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Yola, Nigeria

Yola, town, capital of Adamawa state, and seat of the traditional Adamawa emirate, eastern Nigeria. The town is served by the port of Jimeta (5.5 miles [9 km] north-northwest) on the Benue River, about 500 miles (800 km) above its confluence with the Niger, and by an airfield. Yola also has road connections with Numan, Jalingo, Ganye, Fufore, and Jimeta.

The name of the town is derived from yolde, a Fula (Fulani language) word signifying a settlement on rising ground. Yola was founded and made the political centre of Adamawa emirate in 1841, when Modibbo (“Learned One”) Adama, the Fulani founder of the emirate, established Yola as a base in his jihad against the indigenous Bata (Batta) and Vere (Verre) peoples.

Several European explorers visited the town, and in 1891 a Frenchman, Lieutenant Louis Mizon, convinced the emir to recognize French territorial claims. By 1893 the British had extended their control over this part of the emirate, and shortly afterward the Royal Niger Company established a trading post in the town. After Emir Lauwal Zubeiru forced the company to evacuate the town in 1901, a British expedition was sent there from Lokoja and defeated the Fulani forces. Although German forces raided Yola from Kamerun (Cameroon) in 1914, the town was successfully defended by the British. It was merged by the Fulani administration with neighbouring Jimeta in 1935, but in the 1963 census they were again recognized as separate municipalities.

Much of Yola’s trade has now shifted to Jimeta, but both towns are sizable market centres. Especially during the latter part of the rainy season—from July to October, when the Benue River is navigable by vessels of 4-foot (1.2-metre) draft—merchants from Yola and Jimeta collect peanuts (groundnuts), cotton, hides, and skins for shipment to the Niger River delta ports of Burutu and Warri. Local trade is primarily in sorghum, millet, shea nuts, yams, rice, cowpeas, sugarcane, peanuts, fish, onions, peppers, indigo, cattle, goats, poultry, sheep, and cotton. Yola also has a substantial bakery.

The town has taken on growing functions in both administration and education and is the site of a federal university of technology (founded 1981). Yola also has a central mosque and a Roman Catholic church. Pop. (2006) local government area, 392,914.

Yola (Fulfulde: Ƴoola), meaning ‘Great Plain’ or ‘Vast Plain Land’, is the capital city and administrative center of Adamawa State, Nigeria. Located on the Benue River, it has a population of 336,648 (2010). Yola is split into two parts. The old town of Yola where the Lamido resides is the traditional city but the new city of Jimeta (about 5 km NW) is the administrative and commercial centre. Generally the term Yola is now used to mean both. To the north are the Mandara Mountains and the south are the Shebshi Mountains with Dimlang (Vogel) Peak the second highest point (2,042 m) in Nigeria after Chappal Waddi (mountain of death). Yola is an access point to the Gashaka Gumpti Nature Reserve, which is the largest national park in Nigeria, the Ngel Nyaki montane forest reserve, the Mambilla Plateau, The Sukur UNESCO World heritage site, which is Africa’s first cultural landscape to receive World Heritage List inscription,[2] The Yadin Waterfalls, The Kiri Dam on the Gongola River, The Benue national park in nearby Cameroon, The Waza National Park, and Cameroonian town of Garoua, which lies across the Border, on the Benue river.


Established in 1841, Yola is a municipality that sprawls across the hillside of this North-Eastern region of Nigeria. It was the capital of a Fulani state until it was taken over by the British in 1901. Today, it is the capital of Adamawa State, which was formed in 1991 from part of Gongola State. Modibbo Adama, a local chief of the Fulani, founded Yola in 1841. During the Islamic movement led by Shehu Usman Dan Fodio in the early 19th Century, Modibbo Adama was recognised as a learned Muslim who could lead the people in the Upper Benue area. Modibbo is the Fulani word for “Professor”. Probably the first European to visit the area was Heinrich Barth in 1851, shortly after Yola was founded. He traveled by the Sahara route, coming through Kukawa near Lake Chad, which at the time was the capital of the Borno Empire.[3] Yola has the first airport in Nigeria as well as first town to have electricity.


The nearby town of Jimeta has a market, zoo, an airport with direct flights to Saudi Arabia, NiPost and NiTel offices as well as the main mosque and cathedral. Being a state capital, it is a major transport hub with buses and taxis heading north to Mubi and Maiduguri, west to Numan, Gombe, jalingo and Bauchi and south to Makurdi and Katsina Ala. Taxis are available to Garoua in Cameroon. There is an airport with regular flights to Abuja and Lagos. The town is home to various institutions of learning, such as the: American University of Nigeria- AUN [which is Africa first and only development university], Adamawa State Polytechnic, The Modibbo Adama University of Technology Yola (MAUTECH) previously known as Federal University of Technology, Yola, located about 10 km north of the city on the road to Mubi, The Federal Government Girls College, Yola, AUN Academy (ABTI Academy), Aliyu Mustapha Academy, Chiroma Ahmad Academy, Ahmadu Ribadu College, MAUTECH university secondary school, Concordia College (which was nominated as the best post primary school of the year 2007 by the National Association of Nigerian Students). Yola also houses one of the six campuses of the Nigerian Law school located beside the American University of Nigeria and many other educational institutions. Adamawa has one of the best depots in Nigeria, located about 5 km west on the road to Numan. Tourist sites include: the Three sister hills in Song Local Government Area, which are three scenic rock formations standing side by side at different height with the middle one as the big sister, The former Njuwa lake fishing festival site which is now dried and developed into residential area, The Lamido’s Palace and the Annual horse-riding durbar. Although originally a Fulbe settlement, the town is now home to virtually all of Nigeria’s ethnic groups, as well as people from the neighboring republic of Cameroon.

Yola, Nigeria

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