The Dufuna Canoe is the oldest boat in Nigeria and Africa at large.
This boat, over 8,000 years old, was discovered by a Fulani Herdsman, Mallam Yau, in 1987, when he was digging a well. It was excavated at Dufuna, a village along the Komodugu Gana River in Fune Local Government Area, Yobe State. The canoe is currently in the National Museum in the state’s capital, Damaturu.
The canoe – measuring 8.4 metres in length, 0.5 metres in width, which is about 5cm thick – was dug out of 5 metres depth beneath the earth’s surface. Its discovery reveals that Nigerians have never been static people; activities have been ongoing in the country from a very long time, including the evolution of ‘technology’, producing tools and materials to meet certain needs – in this case, a means of transportation.
The discovery of this boat further proves that Nigeria has been in existence as long as other countries such as Egypt, Mesopotamia, Minoa, and Phoenicia. The other older boats known in the world were found in Pesse, Netherlands, and Noyen-sur-Seine, France, making the Dufana Canoe the third oldest boat in the world.
Considering the size of the boat and the material it was made from – African mahogany – it is believed that it must have taken several years of hard work to get this boat ready to sail. In actual fact, the boat is a dugout’; that is, a boat made from the hollow of a tree.
The Dufana Canoe is regarded as a major monument in the history of Nigeria. It, doubtlessly, will serve as a tourist attraction.