Zaria Nigeria

Growing up, Zaria was peaceful and the ideal place to be. It had people from all parts of Nigeria and other parts of the world, especially in the prestigious university, Ahmadu Bello University. It is one of the oldest Federal universities in Nigeria. I won't go into the is your best friend! *bite me!* This place is one I know like the back of my hand. I spent a good part of my childhood in this town.

Growing up on campus, this university was full of life! There were times I could not wait to be an adult like the students. They dressed up, had parties, shows, rags day and so many other exciting events. It all looked like good fun to my small mind at the time.

There are parts of the university that one would not know or discover except you really knew the place. The drama village was the place to go to. Theatre Arts students performed extraordinary plays, the plays were always mesmerising to watch. The students were so full of energy. Being the child of a Professor in that field, I learnt to appreciate art quite early in my life.

The dam in ABU has some beautiful hidden spots. Picnics were regular around there. I remember the last party I had at the dam, I smile each time I remember that day. My craziness is nothing new!

Spots like the sculpture garden in Fine Arts Department are a must see. Some things go down here at night and the suya there used to be so good. I don't know about it these days.

If you are Nigerian and do not know who this is, you need to revisit your history!

Even the lizard was taking in the view of the sculptures...

Queen Amina of Zazzau

Nineties, the social centre the front of the student hostels like Amina hall, Ribadu hall and Suleiman hall are spots that were always full of life.There were no dull moments day and night.

Queen Amina hall
That path leading to Nineties

Umar Suleiman hall

Outside the campus, Samaru is another place where there is always something to do. Many students who live off campus stay around Samaru area. The Samaru market always attracts residents from all around especially for groceries.

Just across the road from the A.B.U main gate, there is a Leather Research Institute. Some kilometres away, there is the National College of Aviation Technology. The pool in there used to be the happening place...oh the good old days! There is a good number of higher institutions in Zaria.
By the way, there is another campus of A.B.U called Kongo. That's where the Law, Administration and a few other faculties are.

When students thought of baffs (clothes), (of course they had to look good!) Sabon Gari market had a bit of variety. I could go on talking of all the little corners and interesting places in Zaria.

I am visited for Easter and going back to all these places where small pieces and stories of my life were formed, I can't help but smile all the way through my tour of Zaria.

We had never been to the Emir's palace and thought it was time to put that right, so that was the activity for Easter Monday.
The Emir is a traditional leader of the Hausa people in Nigeria. The Kingdom has its own history. A full story we were told would include visiting Kufena hills, from where the warriors at the time could see trouble approaching from far in the distance. What was seen was reported to the likes of  Queen Amina of Zazzau (now known as Zaria), warrior queen, she was one of the first women to lead in a male domainated society.
We went hiking around Kufena hills years ago, not knowing there was all this history to be discovered.

Heading into Zaria city where the Emir's palace is located
Entrance to the palace

The empty spot between the chairs is where the Emir's chair stays. In the evenings when he leaves the palace, the chair is taken to some other quarters.

Different chiefs (Dogara) stay in here with the Emir and occupy the seats

We were fortunate to meet one of the Dogaras who was happy to show us around. He insisted we sit and take this photo with him.We had to look the part to come here, people dress quite conservatively here.

Photos of the Emir of Zaria...we visited on a public holiday so there was nobody working. If we had visited on a working day, we were told that we might have been fortunate to have a chat with the Emir.

A back entrance to the palace

The way out
 If you are in Zaria and have the time, it might be worth stopping by. We got the impression that the palace does not get many visitors. It's free to visit. 

It is typical in Northern Nigeria to see women with fura da nono around, even in the Emir's compound. Fura is made from millet while nono is milk.
It is prepared in a small bowl and people happily chat around while they have it. These days, it is made in a more fancy way, blended with yoghurt.

The little girl looking above had this for sale.

The premises outside the palace is quite big. We were told that the Durbar happens in this space. The Emir and guests sit in the area to the right to watch the show.

Durbar is a festival with a display of horses ridden by local titles holders. Flutes are played, there is drumming and other local instruments. The festival happens typically around the Eid celebration. 

I was not aware that there was a dam outside A.B.U, but for my brother who is doing some research. We went with him to find the place

This side of the dam is not pretty at all!

One of the rare photos with this baby brother of ours like this

The dam is drying up sadly. Global warming is real!

When most people think or hear about Northern Nigeria, the stories that come out these days tend to be negative. This is a reminder that people are happy and normal activities go on there. There is a lot to see and the culture of the North is rich and worth exploring, just like other parts of Nigeria.

Photo Credit
Photos at ABU Dam: Temidayo Odutokun
Photos at the Palace: Asosa
All other photos were taken by me.


  1. A fun day in Zaria it was. Thought provoking for me. We are sitting in history and we just never explored. I was grateful for the experience, still am. I plan to explore more of this town ��

    1. See all you can and I can't wait to hear about it! Xx

  2. Zaria...Happy memories but why did you just mention kongo as an after thought? Mind yourself !

    1. I am yet to explore Kongo so don't have much to say about it. Abeg no vex!

  3. Babe you didn’t leave anything out! I miss Zaria! My mom still lives there though so is home for me anytime I’m home! ABU!!!

    1. Oh that's good to know. Zaria is different to me in so many ways. I don't feel like it is home anymore, I feel more like a visitor now.


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