FOCUS ON JUKUN, KAKA AND MAMBILA ETHNIC NATIONALITIES IN TARABA STATE, NIGERIA.

FOCUS ON JUKUN, KAKA AND MAMBILA  ETHNIC NATIONALITIES IN TARABA STATE, NIGERIA.

 

 NWAOZURU JOHNMAJOR CHINECHEREM

 

 

 

  INTRODUCTION

 

Prior to the advent of British colonial masters in West Africa, most ethnic nationalities  were independent.  The Igbo, Yoruba and so forth  are good examples. As the British came to  West Africa,  the colonial masters used their military might to subdue all most all the ethnic groups and brought them under their control. According to Amah (2016),  the idea of modern Nigeria was brought under British rule by 1906 and in the year 1914, the colony of the protectorate of both the Northern and Southern Nigeria became amalgamated under the governorship of Lord Lugard. She became an independent state on October 1, 1960 and adopted a republican constitution   on  October 1, 1963. The present Nigerian state  has many  ethnic groups with diverse culture, customs and traditions. It could be observed that  in some Northern states in Nigeria, there may be up to three  to Four  different ethnic groups cohabiting in one state.

 For example in  Taraba state according to Yaakugh (2019), Taraba state  has close to  hundred ethnic groups living in segmented large and small communities and speaking different languages and dialects. That is, it is heterogeneous in ethnic composition with rich but diverse historical and cultural heritage. Among the major ethnic groups in the state include: Mumuye, Kuteb, Ichen, Bandawa, Kambu, Kaka,  Karinjo, Fulani, Lo, Tigun Shomo,  Munga, Mambila, Jukun,  Ndoro, Bambuka, Hausa, Jenjo, Yandang, Kunini, Chamba, Tiv, Wurkum and  so on, with  their  various  distinct languages. Among these ethnic groups in Taraba state, the Jukun of Wukari,  Kaka and the Mambila   ethnic groups will be discussed in this paper. It is necessary to define the following terms; culture,  ethnic group and history.

  Culture 

According to Nnatu (2006),  E. Taylor in 1871 defines culture as that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, laws custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of  society. 

 

Ethnic Group

Kornblum (2005) explains  that ethnic groups are populations that have a sense of group identity based on a distinctive cultural pattern and usually, shared ancestry, whether actual or assumed. 

History

 History is from the Greek word historie, which means inquiry. Obiakor (2013) simply defines history as the study of mans past events; how and why they happened.  

 

Brief  History of  Taraba State

Taraba State was created in August 27th, 1991 by  President  Ibrahim Babangida. It has 16 local governments namely:  Bali, Gashaka, Sardauna, Kurmi, Wukari, Takum, Donga, Zing,  Jalingo,  Ibbi,  Lau, Karim-Lamido,  Gassol,  Ardo Kola,  Ussa, Yorro.  The major towns include: Jalingo, Wukari, Takum, Bali, Gembu and Zing.  Although there are various ethnic  groups with  their distinct languages and dialects however, Hausa is widely spoken throughout the state. Taraba State is blessed with variety of cultural activities, each manifesting itself in dances, songs, art craft, fashion and general behaviour as well as the traditional and social values of the various ethnic groups that inhabit in the state. Yaakugh (2019) opines that prominent among such cultural festivals include: Kati Festival of Gembu  (Harvest Festival), Mautau Festival   (Yam Festival) in Zing, the Kungana in Bali, Purma of Chamba, Kuchecheb Festival (Thanksgiving Festival to God for a rich harvest) in Takum, Puje of Jukun of Wukari, Nwonyo Fishing Festival in Ibi and Wukari, Asann Festival of Kona (Festival of Initiation of Manhood an Fertility), Goge and Akinshe (Wurkum), Malibu and Pepe Festival in Karim-Lamido. The current Governor is Arch. Darius Dickson  Ishaku.

 

FOCUS ON JUKUN, KAKA AND MAMBILA  ETHNIC NATIONALITIES IN TARABA STATE

This section will focus on the history and cultural practices of Jukun of Wukari,  Kaka and the Mambila ethnic groups in Taraba State,  NorthEastern Nigeria.

JUKUN PEOPLE OF WUKARI

Brief   History  of   Jukun  People

There are various traditions surrounding the origin, migration and settlements of the Jukun people. According to Zhema (2017), the Jukun migrated into their present location from Yemen in the Arabian Peninsula. He contends  that, the Jukun entered Nigeria through the Mandara hills and Lake Chad, where they first established a stronghold at Ngazargamu, which later became the capital of Kanem Borno. It is suggested that, from there, they moved their base to Upper Gongola (now Taraba State)  Valley and also  settled in the middle Benue Valley.  Hinkon (2014) has it that the Jukun migrated together with the Borno people (Kanuri) to Lake Chad Basin. After a stint at Ngazargamu, the Jukun later moved to the South Western part of Borno between 9-10  century, and through gradual process, they settled at various places in the Benue Valley, including Kwararafa and Biepi. The Jukun Kona, in their tradition, holds that, two Jukun brothers who came from the east via the Gongola basin founded Kona and Kwararafa. The elder brother first settled at Akuro near Lau and subsequently established the Kona State, while the younger one went and established Kwararafa. It is purported that by the mid- thirteenth century, one section of the Jukun known as the Kona, was established on the Gongola River, having migrated from Yemen to the far North-east of Nigeria, through Fitri region, Mandara and the Gongola region. 

In contemporary Nigerian history, Zhema (2017) traces that the Jukun of Wukari Division the Wapan, who are a segment of the Jukun  people predominantly found in Wukari, are widely presumed to be the progenitors of  the Jukun people. This presumption is clearly supported by the fact that, the Aku Uka,  who is exalted by all Jukun people is presently found amongst the Wapan Jukun of  Wukari. According  to Zhema (2017), the word Jukun is a derivative of a Wapan  expression, Apa-Jukun, which is translated to mean people or human kind. The  tradition contends that the concept of Apa-Jukun came about too, as a result of  the  various campaigns that took the Wapan of  Kwararafa to the Hausa States of Zaria,  Kano and Katsina. The tradition has it that there were series of wars fought between  the Wapan of Kwararafa on the one hand, and the Hausa people on the other hand. In  the course of the conflict, the Jukun people were said to have exhibited an exceptional  fighting prowess that caught the admiration of the Hausa people. Consequently, the  Hausa people demanded to know who the Wapan people were. In response, they  replied in Wapan language Iche Pa-Jukun, (we are people). It was, therefore,  assumed that from that moment, that new phrase was added to the Hausa lexicon, and the people became known to the Hausa as Jukun. In this regard, one could easily  understand why the concepts Wapan, Jukun and even Kwararafa have been  used interchangeably in some literatures to either mean the same people or  closely  related groups. This tradition, thus, assumes that the concept of Jukun people was a  later creation when compared to concepts like Kwararafa and Wapan.  The above tradition seems to be generally accepted by a cross section of Jukun  people located within Wukari town as well as other subordinating villages, though with some little variation in some instances.

 

SOME CULTURAL PRACTICES OF    JUKUN

       

Jukun culture comprise of many things such as marriage, family system, burial rites, festival and so on. 

