Zaria is a major city in Northern Nigeria, as well as being a Local Government Sharia known as Zazzau, it was one of the original seven Hausa city-states. The 2006 Census population was 408,198. The current Emir of Zazzau (Sarkin Zazau in Hausa language) is Shehu Idris.

Zaria, initially known as Zazau, was also the capital of the Hausa kingdom of Zazzau. However, human settlement predates the rise of Zazzau, as the region, like some of its neighbors, had a history of sedentary Hausa settlement, with institutional but pre-capitalist [market exchange and farming.

Establishes in the fifteenth- Century, Birnin Zaria is one of the oldest towns in Northern Nigeria. Zaria seems to owe its origins to the settlements of refugees who were uprooted by a series of raids launched from the expanding Kingdom of Kano, by the status of the settlement was significantly elevated by its conversion into capital and the emergent Kingdom and Zazzau or Zakzak.

Zaria’s advantageous geographical location and its status on the capital city of a rapidly expanding Kingdom ensured its steady growth. By the early part of the 16th century, Birnin Zaria had become sufficiently important to attract the attention of the Leo Africanus, who described it as ‘’rich city with an extensive commercial network ‘’ This prosperity attracted immigrants from various parts of the Sudan notably from Borno. By the 17th century, several colonies of Borno immigrants were located both within and outside Zaria city other immigrants from western Sudan later joined there. By the 18th century the Educational and Islamic activities of these immigrants made Zaria one of the leading centers of Learning in Hausa land. Students and scholars from many places therefore frequented it. The location of the Educational Institution such as Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Federal College of Aviation Technology Zaria, Federal College of Leather Technology Samaru Zaria, Federal College of Education Zaria, National Institute for Transport Technology Zaria, Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic Zaria, Shehu Idris College of Advance Studies Zaria, and other Military Institutions, this gives credence to the city famous epitaph as the city of knowledge (Birnin Ilimi )

In the late 1450s, Islam arrived in Zaria by the way of its sister Habe cities, Kano and Katsina. Along with Islam, trade also flourished between the cities as traders brought camel caravans filled with salt in exchange for slaves and grain. Between the fifteenth and sixteenth century the kingdom became a tributary state of the Songhai Empire. In 1805 it was captured by the Fulani during the Fulani Jihad. British forces led by Frederick Lugard took the city in 1901

Zaria is one of the oldest towns in the Northern part of Nigeria. It was once a Federated Native Authority in the Northern region. The Local Government reforms of 1976 changed the nature of the Local Government when about fourteen Local Government s were carved out of Zaria

Zaria itself is a very large heterogeneous city whose 1.490.000 population comes from different parts of the world. It is second size only to the State capital Kaduna. Zaria is easily accessible from different parts of the country by air via Kaduna, Kano, and Abuja by rail and road via Kaduna, Jos, Kano and Sokoto Zaria is located on the high plains and Northern Nigeria , 652.6 meters above the sea level, some 950 km away from the coast (11003N7042) The Zaria region is characterized by gently rolling plains dotted with groups of rocky residual hills developed on granite bedrock.

Zaria possesses a tropical continental climate with a pronounced dry season lasting up to seven months (Oct.-May) . During the season, a cool period is usually experience and between November and February. This emanate from the influence of the North easterly winds (the Hamattan ) which control the tropical continental air mass coming from the area . This weather prevails over most part of the country the NE winds are characterized by hazy to dusty conditions and low temperatures as low as 10co at night .In the afternoon, up to 40 co in sometimes recorded. The humidity also drops to less than 15% in December /January.

Zaria experience a brief period of hot but dry weather in March and April, followed by progressives. Incursion of  tropical maritime air mars from the Atlantic Ocean which displaces the NE [hamattan]. Winds; during this short period ,the mean  daily maximum temperatures are fairly stable, and they range from 38 o/C to 40o/C.After that , the south westerly monsoon winds laden with moisture bring the rain in thunderstorms and squalls with heavy fall of high intensities. The rainy season last from May to September /October, with long-term annual rainfall of c.1040 in its about 90 rain days.


The establishment of the Sokoto Caliphate in the nineteenth century witnessed a tremendous expansion of Islamic education in Zaria. This was because the Caliphate leaders attached high premium on education. This is demonstrated by the fact that learning and possession of knowledge was made a key criterion in the appointment of leaders to positions in the polity. The necessity for this was clearly brought out by the Shehu in the following statements: –

“The ruler is more in need than all God’s creation to be acquainted with learning is like a country without inhabitants. The best thing in a ruler, in particular, and people in general, is to associate with learning; yearning to listen to it holding the bearer of knowledge in great respect this is infact the surest way for a ruler to be beloved of his subjects. On the other hand, if the king is devoid of learning, he follows his whims and leads his subject astray. So the upper classes are more in need of association with scholars, having friendship with the learned and the study of books of learning and wise saying and reading the anthologies of learning and the biographies of sages.”

The application of the above guiding principles was nowhere more strictly than in Zaria. For instance on the death of Mallam Musa the choice of a new emir felll on Yamusa. The deciding the founder of the bornawa dynasty factor in his selection was his contribution to the Jihad, piety and knowledge rather than consideration of family background or any other factors. In like manner when Yamusa died, Sokoto prepared Abdulkaram the founder of the Katsinawa ruling dynasty. His choice was purely based on his education background. The subsequent appointment of Mallam Musa and after Mallam Abdussalam was all based on their academic standing in the society105. This explained the reason why it was only in Zaria that four ruling dynasties emerged.

