Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish P.O.Box 338, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria.
History of Zaria Diocese
Missionary priests of the society of African Missions (S.M.A.) resident in Lokoja crossed the River Niger to Baro. From Baro, they travelled by railway through Minna and Kaduna to Zaria. After the initial contact, regular visits were made from Lokoja until a house was built for missionary priests. Father Pat O'Connell was the first missionary to live in Zaria. He took residence in Zaria at about 1925.
He was succeeded by Rev. Fr. John MacCarthy who later became the first Archbishop of Kaduna. Fr. Malachy Gaitley was the third priest to live in Zaria. The few Catholics in Zaria area then were mostly Ibo people, people from Ghana, Sierra-Leone and the Cameroon who were workers along the railway line.
Conversion among the indigenous Hausa people was impossible because of the hostility of the Moslem rulers in the area and the agreement between the British Colonial power and the Moslem emirs to the effect that missionaries must not evangelize in Moslem areas. The unfriendly and unconducive atmosphere made the missionaries to change and direct their attention to the pagan areas of the southern part of Kaduna State.
Between 1930 and 1950, the number of Catholics in Zaria area began to increase. This was made possible because of the increasing presence of traders from the South of Nigeria and the clerks from Ghana, Sierra-Leone and the Cameroon.
Between 1950 and 1960, especially with the approach of Independence for Nigeria, the government in the then Northern Nigeria saw the need to establish schools all over the North. The missionaries were given permission to open schools in Zaria as else where in the North. These schools brought many Catholics from different parts of the country to Zaria.
Slowly and gradually, evangelization moved to the indigenous Hausa people known as Maguzawa living in the Northern parts of Zaria. Conversion to Catholicism among these people came slowly but surely. There are a few thousand Catholics among the people now. There are two parishes in the Hausa area. Up to 1975, there were only three parishes in the area ( now Zaria diocese). Today, there are eleven parishes in the area.