Abiriba of Abia
Abiriba of Abia State is a town situated in the southeastern part of Nigeria. The natives of the Abiriba town are popularly referred to as the Abiriba people and they are known to predominantly speak Igbo, one of Nigeria’s major languages. The Abiriba people are believed to have migrated from the Cross River region, also in Nigeria.
There is evidence to back up claims that the Abiriba people have a common ancestor with another tribe, the Yakor tribe of Ekoi and another people, the people of Arochukwu. The Abiriba people are also known to be descendants of the Efik group of Calabar, also in Nigeria. All About Abiriba of Abia – History, food, Festivals, Culture & Tradition
Major Occupation & Business Among The Traditional Abiriba People
The Abiriba people of Abia are known to have sterile lands, making the business of agriculture very unfruitful. The Abiriba people are hardworking and creative, so they thrive in trading, merchandising and craft making. Among the Igbo community, Abiriba is known to be one of the wealthiest in the southeastern part of Nigeria. The traditional Abiriba people are known for their sculpting and blacksmithing abilities. However, in modern times, the Abiriba people left craft making and sculpting for trading and merchandising predominantly.
The Abiriba people are known to be exposed and cultured so they value aesthetics. They invested in beautifying and cleaning up their community, from a rural region to a residential modern community. The Abiriba people valued their community and often refused attempts made by companies to settle into their serene community, because they refuse to let them “pollute” their environment.
The community was so beautiful that in 1959, a former president of Nigeria, Late Dr Nnamdi Azikwe referred to the community as ‘small London’. The nickname had such an impact that it is still being used till today to refer to Abiriba town.
The Culture of The Abiriba people
Culture Of Abiriba People of Abia
Belief among the people of Abiriba
The Abiriba people have a very rich culture and their beliefs form a major part of the community’s culture. The natives of the town have a very strong belief in an ancient tree, situated at the center of the Abiriba town. The tree is called “Okpu Achi” which is loosely translated as “The achi tree”. Legend has it that if the Okpu Achi ever falls, water from the Okpu Achi will consume the whole Abiriba of Abia state.
The Abiriba people also have a belief in the Ishimokoto river. The belief is described as foreigners who tried leaving the community with water from Ishimokoto river. The natives described the river’s powers by breaking the bottle where the water was kept, and the water flying back to Ishimokoto, miles away from the river.
Taboos in Abriba Culture
One of the taboos of the Abriba community is stripping an Abriba woman naked in public. If the Abriba woman voluntarily strips herself naked, she will be appeased by the males of the Abriba community by covering her nakedness and buying her gifts.
Festivals/Ceremonies in Abriba Culture
Itu Eye Ceremony in Abriba
The Abriba community are in strong ties with their heritage. Annually, the Abriba community holds a ceremony known as ‘Itu Eye’ which is loosely translated as ‘to pronounce the law’. It is worthy to note that the Abriba ‘Itu Eye’ ceremony is about 600 years old.
The Itu Eye ceremony marks the beginning of another year in the Abriba community. The Itu Eye ceremony is an avenue for the people of the Abriba of abia state to enact new laws for the Abriba community.
The Enachoken of Abia enacts laws for the community during the Itu Eye ceremony. The Okezie age group of the Abriba community enforce the new laws made by the Enachoken of Abriba. The ‘Itu Eye’ ceremony starts with the picking of the Iburu omu (palm leaf) by the Okezie age group.
There are 13 age groups in the Abriba of Abia state, but the highest amongst the the age groups is, the Ukejiagbala.
Igwa Mang festival in Abriba of Abia State
The Igwa Mang is a festival of the Abriba of Abia state. This festival signifies the return of past warriors from ancient wars of defending the Abriba’s territory. The Igwa Mang is an old festival which was born out of the constant inter communal wars. The people of the Abriba community come with drums and singers to welcome surviving warriors of the war.
Even though inter communal wars have ceased for many years, the people of Abriba of Abia state still enjoy this celebration to commemorate days of old.
- Ime Uche in Abriba of Abia state
The Ime Uche is known as the retirement ceremony. The Ime Uche ceremony is a ceremony for the celebration of the old people in active community services. The Ime Uche celebrates them for their good deeds and retires them.
Inheritance of Abiriba people
The Abiriba people have an unusual inheritance system. The inheritance system has been used in the community for over 200 years, according to historians. The system is: “Ikwu-nna” which means father’s lineage, “Ikwu-nne” which means mother’s lineage and the final one,”Ogo” which translates as ‘in-law’.
According to the Abiriba people, the children’s are their mother’s, and not their father’s like a traditional African society. Interestingly, children have more rights on their mother’s lineage property than their father’s. Similarly, the women of Abiriba inherit their brother’s property rather than his wife or children.
They practice a system known to Abiriba community as ‘Ada nne’ the wife too inherits her brother’s estate rather than her father’s (whose sisters will inherit his)
Marriage in Abiriba
The Abiriba people have stronger maternal ties than paternal, due to the community’s system of Ikwu-nne. The Abiriba people are strict in marriages because they are against their women marrying outside their community. If a woman marries outside the Abiriba community, the natives regard that as depleting the families resources.
The neighbors of the Abiriba town have described the community’s attempt to turn women to assets by the exorbitant bride price to the groom’s family. The Abiriba people are a traditional Igbo community, their marriages are performed according to the Igbo rites, with palmwine, kolanut and hot drinks. The Abiriba people are wealthy, spending extravagantly for marriages is a common sight.
Bride Price & Requirement For Marriage In Abiriba – Abiriba Traditional Marriage List
Traditional Foods In Abiriba Kingdom
The Abiriba town of Abia state is known to have a lot of exquisite cuisines. The people of Abiriba eat garri which is cassava flakes, rice, beans, ‘asusu’ also a favorite amongst the people of Abiriba. The asusu is made from corn starch which is wrapped in a leaf called Akwukwo-asusu. ‘Oto’ which is yam porridge is also a very popular meal amongst the people of Abiriba, it is prepared by cooking water yam and seasoning it with salt and palm oil.