June, 1963.

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Okenwa Olisah
(The S t r o n ~Man Of The Pen)



Barrister Chukwnno Metub

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Foreword Preface Title Taking Or 'Ichi-Ozo' M~rriage Funeral Ceremony Wrestling Worshipping of "God" The Toad & the Tcrtoise War Song An Ibo wifo Birth Ceremony Popular Ibo names An Apology The towns in Ibo Man and woman Abornindons Capital Thefts HOWto Address Ibos Ibo market days How Natives prices articles Salutation Sieniflcaocz of the Kola Nuts shing Ibo Feasts Devolution of a deceased's property

There has been many books written on various aspects of life in Nigeria embracing in particular, the social life of the people. Admitedly these books may have dealt with the law and custom of some of the tribes. However, none has been written to deal exclusively with the Ibo native law and custom. It could b e argued that 'cOMENUKO" did go a long way in thls branch of study. Nevertheless, as its title suggesrs, "OMENUKO" is not a book that deals specif~cally with i b o natlve law and custom. I n this booklet, the author has attempted to provide the general reader with facts which are common to all Ibos. I t is not an overstatement to say that there are as many customs and laws as there are iowns. The author has very carefully avoided confining himself to dealing with the laws and customs s f any particular town; lest the town be taken as ,repres'enling the rest of Ibo towns. Thus, this booklet does not in the least pretend to be an exhaustive catalogue of all that one could look for in the cus;oms and laws of the Ibos. There is every likelihood that the g:neral reader who is not an lbo will have a reasonably good general information of the nature of the laws and customs of this dynamic tribe.


[KENGA GAMBERS, 73 Venn Road Sauth,
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With greatest respect,, I humbly have the greatest pleasure to produce this little informative work captioned "THE IBO NATIVE LAW A N D CUSTOM". I trust that i t will give you vast knowledge or idea about the Ibo native laws and customs which are unprecedented throughout the world. However, the Ibo Christains are doing away with some native laws and customs which are considered inconsistent with the life of a Christian. Biit Ibo pagans observe the native laws and customs in full swing. You may agree with me that an Author who wrote this type of book must have taken mnch tronble. I visited many elders, natural rulers, councilors and other classes of people and held interviews with them. I obtained interesting informations and facts from them. The names of some ceremonies and their performances could differ within the Ibo towns but this makes n a much difference since all Ibo towns d o not speak one type of Ibo yet they are all Ibos and understand one another easily without an interpreter. I have done every t h i ~ g possible to avoid false informations or embarrassing ones. I hope that students doing Ibo in the General Certificate of Education Examination, or West Africa School Certificate Examination, will be helped by this book very much. 11 issimple to be read and to follow. I am indeed very grateful to a number of friends especially to Chukwuno Metuh. fcr all the immense help and careful correction of the manuscript Constructive criticisms welcomed. OKENWA OLISAH, Strong Man of The Pen).

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Title Taking Or "Ichi Ozo"
The ceremony of the title takinp; cdlled <Icbi Ozo" is every where in Ibo larld very grand and interesting to wateh. A poor man cannut perform this ceremony in view of the considerable amount c f expenses involved. Certain "Ozo" takes up to £500 to perform. In fact, it takes money. The Ozo has grades, the first class takes more money and n o r e materials to perform. An 'Ozo' title holder shall have his 'Ozo' nameThis name is t o mean something, sod he is to be saluted w ~ t h this name. Before he is t o qualify t o take the title, he must satisfy all traditions and customs connected with it without the slightest irregularities. Some people perform 'IGBU ICHI' ceremony before taking the 'Ozo' title, but some people d o not. This is how to perform the "IGBU 1CHI": "IGBU ICHI" - TRISAL M A R K S : A native doctor will be calied by ihe ma0 preparing to take the "Ozo" title to come and inflict tribal marks on the face of the fellow. On the arrival of the native doctor, he gives the fellow the tribal marks. This is always very servere to bear and in view of this, there is always a tendo ency i get a few strong men to hold the man by the hands and legs to enable the nativ- doctor carry on his d u t y without any disturbances. Although the fellow is not forced to perform the 'IGIRU ICHI' yet owing to the grevious pain that is U B I I ~ I I Y encouniered, the fellow would disturb the native doctor's duty, w~thout a few sirong men holding him fastly.
Another Light Method Of Performing *Igbu Ichi':


view of this fact that

"Ichi Ichi"



