On the Abuja/Kaduna highway’s western bypass, there is a massive geographical feature that towered above its surroundings and dominated all else in its line of sight. It is a huge rock that may be older than human memory itself.
Some intangible hands sculpted a human face onto it. In the hearts of common mortals, especially those who fear the surroundings of secrets and weird phenomena, its hideous appearance incites some form of anxiety as one approaches its territory.
One of the images on the reverse of the One Hundred Naira (N100.00) note is Zuma Rock.
It is really in the upper part of Madalla, a rural community in the Suleja Local Government Area of Niger State, contrary to earlier assumptions that it was in the Federal Capital Territory.
About 725 meters (2,379 feet) above its surroundings is Zuma Rock. It is more than four times as tall as Nigeria’s tallest skyscraper, NECOM House, and double the height of Australia’s famed Uluru Rock.
Due of Zuma Rock’s proximity to Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, it has been dubbed the “gate-way to Abuja”. The travel to Abuja city takes roughly 40 minutes.
To the typical visitor or local, the large, dark rock symbolizes everything enigmatic.
Its frightening appearance typically confounds travelers on the way from Abuja to Kaduna and other states in the north-western geopolitical zone.
Some think that the rock is the embodiment of evil, while others assert that it has magical abilities.
The Origin of Zuma Rock
The history of Zuma rock predates both the Zuba and the Koros who settled in the area, claims Jibrin Mamman of the Zuba Youth Development Association.
It was well known that the Kwararafa (Kororofa) had begun to spread over the northern regions of Nigeria by the 15th century. We, the current residents of Zuba, were formerly Kwararafa, also known as Koro. According to our history, we are a member of the diaspora of Jukun.
Our ancestors left the Kwararafa empire, traveled in a westward route through Lafia (which did not exist at the time), the Keffi area (which did not exist at the time), and then into the ancient Abuja area, which was also nonexistent at the time.
However, their soothsayers warned them not to settle down permanently until they reached a magnificent rock that was far ahead of them, before they arrived at Zuma Rock.
They kept moving in the direction of the Zuma rock until they finally met it in the middle of a dense forest.
They established towns like Shinapa (where their leadership was), Chaci, Luki, Esa, Zumwa, Yeku, Huntu, and Wagu in the upperland and Wagu in the lowerland within a mile of the forest when they first arrived.
The core worth
“When they arrived at Zuma Rock, they discovered that the rock was home to powerful spirits. Since this particular Koros group—our forefathers—were entirely pagan, they appropriated the rock and started to worship it.
They used to experience good things when they made sacrifices. It quickly rose to become the most powerful idol in the old Abuja region (there was no such place as Abuja in the 15th century).
As soon as something tried to annoy them, they would quickly travel to Zuma Rock and offer sacrifices. They would also go and offer sacrifices to the Rock as a form of thanksgiving for anything pleasing.
As they were experiencing benefits at the time of their offerings, they knew that if war broke out, it would be won as soon as they made their way to the Zuma rock and offered sacrifices.
It is one of the reasons that, both inside and outside the Zuba chiefdom, no group has ever been able to defeat the Zuba since our predecessors settled close to the rock.
They discovered there were numerous Guinea-Fowls in the nearby forest and began to hunt them, giving the rock the name “Zumwa,” which means “The place of catching Guinea-Fowls.” It was originally referred to as “Ezumwa ba” or “Place of catching Guinea-Fowls” in the Koro language.
The rock was initially given the name “Zumwa” when it was shortened, not “Zuma” as it is presently known. As soon as they began to settle close to the rock, our forefathers gave it a name.
Other individuals had never lived near or around the Zuma Rock in the past. We were the first visitors to enter the forest and get close to the Zuma Rock.
When the Hausa people arrived, they were calling the rock “Zumwa,” but they were having trouble pronouncing it so they just said “Zuma.” When the Europeans arrived, they were unable to pronounce it correctly as “Zumwa” and instead used the Hausa pronunciation, “Zuma”.
Since “Zumwa” was the original name in koro, “Zuma” became the more widely used term that was used in literature.
Shinapa (where the leadership was) found a safer location named “Dubwomu” where they moved to as they continued to live, while others stayed by the Zuma-rock. Zuma-Rock is not far from Dubwomu.
Contemporary mysteries Zuma Rock has been the subject of numerous enigmatic tales for many ages. Some locals have legends of terrible spirits living in the rock’s belly.
Others see it as a hideout for ritualists, a secret temple for occult initiation, and a brief haven for daredevil armed robbers who flee there whenever they have a successful operation and wish to share their plunder or when security authorities are after them.
The Zuma Rock Hotel, an unfinished white building, is not far from the rock. Some locals think that because the hotel’s proprietors abandoned it because they thought it was a haunted place.
Residents who lived within the rock’s radius provided a variety of accounts as they explored the region and attempted to put the jigsaw puzzles of the rock together.
Some are of the opinion that , the evil spirits had re- located, giving people a respite to now to begin to farm on the parcels of land near the rock.
Yet, some residents said evil the spirits were still living in the bowels of the rock and do exhibit strange powers especially during odd hours of the night.
Safer, effective arena
Sam Peters, a police officer, believes that the ghosts in Zuma rock had long since moved on to other homes. He is of the opinion that the formerly dreaded zone is now safe for other productive pursuits, including farming, and is also free.
This notion inspired him to clear some area near the rock for cultivation. “I work for the government. We can’t rely just on a monthly wage, so I moved here this year to establish this farm and see how life would be. We need something at the very least that will serve as a backup for us.
