Effium Vs Ezza-Effium: Who are more indigenous in Ebonyi?


By Paschal Okeke

Since the unfortunate full blown war that broke out between the two major tribes, Effium and Ezza-Effium, who are occupying a geographical location known as Effium Community in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, over a mere squabble between factions of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Effium Motor Park, tongues have been waging, just as lips are being flipped and twisted in various quarters in narrations on the current debacle in the area. 

One of the prominent issues currently in public discourse, which appears to be the crux of the matter, is the indigeneship question or controversy between the two tribes.  

The Effium people originally known and addressed as Uffiom people, according to investigations, had been laying claims to be the true indigenous people and sole owners of the geographical setting known as Effium Community; while the Ezza-Effium people on the other hand, are not claiming to be the only indigenous people and sole owners of the Community. 

The Ezza people have tenaciously maintained that the place belongs to both of them. 

The contradictory claims by both tribes, are the reason for myriads of confusions, misinterpretations and somersaulted explanations regarding the subject matter.

However, it is not in doubt as investigations have shown that the current confusion that has enveloped the community, stemmed from the misunderstanding, misrepresentation and misinterpretation of the history of the once peaceful community by present generation of people inhabiting the area.

This is because of the fact that the first generation settlers of the place; both the Effiumites and the Ezzas have since died off without leaving behind any academic documentation of how they found themselves in the place, especially the  Effiumites. 

This, unfortunately has given room for the present generation inhabiting the place to distort and twist facts for their selfish interests.

Common knowledge offers explanations to the fact that no person or group of persons fell down from Heaven to occupy a particular geographical location globally, which is today known as their place or places of origin. 

Common knowledge further establishes strong point of allusions and connections to the fact that before now, there were few people on earth; after all, God Himself created only one man and one woman who later gave birth to two boys and one girl, according to biblical injunction.

From the above analogy, it therefore portends that the whole earth once laid in desolate, empty and sparsely occupied by human beings. 

Scientific facts specifically revealed that at a particular point in time, animals were more in number than human beings and posed major threats to human existence, not until the period of human expansion and re-organization.

To this point therefore, the place today known as Effium Community once laid desolate, empty with only animals of different forms and shapes, as its habitants.

This implies that God who created the land never invited either the Effiumites or the Ezzas to settle at Effium Community as their legal and legitimate entitlement.

Land acquisition by historical perspectives was achieved through conquest against wild animals and probably the early settlers of a particular geographical location.

Therefore, the issue of who owns the controversial geographical setting known as Effium community brewing between the Ezzas and the Effiumites should be properly linked to the above intellectual scholarship and expository postulations. 

Without sounding biased, the Ezza people seem to have better understanding and sincere explanations to the realities behind the indigeneship of Effium community, having always admitted to have migrated to the place from both Ezza South and North Local Government Areas of Ebonyi State, respectively.

It is also a clear fact that the Ezza people are Ndigbo who are the original owners of Igbo land in the eastern part of Nigeria which Ebonyi State properly belongs to.   

Their language is the Igbo language and their culture purely an Igbo culture, and Effium Community by geographically configuration is in the heart of Igbo land. 

Ezzas, according to history, are the descendant of Ekumenyi, the progenitor of the people known as Umuekumeny, otherwise known as Abakaleke people in the present day Ebonyi State. 

Which means, they are as indigenous as other descendants of Ekumenyi in Ebonyi State.

For the Effiumites, great confusions often arise in their narrations and claims of indigeneship of Effium Community.

The confusions always stem from the grounds that they often shy away from pointing to any part of Igbo land they migrated from to settle in Effium Community; or could it be said that they grew up from the ground like trees and subsequently turned humans to occupy the present place called Effium Community in Ebonyi State?

Worthy of note is that the Effiumites speak not Igbo language and their culture not in any way related to Igbo culture. 

This is one fact that has become very expedient for every sane mind to ponder on, in our quest to unravel the truth surrounding Effium community and her settlers.

This is where the question of who is more indigenous to Effium Community between Ezza people of Igbo extraction and Effium people of non Igbo extraction becomes a very strong test to the veracity and authenticity of the indigeneship claims of both clans who are already in combatant show of force and dominance; losing their lives daily and having their property destroyed on daily basis since January, 2021.