much pain, it has been lessened traditionally. Under this state, a small mark is to be given on the forehead just to symbolise the I'lgbu Ichi". You might have seen men with the main tribal marks-the 'lchi'. When the wound of the main tribal marks heals, it appears on the face very well. Some Ozo title holders cannot drink anything in a function with a general cup. They put their attending any private eups in their bags when occasion. An 'Ozo' title holder cannot under any haste take his breakfast without praperly washing his hands. He who possesses 'Ozo' title of the first class usually has a major share whenever an animal is slaughtered. An Ozo title holder shall be in his 'Ozo' mood when attending a customary furlction. He is not to forget putting on his cap with an eagle feather. He is also to hold with him his elephant tusk called 'Oduenyi'. This is to be bluwed whenever necessary. He ir to blow it when getting near to the place of the fi~nction. On hls returning, be is also to blow the tusk for his household to know that he is returning. THE DAY OF YCHI OZO" OR TITLE TAKING: When the day of the '1c::i Ozo' comes, many "Ozo" title men will attend. Elders and many people will also come for the ceremony. The man who is going to take the "Ozo" title will send invitations to important personalities. Thts ceremony is to take plaoe in his house. His appearance* that day will be in accordance with the custam. He is to provide food and wine in great quantity. Donations will be made. Native drummers will supply music. The occasion will be grand. After the ceremony in his house which has made him an 'Om' titled man, he has t o visit

the native markets on their respective daqs. He will go in the company of some people for the ceremony. By this time he is rejoicing for he has become an 'Ozo' title holder which costs fabulous money to perform. This last ceremony is called "Izu Ahia Ozo". He is to take donation.. in the markets. Traditional drummers will best aod he will blow his tusk. This man has cOzo' title. He appears like a certain man who slaughtrred three huge cows during his ceremony of he 'Ozo' title tukinz. This man is attending a function. He holds with him: tusk, bag contarning a native cup for wine drinking.

In accordance with the Ibo native law and custom, a girl shall marry a man before she gets a child. Likewise a man, is to marry before he gets a child. However, if a girl in Ibo land happens t o be pregnant without the actual marriage, she must not marry again, until the child is del~vered. Then after the delivery of the child, she can marry a man. However, the issue delivered by such a girl will be owned by the girl's father :2nd not by the man who was responsible for the pregnancy. T h e man has no claims t o the child inasmuch as he paid no bride price on the girl prior t o the . pregnancy. If the child delivered happens t o be a female give the girl's the Ibo native Law and &tom dad the fullest authority and right t o give the female away in marriage, and the money realised is the bonafide claim. But if the child delivered is a male, it will answer its mother's father's name.
Under nomal circumstances, if such a girl who has once delivered, wishes to marry, her bride price is usually low inasmuch as a child has gone away from her womb. Apart from the above condition, the first normal thing to be done when a man wishes to marry a girl is that he will make an approach to the girl's parents with about two gallons of native wiue in the company of two of his relatives and a middle man. On this people's arrival, the girl's father will call about three of his relatives. The visiting party wdl be acoordingly welcomed, and there will be a presentation of kola nuts which will be broken first and taken before the intending husband and his party will say what they come for or present their wines.

It is the assignment of the middle m m (intermediary) to declare the marriage talks' open after they have presented the wine they came with. T h e h e n d i n g husband is not to say anything at-all during the negotia~ion. H e will give instructions t o the middle man and to other members of his party who will be talking on his behalf. After the middle man has spokehout whatthey come for, he would be supported by another member of his company. The service of the wine will be in operation after presentation.



The visiting party having said the object of their coming, the girl's father if he knows that her daughter has , matured to marry, he would tell the visitors to go and come back to enable him to cross-examine his daughter on major issues.

Another reason is to conduct an investigation and find out waat type of person the intending': husband and his entire family are. If this investigat6n fails to favour the intending husband or that the girl tells her father that she does not like the man, message will be sent to the intending husband to hold on coming again until further notice. This is an . . indirect system of saying No. On the other hand if the girl 'and her parent6 are interested, there would be no fwllstop to the man's repetition.


SECOND VISIT: On the second approach of the intending husband he would increase the quantity of wine and the number of his company. But before this second call, a message must be sent t o the father of the girl to stay in and again, there is usually food entertainment to the visiting party in this second approach. When the visiting people arrive, they will be welcomed and kola nuts presented t o them. After taking the kola nurs, the visiting party would present their wine. While the service of the wine is in operation, the visiting'vparty through the middle man will renew the object of their coming. However, the service of the wine would be interupted sometimes during the marriage talks.
The father of the girl is to call out the girl in this second approach as she is no: t o come out to the place of this her marriage talks without invitation. She is to consent or refuse it in this way: A cup of wine would be handed over to her to drink. If she drinks some and gives the remaining t o the intending husband, it automatically means that she has agreed with the man t o marry her; but if she fails t o give the man this remaning wine, the marriage talks will wound u p at that moment. Tbe intending husband will go with his company. All wines spent will not be recovered under the native law and custom.

