History Of Department

The Faculty of Arts and Islamic Studies is today the oldest and one of the largest faculties in Bayero University. The Faculty, now comprising the Departments of Arabic, Islamic Studies, English and French, History and Nigerian Languages and Linguistics, prides itself as the foundation of the University. Its philosophy was, and still is, the preservation, development and propagation of the culture, language, history and religion of its immediate environment of Northern Nigeria, Nigeria, Africa, and the whole of human society. One can say, without any reservations, that the Faculty, which is presently situated at the new campus, has pioneered and indeed fostered the development of the university in its entirety.


The Faculty of Arts and Islamic Studies is not only the foundation faculty of the University, it is also the fulcrum of a premier Northern Nigerian University, which started in 1960 in Kano under the name of Ahmadu Bello College: "The regional minister of education, Alhaji Isa Kaita, a great publicist and enthusiast of the college, had earlier, in May 1960, told the members of legislature that the college was being named after the premier, Sir Ahmadu Bello, 'in appreciation of the good work he had done for the region'. The college, according to Alhaji Isa Kaita, would ultimately become a university, 'the first in the north', and when this happened, it would be known as Ahmadu Bello University" (1989:63).
At its inception, the Faculty was in many ways the college. It was initially located at the School for Arabic Studies, very close to the emir's Palace. However, when Ahmadu Bello University was eventually established in October 1962 with headquarters in Zaria, Ahmadu Bello College in Kano was renamed Abdullahi Bayero College, after the late Emir of Kano, Alhaji Abdullahi Bayero, who reigned from 1927-1953.

The Faculty started with G.C.E. Advanced Level programmes in Arabic, Islamic Studies, Islamic History, Hausa and English Literature. These subjects would later metamorphose into the core programmes of the Faculty. In January 1964, the Faculty/College moved into the Kano Old Airport Hotel that provided rooms for students' residence, teaching accommodation and a library. It was in January of 1964 that the college admitted its first set of students for a B.A. degree programme of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. This singular event laid the foundation for the Faculty as the first degree-awarding Faculty in the University.

As a Faculty of ABU, it was called the Faculty of Arts and Islamic Studies, a name it has retained since then. On staffing in the early days of the Faculty, from 1962-1966, Shea and Abdullahi (1994:148) observe:
The staffs of the Faculty in those early days were primarily Nigerian, Sudanese and British, and as the Faculty was the entire College, the library and the entire Administration all formed a family together with the academic and ancillary staff of the Faculty. Short term requirements were met by shuttling students and staff between Zaria and Kano, but most staff were resident in Kano (Shea and Abdullahi 1994: 148).The Faculty staffing was largely Sudanese, English and Nigerians, a tradition that laid a sol id staffing foundation for the Faculty/College.


The Faculty was set up to meet the academic and political needs of Northern Nigeria and the country at large, "as a symbol of the challenge ... to repair the deficiencies in education that now exist".