Tribes In Ebonyi State
Ebonyi State is home to different sub-groups of the Igbo ethnic group. These include the Edda, the Ezza, the Izzi, and the Ikwo.
Ebonyi State was created in 1996 by the dictatorship of General Sani Abacha. It was carved out from Enugu and Abia States, and consists of 13 local government areas and dozens of towns and tribes most of which existed as sovereign states in the era preceding the creation of Nigeria.
Below we take a look at the tribes in Ebonyi State, where these tribes are found in Ebonyi State, their history, their culture, and their population estimate.
The Ikwo are found in Ikwo local government area of Ebonyi State, and also in Obubra and Abi local government areas of Cross River State.
The Ikwo belong to the general Igbo people cluster, and speak a dialect of the Igbo language known as Ikwo.
There are around 300,000 Ikwo people in Ebonyi State, with ninety-nine percent of them being vocal adherents of the Christian religion.
The Ezza, or Ezaa, or Ezzaa are found in Ezza North, Ezza South, Ishielu, Onicha, Ohaukwu and Ivo local government areas of Ebonyi State, and also in Ado local government area of Benue State and Nkanu East local government area of Enugu State.
The Ezza are one of the largest sub-groups of the Igbo. They speak a dialect also known as Ezza. This Ezza dialect is closely related to the Izzi and Ikwo dialects which are spoken in neighbouring towns and villages.
The Ezza homeland is rich in mineral resources, and the ancestors of today’s inhabitants developed bronze-casting techniques more than a thousand years ago. The creativity and technical skill developed by these early metal crafters is recognised as among the finest in the history of the world.
There are over 700,000 Ezza, majority of whom are adherents of the Christian religion.
The Izzi people are closely related to the Ezza and the Ikwo people.
The Izzi belong to the larger Igbo people cluster, and are found in Izzi, Abakaliki and Ebonyi local government areas of Ebonyi State, and also in Ado local government area of Benue State, and Yala local government area of Cross River State.
The Izzi speak a very unique dialect of the Igbo language formally referred to as Izzi but popularly known as the Abakaliki Igbo.
There are over 600,000 Izzi in Ebonyi State, majority of whom are Christians.
The Edda, also known as the Edda Egbebu are found in over 72 villages scattered across Afikpo South local government area of Ebonyi State. The Edda dominate the Afikpo South local government area to the extent that both names have become synonymous.
Information on the Edda and their immediate neighbours barely survived through a combination of folklore and an elaborate and highly ritualized priest-kingship evolved by the people so has many diverging views.
According to the Eze Aro of Arochukwu, the Edda people lived initially at Afia Isagha Orie with the Arochukwu. The two tribes were said to be of the same ancestral father, Eze Oke Mgbom who begat Imo Eze, the father of the Edda, and Oti Eze, the father of the Arochukwu.
There are over 200,000 Edda people in Ebonyi State.
The Okposi are found in Ohaozara local government area of Ebonyi State.
Okposi was said to have been founded by a man known as Enechi Akuma, from Agala in present day Benue State.
The Okposi believe in a supreme God, however they are mostly polytheists and hold on to traditional religious practices.
The Okposi are mainly into subsistence agriculture. They are also into salt production as there is huge salt deposit at the Okposi Salt Lake that is located within their community.
It’s from the salt lake in Okposi land that Ebonyi State got its title, the Salt of the Nation.