Tbere is another method of finding out whether or not a girl likes t o marry a man. This custom is not every where in Ibo land but some apply it. Here comes the questions put by the middle man

QUESTIONS FROM THE MIDDLE MAN TO THE G I R L AND ANSWERS:(I) Middle man: Are you willing t o be the wife of t h ~ man? s The girl: Yes.

(2) Middle man: Are you ready t o render bim serv. ices both during the time of poverty, illness and happiness?
The girl:

I am ready.

Middle man: In case, he happens to be annoyed and gives you beatings, would you bear that? The girl:

I will bear that.


Middle man: Will you love another man instead of this man? The girl: I will not.

At this juncture the girl will move away while the intending husband would also be cross-examined. Middle man: D o you like t o marry this girl? Intending husband: Yea. Middle man: Will you be ready t o brush her up and make her to shine like other girls? Intending man: I will d o that. Middle man: In case this girl happens to be ill, will you care for her med~callyaud morally? Intending man: Yes, I will care for her. Middle man: If this girl happens to act foolishly and stupidly, can you bear that? Intending man; I can bear that.

At this stage, the spokesman of the visitors would ask the girl's party to tell them how much they would accept as bride price in respect of the girl. Following this the father of the girl is to speak out. If the amount he said favoured thevisitors, they are to agree. Then that day's event would come to the end after the entertainment of the visitors by the girl's motber. Entertainment being over, the visiting party would go and the next meeting is to be scheduled indefinitely. During the departure of the girl% intending husband on this second visit, the girl would be instructed by her father to follow the intending husband and inspect the place where she is to marry. This is always done so that the girl could understand the physical features, history and conditions of the place where she is to marry, before the bride price is to be paid if the girl likes the place. Admittedly, the girl at that stage may not sleep with the man, instead she would be sleeping with the man's sister until about four native's weeks which is approximately 16 days. During her stay there, she is t o be perfarming domestic services and show her manners. On the other hand, the intending husband during the temporary stay of they girl with him, has to examine the general manners and behaviours of the girl. If the man is not satisfied by the girl, the talks about the marriage will be abandoned, even if the girl approves of the place of the fiance. But if fortunately, both parties have nothing to complain against each other, then, t h e talk about the marriage will have the cause to cantinue. Another visit will be made by the intending hnsband. It will be the third call and obviously the last.


On her going home, the intending husband is to give her one gallon of wine which she would give her father. When she arrives her father would have private consultations with her. Mainly, she would be asked whether she likes t o live there. If the answer is "YES" the talks would continue, but, if it happens to be "NO" the man would be told not t o come again. And the wine which he spent would not be recovered. T h e third visit which is regarded as final is to be attended by the people of each party. But before that, message is t o be sent through the middle man by the visiting party, to the girl's father. T h e message is to be filled with relevant informations, narratmg the exact date of the visitors' attendance, the number of people to attend, and lastly the accurate period of the visitors' arrlval there. On the specifled day, the party is to make a third approach, purposely t o pay the bride price and take the girl home finally. Having arrived, and the oecasiou havlng opened, there would be a native blessing to be given by the eldest man from the girl's side with "OFO" (the symbol of divine power). In his blessing, he would ask the Almighty God t o bless them all and make their gathering a successful one. This being over, the eldest man from the vis~tors' side would perform his own blessing. During the time of each " O F 0 blessing, each person is t o break Kola nuts which would be distributed to the people present. At the end of the event, the bride price is to be brought out by the intending husband and handed over t o the middle man' The middle man having counted it properly 1s to hand the money over to the girl's father, who in turn is to give it to a careful young man for further re-checking. At the close of the rechecking, the man would say how much he saw. If, there is an agreement as t o the oorrectness

of the bride price, the bride price is t o be taken by the girl's father. Lastly, the visitors are to be entertained. But, during the proecess of the whole talks. distribution of the wine remains in operation and earh is allowed t o drink t o his or her satisfaction. Moreover, after the food entertainment, and usual native salutations, the party would go, then the girl is henceforth called the person's wife. When following the man the girl is t o take her dress, but not property, unless she..likes t o take them. MIDDLE MAN :The Middle man has several assignments in marriage. He is the person who is to find the girl for the man, and again, find the men for the girl. I n shcrt, he belongs to no party. If dispute happens to arise between the pnrties, he is the person to settle such a dispute and bring them together again. In most cases, thia middle man will be paid some commission by the girl's father for having found someone who married his daughter and at the same time comroissioned by the married man for having got a wife for him. On the cmtrary, to be a middle man is not all that simple and safe, because any trouble that comes out would involve him.

