates within their traditional form and outlook. The committee was also to propose viable utilisation plans for the gates and the city walls for the purpose of checking unhealthy habits of refuse disposal and illegal encroachment. They were to also examine existing legislations and establish whether their provisions had adequately ensured the protection of the walls and if other wise, recommend areas of amendment and the enactment of an appropriate legislation that will ensure the protection of the Kano City walls and its reservation areas, recommend the provision of monument protection security measures, including setting up of Kano Heritage Marshals.
The committee was also to come up with proposal for effective utilisation of the ponds and ditches along the city walls which may include but not limited to their purification and conservation for productive aquatic activities such as fish farming, recreation and spots.
The committee was also to identify and document all other significant historical monument in Kano in a bid to justify the Kano City Walls as a world heritage site of UNESCO, develop a functional management plan for each identified monument, come up with a fund-raising plan that will identify and approach local and international donor agencies to support future preservation and promotion efforts. It should also examine the possibility of a permanent collaborative heritage management regime for the preservation and promotion of heritage sites and monuments of Kano and make appropriate recommendations to that effect.
Now this was the Kwankwasiyya vision for the Kano city wall and gates. And true to the governor’s vision, indeed a good number of the 14 city gates were rehabilitated. Kofar Nasarawa, Kofar Famfo, Sabuwar Kofa, Kofar Gadon Kaya, Kofar Ruwa, Kofar Kabuga, Kofar Danagundi, among others were either rehabilitated or rebuilt from scratch. Furthermore, the green zone barricade along the wall was also being implemented by training youths in horticulture and relocating them and their seedlings by the city walls.
With these modest achievements by the Kwankwaso administration in the preservation of the city wall, it is therefore appalling to learn that instead of the Ganduje administration to build on the feats and initiatives of his predecessor, he has chosen to use these historical monuments as a way of appeasing his political allies and the Kano high and mighty by allocating about 50 plots of land (phase I) along the City Wall from Kofar Gadon Kaya down to Sabuwar Kofa. These plots are allegedly being sold by the allottees at the cost of a whopping 20 million naira. Now, any right thinking person will know that the governments is most certainly counter productive for our common good.
Therefore, the people of Kano and indeed the Emirate Council cannot sit and watch our cultural heritage being mortgaged by the whimsical Ganduje administration for mere political patronage. We therefore must lend our voice to rescue the plundering of our historic architectural edifice by calling on the Federal government and the National Tourism Development Corporation to prevail on Gov. Ganduje to revoke all allocations along the KANO City Wall, in order to preserve what Lord Lugard described as “the most impressive monument in West Africa”. Let’s come together to save this world heritage site.
Mr. Inuwa wrote in from Abuja