Getting Lost inside Kurmi Market, Kano

Kurmi Market, Kano

If this is your first time reading this series, it’s advisable you start from here.


Kurmi Market, Kano

Founded by the Emir of Kano, Mohammad Rumfa, in the 15th Century in 1463, Kurmi Market is one of the biggest and oldest markets in Nigeria. It is positioned almost at the centre of Kano City, slightly away from Emir’s Palace and the Kano Central mosque.

“I heard that this market is the best place to buy locally woven materials and ancient items such as local textiles, dyed materials, jewelry box, etc,” Wumi said as we alighted from the Keke which had driven past the Emirs Palace.

She wanted to draw ‘laali’ (a local name for the temporary tattoos called Henna arts) on her hands but I had no plans. I only wanted was roam within the congested market. That seemed like a plan though.

Wumi posing inside Kurmi Market, Kano
I did a lot of amazing work shooting Wumi

On Alighting at the market’s entrance, I marveled at how so many people would be concentrated in a single geographical space at the same time. Dodging cars, Lorries, Goats, and Donkeys, my thoughts bounced from how amazing I think the country would have been if we loved more to why a lot of us have been so judgemental about the North and its people. Midway into my reverie, my eyes caught a young man at a corner beside a stall, drinking the remaining of the water he used in washing his penis after urinating. I nearly laughed out loud.


Wumi called my attention to a street food hawker who sold yam, egg balls, chicken, fried eggs and cheese. We stopped to buy and have a taste of what this food looked like.

Street food in Kurmi Market, Kano Street food in Kurmi Market, Kano


After roaming aimlessly for what looked like an hour, we figured we’ve lost our way as we couldn’t tell which road exactly would take us back to our hotel in Sabon Garri.

Wumi was running out of cash and my own stomach was so upset that I won’t make it back happily to Sabon Garri if I don’t look for a toilet. The sun wasn’t holding back its anger and neither was the cold ready to back down. Wumi’s phone rang. It was our Airbnb host. He wanted to apologize for how everything panned out and promised to make things up, so we agreed we’d spend our second night at his place.

A quick scan made it clear that finding a bank and toilet was the only thing that will solve our problems, but none was near us. So we looked up google map for the nearest bank to us, jumped into a Keke and found ourselves staring at a Union bank a few minutes later.

With our mission accomplished, Wummie had filled her bag with enough money to last till the next day while I had emptied my bowels in one of the newly commissioned toilets built by the bank.

We rode back in silence to our base to rest. This was a few minutes past 3 pm and the city center was as bustling with commercial activities as any of its counterparts in Lagos. Bathing was the last thing I wanted to do, so I collapsed on my side of the bed while Wumi sat at the edge of the bed fiddling with her phone. I told her to wake me by 4:30 pm so we could go out again before nightfalls.