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Zuma Rock: An abode of forgotten deities

The magnificence of Zuma Rock cannot be described with words. In its presence, the smallness of man is made apparent.

With a height of 725 metres (2,379 ft) above its surroundings, the admiration that Zuma rock compels cannot in any way be separated from mesmerization.

An igneous intrusion composed of gabbro and granodiorite, Zuma rock is located in Niger state, Nigeria.

Precisely along the main road from Abuja to Kaduna off Madala.

It is sometimes referred to as the “Gateway to Abuja from Suleja.”

History of Zuma Rock

The phrase “ancient of days” comes to life at the proximity of Zuma Rock.

As a matter of fact, not even the primitive history of the Koros that settled around the rock can give an account of its origin.

However, stories have it that when the people of Zuba (Koros) migrated to the present location of Zuma Rock upon the instruction of their soothsayer in the 15th century (they’ve been told not to settle down permanently until they reached one wonderful rock), they found out that the rock had got strong spirits.

Zuma Rockplay

Zuma Rock


As pagans, they took ownership of the rocks and started worshipping it. This act of theirs would go on and on because whenever they made sacrifices, wonderful things happened.

Thus, Zuma Rock became the strongest idol in the old Abuja area. And owing to the protective power of the rock, no war or attack against Zuba by any group, was ever successful; both within and outside Zuba chiefdom.

At that time they had no name for the rock.

It was much later when they found out that there were many Guinea-Fowls within the forest where the rock was mounted that they named it “Ezumwa ba,”meaning: Place of catching Guinea-Fowls. That was how the rock got its name originally as “Zumwa.”

But as the Hausa people started coming around, they could not pronounce “Zumwa” so they just say “Zuma.”

It was also the same with the Europeans when they came. They could not also call it rightly as “Zumwa,” they used the Hausa pronunciation, “Zuma.”

Hence, the popular name that went into literature was “Zuma” instead of the original name in koro, “Zumwa.”

Zuma Rockplay

Zuma Rock

(Alluring world)

The introduction of religion has, however, prevented most koros from worshipping the deities as their ancestors did in earlier times. And this has also led to the silence of the gods themselves.

They’ve withdrawn their potency.

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The abstractness of Zuma Rock

  • For reasons yet unknown to observers, the top of Zuma Rock catches fire sometimes; especially during rainy season.

  • It is said that in those days, a clear audible strange sound of door opening and closing is sometimes heard. And whenever this happens, the news about the death of a well-known person is heard.

  • It is believed that there is no spirit at any place around or afar that are as strong as those at Zuma Rock.

  • It is also believed that Zuma Rock is sitting on a very large source of underground water– that if the rock is pulled down, the water that will come out of it shall submerge an unimaginable expanse of land.

  • It was said a very long time ago that Zuma Rock shall be at the centre of a very large and densely populated settlement. And with the movement of Federal Capital from Lagos to Abuja, and recent developments at Zuba, Madalla, Chachi, Zuma, Suleja, Gauraka, Kaduna road, Dokwa, Dei-dei, Kubwa, and others, an old prophecy is being fulfilled.

Fire on Zuma rockplay

Fire on Zuma rock


When is the best time to visit Zuma Rock?

The vastness of Zuma Rock embraces visitors all year round. There is no specific season or time that can be said as best.

However, for the sake of having an opportunity to see the Zuma Rock fire which sometimes burns under heavy rainfall, it advisable to visit the rock during the raining season.

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