HistoryGovernment StudiesHistory ClassroomIndependence HistoryPolitical History

The Kano Riot of 1953 – Causes and Effects

Kano Riot of 1953

Causes of the Kano riot of 1953

In March 1953, a member of Action Group (AG) in the House of Representatives, Chief Anthony Enahoro, moved a motion requesting that Nigeria should be granted self government in 1956.

The leader of the Northern People’s Congress (NPC), Sir Ahmadu Bello, moved a counter motion. He proposed an amendment that self government should be granted “as soon as practicable”.

This led to disagreements over the motion and equally resulted in a strained relationship between the Northern and Southern leaders.

In the House of Representatives, the NPC members were in majority, the proposed amendment was likely to be in their favour. In anticipation therefore, the NCNC and A.G. Members in the House of Representatives walked out of the House.

The meeting of the House was adjourned and members of NPC were booed and called all sorts of names before they left Lagos for the North.

A retaliatory move was made by Northern leaders in Kano to avenge humiliation they faced in Lagos after the self- government motion adjournment on March 31, 1953.

The retaliatory move was targeted at the tour of the Northern Region by the Action Group (AG) led by Chief S.L. Akintola. Northerners claimed it was an invasion of another man’s territory. It was while Akintola and his group were in Kano that a riot broke out which is later known in history as the 1953 Kano riot or Kano riot of 1953.

Kano Riot of 1953
Samuel Ladoke Akintola

Several people lost their lives in the riot and scores were wounded. After the crisis, the NPC members issued an “eight-point-programme” to the colonial government to the effect until their demands were met, they would not return to the House in Lagos.

Political Implications or Effects of the 1953 Kano Riot

  • The riot worsened the relationship between the Northern leaders and Southern leaders.
  • The riot also showed that only a federal system of government where regions are allowed to develop at their own pace could hold Nigeria together.
  • It brought about the Constitutional Conference of 1953 and 1954.
  • It brought about a temporary working alliance between NCNC and A.G.

Further Reading:

  • Essential Government For Senior Secondary Schools – C. C. Dibbie
  • Colonial Rule in Nigeria and Nigeria’s Struggle For Independence – Teslim Opemipo Omipidan, OldNaija.com
Cite this article as: Teslim Omipidan. (March 19, 2019). The Kano Riot of 1953 – Causes and Effects. OldNaija. Retrieved from https://oldnaija.com/2019/03/19/the-kano-riot-of-1953/


  1. The northerners used the word “invasion of another man’s territory” as a mask. They did that to revenge the lagos booing.
    Oldnaija, thanks a lot. Im expecting more.

  2. Thank you for your comment, Mr Adeyeba.
    The article says that
    “They were called all sorts of names before they left for the North. A retaliatory move by Northern leaders in Lagos after the adjournment on March 31, 1953 self- government motion, was the tour of the Northern Region by the Action Group (AG) led by Chief S.L. Akintola viewed by Northerners as an invasion of another man’s territory.” so, everything is clear, the answer lies there.

  3. Thank you, Mr Raphel.
    The leaders of the three regions (north, east & west) were invited to a conference in London to discuss the redrafting of the constitution to suit each region. This conference is known as the London constitutional conference of 1953. They also concluded that “issues within the jurisdiction of the regions should not be subject to the central government’s intervention”.

  4. The amalgamation of Nigeria is not a mistake because the regions merged together to form Nigeria do really need themselves to survive.
    The reason why some people claim it’s a mistake is that the people were not consulted and ready before Lord Lugard and Nigerian leaders carried out the amalgamation.
    Thanks for your visit.

  5. I learnt there were reason(s) for the northerners to delay the motion.The case of 1 region being favoured by colonialism

    1. Yes Mr Funsho. The Northerners delayed the motion for some reasons. They believe that the three regions were not yet ripe for autonomy, so the colonial masters should grant the three regions self government “as soon as practicable” and not in 1956 Anthony Enahoro requested.

  6. Did the Northerners delayed the motion for other unspecified reason(s).The case of 1 region being favoured by colonialism

  7. Another Northern member of the House moved a motion for adjournment, a motion which Southern members of AG and the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons(NCNC) viewed as a delay tactics and walked out of the house.
    Thanks for your comment Mr Funsho.

  8. the NPC members issued an “eight-point-programme”, to the colonial government to the effect until their demands what are the eight point

  9. in your own point of view sir, do u think that with the granting of self government that nigeria had left slavery or is still there but dont realise it?

  10. Charity, I really love your question.
    It is true Nigeria was granted self government which means we should run our affairs ourselves, but slavery still exists. Even till today, Nigeria is facing a lot of indirect slavery comming in different forms and ways which we most times don’t realise.
    Thank you Charity.

  11. Thanks for your philantrophic question Rackel.
    The leaders of both sides could have agreed on a peace talk to settle the controversy or to conveve a meeting where both sides would carve out a way of settling the issue without displeasing themselves.
    The Northerners could as well overlook the tour of the Action Group instead of attacking them. That will prove they are more matured.
    Thank you for visiting Rackel!

  12. Since northers rise the motion of self government, is their any change in government after that riot

    1. The motion for self government was raised by Anthony Enahoro who is a Southerner. Yes, there were changes in the government. The Western and Eastern (both Southern) regions were granted self government in 1957 while the Northern region got its own in 1959. The Mid Western region also attained her autonomy status in 1963 (post independence). All these in no doubt led to the independence of Nigeria.
      Thank you for your visit, Miss/Mrs. Tabitha Markus. Kindly do check back.

  13. Having read your write up dont you think some of those old rivalry between the north,east and west still exist, or what do you think?

  14. Why was Lagos taken away from western region and how true is it that the easterners conspired with northerners to achieve that?

  15. You didnt answer my question, all i need to know is of what political gain was it then for the easterners to have conspired with the north for lagos to be taken away from the west.

  16. Sir pls examine the consequences of kano riot and briefly discuss the political implications of kano riot

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button