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Jos: Abode Of Peace And Tourism

Posted: Jul 26, 2015 at 12:01 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Kimberly Okonkwo

Jos is a city in the middle belt of Nigeria. The city has a population of almost one million residents. It is the administrative capital of Plateau State. Jos was an important centre for tin mining during the British colonial rule. The earliest known Nigerians were the Nok people who where skilled workers in a particular trade involving crafting things by hand. Nok people mysteriously vanished in the late first 1000 years. Historians are still not sure where they migrated to.



The place known as Jos today was dominated by native tribes who were mostly farmers. It was the discovery of tin by the British that led to the inflow of other tribes such as the Hausa, Igbo, Urhobo and Yoruba, thus making Jos a cosmopolitan city. It grew rapidly after the British discovered huge tin deposits in the area.

Both tin and columbite were extensively mined in the area up until the 1960s. They were transported to both Port-Harcourt and Lagos by railway on the coast, the exported from those ports. The city is still often referred to as ‘Tin city’.

Jos has become an important national administrative, commercial and tourist centre. Tin mining has led to the inflow of new habitants, mostly Igbos, Yorubas and Europeans, who constitute more than half of the population of Jos. This ‘melting pot’ of race, ethnicity and religion makes Jos one of the cities that attracts other of Nigeria. For this reason, Plateau state is also known in Nigeria as the ‘home of peace and tourism’.

Despite this, it has suffered violent religious clashes between its Muslim and Christian populations in recent years. There is still an inflow of people into the city and the cost of accommodation and land is still going up daily which shows that the city is still one of the most desirable cities in Nigeria, despite the communal clashes that have claimed the lives of many.

Yakubu Gowon Airport, also known as Jos Airport, is an airport serving Jos. It is situated at Heipang and has one of the most modern buildings in the country with a long enough runway for the jet airlines. It was named after Yakubu Gowon who was the head of state of Nigeria from 1966 to 1975. Today, the airport is served by Arik Air which operates one flight daily between Lagos and Jos.

Jos teaching hospital

Jos teaching hospital

The city is divided into three local government areas; Jos North, Jos South and Jos East. Jos North is the state capital where most commercial activities of the state take place although due to the recent communal clashes, a lot of such activities are shifting to Jos South. The Governor’s office is located in an area in Jos North called “Jise” in “Berom” language, ‘Gise” in Afizere (Jarawa) language or “Tundun-Wada” in Hausa language.

Jos South is the seat of the Deputy Governor, the old Government house in Rayfield and the industrial centre of Plateau state due to the presence of industries like the NASCO group, Standard Biscuits, Grand Cereals and Oil Mills, Zuma Steel West Africa, aluminium roofing industries, Jos International Breweries among others.

Jos South also houses reputable institutions like the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies(NIPSS), the highest academic awarding institution in Nigeria, the National Veterinary Research Institute, the Police staff College, the NTA television college and the Nigerian Film Corporation.

Jos North is the location of the University of Jos and its teaching hospital. The city has formed a large group with the town of Bukuru to form the Jos-Bukuru metropolis(JBM).

The city is almost situated at the geographical centre of Nigeria and about 179 kilometres from Abuja, the Nation’s capital. Jos is linked by road, rail and air to the rest of the country. Jos enjoys a more temperate climate than much of the rest of Nigeria. Average monthly temperatures range from 21-25 degree centigrade, and from mid-November to late January, night-time temperatures drop as low as 11 degree centigrade, resulting in chilly nights. Hail sometimes falls during the rainy season, owing to the cool high-altitude weather.

Jos Wildlife Park Elephant

Jos Wildlife Park Elephant

The city is home to the University of Jos founded in 1975. The school was established with the vision of being a creative institution; they are committed to providing education that is globally competitive and relevant to the needs of today’s employer and the developing challenges of Nigeria and beyond. Hillcrest School, an international missionary school, is also located in Jos. The school contains a large international student population.

Other local enterprises include food processing, beer brewing, and the manufacture of cosmetics, soap, rope, jute bags, and furniture. Heavy industry produces cement and asbestos cement, crushed stone, rolled steel, and tire retreads. Jos also is a centre for the construction industry and has several printing and publishing firms. The Jos-Bukuru dam and reservoir on the Shen River provide water for the city’s industries.

Jos is also a home to St. Luke’s Cathedral , an airport and a railway station. The city is served by several teaching hospitals including ECWA Evangel Hospital and Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), a Federal Government funded referral hospital. The Nigerian College of Accountancy, with over 3,000 students in recent years, is based in the Dogon-Dutse area of Jos.

The National museum in Jos was founded in 1952 by Bernard Fagg and was recognized as one of the best in the country. The Pottery Hall is a museum that has an exceptional collection of finely crafted pottery from all over Nigeria and boasts some fine specimens of Nok terracotta heads and artifacts dating from 500BC to AD 200. It also integrates the Museum of Traditional Nigerian Architecture with life-size replicas of different buildings, from the walls of Kano and the Mosque at Zaria to a TIV village.

A School for Museum Technicians is attached to the museum, established with the help of UNESCO. The Jos museum is also located beside the zoo. The Nigerian Film Corporation has its headquarters in Jos with its Managing Director as Mr. Afolabi Adesanya. Actors like Desmond Elliot had his childhood years in Jos. Dayo Okeniyi, actor most known for playing “Thresh” in the “Hunger Games” was born in Jos. Sani Mu’azu, actor most known for playing “Baban Nasiru” in a soap opera called Riddles and Hopes as well as “Solomon” in “Shuga Naija” was born in Jos.

A lot of other well-known people like Ice Prince, M.I, P-Square, 2face, and Tony Onabanjo(ace cinematographer) were raised or born in this city. Footballers like Ogenyi Onazi, Sunday Mba, Joseph Akpala, James Obiora, Benedict Akwuegbu, Chibuzor Okonkwo, Ahmed Musa, Segun Odegbami and John Obi Micheal either had their childhood years there or born there.

Jos has two golf courses, Rayfield and Plateau with a polo club, a stadium and other sports/entertainment offerings. Covering roughly 3 square miles of savannah bush, the Jos Wildlife Park is a popular local attraction and includes animals such as lions, pythons and pygmy hippopotami.

Those cooler temperatures have meant that, from colonial times until the present day, Jos is a favourite holiday location for both tourists and those on exile in Nigeria. Apparently, Jos is a great base for exploring the beauty of Plateau state. The Shere Hills, seen to the east of Jos, offer a prime view of the city below.

Assop Falls is a small waterfall which makes a pleasant picnic spot on a drive from Jos to Abuja and Riyom Rock is a dramatic and photogenic pile of rocks balances on top of one another in a rather unstable way, with one resembling a clown’s hat, observable from the main Jos-Akwanga road.