It is noteworthy that bride price is not only the money one has to pay. There are some monetery presents one would give to certain relatives of one's father-inlaw. In some places, certain money :alltd "Ego Umuokorobis" (Young men's money), or "Ego Umuagboghobia" (Young women's money), must be paid. One's mother or father-inlaw has no share in this money. There are other type# of gifts which marriage demands. NATIVE MARITAL SEPARATION:- A man or a eirl can get a separation from his or her wif


or husband. For example, if a girl is maltreated, she may return to her father's compound. The man, in turn, is t o visit his father with about two grllons of wine in the company of his relatives including the middle man. On their arrival, the dispute is to be settled, and he goes back with her amicably. Rut, if the wife is severely maltreated and the father or the stepfather is very much annoyed, the settlement may not be effected that first day. The huslband has to repeat his visit with wine, until all is settled. Not only that, if the two parties could not settle such dispute, and if the girl refuses to follow the man, that is a native marital separation and the girl's bride price must be refunded t o the mau. In some cases, the bride price may not be refunded until the girl gets married to another individual. But, if the bride price had not been refunded to the separated husband and the girl happens to be pregnant, the issue delivered is t o beloag t o the man The Ibo custom allowes a man to marry as mally wives as he wishes. It is certainly known that the Ibo native marriage is good hence the advantages

are obvious.

PLEASE NOTE:- In some rare cases, if a man fails to get a male child, he may not give one of his danghters out in marriage. Certain customary performances are to be carried out and the girl would continue t o live with her fa~her. If this is done, any child deltvered by her is to belong t o the father. When the father dies, the daughter will own all the father's property.

There is a period in Ibo land when if a heathen dies his death will not be proclaimed and no type of funeral ceremonies will take place. If a married man with issue dies his family will not cry as the death has not been made publicTand above all, there is a customary bad situation Lwhioh does not allow the announcement of the death. The situation based onfcustom, [tradition, and' paganism is regarded as dangerous to any funeral ceremony, and whenever it is in existence all deatha by that time will be regarded as unfortuuate ones. As 1 have earlier said, nothing will be done with regard to burial ceremony. However, those died in this time will be buried secretly without any ceremony. Only inlaws and few immediate friends are to come and withness the secret burial. Members 3 of the public who hear of the deaths, j must not go to sympathize. When the situation ceases to exist, the natives would resume the funeral ceremonies of their dead ones. Let us assume that Mr. "Nnake" died two months ago, on a bad period and the bad period gives up today, his family announcement of the desth would say that the death occurred on such and such day. And that day they would start to cry and mourn the death of the fellow, who has died quite a long time ago on such day. This is ' i n accordance with custom and tradition. The policy of weeping by the breaved and the relatives of the deceased is common throughout the Ibo land. This indicates sorrJw.

During the first stage of the funeral ceremony in a free period, there is usually gun shots in the air. Native dancers and masquerades will attend. If it is the funeral ceremony of an "Ozo" title holder other title holders will atrend and have some assignments with regard t o the performance of certain ritss. The blowing of the elephant tusk called "Odoen$ will be in operation at intervals by them during the funeral. A man will be engaged to be beating the tomtom eallcd "EKWE" which carries some meanings. The breaved familly, is t o provide wlne. This is to be served indiscriminately. However, there to will be a private entertainment of ~ i n e strangers and certain people. If the dead fellow was blessed with daughters,

his iolaws would attend the occasion with cows,
clolhe and wines in the oompany of native dancers. Sonaeclothes brought at burial ceremony by inlaws and affectionate friends are put in thd burial box (coffin), but should there be much congestion in the coffin, a small piece of each cloth wdl be torn out and put into the coffin. Before a person is buried he is t o be well dre ssed, some people use t o wash the deceased. And no dead man will1 be buried with the coffin already used as some other tribes do.

THE SECOND BURIAL: The first funeral ceremony is not the end of the burial ceremony of the deceased. The second which 1s the final shall be performed. This usually tak5s some years af:er the first burial ceremony, and it is believed to be spiritually more powerful. The f ~ r i n g of guns usually start in the night of the following morning that any funeral ceremony will take place

HOW T O MOURN: When. a father dies, h ~ s wives, sons, daughters, close relatives and immediate friends are, to mourn for the death. T h e widows ara to mourn more than others. Their bair are to be shaved off completely. They are t o put on pure black clothes and cover their heads with the same kind of pure black headtie. They are not t o attend any public function or market until about a period of one year or two years. The children of the person and his close relatives and very intimate friends usually put on light black clothes. The duration of their mourning is to be shorter than that of the widows. When a wife dies, her husband is to mourn for her for shorter period. He has to shave off all the hair on his head and put on black cloths, but he could attend market and public occasion within three months. However a wife o r a husband could mourn beyond the normal period; that dc pending on the nature of love the living has for the dead.

