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Mission: Nigeria 2011

Koma Hills Survey

Report by Pastor Chris Joseph
Submitted April 12, 2011

I was fully set to embark on my trip to Koma Hills of the Atlantika Mountains in Jada local government area of Adamawa state in northern Nigeria on Wednesday, April 6, 2011.

We took off from Port Harcourt (in southern Nigeria) by land at 7:55 a.m. only to arrive in Yola (in eastern Nigeria) at 12 midnight. Midway through my journey, something unusual happened to me. I started experiencing acute pains at the sole of my right foot to the point that I was unable to lift it up. When I tried to find out what happened to me, I discovered two strong boils at the sole of my right foot. This was indeed an attack aimed at thwarting my mission to Koma Hills. My right foot was poisoned.

As a determined soldier of Christ, I pressed on against all odds to fulfill my mission. Upon arrival in Yola the other passengers left for their respective places of abode while this prisoner of Christ slept in the bus. The reason being that while sending a report on my fare to Koma, I forgot to include accommodation and in-town expenses.

At the dawn of the next day, being April 7, I jumped out of the bus still battling with severe pains. I prayed against it, believed my prayer, and put on my shoes in order to proceed to Koma Hills.

Another strange thing happened. From the look of things, 90 percent of the people living in Yola, which is about 110 kilometers away from Koma Hills, have no knowledge of the place called Koma. This made me incur additional expenses trying to look for someone with a fair knowledge of the place to show me how to reach Koma Hills.

Just as I was about to throw in the towel, I ran into a man who showed me the routes to Koma. But he also added that he was told the people there are cannibals.

I praised God and hired a car to Koma Hills in Jada Local Government Area of Adamawa State, Nigeria. In a dry, dusty and sunny atmosphere, we zoomed off to the Nigerian Garden of Eden – characterized by rough terrain, rivers (now completely dry), and deep gullies.

Nigeria’s “Garden of Eden”?

Tree(s) of Knowledge?

The driver, however, stopped me at Kalolarhi village — 3 kilometers away from Koma Hills — on the grounds that he couldn’t risk his vehicle beyond that point. A motorcyclist, who collected $4, meandered with me through the hills and gullies until we reached Mani village on a plain of Koma Hills.

Chris, right, with his $4 motorcycle cabbie.

I met with someone from a missions organization on the plain — and was asked many questions about who I was and what ministry I represented. I attempted to ask my own questions, but received little information. I was told it was “killing to climb the mountain, particularly in the afternoon.” Besides that, “I would see nobody on the mountain.”

I humbly asked if there were still people using leaves to cover their private parts, but that was debunked as a mere rumor.

Koma Hills dwelling places (photos above and below).

What a trip, characterized by several attacks, I began to wonder: “What will I tell about my trip?”

But suddenly an unusual courage and strength came on me. This made me think creatively. I made friends with Bobo (a native of Kalolarhi) and briefly explained what had transpired. There and then, he expressed readiness to offer me any useful information about Koma and to physically take me to places of interest, but for a token. I quickly obliged.

This was the beginning of a fulfilled mission. I told him I wanted to physically climb a hill. He took me to one, which would take me 3½ hours to climb. I climbed halfway and came down. I asked him whether I could see people who use leaves to cover themselves. His answer was in the affirmative, but he added that they are the ones that live on high mountains (6 to 8½ hours to climb).

Asking if I could climb one of the high hills, he said it was too late for that. But he quickly added that even if I climbed the highest mountain in Koma I wouldn’t see anybody because it was a Thursday and they attend their biggest market typically called Choncha in Nassarawo village. I asked him to take me to the market and I would pay him for the services rendered. We drove down to Choncha. While Bobo led me around the market, my eyes caught a woman in her semi-nudity. While I walked further, I saw another daughter of Eve walking publicly with leaves covering her private parts.

Koma women wearing leaf skirts (in photos above and below).

It was on this note that our tour to Koma Hills ended and he drove me down to Kalolarhi where I hired a cab back to Yola. It was indeed a mission accomplished.

Inside Nigeria

The Atlantika Mountains are part of a line of mostly inactive volcanic mountains spanning the border of Nigeria and Cameroon. They rise to about 4,300 feet (1,300 meters).

Adamawa State is one of nine states in the Muslim North that has imposed strict Sharia law, which means restrictions on church buildings, the banning of Christian religious education in state schools, and communal violence. Persecution is often severe (sometimes violent) in the North. The April 16 election of a Christian president (Goodluck Jonathan) prompted an outbreak of deadly violence in the predominantly Muslim states.

Seasons: Northern Nigeria has two — long dry (October to mid-May) and wet (June-September). Temperatures range from the low 70s (22C) to upper 90s (36C). Southern Nigeria has four seasons — long rainy (March to end of July), short dry (August), short rainy (September to mid-October), and long dry (late October to early March).

Posted May 4, 2011

The Word

“I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, 'Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, with its worshipers. But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.' They are 'the two olive trees' and the two lampstands, and 'they stand before the Lord of the earth.'”
— Revelation 11:1-4 (NIV)

The people

Koma people of eastern Nigeria are purported to have retreated into the Atlantika Mountains in the last half of the 1800s in an attempt (apparently successful) to avoid paying taxes to the British colonial government. They were undetected until the 1980s, when a schoolteacher from India working for the government rediscovered this still-primitive people. The teacher reported finding the Koma people to a local church, which reportedly sent missionaries. After 20 years of outreach, 20 churches supposedly existed. But there was no Bible in the Koma language. Christian Aid Mission provided Hausa Bibles. We believe these churches, the outreach, and any possible school and/or health center are located on the plains, and not in the higher parts of the Atlantika Mountains. Our mission is to discern whether God desires to use Climbing For Christ to reach the Koma or any of the other people groups in the mountain regions of eastern Nigeria (along the Cameroon border in Adamawa and Taraba states). According to Operation World: “This is the home of numerous peoples, some scarcely affected by the modern world and deeply trapped in the fearful world of spirits and ancestors. Over 50 peoples live in the area, many unreached.”


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