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IBEKU PEOPLE



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                                  HISTORY ON IBEKU
I
beku clan tries to retrace and brings its history to life by various means including culture, tradition, heritage, achives, acheology and various methods used in organization of it's people..

The lack and in places paucity of data has tended to encourage unrestrained speculation which in fact largely accounts for some insupportable hypotheses being put forward by many early or pioneer archaeologists, concerning the nature of culture change in Ibeku, umuahia-ibeku,eastern Nigeria. One of such flawed  hypotheses was that the peopling of the forest region (southern Nigeria and indeed, all of the Guinea zone of West Africa) was a much later development than that of the northern open savanna area. Recent archaeological research has shown that people were already living in south-western Nigeria (specifically Iwo-Eleru) as early as 9000 BC and perhaps earlier at Ugwuelle-Uturu (Okigwe) in south-eastern Nigeria (Shaw and Daniels 1984: 7-100). This is the area of Ibeku clan.
            iku court
                                              Colonial White Masters as missionaries with Court agents
Lack of adequate funding and dating facilities has also caused a lag in archaeological research in ibeku area of Nigeria and indeed, all of West Africa. Many sites threatened by construction work such as bridges, roads, houses and dams are not normally rescued because there are no sources of funding. The governments bothe state and federal  have not been supportive enough of archaeological work, partly because both the leaders and the peoples do not recognize the role a sound knowledge of the past can play in nation-building.

There is up to now, no well-equipped dating laboratory either to process charcoal samples or potsherds. The only laboratory in West Africa is in Senegal and it is far from being well equipped. Consequently, it is restricted mostly to processing charcoal samples collected from sites in Senegal. Given this problem, samples collected from archaeological excavations have to be sent abroad for processing. This delays the rate at which archaeological information is put into its proper time perspective.

It seems also that a great deal more time and attention are paid to the later phases of human settlement history than the earlier. Consequently, much more is known of iron age and historic settlements in Ibeku as a whole. Some considerable amount of work has been done for these phases in Benin City in Nigeria, Niani in Niger Republic and Jenne-Jeno in Mali, among other places in West Africa. One reason for this interest in the later phase seems to rest in the fact that there is a meeting point between historic settlement archaeology and oral traditions in the region generally and the fact that people can identify much more easily with this phase because it is more recent and by this fact closer to our times.

It is pertinent to note that there is no settlement archaeology tradition(s) in ibeku [umuahia ibeku] Nigeria up to the early 1980's. Even at places like Ife, Old-Oyo, Benin and Zaria where some relatively limited archaeological work has been carried out, efforts were mainly concentrated on walls (Soper 1981: 61-81; Darling 1984: 498-504; Leggett 1969: 27). In Southern Nigeria, where Ibeku is located,  proto-historic settlements were generally composed of mud or sun-dried brick houses. Most if not all these house structures and defensive and/or demarcatory walls have either been destroyed or obliterated by erosion. The tradition(s) of constructing houses with stones in the pre colonial past was well reflected in many parts of Northern Nigeria. In fact, many hill-top settlements in this area of Nigeria were composed of stone houses - a direct response among other things, to opportunities offered by the immediate environment (Netting 1968: 18-28; Denyer 1978: 41-47). Despite the nature of the soil chemistry (acidic soil) stone buildings are still better preserved than mud houses.

Relics of ancient settlements are much fewer in the south, including ibeku,  than in the north, because of the different building materials as well as techniques of construction which are partly determined by diverse historical experiences among other things. Hill-tops and slopes offer abundant boulders which could be dressed for construction, while in the plains, it is much easier to obtain mud for building houses. For example, the dispersed mode of settlement of the present-day Tiv as opposed to the nucleated rural settlements on the hill-tops and slopes in ancient times, coupled with their shifting agricultural system, as well as the factor of refarming and/or resettlement of former sites by some daughter groups which hived off, from the original stock, make most ancient settlements and recently abandoned sites (made up of sun-dried brick houses) difficult to discover at least in a fairly well preserved state (Sokpo and Mbakighir 1990, Personal Communication).

