The earliest known settlers of the land that would come to be known as Nigeria were the Nok people (circa 1000 BC), skilled artisans from around the Jos area who mysteriously vanished in the late first millennium.
According to the great historian Sen Luka Gwom Zangabadt, the area known as Jos, Plateau State today was inhabited by indigenous tribes who were mostly farmers.
According to Billy J. Dudley, the British colonialists used direct rule for the indigenous tribes on the Jos plateau since they were not under the Fulani emirates where indirect rule was used.
According to the historian Samuel N Nwabara, the Fulani empire controlled most of northern Nigeria, except the Plateau province and the Berom Mwagavhul, Ngas, Tiv, Jukun and Idoma tribes.
It was the discovery of tin by the British that led to the influx of other tribes such as the Hausa, Igbo, Urhobo and Yoruba, thus making Jos a cosmopolitan city.
According to the white paper of the commission of inquiry into the 1994 crisis, Ames, a British colonial administrator, said that the original name for Jos was Gwosh which was a village situated at the current site of the city; Ames emphasised that the Hausa wrongly pronounced Gwosh as Jos and it stuck.
Another version was that “Jos” came from the word “Jasad” meaning body. To distinguish it from the hilltops, it was called “Jas,” which was mispronounced by the British as “Jos.” It grew rapidly after the British discovered vast tin deposits in the vicinity.
Both tin and columbite were extensively mined in the area up until the 1960s. They were transported by railway to both Port Harcourt and Lagos on the coast, then exported from those ports.
The Tin City
Jos is still often referred to as “Tin City”. In 1967 it was made the capital of Benue-Plateau State, becoming the capital of the new Plateau State in 1975.
Jos has become an important national administrative, commercial, and tourist centre. Tin mining has led to the influx of migrants, 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 most cosmopolitan cities in Nigeria. For this reason, Plateau State is known in Nigeria as the “home of peace and tourism.”
Religious Violence and Crises
Despite this, in 2001, the city witnessed violent riots between the divided Muslim and Christian populations, in which several thousand people died. In 2004, the former governor of Plateau State, Joshua Dariye, was suspended for six months for failing to control the violence.
In November 2008, clashes between Christians and Muslims killed almost 400 and wounded many. In spite of the communal clashes, visitors are surprised at the number of activities still going on in the city.
There is still an influx of people into the city and the cost of accommodation and land is still going up daily. This shows that the city is still one of the most desirable cities in Nigeria, despite the communal clashes.
In January 2011 there were almost daily clashes between Christian and Muslim mobs in villages around Jos since a series of bombs had been detonated during Christmas Eve celebrations a month earlier, killing scores of people. In May 2014, a twin bomb attack in Jos killed 118 people.
Between August 2013 and December 2014, a peace process was undertaken by communities living in Jos. The Jos Forum Inter-Communal Dialogue ultimately led to a “Declaration of Commitment to Peace” signed by the participating communities (Afizere, Anaguta, Berom, Fulani, Hausa, Igbo, South-South and Yoruba, as well as women who were represented as their own distinct community).
On 12 December 2014 at least 30 people were killed as twin bombs exploded in the central Nigerian city of Jos
Jos Wildlife Park
Covering roughly 3 square miles (7.8 km2) of savannah bush and established in 1972 under the administration of then Governor of Benue-Plateau Joseph Gomwalk in alliance with a mandate by the then Organisation of African Unity to African heads of state to earmark one-third of their landmass to establish conservation areas in each of their countries, It has since then become a major attraction in the state, attracting tourists from within and outside the country.
The park has become a home to various species of wildlife including Lions, Rock pythons, marabou storks, Baboons, Honey Badgers, Camels as well as variant flora.
Jos city is divided into 3 local government areas of Jos North, Jos South and Jos east. The city proper lies between Jos north and Jos south.
Jos east houses the prestigious National Center For Remote Sensing. Jos north is the state capital and the area where most commercial activities of the state takes place although due to the recent communal clashes a lot of commercial 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 i.e. 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 prestigious 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 an agglomeration with the town of Bukuru to form the Jos-Bukuru metropolis(JBM).
Situated almost at the geographical centre of Nigeria and about 179 kilometres (111 miles) from Abuja, the nation’s capital, Jos is linked by road, rail, and air to the rest of the country.
The city is served by Yakubu Gowon Airport, but its rail connections no longer operate as the only currently operational section of Nigeria’s rail network is the western line from Lagos to Kano.
At an altitude of 1,217 m (3,993 ft) above sea level, Jos enjoys a more temperate climate than much of the rest of Nigeria.
