MUHAMMADU HAMMAN MAFINDI – EMIR OF MURI (1903 – 1953)

 

Born in 1868, his father Lamido Muhammadu Nya (Jatau) was the founder of Jalingo the today capital city of Taraba State. Hamman Mafindi who was the Tafidan Muri, succeeded his brother Hassan Muhammadu Nya in 1903. After the death of Hassan, Mafindi moved to Jalingo.He was at Bamga, where, he stayed after the political asylum granted him by Lamido Zubairu of Fombina,Yola Province, when he heard the news of Hassan’s death and came straight to Jalingo, seized the power and informed the Resident. He was duly installed at Lau a fortnight after Hassan’s death.

Tradition has it that he sat in silent prayers in the middle of the Mosque, conspicuous to all but conversing with none, until the council members became so anxious about the act and appointed him to the throne and was later installed at Lau. On his accession the districts of Bakundi, Gassol, and Wurio, were all independent, but in 1907 Bakundi and Gassol were again incorporated in the Emirate, and in 1909 Wurrio resumed its old allegiance.

After about seven years (1903-1910) of rulership, Mafindi moved the Emirate headquarters from Lau to Mutum Biyu,where he remained until 1917 when Jalingo once more became the capital of the Emirate. It was while Mutum Biyu, before he ran out of there that he appointed his eldest son, Madu as Danburam to oversee Jalingo District.

 

MUHAMMADU MAFINDI

 

Mutum Biu, whilst still the capital, was raided by the Germans in April, 1915, the Emir and the Political Officer barely escaping- in time.On 12th April, 1915, Mutum Biyuwas raided by a party of about forty German soldiers with several Europeans and two Maxims from Banyo, who came through Alkassom and the Kam district. The station was evacuated just in time and Mafindi also escaped across the river. No material damage was done to the town but the Government station was completely wrecked and seven or eight miles of telegraph line destroyed. The raiders then withdrew by a more easterlyroute than that by which they had come. A company en route to Yola remained there for a fortnight until relieved by a detachment of police under Major R. F. E. Ellis, A.C.P., who patrolled the vicinity. The police were in turn relieved a month later by another company of soldiers.

Lamido Mafindi’s time saw the expansion of commercial activities and education (establishment of the First Primary School (Muhammadu Nya) in 1926), external relations, discipline and the reorganization and or creation of more districts e.g. the transfer of Sansani District to Gassol from Ibi Division in 1912.

The Emir took an active interest in the war and to mark the fall of Garua in 1915, he presented a gift of cattle and kola nnts to the troops of the Ihi Column. In 1916 he coutribnted from liis treasury £100 for the relief of wounded and disabled Nigerian soldiers. He received a gratuity from the Government for his services.

In 1915 the Emir Mafindi contributed £800 from his Treasury to Avar expenses and another £500 in 1916 (since refunded) together for the relief of disabled Nigerian troops.

In addition to being the longest serving ruler (1903-53) of the 20th Century Muri, he was also the first to receive the C.B.E (1931) and C.M.G. (1946) awards for his notable services as recognized by the Colonial Masters.

He died and was succeeded by his younger brother Muhammadu Tukur in 1953.The reign of Muhammadu Mafindi is one of the most remarkable among those of any emirs in the Northern Region.

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