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This week in Kano history: November 17-23



Nigeria Airways

1969 – 43 Kano passengers died in Nigerian Airways crash

On November 20, 1969, a Nigerian Airways VC-10 plane crashed in Lagos killing 43 passengers from Kano.

The Kano state Solicitor General/Commissioner for Justice, Nuhu Usman and the Permanent Secretar, Ministry of Education Muhammadu Mukhtar were among the victims.

The plane which took off from London via Rome and Kano crashed with 87 passengers and 11 crew members.

1980 – House of Representatives suspended Kano lawmaker Sidi Ali for brandishing a gun at plenary

On November 20, 1980, the Federal House of Representatives suspended member representing Dambatta constituency of Kano state for six months for brandishing a gun during a plenary session.

Mr Sidi Hamidu Ali used the gun to prevent the speaker from reading out a letter by the Santsi faction of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) changing the party’s leadership in the House.

Mr Ali was the Party Whip under the leadership of Mustapha Balarabe which was loyal to the Tabo faction.

1993 – Sani Abacha became Head of State

On November 17, 1993, Sani Abacha became the 7th military Head of State of Nigeria following the resignation of Earnest Shonekan as Head of Interim National Government.

Mr Abacha, a general in the Nigerian Army, ruled Nigeria for five years and died in office on June 08, 1998.

His government left a mixed legacy of economic development, public works under the Petroleum Trust Fund, as well as human right abuses against journalists and pro-democracy activists.

During his reign, Nigeria’s relations with Western nations soured as his government allied itself with Libya, Palestine and North Korea.

After his death, he was discovered to have looted about $10 billion from the Nigerian treasury, with some of the loot  still to be repatriated from foreign accounts.

2000 – KNSG evacuated 223 victims of OPC

On November 21, 2000, Kano state government evacuated 223 victims of Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) attacks from Lagos.

The victims including 32 women who lost their husbands, 181 men and women who lost their means of livelihood, and 10 orphans left Lagos by 9:45pm.

The Kano state government under the leadership of Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso also distributed N10,000.00 each to those who chose to stay in Lagos.

Compiled by Maude Rabiu Gwadabe

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Rape: Kano court sentences 70 year old rapist to death by stoning



Mukhtar Yahya Usman

An Upper shari’a court sitting at Kofar Kudu in Kano metropolis has sentenced one Mati Audu to death by stoning after he was found guilty of defiling a 12 year old girl.

Kano Focus reports that the presiding judge, Abdullahi Sani Sarki Yola gave the verdict on Wednesday.

Mr Audu who is a resident of Falsa of Tsanyawa local government confessed to his crime before the judge willingly.

The Judge according to the Islamic teaching gave him chance at three different court sittings to reverse his confession in order to save him from the punishment.

But the old rapist insisted that he defiled the minor, and was willing to accept his punishment.


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This week in Kano history: Fire killed 331 in El-Duniya Cinema



File image of fire

On May 13, 1951, fire razed down El-Duniya Cinema killing 331 out of an audience of 600.

It was the highest number of casualties in a one-day disaster in the recorded history of Kano.

An inquiry by the British colonial government found that the fire started at the projection room and spread along the ceiling of the cinema located beside the Kantin Kwari and Sabon Gari markets.

Almost all the victims were young men aged 18-34 with some children including a 9-year-old who thronged the cinema for an afternoon show.

Many of the dead had been trapped because the theater owner had locked the doors to prevent people sneaking in without paying. Others were caught in the crush as patrons rushed back into the burning theater to collect their bicycles.

The Prophet’s Image

However, the tragedy was interpreted by most Kano citizens as divine retribution for participating in immoral activities.

Rumors quickly spread that the film being screened that day at El-Duniya portrayed the image of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Others believed that during construction of the cinema people passing everyday cursed the builder and therefore it was engulfed not just by flames but by the combined magical force of these curses.

These rumors grew so strong that the colonial Government was forced to take official notice and counter them over the radio.

Twice daily for two days in four different languages, the Radio Diffusion Service announced there was no truth to the stories that the people handling the bodies of El-Duniya victims died, or that Native Authority Warders who helped in the tragedy had all gone mad, or that prisoners from Kano prison (who helped in handling the corpses) could not eat for days afterwards.

Culled from Signal and Noise: Media, Infrastructure, and Urban Culture in Nigeria by Brian Larkin (2008)

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Today in History: The assassination of Murtala Muhammad



Murtala Muhammad

Maude Rabiu Gwadabe

Murtala Muhammad, Nigerian military Head of State was assassinated on February 13, 1976 in an aborted coup.

The 37-year old, Kano-born, 4th Nigerian Head of State was gunned down in Ikoyi Lagos by soldiers led by Lt. Col. Bukar Suka Dimka.

In his 201 days in office, he pursued policies that have brought lasting changes to Nigeria.

Some of them are the adoption of presidential system of government from the former parliamentary system.

This week in Kano History: July 28 to August 3

He created seven new states – Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Imo, Niger, Ogun, and Ondo – bringing the number of Nigerian states to 19.

His regime also initiated the movement of the Federal Capital from Lagos to Abuja.

Late Murtala Muhammad also purged the civil service, demobilized soldiers, and jailed former ministers in an effort to rid Nigeria of corruption.

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