This article covers all information about Northern Igbos.
In the past and in recent years, there have been certain people who have been referred to or who have claimed to belong to Northern Igbos. In this article, we’ll be looking at some of these stories about Northern Igbos.
Igbo is a Niger-Congo language spoken by the Igbo people, who are native to southeastern Nigeria. It is the most widely spoken language in the region and is also spoken by some communities in other parts of Nigeria as well as in other countries, such as Ghana and Cameroon. It is a tonal language and has a rich oral tradition, including storytelling, poetry, and proverbs. It also has a writing system that uses the Roman alphabet.
The Igbo people are an ethnic group native to Nigeria, primarily concentrated in the southeastern region of the country. They are one of the largest ethnic groups in Nigeria, with an estimated population of around 30 million people. The Igbo have a rich cultural heritage, including a complex system of traditional religion, a strong oral tradition, and a well-developed artistic tradition. They are also known for their strong sense of community and their entrepreneurial spirit. However, the Igbo have faced political marginalization and violence throughout Nigeria’s history.
Igbo culture is rich and diverse, with a strong emphasis on community and family. The traditional Igbo religion is polytheistic and includes a pantheon of deities that are honored through various rituals and ceremonies. The Igbo also have a strong oral tradition, and many important stories and historical events are passed down through generations through storytelling.
Igbo society is traditionally organized into small, autonomous communities led by a council of elders. These communities are often based around extended families, and there is a strong sense of mutual aid and cooperation.
In terms of economic activities, Igbos are known for their entrepreneurial spirit and are active in trade, agriculture, and small business. They are also known for their skills in ironwork, carving, and pottery.
However, despite their contributions to Nigerian society, the Igbo people have faced political marginalization and violence throughout Nigeria’s history. The most notable event was the Biafra civil war in the late 1960s, where Igbos attempted to secede from Nigeria, which resulted in a brutal conflict that claimed the lives of an estimated 1–3 million people, mostly Igbos.
Today, Igbos continue to play a significant role in Nigerian politics, business, and culture. They are known for their resilience and determination and have a strong sense of identity and pride in their culture.
- Northern Igbo: Kingdom of Nri (900–c. 1560)
The northern Igbo Kingdom of Nri, which rose around the 10th century based on Umunri traditions, is credited with the foundation of much of Igboland’s culture, customs, and religious practices. It is the oldest existing monarchy in present-day Nigeria. It was around the mid-10th century that the divine figure Eri is said to have migrated, according to Umunri lore, to the Anambra (Igbo: Omambara) river basin—specifically, at its meeting with the Ezu river, known as Ezu na Omambara in present-day Aguleri. The exact origins of Eri are unknown, and much of the Niri tradition presents him as a divine leader and civilizer sent from heaven to begin civilization. In contrast, Eri’s origins generally suggest a north-easterly origin, which has sparked up debate pertaining to a possible Igala (not a fact) origin for Eri.
Due to historic trade and migration, other people also entered Igboland in the fourteenth or fifteenth centuries and mixed with the natives. Towards the western end of Igboland, across the Niger River, rose a man known as Eze Chima, who fled Benin with his accomplices after a dispute with the Oba of Benin, who consequently exiled him in the 1560s. As they left Benin City, heading eastward, Eze Chima and his followers settled in a number of lands and established monarchies with the natives in those areas.
Other accounts point to Eze Chima coming from Ife as a result of Ekaladeran, an Bini prince who migrated to Ife from Bini and usurped the original Igbo rulers. Ife was originally inhabited by Igbos prior to 1300. Those grew into major village groups and towns after the 16th century. Collectively, these places are known as Umuezechima, which translates as “the children or descendants of King Chima.”
- Nsukka man is still branded contemptuously as Northern Igbos – Alumona
John Alumona disclosed that Nsukka men are still branded contemptuously as Northern Igbos. He made this known when he responded to the below question published on The Punch.
“How did Biafran side react to the invasion of Nsukka?”
He answered, saying “Ojukwu gnashed his teeth in disgust of total disappointment and said that the Nsukka people brought the Nigerian army, branded every Nsukka man a saboteur. He wickedly accused Nsukka people of not doing anything to repel the advancing force of the Nigerian army. He did not look inwards to know what was happening with the military he set up, and then branded every Nsukka man, a saboteur. Nsukka suffered immensely during the war.
Ojukwu did not think well when he engaged in the war. It was when the war got to Onitsha, that it dawned on him to set a probe to know exactly what was wrong with his men. It was at that probe that Ifeajuna was indicted, arrested, court marshaled but it was too late for the Biafran army. Even Ifeajuna told the people that his plans worked out and that he had no regrets for his action before he was shot.
Nsukka suffered because they did not know that the Nigerian army had surrounded the whole town. People thought that the federal troops would pass away for them to settle down but they ended up scampering to farmlands without food and water, then kawshiokor set in killing people in droves. Some of the Nsukka men that braved to come and take some food stuff were shot by soldiers who dug trenches at major entry points yet, Ojukwu and other Biafrans kept on maltreating our people even in battle fields, calling them saboteurs.
Many of our promising young men died as a result of this unwarranted stigma and not necessarily in the hands of the advancing Nigerian troops. Till date, the stigma still lingers as the Nsukka man is still branded contemptuously as Northern Igbos. But we don’t care because truth is constant. The Biafran Soldiers killed all known Nsukka peoples of Northern roots, so the whole Nsukka became target of attacks by soldiers, even those with tribal marks on their faces were killed, and branched saboteur so also Nsukka Serikis and Muslims. The Nigerian army came again and embarked on massive killings.
We Are Northern Igbos
A couple of years ago, Igbo elders residing in the area made it known that a new tribe had emerged called “Northern Igbo.”
Nasir El-Rufai, the governor of Kaduna state, met with the Igbo Delegate Assembly, which is made up of Igbo leaders from the 19 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory, at Government House in Abuja in 2021.
The South East leaders said the courtesy visit was to express gratitude to the Federal Government, Kaduna State Government, and the Northern Governors Forum for calming the situation after a group of Northern youths handed Igbos an ultimatum to leave the North.
The Igbo leaders have said unequivocally that they oppose Nigeria’s split. On behalf of the Northern Governors, Governor El-Rufai assured the Igbo leaders that everyone in the North is safe.