The Impact of British Colonialism on Ajami Education System in Northern Nigeria, C.1903-1960


  • Shehu M. Danyaya, PhD Department of History and International Studies, Federal University Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State,


Impact, Ajami, Colonial Education, Policy, Colonialism, Northern Nigeria


There is no doubt that Ajami system of writing (Hausa and Fulfulde) was the
first writing system and medium of communication among the Hausa Muslim
community in Hausaland, which geographically constitutes the present-day
Northern Nigeria. Scholars in the area used Ajami in the traditional Islamic
schools, courts administration and other correspondences. In short, they used
it to write in diverse areas of human endeavour such as linguistics, history,
diplomacy, law, medicine, politics, literature, culture, economics and
philosophy and logic. However, with the colonial subjugation of the Sokoto
Caliphate, the system was replaced with Hausa Roman system of writing.
Although, in spite of the fact that it was officially replaced with another system
of writing by Lugard, Ajami continued to be used in court administration, and in
other administrative correspondences for some time and remained the
inscription on the Nigerian currency up till today. The paper attempts to
explore the systematic conspiracy against Ajami through Colonial Education
System and Policy in Northern Nigeria from 1903 to 1960. The paper employs
the use of discourse analysis and the use of both primary and secondary sources
of data. It is the position of this paper that the colonial administration through
the Governor General with the collaboration of some missionaries and High
Commissioner for education conspired to ensure the termination of the wider
acceptance and use of Ajami system of writing which was the first and only
known system of writing in Hausaland during the pre-colonial period.


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