They are called, the Jibu people and they are descendants of the Kwarafa Kingdom who lived for centuries in nine communities scattered around on the mountains in Gashaka.
Historical accounts have it that the people lived together with their fellow brothers in the kingdom until about 1807 when Fulani Jihadists invaded the kingdom.
They were said to have run to the mountain top where they now live and are completely cut off from other tribes, and by extension the whole world. Not even the activities of the colonial masters reached them, largely because of the difficult terrain of their new abode. The mountain top is characterised by rivers, deep gullies and huge rocks.
Just like any other group of human beings, the Jibu people have their ways of life. These include collective circumcision of boys born within the same age group, a ceremony performed with the use sharp objects.
It is considered a test of strength and character for their boys not to cry during the ceremony. The circumcised are kept on bamboo beds and covered with fresh leaves that are gathered and burnt after the wound has healed.
For a young Jibu man to get a wife, he must serve the family of his bride for five years. Nonetheless, the marriage is determined by the capacity of the woman to conceive. This is measured by a dried long firewood that is set on fire for at least three months, within which if the woman does not become pregnant, the simple communication is the gods do not want the marriage.
Pregnant women work on the farms to the day of their delivery.
They have a communal life and are ruled by the Waziri Garinjina, Tann Shidin Zunbi, who confirmed in an interview with the Nigerian Compass on Saturday that maternal and child mortality rates are high among them.
The Jibu people are neither Christians nor Muslims. Rather, they believe in their own gods and the ancestors.
In an event of violation of their natural laws by any individual, animals are slaughtered to appease the land. It is also a similar story during every cropping season. The harvests are brought before the Waziri for sacrifice to the gods, after which their brand of liquor is prepared for everybody to drink in merriment. Incidentally too, the Jibu people believe that some gods are not friendly with women. Thus, throughout the period of ritual preparations, women remain indoors to avoid being exposed to the gods who could be harmful to them.
When our correspondent visited Gerinjina, their condition of living was worse than that of the much-talked about Koma people. There is no access road. They drink water with animals from the same rivers. In their scattered settlement system, there is no school around except for some missionaries who have a thatched space for that purpose but is yet to have any student. After a day's job on the farm, their women still have the task of grinding raw corn with heavy stones before food is ready for their male counterparts.
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