Ancient wall disappears

The 1000-year-old wall in Kano is in a bad state of disrepair


The muddy ancient wall that once protected the Fulani empire in Nigeria, is slowly disappearing. Hundreds of years before Nigeria was colonised by the British, the thick wall in Kano protected the 50,000 people who once lived in the city. The wall was once 1.5 metres/5ft. thick and 3.5 metres/11ft. high and surrounded the bustling city.


For many centuries, Kano was the main trade centre in Western Africa. The fortification in northern Nigeria has thirteen giant gates and was manned by security guards for protection.


Today, Kano is the second largest city in Nigeria with more than 3.6 million inhabitants. The city wall is crumbling and in a bad state of disrepair as people use the space next to parts of the destroyed wall for expanding their small businesses.


However, the historic monument is culturally important for the people and it is feared that the young generations will grow up uninformed about the achievements of their forefathers.


"The wall is our culture. That wall stands for us. When people think of Kano they think of the wall. It is our symbol. We need to preserve and maintain our ancient culture, not destroy or watch it go into ruins." (Abbas Yushau, wall restoration campaigner)

Two of the thirteen city gates have been lovingly restored, but many other parts of the wall are in dire need of renovation. The government of Africa's second biggest economy has many pressing issues - the restoration of the wall is only one of them.


Nigeria has a population of over 190 million people. The most populous country in Africa suffers from a high unemployment rate and a high poverty rate.


Although Nigeria is an oil-rich country and oil accounts for the major part of the country's earnings, due to the drop in the global oil-price, there is just not enough money.


source: Hamza Mohammed/alJazeerah

image: alJazeerah


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