Journalistic investigations on the issue actually revealed that Effium people are not the first settlers or the sole owners of Effium Community as they claim.

It is also revealed that the Ezza people are not the first to settle in the area, but for the fact that Ezza people are true Igbos who occupy about two LGAs in Ebonyi State as well as a descendant of Ekumenyi, the Progenitor of Abakaleke people that predominantly make up the present day Ebonyi State, the Ezza people, without mincing words, are more indigenous in Effium community than the Uffiom people now known and addressed as Effium people who migrated from another state other than Ebonyi.

A historian and elder statesman from Ishieke Izzi community in Ebonyi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, Chief Ogalegu Nwibokonshi gave an unbiased narration to our reporter on how Effium people came to settle in Ebonyi State, saying they are not Igbo people by origin, but migrated from a place called Ufiom, Ukelle in Cross River State.

He maintained that a trip to the present Ukelle in Cross River State would show a place called Ufiom where the Effiumites migrated from, adding that they migrated with their other Korri speaking brothers living in some parts of Ishielu and Ezza North Local government areas of Ebonyi State.

“They are known hunters and good wine tappers. They migrated from Ufiom in Ukelle, Cross River State. 

"They first migrated to a place called Ngangbo Effium in Ezza North Local Government Area during their days of hunting expeditions.

“The place was not originally called Ngangbo Effium, but because whenever Effium people come back from their hunting voyages, they bring the animals they killed from the hunting to display in that square where Ezza people buy the animals from them; that’s how the place naturally become known as Ngangbo Effium.

“But because there is no enough forest to give them good success in their hunting expeditions, coupled with the fact that Ezza people did not want them to settle in the area, they migrated to a place called Ebo Effium in Ishieke community of Ebonyi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

“In their daily hunting expeditions, they found big forest which is today known as Okporo forest where much animal games existed and they moved from Ebo Effium in Ishieke to that side.

“It was not as if there were no people living in the other side of the forest which is today known as Effium Community when the Effiumites moved towards the forest from Ebo Effium, Ishieke community.

“The people living in the area before the coming of Effium people as our fathers told us were the people known and called Ito, Ekpoto and Igede people who also wagged war against the Effiumites and resisted their occupation of the land.

“It was a strong war, but the Ito, Ekpoto and Igede people living there at that time were very few and they came into that land from the present Benue State.

“The war was very harsh on Effium people because the Ito, Ekpoto and Igede people combined were greater than Effium people in the place at that time. 

"This is when the attention of Ezza people, particularly, those from the present Ezza North LGA where the Effiumites first settled was drawn and with their combined efforts, those three minor clans were pushed out of the place known as Effium community today.

“By all indications, Ezza and Effium people are not supposed to be fighting over that land because they both fought and reclaimed it from the early settlers”, Nwibokonshi extensively exposed.

The elder statesman further narrated that it would have been Izzi and Ngbo people that would have chased out those early settlers of the place if not that Ezza people came with their might. 

He added that the place called Effium community or Effium land would have been inhabited by Ngbo and Izzi people if they had spread towards that side with time, pointing out that the Ito, Ekpoto and Igede people residing there at that time were very few.

“What actually made Effium popular is not any other thing other than their animal hunting and wine tapping. People usually come from Ishieke Izzi and Ezza to buy bush meat and palm wine from the Effium people in this their new place.

“The place called Afia Efiom is the square where they normally display the killed animals for sale and the palm wine they have tapped. They have no any other market apart from the Afia Effiom which is to show you how small they are.

“That the place is called Effiom does not in any way suggest that it originally belonged to them or that they were the first people to settle in the place. The place was dominantly called Effiom because of the then popular Effiom bush meat and palm wine.

“Therefore, my suggestion is that Ezza and Effium people should continue to live in peace like brothers and sisters who have married and intermarried for several years. They have never fought because they were bounded by traditional ritual not to spill the blood of one another. 

“In fact, my father told us that they took an oath with Ezza people not to kill or harm each other as the land belongs to both of them. Nobody owns the place more than each other between Ezza and Effium people. 

“If Effium people are telling Ezza people to vacate to Ezza North and South, will the Effium people also vacate to Cross River if the Igbo people tell them to vacate Igbo land because the Effiumites are not Igbos by any side of the history”, Nwibokonshi further stated.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post