PLEASE NOTE: A person who committed suicide
or killed by smallpox or leprosy, is not openly mourned for in many Ibo towns. No type of burial ceremony will ever be performed.

This Man Beats the Tamtam (Ekwe) At A funeral Ceremony.
Some specialists in tomtom beating use to charge the breaved family money for t h i s job. Tomtom is an important thing in Ibo land.

Wrestling is the most popular sport in Ibo land, and it is always very interesting to watch than any other sport. A wrestler must be clever. strong and experienced in order to be a champion.

At some wrestling competitions, native music is supplied as this inspires power in a wrestler. A wrestler who defeats his rival is carried shoulder high. In the olden days, a stranger passing through certain Jbo towns to his destioatien, would be stoped by some group of youths for wreatling. An Ibo man prefers to show you that he is more powerful than you through wrestling instead of fighting.

These Strong Men Are Wrestling. One would defeat the other, but at times when both wrestlers are equally experienced and energetic, there will be no winning, and it becomes draw.

THE. WORSHIPPI.NG.OF "GOD" BY 'PAGA.NS' . . .... ' O ' ' WORSHIPPING:- There are so many gods GDS inthe Ibo .land, both .male a n d female. If a pagan', Eipp,p-n<to be ill and fears' that a certain god is troubling him, he could meet a soothsayer (fortuns t&Ile~] an&seek his advice. If the soothsayer tells him to offer sacrifices to the god, the fellow would me6f::th.e god:s priest and dnrs so through his, &ssisifahce.~'Iiisome part of lbo land, this is called ''lchu,. Aja". In some cases ihe situation may not, warrantithe calling. of..the god's prizst's . attention. Then, in such circumstance, the offerer could do it by himself.
HOW TO QUALIFY AS A 'GOD'S PRIEST:- A pagan is to be a god's priest through certain rotates qualification. At times it rotates. If it to that fellow's turn, he would bo installed. "GOD'S DWELLING PLACEm:- dwelling place of A god is usually in a bush.' It is assumed that he is not to live with human beings especially in the night. Even the god's priest is not customarily allowed to sleep there overnight. 'ITU NZU3':- During the god's worshipping, this is done according to the title the perscn holds "Itu Nzu" means the use of native chalk in the god's worshipping. Under this custom, ~ a t i v chalk is e to be ground and kept at the ' entrance of the god's door. Then, if a visitor comes there he is to use the ground chalk and make some marks on the ground. A person who holds the biggest title makes more marks. None title holders usually makes their own marks according to their ages.

HOW "GOD" TAKES FOOD OR MEAT:- If a fowl or any other thing is lifted up to the god, it is assumed that the god being a spirit has taken it. The blood of the thing is to be stained on the god's image. If it were food, it should be dropped before that god's idol. RESPECT TO "GOD":- Respect is always given t o the god by heathens. Nobody is allowed by custom to urinate or drop excreter in the god's bush. If someone dies, and his relatives fear that the deceaaed had been killed by a certain god, because of the offence the deceased commited they shall be afraid of retaining his property. Following on this, they shall invite the god's pr~est come and remove the dead to person's property. If this invitation is sent, the god's priest is to come and the whole property will be removed to the god's dwelling place.. The god's priest is forbidden from eating certain things that he likes to eat, because of the god he serves. He also is forbidden from drinking certain drinks for the sake of that god. Again, if a god's priest suspects someone of commiting certain native crimes, he shall not respond to any salutation given to him by such a fellow. For instance, he shall not reply to a salutation given to him by a thief who has not performed "Ikpu Ala" (cleansing himself) which is done with sheep and other materials. PREGNANCY & DELIVERY:- Oftenly, when a woman pagan finds her pregnancy very difficult or impossible after taken various medicines, #he goes 10 a "Juju" or god and promises that if it helps her to pregnant and deliver safely that she! will give it something. Usually i t is a goat. Again, when a woman pagan is delivering regularlyuandgthe children die regularly; she fears that a certain god might have been causing it.


If she mcets a soothsagcr and he confirms her suspicion that a certain god is causing the death ef her cl~ildreu, she 'has to do sacrifice -.. to the god so that tbk god may stop killing her

"Juju" priest in shrine. Me prepares to slaughter A fowl for his god.

Tbere are many interesting stories told in Ibo land. Tortoise is the most popular creature mentioned in the stories. The tortoise is regarded as very cunning and wise. Native stories are usually told in the night when people relax i n the moonlight. Here icl one example of the native stories.