Because of the his- tory of what we had learned about Zuma rock, I decided to farm close to it.
Unlike what was previously said, this site is calm and not nearly as scary. In the past, people have been afraid of evil spirits. There are fewer instances of some of the reportedly unpleasant things that used to occur here.
Evil spirits that used to trouble the engineers contracted to build this large hotel are to blame for the abandoned project (Zuma Rock Hotel),” he claimed. The security guard claimed to Inside Abuja that the evil spirit that resided in the rock used to frequently manifest and killed a few construction workers at the hotel site.
The account was told by the man who gave me this piece of the assignment and who identified himself as one of the project’s workers.
He said that the initiative was started under the presidency of Shehu Shagari. Since moving here, I have not come into contact with any malevolent spirits.
There is time for everything, thus it’s possible that God sought out the ghosts. We heard that there are rituals performed here. However, God has taken charge. I work for the police.
The neighborhood organized a vigilante team to stop the crimes at Zuma Rock, the man claimed.
However, some of the local vigilante group’s members poked holes in Peter’s idea of a completely tranquil place.
They asserted that as a team employed by the Zuma rock community to maintain environmental safety both day and night, they had encountered ritualists, felt the presence of the Zuma rock spirit, and engaged in gunfire with armed thieves.
Using an interpreter to describe his experience, Mallam Salisu Musa, also known as “Commander” due to his leadership of the vigilante team, told Inside Abuja that the Suleja Local Government Council hired him five years ago to provide protection for the neighborhood.
Kidnappers and armed robbers used to come and hide in the Zuma Rock building to kill and cut off people’s heads in the years prior to our engagement.
Since youngsters banded together to secure the area, there haven’t been any issues in the past three years. The criminals stay away from us when they notice that we are standing together.
We occasionally go into the Zuma Rock building to see whether any of these evil guys are lurking there, but only in the dead of night.
This structure was constructed in 1976 as a sizable hotel, although I believe the building is government-owned and was constructed by white males.
There was a very large anaconda snake inside the building, and Honey Bee entered the building to pursue the people within. Many people died as a result. If we don’t see it again, it has moved on.
“Last year, we apprehended numerous armed robbers who came here to exchange stolen goods. We engaged them in a firefight. When we go out to patrol at night, you’ll hear weird yet ominous voices humming directly from the rock.
But we are not afraid since we are equipped and ready for this task. There is a genuine zuma rock spirit.
A portion of the rock close to its zuma rock eye just peeled off following a very big bang that occurred at the wee hours of the night. This was an indication that Zuma rock spirits are still here. ”
Authorized to kill
Another vigilante operative, Mallam Abdulrahaman Aliyu, contributed to the tale, saying, “I’m one of the security professionals employed by the Zuma community.
With only my own strength and God’s assistance, I can move the Zuma rock; throughout whatever I have done, God has been assisting me. The owner of this establishment hired us as well. There are many of us, yet some of us work locally while others travel.
They hire us to serve as security because the property owner comes to farm here and encounters issues when they do so.
Although we coexist with the spirits in this place, there are no issues and no one has been hurt by them.Bikes used to be stolen here by criminal guys in the past.
They will entice Okada residents of Madala to Zuma Rock where they will kill their victims and flee on motorcycles. Because of our people, we are securing this location, and we are allowed to murder anyone who commits okada theft.
Some of these individuals were apprehended previously; nevertheless, they are still running on the expressway and are not heading here right now.
“Ritualist used to frequent this area frequently, but since we started working as security guards here, no such incidents have occurred. We have a spirit around here; if you don’t know and come here, you’ll go completely insane.
The only sound you hear at night is the frightful air on your left, right, and back. Despite having previously gone through it, I was unaffected because I had the knowledge from the Quran to drive it away; now, whenever I read it, it flees from me. He declared, “I’m from Maiduguri.
In Zuma Rock, Yakubu Abubakar works as a tiler and a landlord. He assists in supplying security for Zuma Rock as a home owner.
He stated to Inside Abuja that “crime level has fallen since we organized vigilante movement to combat the anomalies in the region such ritualists and okada snatchers.
The thugs and ritualists have fled. We were able to catch the lady among the okada thieves, who have been caught for one or two months now. We are taking all of these precautions for our own safety because if you close your eyes and sleep here, thieves and ritualists will come and kill you.
We can only speculate as to the ritualists’ socioeconomic status. Because spirit is distinct from humans, we are unable to perceive any of the ritualistic activities that take place here.
“As for me, we used to feel the presence of the spirit in this Zuma rock. I have a sound mind, and whenever I pass by at night around 8:00 p.m., I hear some sounds.
You cannot travel through here since doing so would be risking your own safety. Because those of us guarding this location roam around at odd hours without getting hurt, you can now pass at any time.
Our faith in God, which we have because we know He is able to do everything, gives us an advantage in acquiring this location. We always used to pray fervently before reporting for duty.
Potentials for tourism
Despite the terrifying ghost stories, the Niger State Government has chosen Zuma Rock as one of its exceptional locations that will be transformed into a major tourism destination.
The Chief Press Secretary to Niger State Governor Abubakar Sanni Bello, Mallam Jibril Ndace, told Inside Abuja over the phone that the state has a blueprint for developing its tourism industry.
He places a high priority on Gurarra Waterfalls and Zuma Rock. Zuma Rock, however, continues to be a mystery to its observer until the government translates the blueprint into actual construction.