| By Abubakar Ibrahim
Plans are underway by the authorities of Federal University of Lafia (FULafia) to make the graveside of the late Muhammad Dunama tourists site.
The vice-chancellor of FULafia, Professor Shehu Abdul Rahman, revealed that plan when he led the topmost level staff of the University to the graveside of Dunama in Awe Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.
Dunama, a Kanuri from what is today known as Borno State, along with his co-travellers, established the Lafia Emirate more than 250 years ago.
After settling in the present day Lafia, Dunama was chosen as the first emir of the town by his contemporaries.
Dunama was said to have gone to Awe with the intention to be wedded there and he was hosted in Awe by the then ma’adaki of the town.
Unfortunately, while Dunama was at Awe and before his wedding could take place, he became seriously ill and died in Awe.
History had it, too, that before his death, the first emir of Lafia, Dunama, willed that in the event he failed to make it back to his newly established Lafia Emirate, he should be buried at Awe.
He was buried at the house of his host, the then ma’adaki of Awe, when the illness he suffered from claimed his life.
Recently, praying for the late emir at the place he was buried in Awe, the FULafia vice-chancellor stated that the history of Lafia cannot be completed without the mention of its founder, Muhammadu Dunama.
“Dunama founded Lafia in late 17th century and, therefore, the need to immortalise the first emir of Lafia, the host town of our University, cannot be overemphasised,” the vice-chancellor said.
He said that FULafia would “construct monument to commemorate the late Dunama, adding: “That’s part of our plans to ensure that the role he played in the process of establishing the town of Lafia is appreciated.”
Professor Abdul Rahman, who solicited the cooperation and support of all and sundry towards the actualisation of the remembrance project, said that if completed, the graveside of the late Dunama would become a tourists site which would attract employment to the youth and improve the economy of Awe and its environs.
Those who accompanied the vice-chancellor to the graveside of the late Dunama included the deputy vice-chancellor, Professor Idris Amali, registrar, Dr. Abubakar Mamuda, bursar, Mr. Daniel Wilson, Provost College of Medicine, Professor Ahmed Yakubu Ashuku, and Professor Al-Bishak.