OKUNDI PEOPLE OF NIGERIA

OKUNDI PEOPLE OF NIGERIA

 


In the heart of Cross river state Nigeria, lies a settlement that shares a continuous border with the eastern part of the republic of Cameroon.

Located in the Northwestern  region of the vast Boki local government area, Okundi likes its neighbouring communities is characterized by its rugged terrain, frequent rainfall, and its vibrant and exquisite wildlife. This comes as no surprise as it's surrounded by one of the few remaining rainforests in Nigeria hence a natural habitat for these Animals.

Popularly Known as a  viable destination for investment in Agriculture, Okundi boasts of a wealth of natural resources and commodities such as cocoa, coffee, timber, palm products and also fertile soil for harvesting a range of crops.

As part of the Oku clan, Okundi was founded in 1991 alongside the founding of Boki pronounced (bow-key/bokyi). Okundi is inhabited by approximately 3200 people that contribute to the approximate total of 190,000 people that make up Boki LGA. With Boje also a village in Boki being the capital.

The widely spoken language in Okundi is Boki often called Nki with different alterations of this language in the 58 other neighbouring villages.

As with everything else that define the people of Okundi/boki, they possess a rich cultural heritage full of diverse practices and beliefs sometimes unorthodox to the uncultured eye.

However, some constant practices across the region include the native attire worn by the men ; a narrow oval shaped hat, white mandarin shirts and a wrapper tied to a clump that rests on either side of their hips and for the women, a wrapper and a blouse accessorized with a headscarf. Some common practices also include the celebration of the popular new yam festival which like the name implies is a celebration of newly harvested yam,accompanied by palm wine and Eruru soup commonly known as vegetable soup across Nigeria.

The use of dance and traditional music and instruments for entertainment at social events and gatherings are very significant in the boki culture as they further emphasize the premium placed on their customs and practices.

Unfortunately for the people of Boki their culture has been marred by backward practice's especially in modern times such as female circumcision and forceful marriages, though one can argue it's their way of life and a system put in place by their ancestors.

History has shown as with every other community or settlement of people that the need for conflict almost seems inevitable as a means of asserting dominance or territory.

And Okundi is no different as they have experienced their fair share of misfortunes in times past and even in more recent times.

From the political unrest to intra-community cult clashes and farmland disputes which occured in 2010 claiming over 400 lives, 230 million naira worth of property damage and leaving approximately 6000 people affected. It's been a slow and steady effort by the Government to mitigate the effects of these wars, but it's safe to say the people of Okundi and Boki have experienced an increased sense of responsibility towards one another following these events.

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