Marriage

Marriage is essential to the survival of any society. Africans have high regard for it. Hence, they make everything possible to see that  an ideal marriage continues to take place without going into extinction.  Marriage occupies an important position in the affairs of Africans; without marriage, there is no family, and without a family, one could not bear children.  Nmah (2012) defines marriage as a divine agreement or sacred bond in which men and women can live together in sexual relationship with the approval of their social group.  

 Zhema (2017) observes that at one end of the scale there are Jukun groups who reckon descent in the female line, who practice matrilineal marriage, and who follow a matrilineal system of inheritance. At the other end are other Jukun groups who are wholly patriarchal. Between the two are the other Jukun groups who are matriarchal in some respects, and patriarchal in others. Ukaogo and  Tanko  (2012)  discovers  that majority of the Jukun dialects practised cross-cousin marriage.  This is a system of marriage in which a man marries his father’s sister’s child (daughter).  However, marriage with the father’s brother’s child (daughter) is not allowed.  The cross-cousin marriage is considered as the best because it establishes strong and effective clan organization.  Divorce is rare in this system of marriage. Before a marriage in Jukunland is contracted, there exist forms of traditional forms of communication between the families of the two youths that want to become one flesh. This  involves effective communication between the two youths preparing to become one flesh, the family relatives (living and dead)  of both of them as well as the entire community or communities are actively involved.

It could be observed that the greater percentage of the traditional forms of communication in marriage   is non-verbal. Rather,  Gani (2018) forsees that  meanings are read from conducts of the participants, sounds of various kinds, items as broad as dowries and so on. Traditional forms of communication in marriage among the Jukun also make room for reconciliation in times of crises. The various forms of oral communication will be a veritable tool aiding the various  procedures of marriage rites to be carried out properly. Gani (2018) states that  traditionally, oral communication was the commonly used in various activities or ceremonies before the advent of written communication even presently it has a great influence when it comes to fulfilling  traditional rites of indigenous people. Oral communication makes it easier for youths who to be joined as husband and wife to express their feelings, emotions, thoughts and heart desires to each other. Thus, in Jukun land oral communication in marriage is of paramount important. From payment of dowry to  other marital stages  are full of oral form of communication as the various materials to be used in bride price process  have significant symbolic meanings. Celebration of the marriage itself is full of music and dance which is full of symbolic meanings. 

Jukun of Wukari  traditionally identifies their sons and daughters for being of marriageable age by puberty signs, respect for elders, her domestic industriousness and character development.  Development of good characters and decent behaviour is of core importance. This is to say that beside a woman’s outward beauty,  a good character is a prerequisite for marriage  All these communicate to them that their son or daughter is mature to get marry or to be given in marriage. Gani (2018) observes that if  a young man is lazy and  cannot farm to provide food for the wife and children, he is not qualified to be a husband to a woman. This is shown in  a popular proverb among Jukun people that says u napan ni wa ba akuu bi ndora re? (Have you mastered farming that you can call parrot home?). This clearly shows that besides biological satisfaction of certain mechanisms within the human body leading to procreation,  ability to feed the family is important. This is a very a strong factor in marriage among the Jukun of Wukari.

On how marriage partners are gotten (how they are seen, known or met) among the Jukun, Gani (2018) lists the following ways;  story-telling by moonlight (asun wa dzwa-dzwa oratsu wa tataswan-tata or inukpii . Story telling by moonlight was of the past. Contemporarily, places such as farm, market square, river or stream, schools and during festive periods, are meeting points for people ready to be married. Furthermore,  marriage partners could be gotten  by force and forge. Jukun  kings  and the traditional council members get their marriage partner through (a) gift or offer (b) suggestion and (c) cultural festival. There are  notable signs placed on any girl or lady or woman set apart by her parents to be given to notable  king which according to Gani (2020),  include; (a) scraping of the front hairs that are very close to the ears (b) presentation of traditional necklace made of carved precious stones to the would-be queen by the king The cutting of a female front hair on both sides of the ears symbolizes crown, hence her subsequent queenship, while the carved stones beads is a symbol of wealth and possession respectively.

Marriage  starts with a negotiation pattern. The negotiation pattern is an instance where a young man could see a lady and approach her, and if she agrees, relationship has been initiated. However, he is to inform his parents of his intention to marry her. The parents will carry out premarital enquiry. If they approve the request of their children, the youths involved will go into courtship. According to  Gani (2018), courtship in Jukunland is known as Agya.  The period of agya, is the time in which the couple to be carefully study each other. There are  services needed from the prospective groom, parents and his relations to his prospective in-laws family such as build and roof in-laws house, farm in-laws farm, fetch fire-wood for prospective bride’s grandparents to keep warmth at night, cut grasses for the in-laws and many more. On the conducts and services expected of the would-be bride, parents, and her relations, she must culturally accord honour and respect to her in-laws.  Keeping away from and her  refusal to eat in the presence of her prospective in-laws means that she is a respectful type and equally interested in the relationship. She is to crack jokes with the prospective grooms family relations and so forth. If  agya  (courtship)  is successful, comes dowry which will legalise the union. During the bride price process, Gani (2018)  states that the aspiring groom’s parents will bring with them wrapper known as kyaa or kyadze, (Jukun  traditional hand weavon attire not the modern wrapper) ago wa pa hwan (carved precious stones beads- used as traditional necklace),  baadzwin (cowries),  a particular specie of fish called tula. The fishs  bone is used in seeking a partners hand in marriage. Other items such as 12 bunch of either guinea corn or millet, bambra-nuts, groundnut, cow-pea,  a she-goat a, adan (a weaved grass for fencing), asin wa pyotan (weaved spear grass for roofing), ahinatupyu (fire-wood), akwakwa (wild duck), abyu wa nyunyu (palm oil), atsu (lucust beans), ado (beneseed), ama (salt), shitta (pepper), zajikwen (guinea-corn) zajimi (millet), asi (yam) are included in the dowry list.  Again, the prospective grooms parents will prepare and give traditional beer or wine, 12 pieces of meat (smoked bush meat), tabaa (traditional cigarettes)  to the  prospective  in- laws.   The meaning behind the rendering of such services and giving these items for bride price or dowry include, for the brides family members to be sure that their in-laws are capable of taking care of their daughter by meeting the basic human needs of shelter, foods and clothing. This implies that the groom and his family are never lazy; hence, it will allay any form of fear in the minds of the brides family members. It also serves as a sign of a formal departure of the girl from her immediate family members. Presently, most of these items  have been monetised. 

On the marriage ceremony, the centre figure to be well dressed is the bride; who is to be dressed in akya-dze or kwashe or bagidi and her hair will be braided into three only after she might have been well dressed, she will be veiled. The hair style depicts three personalities of their theocratic traditional believe system that they pay their allegiance. Abubakar (1980) affirms that the Jukun people pay allegiance to Ama/Emo/Ande (God the creator), Aku/kuru/uhwe/ukwe (their own kings) or bacho/washo/basho/banghagyi (elders) and akhi/kyi/uhwefu (death). The veiling of the bride is a means of showcasing their original migratory outfits as Zhema (2017) contends that the Jukun migrated from Yemen in the Arabian Peninsula to Wukari.  The bride would given wooden the following items; food parker, wooden cooking spoon and turning stick, grinding stone,  calabash jugs,  clay pots  and calabashes of different sizes for different purposes, mortar and pestle, grain flour, smoked fishes,  locust beans, salt made from Angha, broom made from palm front, shoes made of wood, kwashe and mbufyin (all are traditional hand weaved attires of the Jukun  and many more.  This is to  show assistance to her and her husband who is starting a new home.

