THE HISTORY AND CULTURE OF THE PEOPLE OF NGURU UMUARO

THE HISTORY AND CULTURE OF THE PEOPLE OF NGURU UMUARO

THE HISTORY AND CULTURE OF THE PEOPLE OF NGURU UMUARO



Nguru Umuaro, a peace loving town though an extremely busy  community characterized by the influx of sojourners   from all works of life choosing to settle in the town to ply their various trades especially timbers which the town is synonymous with.

Nguru is located in the heart  of Ngor Okpala Local Government Area in the old Owerri in Imo State of Nigeria and is vastly populated. The town is a large community of five distinct villages namely; Amaibo Nguru ( presumed to be the first or eldest), Eziala Nguru, Umuaga Nguru, Umewerre and lastly Egbelu Nguru. 

Early settlers of the community were said to have migrated from either the famous  Arochukwu or Aro Ndizogu which possibly explains the appendage ‘Umuaro’ attached to the name Nguru.

Speculative tales (there is no written account of the peoples history except oral tales passed from one generation to another) have it that the original inhabitants of the town were warriors  from a very distant land I the eastern hinterland who wandered into a virgin land where they saw ample opportunity for farming and hunting and decided to settle there for a greener pasture, but another school of thought infers  that the original settlers occupied the land as part of spoils of war during the inter tribal war days.

‘Umuaro’ however in Igbo language means the children of Aro. It thus points to the fact that the fore founders of Nguru Umuaro were indeed Aro,s children as often believed in most parts of the Igboland where histories suggest that several communities in the eastern part of Nigeria were direct migrants of either Arochukwu or Aro ndizogu which ever the case may be. There are several cultures and similarities in traditions that give credence to this view.  The people of Nguru on their part have a very rich cultural heritage some of which surprisingly have there roots from the Arochukwu traditions.

Keepers of these tradition popular known as ’ndi ichie’ have always reasoned that these cultural  similarities establish the bond between  the father and his children as it was said that the five aforementioned Villages in Nguru were indeed the direct sons of Aro who were mandated during the inter communal war days to mount fortress at Nguru to prevent Aro’s enemies from attacking or encroaching his vast territory.  The bond between the people of Arochukwu, Aro ndizogu  and Nguru Umuaro even till date has become so pronounced that apart from location and dialects it is so apparent that both have a shared common ancestry.   This is to the extent that a couple from both  communities always look inwards to avoid getting married to a perceived distant relative.

    To understand this relationship between these children of Aro scattered across the nooks and crannies of igboland it is important to understand the history of Arochukwu where it all started.

 

   According to facts from Wikipedia, great   Arochukwu was home to a clan of the Ibibios, they founded the early states of Obong Okon Ita and Ibom. Many years passed,slaves and outsiders that had settled in rebelled over the reign of the ruling clan chief in connivance with the younger brother of the ruling family. The first Igbo group was the Ezeagwu group led by their leader Agwu Inobia. As Aro-Ibibio wars occurred, there was a stalemate. In reaction, the Eze Agwu clan invited a priest named Nnachi from the Edda clan of northeastern Igboland and another group from the east of the Cross River through Nnachi. These people were identified as the Akpa people. Akpa forces led by Osim and Akuma Nnubi, they helped the rebellious group capture the rest of the area. This formed the alliance of 19 new and old states in the area known as the Arochukwu kingdom around 1650–1700. The first king (or Eze Aro) of a unified Arochukwu was Akuma but after his death, Nnachi son's Oke Nnachi took over and his descendants have the throne to this day.

By the mid-18th century, Arochukwu people had  founded many other communities both within and outside Igboland.[2]

[3] These migrations, influence of their god Ibini Ukpabi through priests, and their military power backed up by alliances with several related neighboring Igbo and eastern Cross River militarized states (particularly OhafiaAbamAbiribaAfikpoEkoi, etc.) quickly established the Aro Confederacy as a regional economic power.

Culture and taboos in Arochukwu such as the reverence of the sacred python remains strictly observed by the people of Nguru Umuaro. There is an obvious reason the python is considered sacred by  Aro’s descendants For instance, in some places, such as Nri, the royal pythonéké, is considered a sacred and tame agent of Ala and a harbinger of good fortune when found in a home. The python is referred to as nne 'mother' in areas where the python is revered, it is a symbol of female beauty and gentleness. Killing of the python is expressly forbidden in these places and sanctions are taken against the killer including the funding of expensive human sized burials that are given to slain pythons.

There have been several futile attempts to abolish this practice since the coming and acceptance of Christianity.  

 

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