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According to Nyimatli legends, the Nyimalti migrated from Yemen in the Arabian Peninsula together with other tribes like the Babur, Jukun, Bolewa , Jara Margi, Tangle, Tula ,the Waja,theKanuri, Ka Nakuru, and Karee Kaire amongst other in about the 8th century.

History has it that the reason for the mass migration from Yemen was due to breakage of the MA ‘rib Dam which took place in about 720AD. The incident was said to have destroyed their farm produce, animas, houses and properties which caused drought all over the area. Coinciding with this disaster was the Islamic revolution that affected all the neighbouring state of Saudi Arabia.

The Nyimalti communities with their rich cultural heritage were said to have refused to submit to the Islamic evolutionist, so alongside other tribes they left Yemen. They sojourned through the route to lake Chad Basin to Burma on the Hawui River that joined the Gongola River Valley. Lather, they were said to have moved northwards and left some of their Kith and Kins at Ka Nakuru, Dali, Got, Gasi, Kwaya Tera, Wuyo, Balbiya and Shani to settle bat Shinga.

It was further gathered that they had sojourned through wokfiri, Njanina, Mr inga, Badalangi, Fika, Durfi, Zhimi, Zhindng (Fast of Gongola), Barebari, Ngazargamu, Walama and Shinga in Gombe.

It is interesting to note that while some settled on the way in course of the long journey, some proceeded in search of greener pasture for their livestock, farm land and possibly a habitable placed to practice their esteemed cultural heritage.

From Shinga, it was gathered that some Nyimalti group still dispersed to servers routers, some moved eastwards and founded Wade, some went northwards and established Bage, Gwami, Kwami, Liji, Kwadon, Kwali, Difa, Kalshingi, Lubo, and Doho, while some moved southwards and established Deba, Kurba, Doho, Jagli,Kinafa,Zambuk,  Panda and Pata. History has it that some of the Nyimatli tribes (mentioned earlier) came to the hill (Bima Hill), they climbed the hill through a cave to ascertain its safety.

 And after they had inspected and ascertained that it was safe enough, they invited others ‘’enter ‘’ which translation means ‘’vima’’ in the Nyimatli language ‘’Dleng vima’’ meaning ‘’Mount Enter ‘’ became the name of the hill. However, with the coming of other tribes, notably the Hausa, and other tribes to the land, who found it difficult to pronounce /v/, used /b/b as the first letter of the word, thus changed the name to Bima Hill. First among the Nyimatli who went to Bima Hill were three brothers who later became the Chiefs of Kurba, Njeba (Deba) and Ghuna (Hinna) towns. here was, as far as can be ascertained, no paramount chief for the Nyimatli groups each Nyimatli group was independent of the other, but acknowledged their strong family ties, with certain family obligation between the groups. So each village remained self-contained units complete unto itself and acknowledge no over lord with the exception of the Emir of Gombe, descendant of their original conqueror. A spirit of almost fanatical independence was a characteristic of the Nyimalti tribe. This was so much so that the head of one village will not even spend a night in the village of another lest he thought to be subject to that chief.

Thought the Fulani have settled among them, whilst the Jukun and the Bolewa also have married from them, never the less, 

The Nyatiti have remained the running class and have preserved their identity.

Nyimatli (Yamaltu) was part of Akko District, its formation as Yamaltu District started since 1936 under the then Divisional Officer in charge of Gombe Division. The then District officer (DO) once wrote that Akko District has no historical right to the over lordship of yamaltu people for it is only within recent times that for the sake of administrative convenience the administrative arrangement and separation of these people has been artificial and has not been at all acceptable to them. A sprit of almost fanatical interdance is a characteristic of yamaltu. Mach village keeps well within its bounds. And each village head is extremely jealous of his autonomy’’.

The Do further stated that, ‘’Yamaltu people are an extremely intelligent and likable people and many are employed in Gombe Native Administrative in positions of importance and trust, their diligence and industry leaving their Fulani fellow workers for behind ‘’.