On marital crisis,  the issues of marital crises are of different kinds, there are major and minor crises and such are resolved in several ways. If it is a major offence like marital infidelity, both families of the couple and of the man caught in having affair with the woman must all be seated and involved in the settlement. But when it is a minor crisis, the man or the woman can take the matter to either of the offending partners parents to call her or him to order.  It is worthy to note that early child marriage is dominant in Northern Nigeria of which Jukun is among.

 

Child Birth Rites

In African context, bearing children in marriage is very important  and Africans value children in any wedlock.  Nwaozuru (2020) affirms that:

Children are the joy of marriage, they are  cherished and care is taken to train them properly, it is seen that  any marriage that is not blessed with children is not yet considered to have achieved its aim. This is why any man or woman who has no child is not yet considered to be a fulfilling wife or husband. (pp. 35-36). 

In Igbo land , it could be observed that childlessness is the greatest calamity that can be fall an Igbo couple as it may lead to crises. Many without off-springs are regarded as unsuccessful. Therefore, children could be seen as the greatest asset in marriage and family life.  

In Jukun, when a wife gives birth , the husband's parents and relations are to organise the traditional naming ceremony of the child  according to the Jukun tradition.  Gani (2018) narrates that the child and the mother are kept in a separate room for seven days and no water is to touch the child’s body throughout this period. For the male children, the general items needed to be provided for and kept before the woman delivers includes; a bow, arrows, arrow- sheath, knife, big hoe, gun, a horn and a cock, while that of female children are cotton opener and a hen. Irrespective of the sex of the child, a clay bathing bowl, water and fresh leaves of ahinkaan or nyina kaan or ambten-ikan as known and called by the Jukuns (a particular specie of tree that is regarded by the Jukun people as one of the strongest within their environment) are required. The people to perform rites include an elderly woman and the most elderly man from the groom’s family. If it is a male child that is delivered besides the news passed by the traditional midwives, the groom’s most elderly man will bring forth the first-four items listed above and hang on the thatched roof  where the child and his mother are  kept. If it is a female child, only the first listed item in her category is hung instead. 

On the seventh day which is the naming ceremony day, the nursing mother from the inside will forward the child to the elderly woman outside who will return the child back to the mother still from the outside. At the third time, the nursing mother will pass the child to the elderly woman outside, she is to hold and keep the child. The most elderly man will walk up towards them with the fresh leave in his hand and declare the child’s name. The  ahinkaan or nyina kaan or ambten-ikan leave  is dipped into the water contained in the clay bathing bowl and sprinkled on the child three times (if a male), while twice (if a female); each time goes with the calling of the child’s name and declaration. The symbolic meaning of this is for the child to be physically strong  and not be a weak or lazy   person . After this, the child can now take his or her first bath with the water. After bathing, the elderly man will again hang and give each of these items to the child. Also, each of the hanging and giving of the items is accompanied with the child’s name and certain declarations.  

The mother will be accompanied by a young man with whip whipping her legs as she walks towards a cross road with a cooked traditional (pounded yam and beneseed soup) wrapped in a leave in her crossed hands. The food is meant to be kept at the cross road.  This is like a thanksgiving sacrifice to    Ama/Emo/Ande (God the creator). Other peculiar items are to be taken back to the room, while a young man with the big hoe will demonstrate the art of farming towards the elderly woman with the child in her hands three times. The third time, at the blast of the horn by another elderly man, the other man who has taken these weapons into the room will hastily bring and hang as well as give them back to the child. Then the cock is slaughtered for the child and his mother to mark the celebration, the ceremony is closed with a gun shoot three times for the male child, while twice for  the female  child. This  symbolically means that the Jukun people have an informal way of initiating military skills to their young male children few days after birth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Setting 

The connection between marriage and family can hardly be separated among the Jukun. In recognition of this, Ayisi (1997) writes that  the family is then the logical outcome of marriage. A family consists of a man, his wife, and child or children. By this viewpoint, a childless marriage is not a family. An individual belongs to at least one family in his lifetime. As the family serves as a protection to individual.  The extended family system  in Jukun comprises  the head, his wives and young children, as well as cousins of the compound head and their wives and children.  The master of each extended family played a dual role as chief and priest, and was responsible for the maintenance of the household cultic deities. Ukaogo and  Tanko  (2012)  further discover that,  the Jukun practise a system of marriage known as marriage by inheritance.  It is pertinent to point out that the Jukun regard a wife as a family property.  Therefore, after the death of her husband, she could be inherited by a member of the family. Upon the death of her husband, the widow is allowed to mourn the death of her husband by observing some traditional rites.  Usually, such rites are observed under a period of one or two years.  As soon as she finishes mourning her late husband, the members of the family who may wish to inherit her, will indicate their interests by paying her constant visits with gifts.  The one she so much cherish takes the day by inheriting her.  In Jukunland, a man is free to inherit the wife of his deceased elder brother, cousin, uncle but, it is prohibited for a man to inherit his younger brother’s wife or his father’s wife or his mother.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burial Rites

In Africa, every ethnic group performs burial rite before the deceased is buried. Nwaozuru (2020) explains burial rite as the appropriate  rituals that should be done before burying a dead person in order for deceased to have rest in the abode of ancestors and also for the living not be tormented by the dead.  Jukun of Wukari perform proper burial  rites before the deceased is buried. 

Ukaogo and  Tanko  (2012)   point that death according to the Jukun mythology is the only thing that determines the end of man’s existence here on earth.  The Jukun belief that Chindon (God) who gives life has the power to take it at any time He wishes.  Therefore, they define death as the work of God  Chindo.  They further look at death as an inevitable journey which every living man must embark upon one day in his life time.  Although, they argued that this journey does not mean the total end of man’s life.   They strongly believe that after death, there is life hereafter in another world. That is why it is commonly believed that once an individual dies, it means he has gone to join his ancestors in the world beyond. In Wukari, once an individual dies, the eldest person in the family will first be told.  The person that took care of the deceased while he was ill will go and break the news of the dead person, by telling him that the illness of your brother is over.  At that, he will immediately observe a minute silence and then say death you have finally done your desire.  He will immediately dispatch message to  the nearby relations.  As they received the message, they start trooping into the compound of the deceased.  

The impromptu appearance of relations will signal both women and children in the house that something terrible has happened. They will scream and cry.  This will attract neighbours, sympathizers and passersby.  They will rush in; some will join the family to cry. Gani (2018) enunciates that  it is a common practice in Jukun land when an individual dies, that the first stage in the preparation of the corpse for burial is the washing of the corpse.  The corpse will be washed neatly with warm water.  If it is a male corpse, the washing takes place in byeko (an enclosure).  This will be strictly handled by men.  When it is a female corpse, the washing is done by women and in the deceased room. The deceased hair will be loosed and replaited.  After the washing, the corpse will be well dressed in his/her best cloth.  While the dressing goes on, young men will be directed to dig the grave under the supervision of an elderly man in the family. The Jukun do not keep dead body for long.  In the same vein, the corpse cannot be buried immediately.  This is so because relations of the deceased especially, the children, wife or husband who are living far away must arrive to pay final respect and have a look at the corpse before it is committed to the mother earth.  