The Toad And The Tortoise
Once upon a time, there lived a toad for whom tortoise was nursing a baby. When the toad was going to Eke market, it brought out for the tortoise some quantlty of water to give t o its child whenever it was thirsty. The toad warned the tortoise not to make use of any water that was inside tbe pot. If this was done, the warning further said. the tortoise must go and fetch water from a river called "Okpataowagu" whose water is not fetchable on the Eke market day. When the toad's child became thirsty, the tornursing the child, gave it the water which was brought out by its master - the toad. But when the child f~nishad the water brought out by toad. it was not satisfied, it began to cry for more water. Then the tortoise on the strength of the persistent demand for more water from the child, went and opened the pot it was warned not to touch, and took more water. When the toad returned from the market it went straight t o the pot and saw that the tortoise tampered with the water therein. When it questioned tortoise in this respect, it replied that due to the further demand made by the child, it (the tortoise) had no otber alternative than t o go to the pot and got mow water for the child.


The toad was highly annoyed. It firstly resorted to cane, and after wiping tortoise, i t ordered it (the tortoise) to go and fetch water from the "OKPATAOWAGU" river whose water was not fetchable on the Eke market day, that this inc~dent happened. The tortoise had to take up a pot aud proceeded t o the "OKPATAOWAGU" river. On the way, it met a big snake and narrated the whole incident to the big snake. It told the big nake that the water that it was going to fetch was forbidden to be fetched on that Eke market day. But its master the toad wanted to penalize it too severely. I t further told the big snake that when it pleaded to the toad for it ( the tortoise) to fetch other water like Eze. Owelle. it refused bluntly. The big snake which was one of the owners of the "OKPATAOWAGU" water strictly not allowed to be fetched on the Eke day, then sympathized with the t o r t ~ i s eand allowed it to pass But the big snake would have killed the tortoise if not because of the heartrendering inadent.


The tortoise passed and after some poles it met a tiger, and narrated the whole incident to the tiger which would have kilied the tortoise if not the punishment by the toad. The tiger allowed it to pass. The tortoise again met an old woman and the same thing happened. However, the tortoise was terrified f i r ~ of all by the old woman, the big t snake and the tiger. When the tortoise landed t o the "OKPATAOWAGU" river the river took an offence and started t o jump up and down and the tortoise was all this time ilnarrating the whole incident which led t o its coming to the river on th-, Eke. The river cooled

down and divided into two. The tortoise went inside and fetched water. When the tortoise returned home with the water, the toad was greatly surprised and called the attention of its 'co-wife' slying that tortoise fetched the "Okpataowagu" water wh~ch was not fetchable on the Eke day. The toad then proceeded t o go and get its own 'Okpataowagu' river on the strength that the tortoise went and returned safely. When the toad was going, it met the same big snake on the way, and ordered the big snake to give it chance to pass. The big snake gave it chance with annoyance. The same thing happened when it met the tiger and the old woman. When it came to the river the "Okpa~aawagu" was offended and it was jumping up and down. Tbc toad started to abuse the river, and asked the river whether it was eleeping when tortoise came and fetched its water. The river then divided into two and when the toad entered in order t o fetch it, the river covered it up. And that is the reason why the road lives in water. And the lesson o f this st2ry is that it is bad to be bad, and g ~ o d be good. to WAR SONG 'Enyimba-enyi': is the most popular war song in Ibo land. Whenever this is sung, breach of the peace may take place, if there is no precautionary measure taken by the police. However, the Ibo man is not easily provoked. He has respect for law and order. AN 180 WIFE When a wife uses abusive words against the husband, or refuses to give him chop, members of tbe family will be called, and after a trial and the wife is guilty, a fine of one fowl or a goat as the case may be, would imposed on the wife.

When an Ibo woman delivers a child, relatives, frierds, well-wishers and neighbours will come and rejoice. The father of the child will provide Kola nut, wine and Cigarette. Presents and donations are usually made. An lbo child must have a native name. Many people will suggest the name to be given to the child but the father of the child will finally determine the name to be given to the child. When a child is b o r n the father of the child will despatch message to his mother-inlaw who should c o m e with some quantity of nice fish. She will spend about two weeks. When the time of her departure comes ':he father of the child will purchase a reasonable cloth for his mother.in-law. Besides, the man shall also give her some money in the neighbourhood of two pounds (£2) or even more according t o the financial capacity of someone. This is Ibo custom.