The re-organization of provincial Boundaries in 1926 saw the transfer of Gwani enclave comprising Hinna, Gwani, Shinga and Wade to Gombe from Biu Division of Borno Province. Gwani then had the status of a District Head but upon the creation of Yamaltu District on 15th may, 1950 and the subsequent appointment of Sarkin Gwani as the first District Head of Yamaltu District, the Colonial chose Dadin –Kowa ward in Hinna Village area as the new District Headquarters some village area protested the appointment of sarkin Gwani as the new District Head of Yamaltu District. For him to move from his home town Gwani to Hinna Village Area to0 operate as the District Head was objectionable to the people the arrangement ushered in confusion and series of protests. This

paved way for the then Colonial Masters to declare that whenever vacancy exists, all the fourteen Village Heads of Yamaltu must be obliged to contest for the vacant stool.

In view of the above, it can be seen below that ascendency to the traditional stool of yamaltu has had almost equal representation from all the ruling houses.


advanced divider
SNName of Traditional RulerFrom Royal Family OfDate of AppointmentsStatusDuration On The Throne
1Alh.Mohammed BelloGwani15th May, 1950-1972District Head22 Years
2Shettiman GombeGombe1972-1974Ag. District Head2 Years
3Alh. Ibrahim Moh’d BelloGwani1974-2002District Head28 Years
2002 - 13th May, 20042nd Class Emir2 Years
4Alh. Moh’d Inuwa MusaKinafa13th May, 2004-1st June, 2004Ag.2nd Class Emir1 Month
5D S P. Alh. Manu Adamu (Rtd)Hinna2004 - 20082nd Class Emir4 Years
6Alh. Musa AliyuShinga4th March, 2008Ag. 2nd Class Emir1 Month
9th April, 2008
7D S P. Alh. Hassan J. Usman (Rtd)Hinna9th April, 2008-Feb, 20112nd Class Emir3 Years
8Alh. Abubakar Ali HinnaHinna16th Oct, 2019 To Date1st Class EmirTo Date

The creation of additional state in the year 1996 and the transformation of local Government system of administration from the former local Authorities to the local Government Areas following the Dasuki Local Government Reforms, Gombe continue to maintain its status as the Zonal headquarters and commercial nerve centre of the default Bauchi state and the present days ( Gombe State.)

Early history

During the reign of Emir Zailani (1882–1888) a religious zealot, Mallam Jibril Gaini, established himself at Burmi on the border between Gombe and Fika. Gaini managed to hold out for years against the combined forces of Gombe and neighboring emirates, and was finally defeated and exiled by the British Royal Niger Company in 1902. The British conquered Gombe at the battle of Tongo in 1902. They moved the capital of Gombe to Nafada in 1913, and moved the capital again in 1919 to the present Gombe town. Waja was separated from Gombe in 1930 to become an independent District.  However, the Waja headmen chose Sarkin Yaki of Gombe, brother of the former Emir Umaru dan Muhammadu, as their chief.

Post-colonial era

The British had set up the Gombe Native Authority system, which continued to function after independence in 1960. In 1976, the military regime of Olusegun Obasanjo broke up the Native Authority into the Gombe, Akko and Dukku Local Government Areas. In 2002, Gombe State Governor Abubakar Habu Hashidu broke up Gombe Emirate into parts, ruled by 2nd Class Emirs and two Senior District Heads. The following year Governor Mohammed Danjuma Goje created two additional Senior District Heads. This has reduced the authority of the Emir at a time of increasing conflict between farmers and nomadic Udawa herders, compounded by violence from extremist religious groups.


