Emmanuel Awari, Jalingo
Federal and state governments have been called upon to strive to revive the cultures and traditions of the people as these are gradually dying in various communities in the country due to lack of concern.
Making the call at the official launch of the book titled; Hidden Treasures of the Mumuye people; Mika Clan Perspective, written by Mathias Nyabun, the Guest Speaker, Dr. Ali Ahmadi Alkali, further added that culture holds a great significance in many aspects of life such as education, entertainment, talent exhibitions, knowledge, information and many others.
Alkali further described the Mumuye as hard working people who depend entirely on what they can do for their lively hood such as farming, cattle rearing among others, rather than waiting for government or individuals to provide them with means of lively hood.
According to him the 1963 population census of Nigeria, Mumuye population was 294, 208 and are ranked number 18th out of four hundred and four ethnic groups in the country. He added that the Mumuye have over fifteen dialects that are formed largely by the clannish units and are encouraged by geographical location and distance between them.
He disclosed that religion plays vital role among the Mumuye people in social system and status, for the young people approaching the age of maturity in all the Mumuye societies are initiated into as a religious practice. “If one is not initiated, he is not considered a complete man who can have no say in anything in the community,” he said.
He noted that some still adhere to traditional African religion, while others profess Christianity and Islam, but speak Mumuye language in spite the influence of these religions and neighbouring cultures and traditions.
He pointed out that the writer focuses on the cultural festival, marital values and new yam festival of Mumuye land and that Mika clan constitute seven clans, located in Kwajji chiefdom. They include Dan-wereba, Pawuno, Danmara, Zaban Danpan, Koron and Layan-wereban located at the border of Zing, Kwajji and Pantisawa respectively.
Earlier on, the book’s reviewer, Dr. Dauda Ishaya Suntai of the Taraba State University commended the author for using simple narration to explain the various items in the book such as Origin, Present location, Occupation, Custom, Culture, tradition as well as religions rites of the Mumuye people.
According to him, the author relied to some extent on documented materials contributed by foreign writers on the language, who don’t know much about the tradition of the people.
He stated that the author went further to present his analyses of the current practices among the Mumuye people, giving more emphasis on the Mika clan and their traditional values and practices as to whether it has been reviewed or suppressed by traditions of neighbouring tribes and their implication on the unity growth, survival and relationship between the Mumuye and their neighbours.
In his comments, the author Mathias Nyabun said he discussed the origin of the Mumuye people whom he said migrated from Ancient Egyptian empire from 17th century to early 19th century to the Benue River valley now Nigeria, and first settled at Kam, in Kwararafa territory. “They later moved northwards and settled in Yorro hills, having the Chamber people as their closest neighbours.”
He said the Mumuye people are presently found in some local governments of Taraba and Adamawa state, including Yorro, Zing, Jalingo, Lau, Gassol Ardo-Kola and Bali(Taraba state), Mayo Belwa, Ganye, Jada and Tongo (Adamawa state).
He explained that he narrowed his research to Mika clan because he was born and bred in the area thus having much knowledge about the community. He said lack of writing history of Mika clan has been a lingering Issue in his heart since his youthful age adding that he was trained by the community and he intend to train others as well. He further pointed out that cultures and traditions especially in the Mika clan, controls sexual abuse in the community, adding that there is a stipulated punishment for if any virgin gets raped by a man that is not her husband, the man is liable to appease the virgin’s mother by offering two billy-goats and some amount of money.
He said it is for such reason that it is still possible to find many ladies that are virgins in Mumuye land because of the sanction put in place to restrain individuals from indulging in such elicit act. According to him young people were initiated into adulthood in a ceremony that holds simultaneously with the purification of skulls which marks the beginning of farming season.