Zaria is home to Ahmadu Bello University, the largest university in Nigeria and the second largest on the African continent. The institution is very prominent in the fields of Agriculture, Science, Finance, Medicine and Law. Zaria is also the base for the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology. National Research Institute for Chemical Technology. Zaria is also home to Barewa College. The school is known for the large number of elites from the region that passed through the school’s academic buildings and counts among its alumni, five of whom were at one time Nigerian Heads of State, including the late president Umaru Musa Yar’Adua

The old part of the city, known as Birnin Zaria or Zaria-City, was originally surrounded by walls, which now have been mostly removed. The Emir’s palace is located in the old city. In the old city and the adjacent Tudun Wada neighborhood people typically reside in traditional adobe compounds. These two neighborhoods are predominately occupied by the Hausa Muslims.

Transport and Economy
Zaria’s economy is primarily based on agriculture. Staples are guinea corn and millet, and cash crops include cotton, groundnuts and tobacco. The city is considered by some to be a main center of Hausa agriculture. Not only is Zaria a market town for the surrounding area, it is the home of numerous artisans, from traditional crafts like leather work, dyeing and cap making, to tinkers, print shops and furniture makers. Zaria is also the center of a textile industry that for over 200 years has made elaborately hand-embroidered robes that are worn by men throughout Nigeria and West Africa.

Because Zaria is north of the rail junction at Kaduna, it has equal rail access to the seaports at Lagos and Port Harcourt. However, currently only the railway to Lagos is functional, as the eastern line of Nigeria’s rail network is not operational. This means that Zaria currently has rail access to Lagos and Kano to the north, but not Port Harcrout From 1914 to 1927, Zaria was the break-of-gauge junction station for the Bauchi Light Railway to the tin mines at Jos.

1)   Adminitrative Strucrure

The administration of the Local Government is co-ordinated by the Director of Personnel He has other personnel who assist him to run the various departments.

2)   Agriculture

Due to the impotence of agriculture in nation building, the Local Government has given high priority to it sector, the Local Government officials advice farmers and supply them with seeds as well as help them to get fertilizers. The suburbs of Zaria have vast lands suitable for farming.

3)   Art AND Culture

The state council of arts and culture has a liaison officer in the local government and the local governments assist the office in the promotion of culture in the area.

4)   Commerce

The development of markets and the promotion of commercial activities are priorities of the Local Government. The local Government has the following major markets,i.e. Kasuwan Zaria market, Kasuwan Dan magaji market and Tudun Wada markets.These are other small markets in existence in the Local Government.

5)   Education: Educational institution in Zaria LGA include the following:

  • Institute of Administration Ahmadu Bello University
  • Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic
  • Ameer Shehu Idris Collage of Advance Studies
  • Federal Collage of Education Zaria
  • Barewa College
  • Alhuda-huda College
  • Sceince Collage Kufena and many more

6)   Financial Institution

The financial institutions in the local Government are African International Bank and four Community Banks situated at various locations in the Local Government.


7)   Financial resources of the local government

Revenue generated from internal means in addition to the statutory allocation from the federation account.

8)   Geographical feature

The Local Government is located in the Northern part of the state and it shares boundaries with many local government .

9)   Government Agencies

There are many Governmental agencies such as NPC,INEC, NIPOST Zaria Local Government.

10) Headquater

The Headquarter is situated at Zaria City. The Local Government is regarded as the mother of all the Local Government in the state.

11) Health Facilities

The Local Government has a total of twenty one clinics, four maternity clinics and four Health Centers. There are located in the nook and crannies of the LGA.ABUTH and ban zazzau pediatric clinic

12) Industries

The local Government has the following industries, Zaria industries, Fan Milk, sunseed ltd.

14) Judiciary

In order to facilitate justice to all, there are many courts established in various locations of the local government.

15) Mineral Resources

The Local Government is blessed with many mineral resources which among them is lime stone.

16) People

The Local Government is essentially Hausa dominated with few other tribes as strangers

17) Population

According to the 1991 census, the local government has a population of 277,187 though the Local Government has contested against this figure.

18) Postal Address

The postal address of the local government is P.M.B.1038 Zaria, Kaduna state.

19) Recreational Facilities/Sport

The inhabitant of the area engages themselves in various sporting activities such as football, basket ball and swimming, horse-race, pollo, golf, local wrestling and boxing.

20) Problems of the Local Government

The problem of the Local Government is its meager financial resources.

21) Religious  Institutions

Many Mosques and few churches could be found in the area.

22) Road Network

The Local Government has roads that link her with some major cities and rural areas

23) Tertiary Institutions

They are, Federal College of Education, Kongo, State Polytechnic, Tukur Tukur

School of Nursing, Wusasa and the Institute of Administration A.B.U,Kongo.

24) Tourist Attractions

The tourist areas are River Galma,  old City Wall and dyeing  centres.

25) Towns/Villages

The Local Government has so many towns and villages

26) Traditional Rulers

The Emir of Zazzau Alhaji(Dr) Shehu Idris who is a first class Emir controls so many towns and villages with district heads who help him to administer his domain. His power extend to other local government with the province

The Title holder in Zaria are:

1)   District Head, Birnin Dakewaye

2)   District Head, Waje

3)   District Head of Tukur Tukur                              .

28) Water Supply

The state water board has a branch in the Local Government and due to the presence of River Galma, there is constant supply of tap water.