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The Ebiras have their presence in about eight states in the whole federation of Nigeria. However, the largest Ebira group is known as Ebira Tao.

The Ebira tribe is ‘headquartered’ in Kogi

Although there are several groups and clans of the Ebira tribe, they have their ‘headquarters’ in the central Senatorial District of Kogi State, Nigeria. The 2006 census stated that the population of the Ebiras was 884,396. The other Ebira groups are Ebira Oje/Toto found in Nassarawa, Ebira Etuno found in Edo State, Ebira Agatu found in Benue State, Ebira Oloko found in Osun, Oyo, Ondo states; Ebira Koto and Ebira Mozum found in Kogi State.

The Ebira tribe has been in existence for over 300 years

The history of the Ebiras can be traced to several decades ago, precisely in 1680 AD, when they migrated out of Wukari – a confederation of Kwararafa, which is the north of Benue River and the present-day Taraba State – due to a chieftaincy dispute. When they were leaving, they took an ‘Apete’ stool with them – their symbol of authority and identity – and settled at Ebira Opete, in the present-day Ajaokuta. Itaazi, their founder, had five sons and one daughter who went on to settle in different locations and founded new districts in those locations. Among those groups are Okehi, Okengwe, Ihima, Eyika, and Adavi.

The meaning of the name

The name of the tribe itself, ‘Ebira’, means ‘behaviour’. Their main profession is farming.

Mercy Johnson Okojie

Mercy Johnson Okojie, the popular and talented actress is a native of the Ebira tribe; Ebira Okenne precisely.


Their favourite food is called ‘Apapa’, a meal that looks like ‘moi moi’. However, it is prepared differently.

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This article was first published on 19th April 2018

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