Average monthly temperatures range from 21–25 °C (70–77 °F), and from mid-November to late January, night-time temperatures drop as low as 11 °C (52 °F).
Hail sometimes falls during the rainy season because of the cooler temperatures at high altitudes. These cooler temperatures have meant that, from colonial times until the present day, Jos is a favourite holiday location for both tourists and expatriates based in Nigeria.
The National Museum in Jos was founded in 1952 by Bernard Fagg, and was recognized as one of the best in the country. It has unfortunately been left to fall to ruin as is the case with most of the cultural establishments in Nigeria.
The Pottery Hall is also a part of the 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 500 BC to AD 200.
It also incorporates the Museum of Traditional Nigerian Architecture with life-size replicas of a variety of buildings, from the walls of Kano and the Mosque at Zaria to a Tiv village. Articles of interest from colonial times relating to the railway and tin mining can also be found on display.
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.
A 40,000 seat capacity located along Farin-Gada road which has become home to the Plateau United Football Club, Current champions of The Nigerian Professional League.
The stadium has undergone major renovations under the administration of the current governor Barr Simon Bako Lalong.
Jos Golf Course
Rayfield Golf Club is a golf course located in Rayfield, Jos. It has hosted many golfing competitions with players coming from both within and outside the state.
Governor Lalong is a lover of golf which explains the great improvement witnessed during his administration in golf.
Asides Rayfield Golf Club, There’s also another Golf Course, Lamingo Gold Club.
Few Notable Public Figures With Affiliation to Jos
General Yakubu Gowon
Panam Percy Paul
Mabo Ismaila; Former coach of the female National Football Team, the Super Falcons
Segun Odegbami; a Nigerian footballer spent his childhood years in Jos
Desmond Elliot; Nigerian actor, director, and Member of the Lagos State House of Assembly
Ahmed Musa; a Nigerian footballer was born in Jos
Aisha Salaudeen; a Nigerian journalist was born and raised in Jos
Faith Teyei Afan Nigerian Fashion designer was born and raised in Jos
Bez (musician); a Nigerian alternative soul singer was born and raised in Jos
Doug Kazé; Nigerian alternative Afro-soul musician was born and raised in Jos
Mikel John Obi; an international footballer spent his childhood years in Jos
Ogenyi Onazi; an international footballer was born in Jos
Sunday Mba; an international footballer had his childhood years in Jos
Joseph Akpala; international footballer was born in Jos
Benedict Akwuegbu; an international footballer had his childhood years in Jos
Chibuzor Okonkwo; international footballer was born in Jos
Ice Prince; a Nigerian musical artist grew up in Jos
Dayo Okeniyi, actor was born in Jos
M.I rapper was born and raised in Jos
Saint Obi, a veteran Nollywood actor kicked off his career in Jos
P-Square, an R&B duo of identical twin brothers Peter Okoye and Paul Okoye were born and raised in Jos and are now known as Rude-Boi and Mr P as they are no longer duo but individual singers/musicians.
Innocent ‘Tuface’ Idibia Nigerian multi-award-winning musician was born in Jos
Deborah Enilo Ajakaiye (born 1940) is a Nigerian geophysicist
Sarah Ladipo Manyika (born 7 March 1968), British-Nigerian writer, spent much of her childhood in Lagos and Jos
Tony Elumelu was born in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria, in 1963. He hails from Onicha-Ukwu in Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State.
Kenneth Gyang A filmmaker that was born in Barkin Ladi of Plateau State, Nigeria.
John Major, former British Prime Minister, worked in the town from 1966 to 1967.
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 is also 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 a base for exploring 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 that makes a picnic spot on a drive from Jos, Plateau State to FCT Abuja.
Riyom Rock is a dramatic and photogenic pile of rocks balanced precariously on top of one another, with one resembling a clown’s hat, observable from the main Jos-Akwanga road.
The city is home to the University of Jos (founded in 1975), St Luke’s Cathedral, an airport, and used to have a railway station.
Jos, Plateau State is served by several teaching hospitals including Bingham University Teaching Hospital and Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), a federal government-funded referral hospital.
The Nigerian College of Accountancy, with over 3,000 students in 2011, is based in Kwall, Plateau State.
HISTORY: All You Need to Know About Jos, Plateau State
The area known as Jos, Plateau State today was inhabited by indigenous tribes who were mostly farmers. The British colonialists used direct rule for the indigenous tribes on the Jos plateau since they were not under the Fulani emirates where indirect rule was used.