The History Of Lamma Chiefdom Under Saakoro As Its First District Head

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The popular land which is today known as Lamma was one time a hunting ground of Sagbee and Kugong people who lived in the mountain ranges where they had been living since the time that they dispersed from Yorro long time ago. It can be recalled that people lived in mountains as protection against harsh weather condition, Security against attacks by enemies and also dangerous wild beasts since the plain lands under the mountains were thickly covered by thorns and forests. More of this, even during the slave Trade many people avoided living on exposed lands, they preferred living up in mountains until the time when the world condition changed then movements of people on top of the mountains to down on the flat lands became in operation everywhere on the earth.

It was at certain time that several people dispersed from Sagbee Zaapa, Yusaapa and Depu down to the present land of Lamma when an outbreak of smallpox epidemics occurred in Sagbe which killed a lot of people that let some of them fled down to the plain land to escap from the smallpox epidemics which killed many of them. It was because of that they were then nicknamed “Tavoh” meaning the people who fled away to escape smallpox epidemics. Saakoro Bongetah grandfather was one one of the people who fled the epidemics down to Lamma Tavoh.,

Saakoro was a wealthy and popular personality among his people in Tavoh. He had many wives married from different clans of the Mumuye and one of them was from Dong, the sister of Nyarisiruvini. Because of his wealth, people went to him from different places and he received them and fed them with food. He allowed many people from far distances to come and live

where he lived. Because of his fame he became friend Damasi in Binyeri District.

The Introduction of the British Colonial administration, Yola province Before the arrival of the white man in Adamawa, many people were able to move and live freely. More people joined the Tavoh group living in the present Lamma area and others were moving away because the Slave Trade raiding was a little bit dying off and the British traders came in finally. They then started organizing peoples into chiefdoms and districts and divisions as they deemed it necessary. They then carved Lamma, Binyeri, Monkin, and Dingding under Yola to pay tax to Yola province.

The Mumuye comptemporary history and culture (2008) highlights that:

Tahiru Gudu, a trader from Gudu in Song, North of the Benue River, came to Mayo Faran and stayed there with the Mumuye Gboore happily and peacefully. When the Royal Niger company and Lamido of Adamawa put him in charge of collecting tax from the Mumuye. He ruled from Mayo Faran to Binyeri area; Lamma, Dinding, Monki-Bansi, Dandii, Dong, and Sensi-Dong among others.

Owing to size of the chiefdom of Mayo- Faran, he appointed several local chiefs and hamlet heads under him to assist him in collecting the taxation. Among the local chiefs and hamlet heads appointed Saakoro was appointed.

Chief to rule Lamma area Including the mountain region. Meanwhile Saakoro Bangetah also split his Chieftaincy into two and he ruled the plain Mumuye while he gave the mountain region to Nyaa Rivini his in-law in Dong to rule.

Diring the re-organization of Yola into five divisions, Mumuye was in the fifth division. The division combined the Fulani districts of Mayo-Faran and Mayo-Belwa with the Pagan Districts (as they were called) of Bachama, Mbula, Bata, Waka, Mumuye and Chamba, with headquarters at Numan and Chukkol. In 1911, Lunguda and Pin were handed back to Yola province and the following year (that was 1912), the independent Pagan Division was resurrected, taking in modem Numan with Yugur, Yandang-Waka, Mumuye and Chamba. In September, 1912, the title was changed to Numan District according to Kirk-Greene (1958).

Kpanti Saakoro fought with Mobasso the leader of Chamba Binyeri. Whenever the Mumuye were at farms working, the Chamba would secretly come and steal their children and even some adults to sell them and such action continued for some years until the time when the British administration commenced in Yola. Saakoro in retaliation against Chamba, Binyeri summoned his people from Sagbee mountain and Dong and waged a war against Mobasso meeting the Chamba at fishing ground along Gangtakani, Binyeri Rivers confluence. There were a lot of casualties which made Mobasso report Saakoro to the white man in Yola.