 

Traditional Attire and Symbols 

 Chu (2003) states that symbols and signs are phenomena which are universally accepted by groups, including the Jukuns.  On traditional attire,   the Jukun people are known for high quality weaving and cloth dyeing tradition. According to Gausa (2005) traditional attire as practiced by the Jukun is part of their culture which serves as a means of brotherhood identification. Okunna and  Gausa (2014) view that the Jukun people have different types of cultural attires made from different colours, patterns and weaves. Among types of attire are; kadzwe, Ayin - po, Adire and Baku. kyadzwe are used by the Jukun rulers for royalty. Jukun strip weavers used locally spun cotton. Only yarn dyed blue or black was available. These blue threads were woven with a dull white cotton yarn to produce some block simple geometric patterns for local people. Weavers among the Jukun produce their materials ranging from narrow strips cloth from narrow loom to a large piece of yard for garment making which is used during their cultural festivals. 

  More so, the Jukun traditional attire does not bear any cultural symbols, except the ones that are meant for the ruling class such as the Aku.  According to Okunna and  Gausa (2014), the Jukun are known for their symbolic lifestyle. Some of the graphic symbols seen among the Jukun are signs or images that express meaning indirectly. Symbolic and artistic expression among the Jukun is based on the functional relationship between religion, agriculture, sorcery and power. The Jukun people of Taraba state of Nigeria have rich diversity of visual artistic symbols significant to their cultural life and religious orientation. Gausa (2013) assert that, among the symbols of the Jukun are the Red colours (Abukhan) which connote the warring nature of the Jukun nation, Black (Abu pe) which depicts the king as a rain maker; white colour (Abu fyen) which portrays  the Jukun nation as a peace loving people.  Symbols are the instrument of societal development and growth hence, the Jukun keep and sustain their cultural heritage towards symbolic aesthetic works.

 

Cultural Festival

Amongst the Jukun people of Wukari Division, there were several traditional festivals that made them unique. These traditional festivals were the past made present, which as historical constructs, may legitimize actions of the present. Gani (2018) views that some of these traditional festivals included: Taza, Yauka, Yakukeji, Banuza, Nwotsi, Abo Yaku, Zhema, Agbonkpa and Hwa Puje. Each of these festivals was designed for a set of purposes and to address certain aspects of the Jukun society. But in many instances, these festivals were made to be a special way of appeasing the several gods and goddesses of the Jukun. For instance,  Zhema (2017) narrates that the Yakukeji was said to be a female spirit in Uka who fell in love with Zikengyu, one of the Akus. It was contended that it was this relationship that eventually led Zikengyu to erect a shrine for the worship of Yakukeje. It is the worship of the Yakukeji that became a festival was celebrated by the Jukun. Similar events were said to have given rise to the other festivals of the Jukun. 

Amongst these festivals, Zhema (2017)  is of the opinion that Puje is said to be the most popular.  Historically, Puje, a traditional site of the Jukun located about three 3km east of Wukari town was established during the reign of Aku Angyu Katakpa, the first Aku Uka in Wukari after the disintegration of Kwararafa. He reigned between 1596-1615.32 The word, Puje in Jukun literally means menstruation booth and it came to become the name of the Jukun traditional site when Angyu Katakpa (later Aku) was on his way to Ukari (now Wukari). The story has it that, while Angyu Katakpa (who was yet to be Aku) was on his way to Ukari as directed by his father, Agbukenjo, together with the divine king-making apparatus, his wife menstruated at a particular spot and consequently, a booth was raised for her and she was confined there for seven days. According to Meek, no explanation was given of the term beyond the rationalization that women were permitted to attend the ceremony, unlike other Jukun festivals that women were restricted from attending. After Angyu Katakpa became king, the Jukun custom demanded that three events must take place at Puje, that is, the Puje festival, Akus procession to Nando and the presentation of a new Aku. The Puje festival during the pre-colonial days took place annually after all the harvest for the year had been completed and the newly planted millet had grown up to the height of an adult calf. Later, during the colonial period, it was observed at intervals of every four years. However, in the post-colonial period, the festival is yet to be observed. The Puje festival was a harvest festival to celebrate the ingathering of crops and also the renewal of the people’s allegiance to the Aku-Uka.

 Abuju (Food)  

In Jukunland food is regarded as essential ingredients for the survival of mankind.  It sustains life and makes it worthwhile.  There  are varieties of dishes and delicacies prepared and eaten in Jukunland, among which are explained by Ukaogo and Tanko (2012) below:

i. Abodo: This soup is prepared with Ado (Benniseed).  First, wash the ado in order to remove sand, dry it.  When it is well dried, grind and mix it with little water.  While mixing, press it to bring out oil.  Put water on fire, add palm oil, atsu (dadawa), maggi, onion, fish or meat, pepper and spice.  Allow the water with the ingredients to boil for thirty minutes then, pour the Ado with little vegetable onto the boiling water. This soup can be eaten with pounded yam, aki zankpa, aki rogo and so on.

ii. Asonma: This is a root crop.  To prepare it, get the asonma, wash and set it on fire.  Get fried groundnut, grind it and pour on the boiling asonma.  Add atsu, fish, salt, palm oil (optional) and spice.  Allow the water to dry, then use cooking stick to mix.

iii. Afyeken Wa Gangan (Dakuwa): To prepare this delicacy, fried maize, which will be grounded into powder.  You also need fried groundnut, grind it.  Mix the groundnut powder with the maize and pound it after which, add salt and pepper mix them thoroughly with little water.  Then roll it into ball.

iv. Abo Fyeken: The abo fyeken soup is composed of groundnut, smoke or dried fish, special spices and palm oil, which is also eaten with pounded yam, garri or aki rogo.

v. Achen.  This is a locally brewed beer.  The process for the production of achen takes six days.  Achen is usually produced from millet and guinea corn.. It is an important substance of diet to every Jukun man, woman and child, young and old.  It is said to contain nourishing property.  In fact, most Jukun people do not care much about other forms of food in the day time provided; they can obtain continued supply of Achen.  It is based on the importance accorded to it that even children at infant age are taught how to drink achen and accept it as the best food.  Achen is the main food of the Jukun. Achen in Jukunland had both economic and religious values. Achen is used to appease the gods  and it could be used  for commercial purposes.

 

Religious Life of the People 

Traditionally, Jukun beliefs and rituals are complex, with unique elements. Hinkon  (2014) views that the Jukun owned and worshipped various cultic deities within their extended families and throughout the kingdom to ensure successful military exploits. One of the family cults is kenjo, the patron of war and the procurer of victory for the nation during battles and wars. Another one is akwa, the protector, provider and supplier. However, the universal cult, yaku keji, is the national goddess of protection and benefactor, and dwelt in the capital.  The  power of yaku keji supersedes the family cults, since it controls security and wellbeing of the people.  The Jukun religion includes belief in the divine right of kingship, with the Aku Uka (king) being considered son of a god. Of several gods, the sun god is paramount. The religion also includes belief in communicating with the souls of the dead (Ancestors). Zhema (2017) asserts that between 12th and 13th centuries witnessed  the penetration of Islamic influence into the upper and middle Gongola valleys, which had a concentration of idol worshippers. This provided a fertile ground for the Islamic crusaders from Hausa land. Thus, the Kwararafa people were subjected to routine attacks for forceful conversion to the Islamic faith.  On the advent of Christianity  in Jukun of Wukari, Zhema (2017) elucidates that the first Christian missionaries arrived in 1905, and the first mission station was opened on 29 May 1906. In 1914 one of the missionaries at the station, Rev. W. Maxwell, published the St. Mark's gospel in the Jukun dialect of Wukari Wapan. Progress was slow, with a small congregation and no indigenous pastors as late as the 1950s.  Although many of the Jukun are now Christians, some still practice indigenous religion  while a few    are Moslems.