Rulers of Gombe Emirate:

18041841Abubakar “Buba Yero” dan Usman Subande (b. c.1762 – d. 1841)
18411844Sulaymanu dan Abubakar (d. 1844)
18441882Muhammadu Kwairanga dan Abi Bakar (d. 1882)
18821888Abd al-Qadiri Zaylani dan Muhammadu (d. 1888)
18881895Hasan dan Muhammadu (d. 1895)
18951898Tukur dan Muhammadu (d. 1898)
18981898Jalo dan Muhammadu
18981922Umaru dan Muhammadu (d. 1922)
19221935Haruna dan Umaru (d. 1935)
January 1936January 1984Abu Bakar dan Umaru (b. 1902)
January 1984May 27, 2014Shehu Usman Abubakar
June 2014PresentAbubakar Shehu Abubakar III (b. 1977)


Deba monarchy is one of the oldest traditional monarchical systems in Nigeria. It was founded long before the scramble and partition of West Africa in 1885, long before Usman Danfodio jihad in the 17th and 18th century, and even long before the coming of the colonial masters to Africa in the 15th century. Its monarchy was established in 1375 with its first monarch or King called Kuji in Nyimatli language. The Mishelku’s group (i.e. the royal descendants) who were said to have migrated from Middle East brought with them animals, spears, a copy of the holy book of (Quran) and assorted kinds of clothes and met the aborigines group such as Bu̱rnyi and Shaba with Bu̱rnggu̱na as their head. As the leadership group began to expand, the title of kuji (king) was introduced as the administrative head of Deba.

The first monarch known as Kuji Pilɓangmu ruled from 1375 A.D. to 1384 A.D. and wielded power over his territory with its boundaries at a town known as Kalshingi in the west to Jagali in the east, and from Ɗola in the north to Panda in the southern part of the present Gombe state.

Deba empire was made up of many different settlements before the middle of 14th century A.D. when the settlements were amalgamated under the leadership of Kuji Pilɓangmu. As an autonomous kingdom in its own right, thirty two kings ruled Deba kingdom as monarchs from Kuji Pilɓangmu 1375 A.D. to Kuji Buba Maji 1897 before colonialism debunked it and reduced it to the status of a village head. It is important to state here that this relegation consequently reduced Deba territory to its present stage. Deba was never conquered or subjugated by any ethnic group in history, but has consistently resisted many invasions into its domain. Thus the famous Usman Danfodio jihad had little impact on the administrative existence of Deba. Oral tradition shows that during the reign of kuji Maji (1882 1897), the Emir of Misau, Mai Saleh attempted to attack Deba but proved abortive. Mai Saleh was subsequently killed during his second expedition at Tula Wange in 1898.

Deba has maintained a cordial relationship with its neighbours from time immemorial. For instance, apart from serving as cradle of civilization among other Tera and non-Tera ethnic communities, it was strategically located as center of commence and linked Gombe to the South East with Tangale Waja and other communities. Traders from faraway places like Kano and Borno came to transact in slaves and other commodities in Deba town through the well established caravan route. Perhaps this could be one of the reasons of its close relationship with Gombe Emirate. Thus, during the reign of Muhammadu Kwairanga, the Emir of Gombe (1844-1882), he was said to have gotten married to a Deba princes daughter of Kuji Atuman. Furthermore, Haruna the seventh Emir of Gombe was said to have married Halima, the daughter of kuji Zaura the 33rd kuji of Deba. Similarly, Atiku, a son to Galadiman Gombe took his wife from Deba, and were blessed with children among whom was the late Alh Muhammadu, the district head of Akko. The British occupation of Gombe in 1903 after the defeat of Sultan Attahiru Ahmadu 1 at the battle of Bormi brought Deba kingdom under the Gombe Emirate in 1907. However, Deba continued to maintain its status as chiefdom with envoys being sent to supervise the ban of slave trade in the area, starting with Galadima Bubawa who was later deposed by the British for financial allegations. Therefore, Galadima Barunde was posted as an envoy to Deba until 1921 when the district headquarters was transferred to Kumo. In-between that period Yerima Jalo acted as envoy in Deba for some months before his transfer to Waja district, and was later removed from office for financial allegation. It is important to note that the making of Deba as the district headquarters of Akko was ascribed to the urban nature of Deba as it is more cosmopolitan than any other settlement in Gongola valley. In addition, it was strategically located on traffic junction connecting Gombe with Adamawa state through Numan. By and large, it is among the largest trading centers that earned the town the name “Deba Birnin Tera.” In a nutshell, Deba has never been part of the Emirate system until 1907 when the British brought it under Gombe Emirate for the purpose of indirect rule system. Later, the administrative reforms initiated by the British colonial authorities led to the creation of Yamaltu district in 1936 comprising all the 14 Tera settlements (i.e. Deba, Hinna, Kurɓa, Gwanyi, Zambuk, Difa, Kwali, Kinafa, Waɗe, Shinga, Luɓo, Kwadon, Liji, and Lano) used under Galadiman Gombe. The administrative reform which cut across the northern Nigeria was to make tribes more autonomous. This development brought the transfer of other Tera towns (i.e, Gwanyi Enclave comprising Gwanyi, Shinga, Waɗe and Hinna), which were in Biu division back to Gombe division in 1935. The aim was to make Tera ethnic groups into a single kingdom with its constituted village areas a potential heir apparent to the throne of district head of the newly created Yamaltu district. However, the appointment of the district head of Yamaltu was delayed until 1950 because of power tussle among the potential contenders (i.e. Deba and Gwanyi). The choice of village head of Gwanyi was favoured amidst protest. Deba therefore, continue to remain as village area under the district head of Yamaltu until 1977 when Deba district was created alongside Pindiga. As a result of that, more hamlets within Deba district were upgraded to the status of village areas. In addition, the district head of Deba was equally addressed as Sarkin Deba and Hakimin Deba to differentiate him from other district heads that were appointed by the Emir of Gombe. This development made Sarkin Deba to become a member of Gombe Emirate council until the year 2000 when the status of the district head was upgraded to an Emir. The chronicles of Deba monarchs, village heads, district heads and Emirs listed below depicts the high position Deba monarchs occupied before the coming of the colonial masters and the subsequent unfortunate relegations of this monarchial system to village head and the subsequent raising of this famous empire to the status of Emirate.