These names are popular in Ibo land : Okeke, Okonkwo, Okoli, Nwafor, Nweke, Obi, Okereke, lfeanyi, Mgbafor, Nwugoye, Nwugonkwo, Okechukwu, Okpara, Ngozi, Nwangbake, N~aohukwu, Obiageli, Ifeoma, etc. These names are common names in ibo land.

Tbe Ibo man believes that an apology should be tendered when one finds himself on a wrong side. In Ibo land, on apology bears more weight when it is m d e along with koia nuts. When you offend an Ibo man and go to apologise with kola nuts, he will take you very seriously. It indicates that you hold the person at a high esteem, and that you feel your mistake or offence greatly.

These are some of the towns that consist. the Ibo nation: Orlu. Owerri, Amaigbo, (Dick Tiger's town) : Nkwerre, Oraifite, Okija, Nnewi, Abatate, Amichi, Ufuma, Ndizuogu, Ihiala, Umuahia, Oba, Ojoto, Umuchu, Obosi, Ogbunike, Orsu, Awka-Etiti, Awka, Nibo, Udi, Awgu, Ogidi, Osurnenyi, Ihembosi, Ezinifite, Ukpor, Osumuoghu, Ozubulu, Mbanesi, Lilu, Ngwa, Oraukwu, Igbo-Ukwu, Nnobi, Umunya, Awkuzu, Nkpor, Un~uoji,bnubi, Abagana, Owerrinta, Ngbidi, Ichi. Akokwa, Urualla, Azia, Nnokwa, Okigwi, Nsukka, Nise, Nachi, Ugwuoba, Achi, town of Chief B. C. Okwu, East Minister of Health); Makku, Akpo, Abriba, Item, Agulu, Nawfia, Ekwulobia, Mberi, Aguata, Achina, and so many other towns you may have not heard of. T h e list uf the remaining towns continues in the next edition of this book. Each and every one'of the towns mentioned above, have the activities and qualities for which they are respected.

[n xome towns a man and a woman cannot shake hands. They could only embrace each other. Anotber thing forbidden in most towns, is brothers shak~ng hands; or for one to shake hands with a relative.

A number of crimes are called "ALU" (Abomination) in Ibo laud For instance, a man must never have :I sexual intercourse with his sister or a relative. But if this ugly thing happens to occur, an "ALU" ha: been committed by the man. In view of this, natives will no longer regard the person as a genuine citizen.

They may boycott visiting him or accepting his own visit, pending his "IKPU ALU" pdomance. He has to perform "IKPU ALU" as this means cleansing himself. Sheep is the principal material for this IKPU ALU.

In some Ibo towns thefts like stealing yam, fowl, and kola nut ou its tree are capital offences carrying "IKPU ALU" penalty, because it is an abomination. In this case, the theft of goat carries less gravity than that of fowl theft, in accordance with a particular native law and custom.

"IGBO KWENU": When you wish to deliver a speech to an Ibo crowd, they may not be moved by your speech until you apply this phrase "IGBOKWENU". The translation of this "lgbo kwenu" into English is difficult. I t may mean "IGBO RESPOND" o r "IGBO AGREE". In fact, I have no specific translation for it. What I know about the phrase i s that it is peculiar to "lboism" and usually makes the Ibo listeners to have interest or likeness in a speaker. And this is a sufficient explanation to the phrase.


Furthermore, when addressing the Ibo audience, be sure that you have a truth to tell them. Half truth or lies or distortion of facts will b t discovered by them. Many of them sre very sensible and wise. Avoid any sort of impres~ion capable of constituling arrogance. The Ibo listeners acccrd publ~cspeakers warm welcome and support provided that such rpeakers or orators can say out the truth.

The following are the Ibo market days: Nkwo, Eke, Oye and Afor. Some of the popular Ibo names are taken from these Ibo market days. For example :
( 1) Nkwo: Nwankwo (a female born on Nkwo market day); Nwanyinkwo (a male born on the Nkwo market day).

(2) Eke: Nweke ( a male born on the Eke market day); Nwanyieke (a female born on the Eks market day).
(3) Oye: Nwoye ( a male born on Oye market day): Nwugoye (a female born on the Oye market day
(4) Afor: Nwafor (a male born on Afor market day); Nwanyiafor or Nwugoafor (a female born on Afor market day. And so on and so forth.

The week of the natives with particular reference t o the heathens is four days called "IZUOKKE" in many towns. From this Nkwo to the next one week". From this Eke to the next
is "One

Eke is

"One "One is one

week". From this Oye t o the next one is week", and from this Afor to next Afor week.