 

Political Life

Politically, Hinkon (2014) states that the Jukun-speaking peoples perceived their government as a theocracy governed directly by God or through his messengers. At the apex is Chindon or Ama (God or Creator), followed by ajô (tutelary spirits or cultic deities), yaku (ancestors), and then Aku (king) with his governing council (the civil, palace, military and spiritual officials) under him. The civil, palace, military and spiritual officials in the government worked in council with the Aku for the politico-religious survival of the kingdom.  It is believed that obedience to law and order was the key to obtaining favours from the ancestors and deities, resulting in territorial expansion. On the contrary, disobedience and negligence in carrying out required religious rituals always results in misfortunes; defeats in war and battles.   The Aku-Uka of Wukari, who is the supreme ruler of the Jukun people, exercised political cum religious influence on other Jukun communities, yet these Jukun communities maintain certain degrees of their uniqueness. In this sense, one could liken the political system that existed among the Jukun before the advent of Colonial rule to a confederal system. Meek (1931) narrated that the process that usually led to the emergence of an Aku Uka was clearly defined. At the initial period, it was suggested that the Kuvyi  (Chief) was the one that picked the Aku Uka, under the direction of spirit, whenever the stool became vacant. But over time, the four king makers who were Abon Acio, Abon Zike, Kinda Acio and Kinda Ziken became the central personalities in the selection of new Aku Uka. The king makers would inform the Kuvyi  (Chief Priest) in the event of the demise of an Aku, while the Abon Acio held brief for who would eventually emerges as the Aku Uka. The four king makers were the ones left with the onerous task of driving the process that would eventually see to the emergence of Aku. Interested princess were invited from the ruling houses and interacted with. Preliminary screening was conducted on the prospective candidates by the king makers, after which a seer (Avun) was invited to select one out of the contenders. The Avun, who was believed to be in contact with the gods identified the most appropriate person that would become the Aku. Even then, the Avun was expected not to be partial in carrying out his function on the basis that there were sanctions that usually came to him in the event that he became bias. To be convinced with the selection by the Avun, another Seer, from a different place was normally invited in order to validate or otherwise the selection made by the Avun. Immediately after the selection, the king makers would proceed to the Kuvyi  (Chief Priest) and inform him of the choice. The Kuvyi  thereby invited the Avun once more, and requested him to go through the process of selection again. Once that was confirmed, a day would be fixed for physical selection and presentation of the new Aku. On that fateful day, all the interested princes would be invited to a selection ground. While lying down, the Kuvyi  and his staff known as Kinda-Cheku  would go round the princes. In the course of going round, whoever the Kuvyi  eventually stood in his front became the Aku Uka. The Kinda-Cheku  would lift the person up and from there, they proceeded to Puje where some rites were performed. It was from Puje that the new Aku Uka normally proceeded to Wukari to assume the seat. This was the practice that existed till the 1960. Other political holders and their functions according to Zhema (2017) includes the Abo-Acio  who was assisted by Abo-Zike in the discharge of his many functions, and succeeded the Abo-Acio in case of death or vacancy of the position. In this regard, the Abo-Zike became the second most senior official to the Abo-Acio. The next in the hierarchy was the kinda-Acio who was in charge of the administration of the palace and cared for the welfare of Akus premises. It was noted that this official was in the close counsels of the king, attended the royal rite each day, took a prominent share in judicial work, in keeping the walls of city and the fencing of the royal enclosure in repair, and could also be put in charge of military operation. He was said to be the younger brother of the Aku and had a court of his own which included Kinda-Zike (his assistant), Kinda Bi, Kind Kuvyu Nju and Kinda Matswen. The Abo-Acio, Abo-Zike, Kinda-Acio and Kinda-Zike constituted the traditional kingmakers among the Jukun body and its functions could be likened to the Oyo-Mesi of the old Oyo Empire under the leadership of Bashrun.

 Besides the above mentioned officials, there were others particularly of high standing who were considered closed counsels of the Aku. Among this was the Awei-Acio who was the nominal head of all the palace staff, and thus correspond to modern day Chief of Staff. His duties included to see that the royal enclosure and the shrine of Yaku were kept in proper repair. He also oversaw many other staff in the palace administration. Taking cognizance of the theocratic system of the administration, the priests constituted another important group of administrators within the Jukun political system. The Ku-Puje Acio with his assistant served as the Chief Priest of Puje, an important cult among the wapa Jukun. There was the Kenjo cult, the Yaku cult, the Achu-Nyande and many more. Each of these cults had specific set of functions which they performed. For instance, the Achu-Nyande served a judicial function in the sense that, being a cult of lightning, rites were performed in cases of theft and was believed that lightning would strike the culprit.

      Other officials in the political system of the Jukun Wapa were the Aku-Ke, who was the leader of war, while the royal diviner was known as the Tsuma. The kings spokesperson was known as the Ivene, and the Wanaku was the official head of all agriculturalists. The Kuyu was the representative of the old royal family of Kwararafa. This family was known as the Ba-Pi, and has supplied several kings of Wukari. There were as well, other offices and officials such as Abgyu-Tsi, Angwu Kaku and Wakuku who were regarded as the queen, the official sister of the Aku and the Akus principal wife respectively. They all had share in the administration. The list of the State offices among the Jukun Wapa of Wukari seemed inexhaustible. It is clear indication that it was an elaborate political system that gave detail to virtually all aspect of political organization. 

 

Economic Life 

The Jukun right from the early periods to the middle ages and early modern times had practiced agriculture.  Zhema (2017) views that in pre-contact days, the Jukun extracted iron ore locally, melted, refined and tempered locally; and they made all their farm and domestic implements. The Jukun rear sheep, goats, dogs, chickens and a few ducks.  They also involve in hunting,  fishing and the brewing of Tashi or burukutu was a major pre-occupation of Jukun women. Jukun also involved in trade and commerce of  textile works, crafts industry and salt production and many more.

 

 

 

MAMBILLA AND KAKA ETHNIC GROUPS

Mambilla and Kaka ethnic groups live at  Mambilla plateau currently  Sardauna Local Government Area,  Taraba, Nigeria; which according to Lenshie and  Johnson (2012),  was part of the former British Northern Cameroon that voted to join Nigeria after the 1961 plebiscite. They share largely similar history, culture, tradition and intermixed religion. Other ethnic groups who settled on the Mambilla plateau are:  Fulani, Panso and Kambu and other ethnic minorities from other parts of the country. Nwaozuru (2020) observes that the common language spoken is Fulfulde (sic).  Lenshie (2014) observes that there has been social, economic and political struggles for rights and privileges among the ethnic groups in Nigeria, to the point that such struggles have also led to several ethnic violence, some of which include the Mambilla-Panso/Kambu conflict in 1982; the Mambilla-Fulani conflict in 1998; and 2001/2001.

