Kilba people

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Regions with significant populations
Hong, in Gongola State, Nigeria.

The Kilba are an ethnic group in the Hong local government area of Adamawa State (formerly Gongola State) in Nigeria.


In the past, Höba lived in large clan-based mountain communities. These mountain communities were Pella, Gwaja, Hong, Kulinyi, Garaha, Bangshika, Miljili, Gaya-jaba, Gaya-maki, Gaya-skalmi, Gaya-gou, Gaya Fa'a, Gaya Jabba, Ndlang, Hyama, Kinking, Motaku, Kwapor, Za and Zivi, all in the present Hong Local Government. The Höba clan-based mountain communities were each ruled by a "Töl köra ma" (King of the mountain community). "Köra ma" means "mountain top". Töl is pronounced as "ttle", which means King. A particular Töl therefore, was known by his clan name. Each of the mountain communities was made up of several villages. These villages had their method of communication. They had specific ways of doing everything, and life was very smooth and enjoyable. The Töl köra ma was a secular-cum-religious ruler. He had a cabinet made up of Yaduma, Midala, Bira'ol, Kadagimi, Kadala, Dzarma and Batari, depending on the community. Each had their designated cabinets. The cabinets of all the Töls still have the same character. Höba was a tribe with a formidable army. They were articulate and had distinct ways of doing things and of getting things done. Höba was a tribe with formidable unity. After the 18th century AD, Dr. Henry Barth [1] (1965) (a German traveler) came across Höba during his voyage.

Political structure[edit]

One Furkudol was bringing Höba, in their various clan-based mountain communities under one central government at that time. In Dr. Barth's report of his voyage, he wrote that Höba was "a well organized pagan kingdom second to none in Western Sudan". In addition, he did mention that this kingdom "resembles that of ancient Egypt or modern European kingdom. The kingdom was divided into units to which members of the ruling families were sent out to administer as governors". He also mentioned that "Every month, they (the governors and central ministers) sent in reports to the King for further directives or final decisions".[2]

These governors were the Yirmas and the Shalls. There was only one Yirma from Udong. Since there was and is still just himself, he is simply called Yirma. The governors were in a hierarchy, with the Yirma being the highest of them all, Udong is the place we now call Udong. The government of Höba is divided into two, with the Töl as the overall ruler. The territorial administration is the responsibility of the Shalls and the Yirma. The central administration is the responsibility of the Töls cabinet members. The cabinet ismade up of the following:

  1. Sabiya – Sabiya is the Prime Minister and Chief Adviser to the Töl.
  2. Bira'ol – Bira'ol is the Assistant Prime Minister
  3. Midala – Midala is the Defence Minister and War Commander
  4. Kadala – Kadala is the Inspector General of Police. He arrests and orders the arrest of criminals.
  5. Dzarma – Dzarma is the Minister in Charge of the Royal Stable
  6. Batari – Batari is the Head of Royal Ward
  7. Kadagimi – Kadagimi is the Courtier and an official of the King's Palace
  8. Yaduma - Yaduma is the speaker of the Council of Representatives of advisers

War between Höba and Fulanis[edit]

Long after the consolidation of the kingdom we know from general history that the 19th Century was characterized by wars due to Jihad and incessant skirmishes with the Fulanis in which records inform us that Höba was never ever conquered. Very many attempts were made to do so though to no avail. Höba, though very war hungry at that time, were only going out to subdue Fulani settlements and take away their assets. Very similar to the Israelites of the olden days, when they were moving into the Promised Land from Egypt. Höba never consolidated their war victory anywhere. The approach was very spasmodic too. When it became clear that there was never going to be a conquest between the jihadists and Höba, a truce had to be declared on market days at Pella and at Mbilla Kilba. The Fulanis and Höba attended these market days freely.[citation needed]


The Kilba who live in Hong Local Government Area are situated in the area between four local governments: Gombi, Song, Mubi and Michika Local Governments.[3] Miss Nissen gives a good description of the location of Kilba area in her book,[4]


  1. ^ reference missing
  2. ^ display text Kabissa
  3. ^ Kabissa
  4. ^ An African Church is Born, 1968.