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The Jukun tribe are found both in Nigeria and the North Western parts of Cameroon. Specifically, they are found in Wukari and Gassol Local Government Areas of Taraba state; Lafia and Awe Local Government Areas of Nassarawa state; Shendam and Langtang South Local Government Areas of Plateau state; Guma Local Government Area of Benue state. They are also found in some parts of Adamawa and Gombe states of Nigeia. Background of the Jukun People Regarded as descendants of the people of Kwararafa, the Kwararafa is a state, regarded as existent in Western Africa from the 14th through the 18th centuries. it is argued that most of the tribes in North Central Nigeria trace their origin to the Jukun people, and are related in one way or the other to the Jukuns.[1] At the basest, the Jukuns are divided into two major groups namely: the Jukun Wanu and the Jukun Wapa. The Jukun Wanu are predominantly fishermen residing along the banks of the river Benue and Niger, where they run through Taraba, Benue and Nassarawa states. The Jukun Wapa are predominantly farmers, found in the Plateau axis. In other words, the economy of the Jukun people revolves greatly around the fishing and farming activities. This is very predictable because of its proximity with the Benue River; which sevres both as a water body for fishing, and for irrigation. It is also noteworthy that the Jukun tribe, though a peace-loving people,[2] are also an unrelenting group of warriors. The Traditional Structure of the Jukun People The Traditional structure of the Jukun people comprises of a complex system of offices, with both political and religious aspects; the priesthood practiced and involved form of religion marked by diurnal and annual rounds of ritual and sacrifice. The central traditional head of the Jukun people is referred to as the Aku Uka of Wukari.[3] Until his becoming a member of the Northern Nigeria’s house of chiefs in 1947, the Aku Uka was a typical example of a semi-divine priest-king.[4] Summarily then, the Jukun society is governed by a Monarchical system. The main center of the Jukun people is called the Wukari Federation. Some Interesting Facts about the Jukun People The Jukun people use dance as Therapy or for ritual purposes. (This is also common with a few other tribal groups). Amongst the Jukuns however, there is an organization called the The Ajun, whose Elders deal with hysterical disorders in women by exorcising evil spirits in initiation ceremonies. During a three-month period in the house-shrine, the sufferer is taught songs and dances that have a therapeutic function culminating in a ceremony in which the initiate d publicly joins the members of the Ajun-kpa society to perform the Ajun-Kpa dance. [1] http://www.en.m.wikipedia.rg/wiki/jukun_people_(west_africa) accessed 10/01/2019 [2] accessed 10/01/2019 [3] Abimbola O. Adesoji and Akin Alao. Indigeneship and Citizenship in Nigeria: Myth and AReality. Obafemi Awolowo University. Pdf. Accessed 10/01/2019 [4]  accessed 10/01/2019 Featured image source:

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This article was first published on 29th January 2019


Jeremiah is a scholar and a poet. He has a keen eye for studying the world and is passionate about people. He tweets at @jeremiahaluwong.

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