 

 

MAMBILLA ETHNIC GROUP

History

According to Lenshie and Johnson (2012), the Mambilla speaking people migrated from French Cameroon. The obvious reason for their migration was said to have been motivated by the Banyo Jihad in the 19th century. On their arrival, the Mambilla people settled in group of villages such as Bang, Mbamga, Kabri, Warwar, Ndunda, Chana, Kakara, Leme, Ndarup, Ngya, Mbar, Gembu and other places. Ngenemi (2012) traces from lingua-historical origin. Ngenemi (2012) opines that the term Mambilla is divided into two vowel sounds. Mam and billa which was originally Mambira. In the authorised Mambilla dialect,  Mam means child. During the slave trade many ran into hiding. After the abolition of slave trade, the first person who was discovered in this plateau was a woman named Mbira. As a result of the pressure left behind by the slave trade,  she could no longer identify her native land. She was pregnant and when she gave birth, she called the child mambira meaning the child of Mbira. Mambira grew and became popular hence, he decided to trace about his history.

After his enquiry, he latter knew that he was the son of a woman named Mbira who came to settle in the plateau. Gradually,  his name was changed from Mambira to Mambilla. Later on, the name was applied to the whole area of the plateau (Mambilla Plateau) and the inhabitants of the land. From 1960-1976 the plateau was Mambilla local government until it was changed to Sardauna local government.

 

 

Brief  History of  Christianity in  Mambilla Plateau (Sardauna Local Government)

Nwaozuru (2020) observes that unlike in Yoruba and Igbo where Christianity was brought by European missionaries, it was the American missionaries that established Christianity in Mambilla plateau. Ngenemi (2012) states that the survey for the gospel to the Mambilla plateau was done by Banso people who were traders from Mbem in Cameroon. The Mbem traders belong to the Cameroon Baptist Convention Mbem Field. Mbem Field missionaries were sent by North America Baptist Conference (Church Headquarter).

  They came first to Bang,  Paul Gebeuer a missionary with his interpreter Abraham Ndama were rejected in places like Bang, Vakude and Chul. They  were accepted at Warwar and were  given a place for them to stay freely in 1930. Gebeuer informed the Church headquarter about his acceptance and miss Copine a nurse with her servant was sent and they settled at Barki. She began her medical work which led to the construction of a missionary hospital which is currently the general hospital at Warwar. 

In 1938 a missionary house with administrative block were constructed. Dr George Albert Dunger was also sent to come and work with miss Copine during this period, Dunger  organised morning and evening prayers with devotion from the Bible. This  was the advent of Christianity in Mambilla plateau actualised by Dunger in 1938. Many other missionaries were sent from the headquarter to various places in Mambilla plateau to further spread the gospel.

 

CULTURAL PRACTICES OF   MAMBILA ETHNIC GROUP

Marriage

Generally, among the Mambila people there is mix marriage between Christians and Moslems. J. Labon ( personal communication on 19 January, 2020) further  states that  traditionally, when a young man finds a young girl he want to marry, he will first of tell the young girl his intention if she agrees, both will  inform their  parents. If their  parents agree, the young man will give  money (Love Money)   to the young girl to give   to her parents while the young girl will give to the man a ring or  a small piece of cloth as a mark of  acceptance. The love money  is to show the girl's parents  that suitor is interested in marrying their daughter. The parents of the young man will go for the first time  to  the girl's parents with a jug of palm wine to  inform them about their son's intention towards their daughter. The next time,  the suitor and his relatives  will go to pay the bride price. They will come with items such as; 20 litres of palm wine, 3-5 hens or cocks, 20 litres of palm oil, a bag of salt, 8-10 boxes filled with cloths, 1-2 containers  of quinine, 1-3 creates of soft drinks and so on.  

  During the bride price process, the suitor will give money to the father, mother and the elderly sisters' of the damsel he wants to marry. He will also  give to the girl's father the following items; blanket, ten yards of cloth, shoe, cap and so on. For the girl's mother; shoe cloths and other things. After the  dowry has  been paid, the young man and the young girl will agree on the day she will be taken to her husband's house and when the day comes the husband will take her to his house. The  father of the  young man  will take  a fowl  and a spear to the girl's parents and give to them informing them that their daughter has been taken to her husband's house. The new wife remains indoors for three months without going outside her husband's house, this is for  fattening of the newly married girl. After the three months has elapsed,  the husband will organise  a feast where she will come out and dance in presence of family members, friends and well wishers. After this she is free to move around. Early child marriage still takes place among Mambilla people especially among the Moslem indigenes of the community.

 

Pregnancy Rite

After marriage has taken place, pregnancy and childbirth is expected to follow suit. In Africa, during pregnancy period care is taken to observe the pregnancy rites to ensure  safe delivery. Pregnancy rite  is not neglected in Mambilla.

 J. Labon ( personal communication on 19 January, 2020) explains that traditionally, when a wife conceives her first pregnancy the wife's father will demand certain things from the son-in-law such as a jug of palm wine and a cock which he will give to his father-in-law in order for his father-in-law to receive blessings and be successful in his endeavours like hunting and palm wine tapping business.

 

Child Birth and Circumcision Rites

Child birth is a blessing in marriage hence,  it is necessary to keep the union going. Nwaozuru (2019) observes that in Africa, child birth give rise to celebration and  training of children is not done by the parents alone but by the entire community members. This shows that children are future leaders thus, need adequate training to unleash their potentials.  Unlike the Igbo, male-child syndrome is not common among the Mambila people, although some married men without  male child consider themselves not real fathers and wives who have not given birth to male child may be sent out of their marriages, yet for others it is God that gives children whether male or female, children are God's gift (Nwaozuru, 2019). Generally, in Mambila, child   birth gives rise to celebration.  When a woman gives birth to a male child, the couples'  relatives,  neighbours and friends  will come to  celebrate, they can lift the husband up  and drop him on  the ground. This signifies that the husband is now a father and has begotten someone who  will continue the  lineage of the family.

Traditionally, circumcision  is mainly for the male and it is not done eight days after child birth  as  it is done nowadays. circumcision is done only to adults especially those ready to marry ( this was mainly witnessed in Bamga) and the circumcised adult could organise a feast for it.

 

Burial Rite

According to J. Labon ( personal communication on 19 January, 2020), traditionally, when a person dies especially an old man his relatives (married women) will bring  to the deceased home  items such as banana, wood and groundnut. The wood will be used to make fire  while the banana and groundnut  will  be  roasted  and be eaten. After that, the married women will enter into the eldest relative of  the deceased who will receive these items they have brought and he will bless them. Washing of the deceased body parts especially the face and legs with a leaf and water  will be done by the elderly men before the deceased is buried.  Sometimes the deceased family will kill cow or goat for the burial celebration. When this is done the head or heart of the animal will be given to the eldest man who is a   relative to the deceased. 