The white man called the two leaders together in order to fmd out the root cause of the problem. Mobasso first explained his case and then Saakoro; He counted the number of deaths or people those that were stolen by Chamba. Saakoro used his old-records to convince the white man. Saakoro’s records superseded that of Mobasso and Mobasso was blamed then the white man resolved the problem finally and the two groups became friends from that time to date


The Mumuye Contemporary History & Culture (2008) indicates that after the death of Saakoro Bangetah, the District of Lamma, Tahiru knew the importance of politics. He then wanted his own sons to rule instead of the native Mumuye. He did that in a cunning way, first he married the daughters of the Gonglaa Mumuye to himself and his sons just W soften their feelings and then later on he turned them down. He maliciously posted Hammaselbe his first son to be incharge of Mayo Faran, his second son Zubeiru was posted to replace Saakoro Bangetah to control Lamma, Dingding and Monkin Districts. He posted his third son to rule Jereng – Bajama but he left the Chamba man to rule Binyeri District.

Zubeiru, the son of Tahiru song controlled Lamma, Dingding and Monkin Districts for some years and resigned in 1927 then he went to Mecca and died there. The Yola and Muri amalgamation took place in 1926 forming the then Adamawa Province. Mumuye from Mayo Faran were to be put under one area. The Resident in charge of Adamawa Province through the D.O. Mr. D. R. Ross was drawing a map and planning how the Mumuye would be put together under Zinna District in Muri Division. The boundary on the map was from the ravine of Binyen – Lamma river to Jereng area or boundary. The assassination of the District head of Zinna at Sensi – Dong was during that time when the new areas of Laxnma, Dingding and Monkin were not yet handed officially to Muri Division and this was indicated in the report of the Resident of Adamawa Province to Kaduna (1 1th August 1932 P 146).

It was after the amalgamation of the Mumuye who was cut from Mayo Faran to Muri that a native of Lamma became head of Lamma again and that headman of Lamma was Kpanti Kotto from Tavoh, Sagbee clan. He ruled for some years and left then Kpanti Makonyoko Shiiwi replaced him. Makonyoko also was from Tavoh – Sagbee Clan. Then Makonyoko gave his headship to the former Dogari of Saakoro Bangetah who was called Kofa Dogari. Kofa Dogari was from Rang Sub-clan of Mangkoodi. He married the daughter of kpanti Makonyoko and Makonyoka wanted his in-law son to replace him. After the death of kpanti Kofa of Koyu, kpanti Rookoba from Rang replaced him.

Starting from the time that the Zinna in Muri Division was in full control of Lamma, Dingding and Monkin Districts, the headmen from these three places became just ordinary village heads instead of district heads as they were before. However, a Tavoh Sagbee man known as Wakili Jallo was officially appointed as a district head of Lamma by the then former Governor Barde of Gongola State (See attached document dated 29th September, 1983). This appointment was cancelled off by the Bamanga’s regime in 1983 the same year. As from now, all the headmen of Lamma, Dingding and Monkin are known as village heads.


Saakoro Bangetah


Zubeiru Makonyoko

Kofa Koyu (VH)

Rookoba (VH)

Wakili Jallo (Hakimi)


Sylvest, Wakili (VH)

Mohammadu (VH)


1. Aali

2. Tavoh

3. Mapusi

4. Zaapa

5. Dafe

6. Nweye

7. Shoboti

8. Yukopo

9. Yusaapa


Different Sagbe clans are spread across Nigeria. Some of these clans are mostly between Taraba and Adamawa States in Nigeria and some parts of Cameroon. Bellow are Local Government Areas where these people resides:

A) Taraba State, Nigeria

i. Zing Local Government Area

ii. Yorro Local Government Area

iii. Ardo-Kola Local Government Area

iv. Bali Local Government Area

B) Adamawa State, Nigeria

i. Mayo Belwa Local Government Area

ii. Jada Local Government Area

iii. Ganye Local Government Area

iv. Tongo Local Government Area

C) The Republic of Cameroon

i. Ngaundere in Cameroon Republic


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