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Ham people in Kaduna revive cultural festival to promote national integration

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By Ahmad Ali Usman Kafanchan

It was a joyful moment for the Ham people in Jaba Local Government Area of Kaduna State as hundreds of dignitaries from diverse ethnic groups within and outside the state gathered to celebrate the annual ‘Tuk-Ham festival’ showcasing its rich cultural heritage after six years of suspension due to insecurity and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the Ham people in Kwoi, Jaba Local Government Headquarters, the paramount chief, Kpok Ham, Dr. Danladi Gyet Maude, said Tuk-Ham was last celebrated six years ago due to a sharp increase in the incidences of communal attacks, banditry, kidnappings, and terrorism which created general insecurity that affected normal life and daily activities not only in their surrounding communities but in many other areas in the state and beyond.

According to him, it is a thing of joy that after these years of fear and uncertainty, they gather again because things have somehow abated and normalcy has gradually returned in relative terms.

“From its inception in 1980, the Tuk Ham Festival was conceived to take place during the Easter season.

“The celebration of Tuk Ham serves two purposes thanksgiving and supplication. First, we have to take time especially to thank God for the bountiful harvest of the immediate past farming season, and second, to pray for success, protection, and multiplication of blessings in the next farming season,” he said.

He explained that the Tuk-Ham festival is deeply tied to farming as the dominant occupation of the Ham people, while calling on the people and the teaming youths in particular, to bring back to mind and revive the time-honored tradition of communal farming.

Commenting on the ginger pandemic, the monarch appealed to both the State and the Federal government to put together a special package of financial and material support to help ameliorate the losses suffered by ginger farmers.

He lamented that more than 80% of ginger farming capacity in terms of seedlings has been lost, adding that future of ginger farming in Hamland precariously hangs in the balance because both the variety and quantity of product may be lost completely,” he added.

“To avoid a total calamity the government needs to either support or commission academic research into the root cause of the ginger pandemic to find an effective and lasting solution to its menace,” he pointed out.

Chairman of the occasion, Ambassador Bulus Lolo stressed the need to preserve the Ham culture through the festivals.

Hon. Dr Gideon Jock and Engr. Mamudi Ladan, said the Tuk-Ham used to be celebrated worldwide, people usually come across the globe to join the Ham people in celebrating their day because of the rich cultural values of the Nok Terracotta.

They noted that the topography and Mountains that surrounded the Ham land could be made to be a good place for tourism where people from different parts of the World can come and see the beautiful land.

They encourage other privileged individuals to come back home and see how decaying the system is and put their hands together to attract development in the land.

The Ham people are the custodians of the world-renowned Nok Culture and famous Terracotta dating back to 500 BC.

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