(A Poem) By Al-Bishak

Mighty Dunama,
Princely scion of great Borno dynasty,
Legatee of legendary swordbearers,
Pathfinder of ancient empire,
Forebear of Lafia Barebari,
Sipping stenchy sneer
From rocky pebbles
of salty Awe boiling spring.
Uncomely sight of
backdoor waste,
cruel winds and brutish sun
Sting Dunama’s fame; Dust-crushed bones with wrinkled lips gasp,
“Please, save me!”
O, Lafia!
O, Barebari!!
O, Dunama stock!!!
Why abandon your progenitor?
A people without history
Are a flock without shepherd!

Dunama – Muhammadu Dunama was a Kanuri prince from Kanem-Borno empire (Borno State of Nigeria) who led a band of followers to found the ancient Lafia city in the late 17th century.
Barebari – Hausa word for Kanuri ethnic stock.
Awe – a town in Nasarawa State where the great warrior went on an expedition, married, took ill and died. His graveyard is there devoid of honour but left to the cruel vagaries of Nature. This poem is a wake-up call to reclaim and rehabilitate his grave, and turn it into a historical monument befitting a legend that Dunama is. Current Emir of Lafia, Justice Sidi Bage, is his descendant, and the 17th monarch in Lafia.

Al-Bishak, a Professor of Literature at the Federal University of Lafia, wrote and sent in the poem from Awe Town, Nasarawa State. He can be reached via

Prof Al-Bishak

Following the poem, SAVE DUNAMA!, written by a don of Federal University of Lafia (FULafia), Nasarawa State, and widely circulated on the social media, the action Vice Chancellor of FULafia, Prof. Muhammad Sanusi Liman, took it to the monarch and properly briefed him.

Few days later, precisely on February 1, 2021, the Vice Chancellor led a powerful delegation of Lafia royalties to visit the Emir of Awe, who took them to the abandoned gravesite of Prince Muhammad Dunama, the founder of Lafia. It is the first step taken by the monarch to reclaim and rehabilitate the gravesite by turning it into a historical monument and research centre in conjunction with the Univesity.
– Al-Bishak

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