 With the advent of Christianity, Mambila people who embraced  Christianity  no longer perform the above burial rite rather they do the following. Take the deceased to the Church where songs and sermon will be administered then the deceased will be buried. The deceased family members will organise a party for   the people  to come to drink and dance for one  or two days. After the celebration, they bury the deceased outside the  compound. The reason for burying the deceased outside the compound is for the deceased spirit not to come and be disturbing the living relatives which the Mambila people believe that it could happen if the deceased is buried inside the family's compound. After burial, the family will organise another feast this is to make the deceased spirit to go away,  have rest and not to torment the living.

 

Festivals

Traditionally, Mambila feasts  include: Tirim, Kati, Lintel, Mawii and so on. Tirim is a festival observed after the harvest of maize. Kati is still celebrated today during harvest of farm crops between November- December at Gembu. This festival  is attended by other ethnic groups like  Kaka, Panso and Fulani. 

Traditionally, a Mambilla man carries  spear (for hunting) and shield (for defence against attack). This also shows their brevity in defending their land. A  Mambilla woman carries a hoe (for farming) and  a basket (square in shape) for carrying loads.

 

A statue showing  a  Mambilla man and  woman in their traditional farming and hunting  outfit 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KAKA ETHNIC GROUP

History

Lenshie and  Johnson  (2012) traces that the Kaka  ethnic groups  spanned from the Yamba areas into the Fumte areas in the Bamenda region as a result of  the Jihad raiding of 1804 through to the 1900s into the Sardauna Local Government Area. They are settled in Antere, Inkiri, Ndumnyaji, Sakaka, Warkaka, Kusuku, Wah, Nguroje, Ma-sumsum, Yerimaru, Furmi, Tarmnya, Dorofi, Gembu, and Maisamari areas. This ethnic group speak congeries of dialects, some similar and some others not quite similar, but largely share similar culture and traditional practices.  Traditionally, Nwaozuru (2020) narrates that a typical Kaka man carries a bag made of raffia from bamboo trees, a spear and a cutlass while going to farm. While a Kaka woman  carries wooden basket made of raffia from bamboo and a hoe for farming. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOME CULTURAL PRACTICES   OF  KAKA ETHNIC GROUP

Marriage

Marriage among the Kaka is a continues process especially in paying bride price. Yawe, B.  (personal communication on 19 January, 2020) describes that in ancient time, when a young man requests for a young girl to marry him and the young girl agrees, sometimes  during celebration the young man with his friends   may take the young girl to the family of the man. Then, the father  of the young man will go with a jug of palm wine to inform the girl's parents that his son seeks for their daughter's hand in marriage. While the young girl is in the family of the suitor, the man will not sleep with her as she will be with the sisters of the man. When the man has finished paying the dowry, both families will agree on the date of traditional marriage. After the traditional marriage has been done they can now live together.

Contemporarily, when a young man finds a young girl he want to marry, he will give her small amount of money (Love Money) to show her parents which indicates that a suitor is coming for her. If the parents accept the money, then the man's father will go with a jug  of palm wine to the girl's family for three different times. On the third time, the suitor's parents and relatives will come to girl's compound and  make their son's intention known to the parents of the girl. The suitor will be asked to give some  amount of money to one of the girl's sisters who will serve as a messenger to go and bring the damsel. When she is brought out both the suitor and the damsel will seat together. Palm wine will be poured into a cup and be given to the damsel to give to her suitor when she has done it another palm wine will be given to her to give to her suitor's father which she will do. The suitor will also be asked to present a gift to the damsel he wants to marry and he will give some amount of money to the damsel. Then dowry list will be presented to the suitor's family  if they demand for it. After the dowry has been paid, the man will prepare a meal with 5-13 fowls and carry it to the girl's family along with other items such as; 5- 20litres of palm oil, 1 bag of salt, 5-10 boxes of clothes, shoes and many more  to inform them about the date of the wedding. 

Generally among the Kaka people, Nwaozuru (2020) elucidates that  there are certain things found in  dowry list that must not be done immediately during payment of the dowry   but will be done later. A good example is paying money for circumcision of children. A married can only pay this if his wife gives birth to a male child and once done on the first male born it will not be paid again for subsequent male children born to him. According to Nyele, E.S. (personal communication on 21 January, 2020),    If a man fails to pay some  things in the dowry list as at when due and did not negotiate or  plead with his father in -law, to give him  more time as he will come back to complete the payment. This can cause his wife to be barren, experience miscarriages or often death of the man's children. When a man fails to pay the bride price, the children begotten in such cohabitation belong to the wife's family and are not his until he pays the dowry completely. 

 

Pregnancy, Child Birth and Circumcision

Once a married woman is pregnant for  the first time,  Achack, R. (personal communication on 19 January, 2020) states that when a wife is pregnant, the husband will take 10 litres of palm wine,  a fowl and a  spear to the family of his wife. This is not only to inform them but for them to pray for safe delivery.   When a married woman gives birth to a male child the elderly relatives  could lift up the husband and hit him on the floor. This shows that the man has truly become a father and has begotten a successor to continue  his lineage.  The husband will prepare a meal with a fowl  along with  10 litres of palm wine and  take them to the wife's family to inform them that their daughter has given birth.

Coming to circumcision, a husband can only circumcise his  son or son's  if he has paid a certain amount valued for circumcision as listed in the dowry list to the wife's parents. If he refuses to pay the amount valued for circumcision and goes ahead to circumcise the male child, the child may fall sick or  die. Circumcision is mostly done eight days  after child birth.  

 

OTHER CUSTOMS AND   TRADITIONS AMONG THE KAKA PEOPLE

There exists numerous customs and traditions of Kaka ethnic group that will be briefly explained below. 

Traditionally, Nwaozuru (2020) affirms that  Kaka people just like the Igbo believe that nothing happens without a cause hence, they result to traditional means (Boka) of finding out the cause and solution to misfortunes around them. Before the advent of Christianity,  some of the Kaka people were deeply involved in witchcraft activities but  with the advent of Christianity, many have abandoned most customs  and traditions that  seems to be harmful in the society.

Coming to inheritance, Nwaozuru (2020) further states that  both male and female children will share from the father's inheritance. The last male child will inherit the father's house or greater percentage of the father's inheritance especially if he is not married. This is to enable him have the resources for marriage. There exists wife inheritance.   Male child syndrome  is not    much  considered among Kaka people as witnessed in Igbo ethnic group.

Nwaozuru (2020)  posits that there is the possibility that during burial celebration some Kaka people can stop the rainfall. Here one of the family relatives  who was in good terms with the deceased can take ash, make some incantations and blew it into the air. Once this is done the cloud will cease to give rain until the burial celebration is over. 

There is the belief in spirits such as ancestors, ghosts,  witchcraft and many more. Coming to belief in  ancestors, it is  the eldest man in the clan that will be the  mediator between the living and the dead.  

 When the  deceased is not given proper burial rite before burial, the deceased can  torment the living family members thus, the deceased member has become a ghost. 

People who involve  in witchcraft activities sometimes will use the body of another person especially children to carry out their operations at night. 

It is worthy to know that some  Kaka people do not cover hot water for bathing while on fire else it will be used to bath a dead person. They do not take much food stuff from another's farm without the owner's permission except little to satisfy one's immediate  hunger. Some of them do  not go to the stream to fetch water once it is 12 noon dot but can go at other times. Nwaozuru (2020) observes that two young men from the same immediate family can not marry from one family because once the first man marries from such family , it is assumed that they have become one family. 

