Just as the saying goes, “There is nothing hidden under the sun”, such is the case of the cave we explored during the 2022 World Tourism Day celebration here in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria which was themed “RETHINKING TOURISM”.
The World Tourism Day 2022 event which in line with the year’s theme was meant to reach out to the grassroot in tourism being the host community. It was organised by Peaceful Sky Travels and Tours LTD, one of our most trusted partners, in collaboration with the Nigerian Youth Parliament and hosted by the traditional ruler (The Hakimi ) of Dutse Alhaji HRM. Hon Alhaji Abubakar Bako and his people.
Dutse-Alhaji is one of the satellite towns in Bwari Area Council of the FCT. It is located on the highway that leads to Bwari town, just opposite Kubwa and bordered on the east by Dawaki. In Dutse, you will find Gbagyi tribe, Koro tribe, and Gwandara people who are the original inhabitants of Dutse Alhaji. It is important to note that the cave belongs to the Gwandara people which are predominantly Muslims.
The word “Duste” means “Rock” which is evidently found everywhere around the terrain while Alhaji is the name of the man who was the first settler. Alhaji Idris was a commercial hunter who hunted elephants. Elephant tusks dealers usually go in search of him wherever he settled so that they can buy from him.
According to the Hakimi of Dutse, the place is of historical significance. That is to say, whenever there was war in the past, the people of Dutse Alhaji would enter the cave and hide for the waring season. The cave could house more than 200 people. It is well ventilated and has an open roof where light and air can come through. As wonderfully made by Almighty Allah, there is clean spring water for cooking, bathing, and drinking. While in the cave, the warriors can then reinforce themselves and go back to attack their enemies.
A lot sacrifice were carried out before we were allowed to go into the cave. We were accompanied by fire men and masquerades and native women chanting their local ritual songs. The cave is very terrifying to the point that a group of 10 persons would be scared to go there by themselves as reported by the Hakimi. Another unidentified source said women on their menstrual cycle are not allowed entrance on occasions like this while strangers must not not visit without permission as they would not be able to find the rock entrance no matter how many times they go there.
Climbing into the cave is just as tedious as climbing out, you practically have to crawl out but in all it was a wonderful experience worth the while.
On returning to the Chief’s Palace where the World Tourism Day celebration event initially clicked off with a “Tourism Match” to the cave, we continued with the rest of the activities to mark the World Tourism Day celebration. Dignitaries were introduced, prayers were said, local entertainment in form of music and dance graced the occasion.
Local games included MEN TUG OF WAR and WOMEN DIVE AND CATCH. We were also entertained by the OLD SKOOL FASHION DISPLAY while local delicacies were flying up and down for everyone to eat to their satisfaction.
The World Tourism Day celebration event was sponsored by Cornelia Collins foundation, One Legit Properties Limited, Ethiopian Airlines , Zenith Bank Plc, AIT Online , ITV Radio Abuja , GO ABIA, Old School Tourism, Komral Limited, Interior Decor Limited, kuku Bima Energy, Ecosea Travel and Tours Limited, Drink, ILLINOIS VACATION ,The Stewart and Osarodion Osazuwa .