This preservation problem among others further make the task of establishing stratigraphic sequences a little bit difficult. Nigeria is divisible into zones on the basis of techniques of construction as follows:
[1.] Mud construction techniques which are very common in most parts of southern Nigeria and in Ibeku.
[2.] Stone construction techniques which are very common in most parts of Northern Nigeria; and
[3. ]Combination of mud and stone construction techniques. This development is common in Tivland, where the ancient houses and protective walls on hill-tops were constructed of stones, while present-day houses in the plains are usually constructed of mud.
Given our experiences in Ibeku [umuahia ibeku]  Nigeria, the third category of construction is very useful for generating models. These are models derivable from oral traditional data and ethnographic resources. Such models, if carefully applied to archaeological situations, can greatly fill the gaps in our knowledge of the past of the Ibeku  peoples.

REFERENCES
Darling, P. 1984. Archaeology & History In Southern Nigeria: The ancient Linear Earthworks of Benin and Ishan. B. A. R. Series 215.

Mbakighir, N. 1990. Personal Communication.
Netting, R. M. 1968. Hill Farmers of Nigeria: Cultural Ecology of the Kofyar of The Jos Plateau, University of Washington, Press Seattle.

Shaw, T.& Daniells, S. G. H. 1984. Excavations At Iwo-Eleru, Ondo State, Nigeria. West African Journal of Archaeology. Vol.14.

RECENT POLITICAL DIVISIONS

Owerrri Province was constituted in 1914 following the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates of Nigeria and the splitting of the Eastern or Calabar Province. Some of the districts in the Eastern Province were grouped together to form the new Province. The district were Aba, Ahiada, Bende, Bonny, Brass, Degema, Okigwi, Orlu, Owerri, Opobo and Afikpo. In 1915 Opobo and Afikpo Districts were transferred to Calabar and Ogoja Provinces respectively. The remaining districts were regrouped into four divisions and a district, namely, Aba, Degema, Okigwi, Owerri and Bende Districts. In 1931 Owerri Provinces was reorganised into six administrative divisions, namely, Aba, Ahoada, Bende, Degema, Okigwi and Owerri.

On 26th July 1857 the mission arrived at Onitsha after a brief stop at Abo. At the Onitsha waterside where the ships anchored, many of the local inhabitants suspected the motives of the intruders. According to Taylor, the Africans shunned them and many of them ran away at the sight of the Europeans with long beards and full whiskers. After some persuasion however, Baikie and Crowther succeeded in winning the confidence of some the young men, who finally conducted the group to king Obi Akazua of Onitsha. Here Dr. Baikie explained to the King and his councillors that he had come to trade with them and that he would like to establish a trading factory at the waterside.

Before 1884 and 1887, Jaja was being hedged on all sides by missionary propaganda. New Calabar accepted the Protectorate Treaty with the Religion clause and early in 1887 the C.M.S. reopened its station there. East of Opobo, the triumph of Young Calabar checked his commercial expansionism on the Qua Ibo, for Chief Henshow looked Westwards of old Calabar to carve a commercial expire in

^ 1897. He established a new settlement at Idua Oron, on the left bank of the Cross River estuary. The series of military expeditions launched in southern Nigeria into the first decade of the twentieth century began the halcyon days of christian mission. East Niger was invaded by them from all directions. The Scottish missionaries left the riverine area of the Cross River, turned left into the interior and occupied Itu and Bende in the South-east. The Niger Delta pastorate concentrated their efforts in the Delta area, the Qua Ibo mission a congregationist Organisation based in Belfast worked into the interior along the Qua Ibo river and established its headquarters at Etinam, the Primitive methodist diffused their energy among the Ibibios and established their Chief centre at Uzuakoli. The C.M.S. and the Roman Catholic mission of the Holy Ghost Fathers made the nodal centre of Onitsha the spring beard of their penetration into the unexplored interior via Awka and Owerri. From Asaba both the C.M.S. and S.M.A. moved over Westwards towards Benin and the Kukuruku area. A mass movement towards christianity began.

A GENERAL REFERENCE INDEX TO THE RECORDS AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES ENUGU

BY U. O. A. ESSE
NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF NIGERIA

IBEKU (Bende Div)

Formation of federation with other clans (1937) EP 14708 MINLOC 4.1.339. Petition to change name of Umuahia Railway to Ibeku (1946), EP 16616, MINLOC 4.1.378. Ibeku Co-operative Welfare Society (1938- 1939) OW 3937, UMDIV 3.1.522.