Since Kaka and Mambilla ethnic groups in  Sardauna, Taraba State,  share similar culture and live together, there is need to explain their economic, political, religious and socio-cultural lives collectively.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Economic Activities

The major economic activities of Mambilla  and Kaka   are farming, lumbering and other business activities. The farm products include sweet potatoes ( Dankali), pepper, maize (masara/ butali), cocoyam, Kumbi (indigenous vegetable), green leaf, Mambilla beans (indigenous beans), Guinea corn, okro, soya beans, melon (egusi), banana, plantain and so on. Nwaozuru (2020) affirms that due to the rocky nature  of the  land and lack of farm lands, farming does not yield much profit hence most commercial farmers settle at Gashaka Local Government during farming season. Gembu and Nguroje are the major commercial towns. The economic trees include; Timber, Kola nut, palm wine and so on.

 

Socio-Religious Activities

There exist cordial relationship among the two ethnic nationalities as they inter-marry. The people are hospitable to strangers living at Mambilla plateau. The writer confirms that it was the generosity and hospitality shown to him during his National Youth Service Corps  (NYSC) programme at Mambilla plateau  that  motivated  him to research and document  some of the customs and cultural practices of Mambilla and Kaka ethnic people. Before the advent of  Islam and Christianity in Mambilla plateau, indigenous religion dominated. Contemporarily,  the two major dominant religions  are Islam and Christianity although there are few traditionalists. 

 

Political Activities

The political administration  in Mambilla Plateau according to Nwaozuru  (2020) is steered by the  First Class Chief of  Mambilla   Dr. Shehu Audi  Baju II. There are about seven kingdoms under him,   one of which is Kam Kam Kingdom,  Kakara under the kingship of Alh.  S.  Usman    Kakara (The Mbondua Chief of  Kam Kam Kingdom). Each of the  Kingdoms  have several  villages ruled by village heads  under them. For instance  in Furmi village,   Pst. Emma Sochi  Nyele III  is the Jauro (Village Head) and Furmi is  under  Kam Kam  Chiefdom, Kakara.  Kaka and Mambilla people involve in  political activities,  during the just concluded 2019 General Elections many people from the two ethnic groups contested for various political position. Examples include: Abel Peter Diah former Speaker Taraba State House of Assembly, Jedua Ahmed Dawud Honourable Member Taraba State House of Assembly (Gembu Constituency),  David Abel Fuoh Honourable Member House of Representatives(Gashaka, Kurmi and Sardauna Federal Constituency). Garvey Yawe has held various political posts in the state and  was the former Secretary to Taraba  State Government and so on.

 

Festivals

The major festival  celebrated is  Kati Harvest Festival at Gembu.  During  Sallah and Christmas celebration, they party and dance.  During marriages, child naming ceremonies, send forth parties,  burial celebrations  and so on. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONLUSION 

Nigeria has over 250 ethnic groups which are brought into one nation as a  result of  British colonialism in early 18th  century.  During the writers   NYSC  programme at  Furmi Sardauna Local Government Taraba Sate,  North Eastern Nigeria, he was able to discover that there many minor ethnic nationalities with diverse languages and culture fused into Northern Nigeria under the umbrella of AREWA Consultative Forum. Hence, the writer conducted  a research on the cultural practices of Jukun of Wukari, Mambilla and Kaka ethnic groups leading to the writing of this paper.

 

THE BEAUTY OF MAMBILLA PLATEAU (TARABA STATE) NATURES  

GIFT  TO THE NATION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 REFERENCES

 

 

Abubakar, S. (1980). The people of the Upper  Benue Basin and the Bauchi-Plateau before 1800. In O.  Ikemi, (Ed.). Ground work of  Nigerian history. Ibadan: Heineman.

 

Agbu, A.B., Zhema, S.  & Useini, B. (2019). Jukun-Tiv relations in the Benue valley region: The 2019 scuffles in Southern Taraba State, Nigeria. In  International Journal of African Society, Cultures and Traditions, 8, 1,1-20. 

 

Amah, J.E. (2016).  Ethical altruism of Matthew 6:33 as a panacea to corruption in Nigeria. A B.A project submitted to the Department of  Religion and Human Relations, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.

 

Ayisi, E.  (1997). An introduction to  the study of African culture. Nairobi: East-African.

 

Chu, S. (2003). Cross-cultural  comparison of the perception of symbols. In  Journal of visual literature Spring. 23,1,69-80.   

 

Gani, (2018). Assessment of  African  traditional forms of communication in marriage among the Jukuns  in  Southern Taraba State, Nigeria. A dissertation submitted to the Department of Mass Communication, Faculty of Social Sciences, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

 

Hinkon, I.B. (2014). The  theology and practices of the emerging Gidan Addua prayer homes in Wukari and its environs: Challenges and impact on Churches and society .  A thesis submitted  to the  Department of  Mission and Culture Akrofi-Christaller Institute of  Theology, Northern Nigeria. 

 

Kornblum, W. (2005). Sociology in a changing world. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth.

 

Lenshie, N. E.  (2012). Indigeneity and citizenship question in Sardauna Local Government Area of  Taraba State, Nigeria. A Thesis submitted to the Department  of  Political Science, Faculty of Social Science,  University of Nigeria, Nsukka, 

 

 Lenshie, N. E & Johnson A. (2012). Ethnicity and citizenship crisis in Nigeria: Interrogating inter ethnic relations in Sardauna Local Government Area, Taraba State. African Journal of  Political Science and International Relations, 6,3,48-61.

 

Meek, C.K.  (1931). A Sudanese   kingdom: An ethnographical study of the Jukun

            speaking  peoples of  Nigeria. London: Oxford University Press.

 

Ngenemi, S.I. (2012). The history, development and future of Mambilla Baptist Convention, Nigeria. (The yesterday, today and  tomorrow of MBCN). Jalingo: Legacy Perfect.

 

Nnatu, S.O. (2006). Introduction to  sociology. Enugu: Jock Consortium.

 

Nmah, P.E.  (2012). Basic and applied Christian ethics: An    African perspective. Onitsha: Gucks.

 

Nwaozuru, J. C. (2020). The predicaments of broken marriage on children. Lagos: Bambooks.

 

Nwaozuru, J.C. (2020).  My NYSC  experience    (Focuse on some cultural practices  of Mambilla and  Kaka ethnic groups). Lagos: Bambooks. 

 

Obiakor, J.N. (2013). History and culture of Nigerian peoples in pre-colonial era. In  S.C Okeke &  Obiakor, J.N.  Discourse on Nigerian history, culture and socio-political development (pp.1-23). Enugu: John Jacobs. 

 

 

Okunna, E. & Gausa, S. (2014). Adapting  the Jukun traditional symbols for textile design and production. In Mgbakoigba: Journal of African Studies,3 106-124.

 

Ukaogo, V. & Tanko, A. (2012). Linguistic and cultural practices in Jukunland: contrasting features of resurgent tradition. Retrieved on April 23, 2020. From https://www.researchgate.net 

 

Zhema, S. (2017). A  history of the social and political  organization of the Jukun of Wukari Division, C.1596-1960.  A dissertation submitted to the Department of  History Benue State University, Makurdi. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoyed this article? Stay informed by joining our newsletter!

Comments