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Around the World: The history and culture of the people of Plateau

Like most States in Nigeria that were created out of political necessity, Plateau is a conglomerate of different cultures and customs.

The people of Plateau State [Plateau]

Plateau state was carved out by the colonial masters in 1926. It has about 40 ethnic groups, with different languages, customs, and traditions.

Here is an excerpt from the official state website “Plateau state has been adjusted to its present borders many times. Colonial manipulation was from a desire to protect the railway construction and guarantee a safe passage of mined tin to the coast.

The British began to exert colonial control of Nigeria in the early 20th century. In 1926, Plateau Province was made up of Jos and Pankshin Divisions.

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The border changed several times in subsequent years as the government sought not to split ethnic groups.

In May 1967, Benue and Plateau Provinces were merged to form the large Benue-Plateau State. The railway construction and guarantee a safe passage of mined tin to the coast."

One cannot point to a particular culture as the general custom and tradition of the people because of its heterogeneity. You will have to go into the nitty-gritty of each custom.

The topography, vegetation and climate of Plateau State is one of the best in Nigeria. It got the name Plateau from the table-like green hills that circles the town. The weather is cool and wet for the most part of the year but it is coldest in harmattan season.

The State was one of the most flourishing in Nigeria with a lot of natural resources like tin, columbite, kaolin which is used for ceramic production.

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Because of this Plateau, Jos has a lot of manufacturing factories involved in food and beverage production, cosmetic, construction is also popular because of the presence of crushed stone.

Do you know the famous Nasco company, producer of Nasco Biscuits and Nasco Cornflakes has its registered office in Jos? Before the violence and internal conflict in the Plateau in 2010, it was a hub of commercial activities and to an extent it still is.

When it comes to history, I had to consult a resident and indigene of Plateau, Bonbiyang to tell me more about it;

“There are so many ethnic groups in Plateau. But I can only speak confidently about my ethnic group.

I am from Attakar under Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State. The majority of our population/people are found in Kaduna State.

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All Attakar people were under the Plateau province, but the colonial masters seeing that we speak a similar language with some people in the Zaria province (Kaje, Kagoro and other tribes) merged us with them in the Zaria province.

This decision did not go down well with all of us. Some of the Attakar people eventually gave in to the leadership of Zaria province, others refused and continued associating with the Plateau province.”

This two part series on Plateau continues next week, we'll talk about their food, occupation and marriage customs of Plateau State.

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