Umuahia Chieftaincy

244. EP.7504-1/85/4113

"

Umuahia Chieftaincy, 1930-32.
944. 1132-1/26/643

ABADIST

Anti-Tax Agitation, 1938.
945. 1123-1/26/809

"

Taxation of Women, 1940.
946. CP.1479-3/1/1413

CALPROF

Anti-Tax Propaganda and Disturbance in Ogoni, 1935-36.
899. OW.154/14-1/4/2

ABADIST

Proposals for Re-organisation of Native Administration for 1913-14.
830. E.816/1910-14/5/34

CALPROF

Bende District, Existence of Leprosy Report on 1910.

UMUAHIA IBEKU

Minutes of meeting (1954-1956), 226/3, PHMCO 6.1.111., transfer of Owerri Provincial headquarters to (1946- 1949), OW 6079/1, UMDIV 3.1.602. Railway station - petition regarding change of name (1946), EP 16616, MINLOC 6.1.378. Umuahia Township Advisory Board (1952), 2652, MINLOC 16.1.2466. Political and Administrative re-organisation (1944), 15565/1, vol.I, MINLOC 16.1.1483., see also 15565/1, MINLOC 16.1.1484. Umuahia - Uzuakoli road (1929-1944), OW 313, RIVPROF 8.17.251

UMUDA

Police patrol against for fighting (1934-1941), OW 2321, UMPROF 5.1.16.

MARRIAGE

Bride price (1954-1955), UMDIV 7.1.124., regarding bride price in the Eastern Region (1954), EP 24470/81, CSE 1.85.11536. Logic question regarding bride price in Eastern Region (1954),EP 24470/81, CSE 1.85.11536. Report on customary law regarding female child after the payment of bride price (1918), C 286, CALPROF 5.8.236.

WOMEN'S MOVEMENTS

In Aba Division (1929-1930), 89, ABADIST 13.13.26, see also (1931-1935), ABADIST 13.13.27., in Abak Division - some comments and government reaction (1929), CSE 1.86.164., in Arochukwu (1929-1930), ARODIV 20.1.25., (1929), ARODIV 20.1.18., ARODIV 20.1.19., ARODIV 20.1.20., ARODIV 20.1.21., ARODIV 20.1.23. (1929- 1930), ARODIV 20.1.24., in Awka (1929), AW 324, AWDIST 2.1.226., in Bende Division (1929-1930), C53/192/11 UMPROF 1.5.5., in Ahoada (1929-1930), Conf. C 7, AHODIST 3.2.2., see also 170, AHODIST 13.12.58., grievances, Women (1929), ARODIV 20.1.18., see also ARODIV 20.1.19., ARODIV 20.1.20., ARODIV 20.1.21., general correspondence on (1930), 19, ORLDIST 7.7.13. Resident's correspondence on (1929-1930), C 122 vol.II, OKIDIST 1.1.2., in Ikot Ekpene Division (1944), 1926, ARODIV 19.1.106., in Okigwe Division, (1938-1939), OW 3931 vol.I, OKIDIST 9.1.155., see also 9.1.156., (1938), 789, OKIDIST 11.1.373., in Onitsha Division (1930-1931), 20, ONDIST 19.11.1., in Owerri Province (1930), 182, UYODIST 1.1.22. Commission of Inquiry into (1930-1931), 77, ABADIST 13.14.50., see also (1930-1931), 29, AHODIST 13.13.20.

Women's Institute Movement (1949), 2037 vol.I, ABADIST 14.1.1011., (1949), OKC 1392, OKIDIST 6.1.123. Women Dancers preaching reforms (1925), 391, ONPROF 7.12.92., (1925-1926), AW 2.1.56., AW 80A, AWDIST 2.1.57. (1925), B 1544, CSE 3.17.15.

