The seed of Bayero University Kano was the Ahmadu Bello College set up in 1960, located within the School for Arabic Studies (SAS), in the old city of Kano. With the establishment of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1962, it was renamed Abdullahi Bayero College. In 1964 it moved to a temporary site at the old Kano Airport Hotel, admitting its first set of ten undergraduate students for a B.A. degree programme of Ahmadu Bello University.
This first set graduated in 1966 but it continued as a faculty of ABU until 1980. Before then the temporary site had attracted hostile fire during the civil war and had to move to its permanent site (present old campus) in the vicinity of Kabuga and Dukawuya gates on the Kano-Gwarzo road. The next phase of development occurred in 1975, when Abdullahi Bayero College was raised to the status of a University College with the right to award degrees on behalf of Ahmadu Bello University and was renamed Abdullahi Bayero University College, with its own Governing Council.