HISTORY OF BWATIYE KINGDOM
The batta originally called “Bwata” (singular) or “Bwatiye” (plural) originated from the middle East around Yemen. Migrating west-wards, they eventually settled at Gobir between 14th and 15th centuries.
In the waves of their further dispersal from Gobir, they migrated east – ward through Hausa land toward the chad Basing area to the North East. This movement was partly dictated by the quest for available natural resources. Before the south chad movement, the batta has established a kingdom in Gobir area, with alkalawa as its base from where they waged wars of expansion on their neighbors . There was another wave of further migration from chad Basing area to south towards mandara and then down to the upper Benue Region, around the 17th century in two major consecutive waves.
The first wave of this migration entered from Bazza/Uba axis in the north sometimes in the 17th century. These are the non-riverian Batta who settled mainly on plains to the north of Benue river .
Establishing settlements such as Bolki, Hodassom (Song), murke , Zumma , Holma, Kofa, Konkol, Malabu, Maiha, which mean (Nzai) , Belel Sarau etc.
The second wave of migration from south Chad was into the Upper Benue Region. This was by far the largest group known as the Bazza group. They moved down the Kebbi river and Benue rivers. Modern historians have accepted this theory and suggested the end of the 17th or Early 18th century as the probable date of this migration. Unlike the earlier batta group , Bazza group was riverian people who tended to settled along river valleys or near river confluences. From their ancestral Base at Demsa-Pwa, which became the capital of a powerful kingdom in the upper Benue region, the batta spread up and down the valley of Benue and its tributaries, particularly the faro , establishing settlements which acknowledged the authority of their king at Demsa-Pwa. Such settlements are Goruwe, Kokumi, Tepe, Sokwaki etc.
At first the two waves of Batta migration occupied two district zones of the same region. However , the two groups eventually intermixed through their expansion.
By the mid-18th century , the batta were well established in the Upper Benue valley and the northern plains with absolute hegemony over their neighbors. Due to their preponderance and political dominance. Batta language survived among the group they met in this area. Some of these groups either moved further from Batta sphere of influence due to minor conflicts on resources by vacating the Benue and lower faro valleys for the Batta, while others where assimilated by the Batta. The stage was thus set for the unhindered expansions of the Batta.
The early years of the 19th century witnessed an influx of nomadic herdsmen into the Upper Benue and Faro valleys in search of pastures. They settled among the Batta their neighbors acknowledging Batta lordship over them.
This period marks a turning point in the history of the Batta in this region as a result of the emergence of religious revival movement in the west African region.
The heart land of Batta kingdom consequently became an arena of conflict between a new religion and the existing traditional religion. This conflict led to lost of political control over a greater portion of territory hitherto under the tutelage of Hama Batta, resulting in further west-ward migration along the Benue valley by the Royal Clan.
At Bawohome (ngurore), there was a split in the kingdom as a result of factional dynastic conflict with part of the Royal Clan moving further West across the Benue river under the leadership of the junior brother of the reigning king. The By-effect of the dispute is the establishment of the Bachama kingdom with headquarters at Bachama (lamurde).
The main faction under the reigning king also moved West-ward establishing basis at Baluwa, Gengle, Sugbeyin, Yoffo, Kikon, and finally settled at Demsa mosu as the political and cultural symbol of the kingdom.
In early 1800, the kingdom witnessed an influx of the European traders using the River Benue as highway- one of such traders was explorer Mr. Baikie who came with the aim of making a treaty with Hama Batta but failled.
In 1896. The Royal Niger Company under sir George Taubman Goldie entered into a trade agreement with Hama Batta for permission to trade within the stretch of the River Benue that flowed through his territory.
Batta precolonial Central Government initially refused to accept the White man until early 1900 when Batta opposition against the white man ended .
Subsequently, reionization of the area by the colonial government led to the emergence of a federation of Paramount chiefs together with Bachama, mbula,Lunguda, and Kanakuru.
The 1926 re-organization of the northern provinces saw the emergence of Batta district as a sole Native Authority in recognition of her outstanding history in the region.
A third class staff of office was given to the kingdom at the reign of Homun Zaro kpanti. During the reign of Homun Zaro (jalo) , Batta kingdom was accorded a seat in the Northern House of chiefs , Kaduna .
The kingdom was uplifted to Second-Class status in 1983 during the reign of Homun Francis Dire (1966 to 1998) . And in the days Homun Saul Jeriel Swade , CON, Batta Kingdom was elevated to the exalted position of a first Class Status on 28th January 2006 By the then governor Boni Haruna (makaman mubi) .
Below is the orderly roll of the 55 “Homye” that reigned.
2) Homun Manogwale
7) Homun Mbutakto
14)Homun Swade Ngakai
15)Homun Swade Rugunge
16)Homun Peti Pwareno
19)Homun Koya Rabo
20)Homun Zaro Teficai
24)Homun Zaro Furume
25) Homun Kalato
37)Homun Jito Majem
41)Homun Kpalanghe 1815-1824 (Founder of present Demsa)
42)Homun Tulike 1824-1850
43)Homun Gwegwe 1850-1861
44)Homun Tarah 1861-1870
45)Homun Dunoma 1870-1885
46)Homun Samba 1885-1887
47)Homun Kauyau 1887-1895
48)Homun Kpanti 1895-1901
49)Homun Nzomo Wodiye 1901-1921(pensioned)
50)Homun TENEKE 1921-1934 (deposed)
51)Homun Zaro Jalo 1934-1955
52)Homun Enoch Swade 1955-1966 (deposed)
53)Homun Francis Dire Aminzati 1966-1998
54)Homun Saul Jeriel Swade 1998-2010
55)Homun Alhamdu Gladstone Teneke 2010-Date.
Homun ALHAMDU Gladstone Teneke eventually became the first graduate monarch in the Batta Kingdom, the 2nd Hama Batta to reign as a first class as well as the 55th Hama Batta in the history of Batta Kingdom .
He was appointed on 8th February
. 2010 and given staff of office on 16th April 2010 by His Excellency Murtala H Nyako , GCON (SARKI YAMMA ADAMAWA) , The governor Adamawa state.
Batta chiefdom is well known for its peaceful co-existence and indeed, a good example of unity in diversity due to its multi-ethnicity and multi-culturalism .
Credit to Gwadabe Goni koh who wrote this history online on the 11-febuary- 2020 on the Bwatiyeculture.blogspot