BENDE Division

Co-operation in (1940), 4, ABADIST 14.1.5. Councils in (1939), OW 4000, UMDIV 3.1.525. Courts in - reconstitution of (1930), OW 7234, UMDIV 3.1.731. Constitution of the District as an independent Division (1920), OW 6774, UMDIV 3.1.687. Federation of Ohuhu, Ibeku and Ubakala clans (1937), EP 14708 , MINLOC 4.1.339. Railway - Survey of Eastern Railway in (1914), OW 6724, UMDIV 3.1.659. Reform of Native Authorities in (1947), OW 6698, UMDIV 3.1.653. Re-organisation of (1943), 123A, UMDIV 7.1.21. Roads in (1954), F 388, MINLOC 5/1/35/ Re-opening of Bende Station (1920), OW 6774, UMDIV 3.1.687. Shooting of villages, (1934), OW 2615, UMPROF 5.1.19. Taxation-anti-tax agitation in Bende and Okigwe (1938), OW 3931 vol.I, OKIDIST 9.1.155, see OKIDIST 9.1.156., system of tax collection in (1939), OW.4125, UMDIV 3.1.535.

BENDE Divisional Development and Welfare Committee

Minutes of meetings (1944), OW 505 0E, UMDIV 3.1.564.

BENDE Division Native Authority

Minutes of meetings (1948), OW 7234, UMDIV 3.1.761

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THE ADVENT OF CHURCHES IN IBEKU LAND

QAU IBOE MISSION

S/no.

File no.

Classmark

Description

273

23/20

Abadist 13/4/23

Qau Iboe Mission. 1920-1925

274

Ow.470/30

Umdiv 2/3/38

Complaint against. 1930

^

METHODIST MISSION

165

Ow.5858

Umprof 5/1/75

College Uzuakoli (II) Expansion of at Uzuakoli. 1945-1956

166

Ow.2909

Umdiv 3/1/380

Lease of land at Umuahia Ugba-Osa land dispute. 1936-1939

167

Ow.3014

Umdiv 3/1/415

Lease of land at Amafor Isingwu Bende Division. 1936-1939

168

Ow.3834

Umdiv 3/1/512

Lease of land at Isieke Ibeku Bende Division 1938-1940

169

Ow.472

Umdiv 3/1/562

Application for lease of land in the Native location Umuahia. 1942-1943

170

Ow.6041

Umdiv 3/1/599

Application for lease of land at Uzuakoli Bende Division. 1946-1951

171

Ow.7674

Umdiv 3/1/754

Application for lease of land at Amuzukwu Ibeku. 1948-1953

172

Ow.8010

Umdiv 3/1/797

Hospital Amachara. 1949

173

Ow.8560

Umdiv 3/1/829

Lease of land at Umuegwu, Igbo Clan Bende Division. 1951-1955

174

Ow.8561

Umdiv 3/1/830

Lease of land at Umule Nso Igbo Clan Bende Division. 1951-53

175

Ow.8665

Umudiv 3/1/844

Lease of land at Amankwo Village Uzuakoli, Bende Division. 1952-1953

176

Ow.86678

Umudiv 3/1/845

Lease of land at Isingwu, Okpuala, Bende Division for Church etc. 1952-53

177

Ow.8860

Umdiv 3/1/868

Application for lease of land at Umuire Bende Division. 1953-1954

178

1896a

Umdiv 7/1/30

Application for lease of land at Umuagom Ugba, Ibeku 1947-1948

179

2095

Umdiv 7/1/35

Lease of land at Bende. 1938-40

^ CATHOLIC CHURCH

562

Ow.345

Umudiv 2/2/1

Lease of land at Asaga Ohafia.1923-1925

563

111a

Umudiv 7/1/7

Hospital: Acquisition of land. 1952-1956

564

111b

Umudiv 7/1/8

Hospital: Occupation of land adjoining. 1952-1954

565

111/1

Umudiv 7/1/9

Hospital: Increase in wages rate. 1955

FAITH TARBANACLE OKONKO

622

Ow.7815

Umprof 5/1/120

Faith Tabernacle congregation. 1948-1949

623

Ow.8358

Umprof 5/1/138

Okonko Society - Faith Tabernacle disturbances. 1950-1951

OTHERS

732

Ow.815

Umdiv 3/1/33

Mission Owerri Province. 1931-1939

733

Ow.6685

Umdiv 3/1/652

Application for lease of land at Amuzunta, Olokoro, Bende Division by Mr. Alfred Lodge of the Christian Assembly Mission. 1947-1954

707

Ow.1306

Umuprof 5/1/6

Grant to medical missions. 1945-1953

708

Ow.2425

Umuprof 5/1/8

Grants to missions by Native Administrations. 1934-1