You may be surprised when you travel down to some Ibo rural areas and see how market goes on. If you yourself come with some commodities to sell, the native who will offer to bay one or them, will first offer very high price. Then if you are a fresher or having got no knowredge of their market prices, you become too happy and a8k the one to bring money. When you tell the one to pay, he or she will then reduce his offer considerably on the first price he or she offered. The reduction of this price would continue until the purchaser is satisfitd. T h e difference between this type of marketing in some rural areas and in the townships is obvious. In the townships, a buyer offers a low or normal price first and when the seller refuses to sell a t the price offcred, the buyer may increase money But in the rural areas, a buyer offers a bigb price first which he or she knows is too ml~ch and' which he or she cannot pay for.

In Ibo land there are native salutations particulary used by heathens. Foreign salutations like Good mowing, Good day and Good evening are unpopular to the pagans. The native salutations carry more respect and honour more than the foreign salutations. In some towns in Onitsha Division, they salute .'O-M' to an adult male and "OMO-0" to an adult female.

Some towns-in :Orlu Division salute "Do-o Nna" to an adult .male and "Do-o Nne" t o an adult female and some other have theirs of which I need not mention.

Kolo nut is the most popular present in lbo land. When! you visit an Ibo man, the firs: thing he would present to you 1s kola nut before any other thing. The kola nut has no good taste and does not refresh the body yet it is very highly regarded by an 1bo man. ln most native occasions, the presentation of the kola nut is compulsory. And it7;usually invites argument as to who is to break it. If it is not well shared, it ciuses some trouble. There is something called "IGO OJI". That is the person breaking the kola nut will have to say something very vital to life and humqnitv. I t is a !sort of prayer. When be holds the kola nut, he will ask God to bless "Each and every one! of us". He wdl request long life, happiness and prosperity for every body I n Ibo land when you visit a person, immediately he brings out a kola nut. there is nothing t o be discussed again unless it is broken. This is to be taken first before wine.

The breaking of Kola nut is done by the in eldest man in an ~ccasion,: some Ibo towns, on the other $,hand, this is stnctly done by the youngest, in some towns,

When ao edible is shared, the eldeqt man will take first. Coming to work or a labour when this is shared, the youngest will first take the lighter one to do. Thi. is a popular Ibo custom.

It is a custom to conduct festivals througbout the native years. Some festivals are held to mark the begining of the cultivation, while some are held to mark the end of the cultivation. Not only that, festivals are held to mark the starting o f t h e native year and its ending.

NEW YAM FESTIVAL: The new yam festival is held during the time of harvesting new yam.
SPECIAL GIRLS' FESTIVAL: Pagan girls 'have their own festivals. They celebrate them for their god. They dance and praise the god. Generally, the Ibo festivals are featured by traditional dances and masquerades OF various types, excepting the ones conducted by girls themselves.

DEVOLUTION OF A DECEASED'S PROPERTY It is a custom that when a person for instance a father dies, his property will be divided by his sons. The first bo1.n son called "Diokpala" or 'Okpala' will have 50 percent. For example, if a polygamist married four wives, and each wife has a son, the division will run thuo : the first born if theyk want to share L100 (hundred pounds) will be entitled to fifty pounds (ESO), then the next son in age from another mother side will be entitled to twenty-five pounds (L25) and the remaining twenty-five pounds (L25) will be divided by the two remaining sons coming out from respective mother sides. The "Senior" will have two thirds share and the younger one will have one third. But if a fatber made a native WILL, the division of his property cannot take place again.

I t is bow a property is divided, that a work or expences will be divided. The firat born son will undertake fifty (50) percent of the labour and cxpences in thc~ family, and so on and so forth.
About daughters they have something to share but usually it is minor things like cocoyam. The sons will divide the major property like buiidings, motor cars and money. In case of a man who has no son, his wife whom he married under the native law and custom cannot retain the property of h e r husband, the immediate brother of the dead man will be the right person to own all the property. The immediate brother can also re-marry the widow. In some places, a widow is re-married by the son of her husband or tho brother ss the case may be.

In some places. the ceremony is performed in this way: The intending husband will lift up a matchet and give to the widow, if she accepts the matchet the marriage bas started. However, the new husband has to go to the people of the lady or woman and pay a meagre amount s as bride price with some wine. If this 1 not done, and the lady or the woman :happens to deliver a child, the child will never &t?long to the new husband. The child will be for the previous husband.

mind that the payment of the little amount and the wine involved cannot be compared in any way with the original bnde price. Re-marriage of a widow does not cost much in the family. Take note that. n wihw, cannot be compelled to consent to re-marriage. It is her right to say yes or no, not by rncuth but by her husband or custom. . I n case where a widow refuses to agree
to a re-marriage to the son of

It must be born in

immediat. brother, she could stay without any husband and any issue d:!ivered would bzloug to the dead

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