Anthropology and history

References on the Acipu and other Kainji peoples

The Acipu

The anthropologist A. B. Mathews spent two months living with the Acipu in 1926 and wrote up a report, which has never been published but can be found in the National Archives at Kaduna. There is a digitised copy available for download here (100 Megabytes). Alternatively please email .

Several of the articles below are about the sword and spears of Kisra, relics housed in the king's palace on Korisino. Kisra is a legendary magician-king who is said to have fled to Africa after losing a war against Mohammed. His son or grandson is said to have been the first king of the Acipu. Several other tribes in Nigeria have similar origin stories.

The remaining books in the list below (CAPRO 1995, Gunn and Conant 1960, Swank 1977, Temple 1922) each have a section on Cicipu, but Temple's and Swank's accounts are very brief, and the other two rely heavily on Mathews (1926).


  • CAPRO Research Office. 1995. Kingdoms at war. Jos: CAPRO Media.
  • Gunn, H. D. & F. P. Conant. 1960. Peoples of the middle Niger region, Northern Nigeria. London: International African Institute.
  • Mathews, A. B. 1926. Historical and anthropological report on the Achifawa. Unpublished manuscript held in the National Archives, Kaduna: K2, 068.
  • Mathews, A. B. 1950. The Kisra legend. African Studies 9, 144-7.
  • Stevens Jr., Phillips. 1975. The Kisra legend and the distortion of historical tradition. The Journal of African History 16, 185-200.
  • Stewart, Marjorie H. 1980. The Kisra legend as oral history. International Journal of African Historical Studies 13, 51-70.
  • Swank, Gerald O. 1977. Frontier peoples of Central Nigeria and a strategy for outreach. William Carey Library: South Pasadena, CA.
  • Temple, O. 1922. Notes on the tribes, provinces, emirates, and states of the northern provinces of Nigeria. Lagos: CMS Bookshop.

Historical and anthropological sources for Kainji in general

For Cicipu history see especially the edited volume Studies in the history of the people of Zuru Emirate (Augi and Lawal 1990), in particular Lawal (1990) and Augi (1990), also Usman (1981).


  • Adamu, M. 1978. The Hausa factor in West African history. Zaria: Ahmadu Bello University Press.
  • Augi, A. R. 1990. A survey of social and political history of Zuru emirate. In A. R. Augi & S. U. Lawal (eds.), Studies in the history of the people of Zuru emirate, 82-110. Enugu, Nigeria: Fourth Dimension.
  • Augi, A. R. & S. U. Lawal (eds.). 1990. Studies in the history of the people of Zuru emirate. Enugu, Nigeria: Fourth Dimension.
  • Bako, Ahmed. 1990. Transition and changes in religions and belief systems in Zuru emirate. In A. R. Augi & S. U. Lawal (eds.), Studies in the history of the people of Zuru emirate, 111-31. Enugu, Nigeria: Fourth Dimension.
  • Duff, E. C. (compiler). 1920. Gazetteer of Kontagora Province. Revised by W. Hamilton-Browne. London: Waterlow.
  • Harris, P. 1930. Notes on Yauri (Sokoto Province), Nigeria. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland  60, 283-334.
  • Harris, P. 1938. Notes on the Dakakari peoples of Sokoto Province, Nigeria. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 68, 113-52.
  • Harris, P. 1946. Notes on the Reshe language. Journal of African Studies 5(4), 221-42.
  • Lawal, S. U. 1990. The evolution and development of the economies of Kasar Zuru before c. 1900 A.D. In A. R. Augi & S. U. Lawal (eds.), Studies in the history of the people of Zuru emirate, 56-81. Enugu, Nigeria: Fourth Dimension.
  • Meek, Charles Kingsley. 1925. The northern  tribes of Nigeria. London: OUP.
  • Prazan, Ceslaus. 1977. The Dukkawa of Northwest Nigeria. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press.
  • Usman, Yusufu Bala. 1981. The transformation of Katsina, 1400-1883 : the emergence and overthrow of the Sarauta system and the establishment of the emirate. Zaria: Ahmadu Bello University Press.