Married to Ancient Times

Fri, Dec 7, 2012
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Inhabitants of Jigawa State who live in urban and rural areas have adopted Kura, a cart driven by cows, as the preferred means of transportation because it is cheap

By Ishaya Ibrahim  |  Dec. 17, 2012 @ 01:00 GMT

A FIRST time visitor to Dutse, the capital of Jigawa State, would be surprised to discover that the preferred mode of transportation among the people is the cart, an old-fashioned mode of transportation. But to the inhabitants of Jigawa, it is very normal. At a time when the country is witnessing fuel scarcity and hike in the price of the commodity used to power automobiles in major Nigerian cities, the people don’t feel the economic impact because travelling by cart is cheap and affordable.

Locals on a cruise in their cart
Locals on a cruise in their cart

It is somehow curious to note that in an age when most businessmen resort to the fastest means of transportation in business trips, Hamisu Kassim, a trader, would rather use the cart. Kassim, who is also a farmer and herdsman whose line of business requires him to be mobile at all times, prefers using a cart, driven on two wheels and pulled by two hefty cows. Called Kura in Hausa language, the cart is built with mahogany woods that rest on two motor tyres and pulled by two cows. It is big enough to carry up to six passengers including the rider. The cows are usually gagged to control and prevent them from destroying farm crops. Altogether, it costs about N280, 000 to own a Kura; a breakdown, according to Kassim shows that a healthy cow costs between N120,000 and N140,000 while the cost of constructing the cart is just N30,000.

The inhabitants of Dutse who use this mode of transportation to ferry their goods to the market every Monday. “There is no maintenance cost.  We don’t worry ourselves about buying petrol. The only cost, apart from the initial purchase, is feeding the cows after they have covered a distance of about two kilometres.” 

The use of cows by Jigawa people is not restricted to transportation. They also use them for their farm work. They would attach to the cows, locally fabricated harvesters, mowers, ploughs and several other farming tools which they use in land cultivation.  This method of farming is faster and can accomplish, in one hour, what 10 people cannot do in eight hours.

The cruise could become risky too
The cruise could become risky too

It appears that the preference for this mode of transportation in the state prompted Sule Lamido, the state governor, to vehemently campaign for total removal of fuel subsidy early this year. Since his people are not benefiting from the subsidy of fuel, Lamido believes that  if fuel subsidy is removed his poor state would be able to get more money from the federation account.

Jigawa State, which is mostly rural, was created in 1991, from the old Kano State. It has a population of roughly 3.6 million, with Dutse, having almost half of its population. Unlike Kano, with a history of religious strife, Jigawa has maintained both religious and ethnic harmony since its creation. In Dutse, it is not unusual to find a mosque sharing almost the same fence with a church.

Ayodele Olorunfemi, an aviation consultant with African Wings, Dutse, described the city as the new commercial hub of the north. He said the place has all it takes to succeed; good governance offered by Governor Sule Lamido, arable land, natural tourist sites as represented by mountains that dot the city’s landscape and above all, peace.


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