The People called Jukun

The Jukun people also known as Njikum are descendants of the people of Kwararafa who disintegrated as a result of a power tussle, tribes in the north-central of Nigeria trace their origin to the Jukun people and are related in one way or the other to the Jukuns with spread across Taraba, Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau, Adamawa, and Gombe States in Nigeria, they are also found in parts of northwestern Cameroon.  The Jukuns are divided into two sub-groups, the Jukun Wanu and Jukun Wapa. The main centre/capital of the people is Wukari and it is headed by the Aku Uka of Wakari.

On the occupation of the Jukun People, they are predominantly farmers, just like the other parts of the country. They cultivate food and cash crops. There are also fishermen among the people, especially the Jukun Wanu who reside along the banks of River Benue and Niger. Cloth weaving and cloth dyeing are also peculiar to the people.

Talking about religion, until the coming of Christianity and Islam, the Jukun people were followers of their traditional Religions. Nowadays, the majority of people are Muslims with few Christians. But for culture and traditions, the people have a rich culture and tradition. This is well reflected in their traditional marriage. The bride price here is one of the least in Nigeria, so there are many marriages in the land. For a marriage to occur, the woman must be up to 18 years old and have the consent of her parents or guardian.

Before the marriage ceremony (during courtship), the woman is entitled to Abegya (betrothal money), Abeben (bride price), and Andu (handbag). All these are according to the man’s pocket. The man is also expected to till the land for both his father and mother-in-law (little amount can be paid for this). Shortly after this is the solemnization. The Jukun traditional attire is made of different colours, patterns and weaves. The types of attire worn by the people include Kadzwe, Ayin-po, Adire, and Baku. Kadzwe is used by the Jukun rulers for royalty. The main colour of their traditional attires is black and blue.

The Jukun traditionally possessed a complex system of offices, which had both a political and a religious aspect; the priesthood practised an involved form of religion marked by diurnal and annual rounds of ritual and sacrifice. The king, called Aka Uku, was—until he became a member of northern Nigeria’s house of chiefs in 1947—a typical example of a semidivine priest-king

For the population, writing in the late 1920s, the British anthropologist C. K. Meek estimated that there were approximately 25,000 Jukun-speakers then alive. Meek noted that the majority of the Jukun lived in scattered groups around the Benue basin, in an area that roughly corresponded to the extent of the kingdom of Kwararafa as it existed in the 18th century. That area of Jukun habitation, Meek noted, was bounded by Abinsi to the west, Kona to the east, Pindiga to the north and Donga to the south.

In conclusion, the language can be divided into six separate dialects: Wukari, Donga, Kona, Gwana and Pindiga, Jibu, and finally Wase Tofa, although Meek noted that the dialects of “Kona, Gwana and Pindiga differ so little that they may be regarded as one.”



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