Hajiya Baika: The 20th Century Merchant in Katsina Province

By Danjuma Adamu Mashi

Hajiya Baika, the in house merchant in the 20th century, was born in 1882 at Dannigaba, a country side of Bugaje by Malam Tukur and Hauwa’u. the trading activities in her time led Baika to control the Tran-Saharan trade in the entire province. According to oral testimony Baika supplied food and other materials to British during the second world war. This is what made her famous in international trade. Baika was married to Abba Saude whose family was among the followers of Usman Danfodiyo, appointed to teach, judged under the administration of Ummarun Dallaje.

Among her children’s include Alhaji Salisu popularly known as Madugu who was born in 1905. Among the contemporaries of Madugu are Usman Na-Goggo then Emir of Katsina, Iya Ibrahim District Head of Mashi and Sardauna of Sokoto among others. Her other children include Alhaji Iron Baba, Raben Baika, Abdu na Ya kula, Alhaji Dahiru Saude followed by three female children named Fatsima Clma, Fatsima Azumi and Goshi.

Baika trade in Kolanut, Salt, Groundnut and Groundnut Oil, Cotton and industrial materials from Katsina made from our local industries are the commercials product transect with the people of Niger Republic, Ghana, Oyo from the southern part of Nigeria and exchange with other product like kerosene from Nigeria, female wrappers known as ma ikan kifi, mai jarirai and kan sarki. This is what makes Baika to transect business with Taureg and the people of Ahir Agadas, Damagaram. Baika also trade in Gold, silver and Diamond and other precious stone in Senegal Alhaji A.D Saude was said to be the sale representative.

In addition to that, Baika was the first female merchant to buy commercial Car and established a trading company registered with Native Authority as Katsinawa Trading Company. Raben Baika was the chairman/ Managing Director of the company which they engaged in transporting Katsina citizen to Mecca on pilgrimage by road.

The thrust of the matter is, Baika was very generous to her children, brothers and sisters including those around her, it is Baika hobbies to visit her daughters and those related every week. Furthermore, she entertained guest, settled financial disputed among her relatives and those in need. History believed that many among the trading partner’s in her time reached a stage of financial position. Among her partners include Goshin Ma’azu, Naito, Aljumma, Iya and Yarmalle of Kofar Kaura, Kofar Marusa etc.

Added to that, on many occasion Baika used to give financial assistance to Katsina Native Authority and accept any request may deemed it either contract or otherwise, Baika was the first merchant in Katsina Province that participated in British currency exchange from native coins to Pound staling.

Baika leave at Unguwar Darma with her husband but her relative are mostly located at Unguwar Alkali, ‘Yan Shuni, Mobil. Her death occurred in 1962 two years after independence.

In the present time, Baika’s family are said to be among the leading commercial in the state, the system involved petroleum, in port and export business, modern contract in Government and private company, and other trading activities be it poultry as in the case of Alhaji Lawal Darma.

Education as a means of nation building Hajiya Baika lead the position by educating her children western and Islamic education, this is what made the family to established private schools and Islamiya schools aim at enhancing education in the state. May her soul rest in peace and Aljanna Firdausi be their final abode amin.

Danjuma Adamu Mashi is a staff of History and Culture Bureu Katsina State.

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