Koma people are indigenous hill-dwelling people occupying the Alantika Mountains in northern Adamawa State in Nigeria and in Northern Cameroon at southwestern side (Faro National Park ) of the border with at Adamawa state.
The Koma people have been hiding in their mountainous habitat for eons but their existence was officially discovered in 1986 by a corps member. In Nigeria where when the Koma tribe was discovered the people described them as primitive, naked people, backward people and pagans. In fact, the mountain on which Koma resides was named Alantika which in Kanuri language means ‘Allah hasn’t yet arrived’ due to the fact that the Koma tribal people living in the Alantika Mountains keep their traditional African religion and their ancient traditions despite being surrounded by Islamic societies in the nearby Faro Valley.
The disparaging remarks against Koma people for keeping to their ancient tradition since their discovery has has not halted as Nigerian media keep assaulting their their way of life. “Koma is not one of Nigeria’s stories with fairly-tale flavor,” the Nigerian newspaper The Spectator reported in July 2010. “When Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) broke the news about the startling discovery in the then-Gongola State (Northern Nigeria) of a horde of primitive people whose women used leaves to cover their private parts while men wore animal skins and children romped about the countryside butt-naked — stone-age cultural practices — the whole country was shocked to the marrow. Later, they were identified as Koma people of the Atlantika Mountains in Jada Local Government Area of the present day Adamawa State. They occupied a remote hilly terrain lying along the Nigeria-Cameroon border. The year of the discovery was 1986.
“(One-quarter century) after this jaw-dropping story first hit the limelight, the people of Koma are still floundering in their ‘Dark Age.’ The Nigeria Television Authority continued that one “cold fact is that the Koma people are yet to be weaned of some of the primitive ways. There still exists a defiant few among this mountain-dwelling tribe who strut around naked or near-naked in broad daylight. Others even go to farm or come to their markets in their state of semi-nudity.”
The Koma people became recognized as Nigerians in 1961, a year after independence, along with the old provinces of northern Cameroun. Today Koma is part of the seven districts of Ganye local Government in Adamawa State.
Some International NGO`s such as Middle Africa are closely working with the Koma communities and the Kingdom of Wangay so that the region preserves in natural beauty and its cultural diversity. Anthropologists and Human Right Activists who believe that responsible tourism can help preserve the Koma culture and ameliorate their daily lives must get involved so that the Alantika Mountains and Faro valley do not suffer the negative effects of massive tourism like it has happened in other tribal regions of the world….
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