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Kafanchan is a mainly Christian-dominated town in the southern part of Kaduna State, Middle Belt, Nigeria.[citation needed] It is the location of a junction station of the Nigerian Railway Corporation,[1] and it sits on the line connecting Port Harcourt, Enugu, Kafanchan, Kuru, Bauchi, and finally Maiduguri.[2] As of 2007, Kafanchan had an estimated population of 83,092.[3]


Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong sign the Kafanchan Peace Declaration as official observers
Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong sign the Kafanchan Peace Declaration as official observers
Kaf City
Kafanchan is located in Nigeria
Coordinates: 9°34′N 8°18′E / 9.567°N 8.300°E / 9.567; 8.300
Country Nigeria
StateKaduna State
 • A̱gwam FantswamA̱gwam Musa Di̱dam
 • Tum NinkyobTum Tanko Tete
 • Emir of Jama'aAlhaji Muhammadu Isa Muhammadu
739 m (2,425 ft)
Time zoneUTC+1 (WAT)



The word Kafanchan, according to , is said to have been derived from the Hausa word leg Kafa chan a hausa word for that kafanchan- that leg indigenous inhabitants of the Kafanchan town and environs added the prefix "kwa" to all names of peoples and places. Hausa immigrant elements who interacted with them found it more convenient to pronounce the two words, as Kafanchan. The town developed as a result of British colonial commercial activities, i.e. a railway junction town in the early 20th century.[4] However, there is another claim as to how the name Kafanchan came into existence. It was said that the name originated during the railway construction period in the 1920s, when the railtrack crossbars were being laid, the white man would say in Hausa "kafachan", meaning leg there, i.e. 'put your leg there', then a crossbar would be laid after the labourer widens his leg, pushing a leg forward. Hence, the name Kafanchan.


Kafanchan was originally inhabited by the Fantswam people, who migrated from Mashan and located on present-day Atyap land, when they saw an elephant around the Ni̱mbyia̱ (Nimby) forest and shot it with a spear, causing it to flee into the forest. Being hunters, they pursued it until they met where it fell within the plains. They finally settled there and became the aboriginal inhabitants of the present day Kafanchan plains.

A wave of migration caused by human and environmental factors such as the Fulani Jihad and famine caused otherkin sub-groups such as the Ninkyob (known as Kaninkon by the Hausa), the Bajju and the Atyap to settle among the Fantswam. The Fantswam received them with open arms.[5] The Hausa-Fulanis also came and settled among the Fantswam, after they were driven from Kajuru by the Kajuru chief in the early years of the Fulani Jihad of the early 1800s. Usman Yabo led his people from Kajuru to settle in a place they named Jama'a Dororo meaning "people of Dororo" and founded an emirate amidst the people who gave him and his people the portion of land where they stayed, south of Fantswam territory. Yabo's descendant, the Hausa-Fulani ruler Muhammadu, moved his capital to the heart of the Fantswam land in 1933, after the formation of the Plateau province in 1926.[6][7] This was done with the support of the British colonialists. Since neither the Fantswam nor their neighbouring kings had monarchs, the British colonialists on arrival in the 1900s, made the ruler of the Hausa-Fulani settlement emir of the surrounding area. The Hausa-Fulani named the area originally named Jama'a Sarari, a Hausa-Arabic phrase meaning "people of the plains". The Jama'a emirate was a vassal state of the Zaria emirate.

On completion of the railway line linking the Kaduna station with the Kuru and the Port Harcourt railway stations, Kafanchan again experienced a heavy influx of the Igbo people from Nigeria's southeast. Many of these people left after the Nigeria Civil War in 1967, although some later returned. Yorubas from the southwest also came and settled in considerable amounts in the expanding town.

After the death of the emir of Jama'a in 1998, there were resentments to the turbaning of his son as the next emir. In 1999, the son of the late emir was unpopularly turbaned, leading to a public uprising in Kafanchan.

The southern Kaduna indigenous people of the area, under the auspices of the Indigenous People of Jama'a (ICJ) responded to the turbaning by filing a suit against the Kaduna state government at the Kafanchan High Court. The Kaduna clamoured for the scrapping of the emirate system on their soil, as it was an alien institution imposed on them by the British colonialists.[8] A result could not be ascertained until the new democratic regime came into being.

However, in the year 2001, the then-governor of Kaduna state, Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi, created the Fantswam and Ninkyob-Nindem'chiefdoms amidst over ten others in the southern Kaduna area, thereby partially ending the 20th century imposition of the Fantswam people and her kins under emirate rule.[9] However, the Jema'a emirate still remains an institution of the Hausa-Fulani inhabitants.

Today, Kafanchan is a melting pot of many Nigerians from parts of southern Kaduna such as the Gwong and the Ham, and other parts of Nigeria.

Traditional stoolsEdit

There are three traditional stools present within Kafanchan town. These include the Fantswam, Ninkyob-Nindem and Hausa-Fulani stools held by:

  • A̱gwam Musa Di̱dam (A̱gwam Fantswam) - a third class chief.
  • Tum Tanko Tete (Tum Ninkyob) - a third class chief.
  • Alhaji Muhammadu Isa Muhammadu OFR (Emir of Jama'a) - a first class emir.


The town of Kafanchan houses some educational institutions in the state, including:

  1. Kaduna State University (KASU), Kafanchan Campus.
  2. Kaduna State College of Education (KSCOE), Gidan Waya.
  3. Kaduna State College of Nursing and Midwifery, and
  4. Federal Science and Technical College.

Hospitality and tourismEdit

Kafanchan is home to some hotels such as:

  • Wonderland Unity Hotel
  • New World Hotel
  • Kasham Hotel

Kafanchan also has a waterfall, known as Ka̱byek Tityong (in the Fantswam Tyap dialect), Matsirga (in Hausa) and "River Wonderful" (in English), located close to Batadon (named Madakiya by the Hausas), in A̱dvwan District of Fantswam chiefdom, with underdeveloped tourist attraction potentials, although an indigenously owned resort, Fantswam Resort was of late established around the waterfall area in A̱dvwan IV, Kafanchan.


Various bank branches are located in Kafanchan, especially along the Kafanchan-Kagoro Road. Some of these banks include:

Kafanchan also has some microfinance banks such as:

  • MicroCred Microfinance Bank: (A9 Kagoro Road, Kafanchan).

Notable peopleEdit

  • Joseph Bagobiri (Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan and of St. Peter's Catholic Church, Kafanchan)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Archibong, Maurice (2006-10-26). "Kafanchan: Rising from rot wrought by Railways' woes". Daily Sun.
  2. ^ " Revamping the Nigerian Railway". Archived from the original on 2006-12-16. Retrieved 2007-04-06.
  3. ^ "The World Gazetteer". Archived from the original on 2013-02-09. Retrieved 2007-04-06.
  4. ^ ed. James, I (2000). The Settler Phenomenon in the Middle Belt and the Problem of National Integration in Nigeria (4th ed.). Jos, Nigeria: Midland Press. ISBN 9789783481169.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  5. ^ {{}}
  6. ^ Afuwai, Y. The Place of Kagoro in the History of Nigeria.
  7. ^ "JemaaNigeria". Retrieved 2018-05-19.
  8. ^ "Resentments over new Jama'a Emir:Kaduna simmers again". Retrieved 2018-05-19.
  9. ^ A̱ka̱u, K T L (2014). The Tyap-English Dictionary. Benin City, Nigeria: Divine Press. p. XV.

Coordinates: 9°34′N 8°18′E / 9.567°N 8.300°E / 9.567; 8.300