PilɓangmuC. 1375-1384
3Boshom Pilɓangmu1398-1415
4Bamtala Wafuɗa1415-1428
6Ghafa Boshom1439-1457
7Yema Zuri Boshom1457-1472
8Zhana Zhomzhom1472-1492
9Ghwara zhomzhom1492-1504
10Njong Khundi1504-1519
11Ruma Zhana1519-1522
12Bara Yema Zuri1522-1538
13Maji Dakidaki Ruma1538-1558
14Mele Ghwara Bara1558-1565
15Vama Bara1565-1575
16Gwalam Maji Dakidaki1575-1587
17Jimdimi Mele Ghwara1587-1599
18Nggazhi Nggazhi Vama1599-1612
19Tundum Gwalam1612-1627
20Gomtol Nggazhi Nggazhi1627-1638
21Maikada Tundum1638-1653
22Ali Maikada1653-1693
23Zaura Ainaɓa Gomtol1693-1754
24Maji Zaura Ainaɓa I1754-1765
25Mele Aisa Zan1765-1790
26Jipi Zaura Ainaɓa1790-1800
27Zaura Zuma Dake1800-1852
28Atuman Mele Aisa Zan1852-1856
29Wana atuman1856-1866
30Maji Zaura Zuma Dake II1866-1882
31Mari Maji1897-1916


1Zaura Buba1916-1950
2Maji Buba III1950-1957
3Usman Maji1957-1976


1Usman Maji1977-1984
2Col. Abubakar Waziri Mahdi (Rtd)1984-2000


1Lt. Col. Abubakar Waziri Mahdi (Rtd)2000-2007
2QS. Ahmad Usman Mohammed2017 – to date


WajaBalangaDangi waja
HausaDauraTudunwada Ilu
FulaniDukkuWuro Maccu
AwakKaltungoRarab Awak
KanuriBornoSaruje Bare bari
HausaKatsina/SokotoNono Mal. Isa
TangaleKaltungoKidda Adoni
BolawaFikaGarin Tafida
HausaKatsina/KanoGe-Lano (Dumbu)
WajaBalangaGe – Lambam (Kuntaru)
HausaKatsina/SokotoLambam, Ge – Lambam
8.Wuro BirdekaTeraYemenAmatai
FulaniAdamawaWuro Malami