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Kaninkon might be a more popular word. But ideally, the reference should be,-rather, must be, Ninkyob. Like most names of tribes in Kaduna state, Kaninkon is also an adulteration of the original tribal name ‘Ninkyob’. The word Kaninkon originated from the lips of the Hausa/Fulani Jihadist that frequently heard the words, ‘Kan Tee kom’- meaning, ‘Let Us Wage War’, from the lips of the Ninkyob people. Deductible then is the fact that the Ninkyob tribe were fundamentally Warriors. Historical Background of the Ninkyob Tribe The Ninkyob tribe occupies the areas near the South-West of the Kachichere Plateau, bordered by Oe’gworok (Kagoro) on the North-East, the Bajju on the North West, the Gwong (Kagoma) on the West, and Fantswan (Kafanchan) on the East.[1] Oral tradition states that the ancestors of the Ninkyob tribe migrated from Katsina-Ala in the present Benue state in search of Tin. They settled in ‘Godo-Godo’ and eventually, Northwards to Jema’a. Thus, they are presently predominantly located in Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna state, with a Benue-Congo; Plateau; Ninzic Linguistic classification.[2] Their ancestor known as ‘Gbogodou’ gave birth to a son, ‘Kyob’,- meaning ‘Wealth’, and then two more sons ‘Tuh-ran’ (Black) and  ‘N-gbe-cho’. Tuh-ran gave birth to Kyung Kporok (Bakin Kogi), Kyung Sasap (Gwoska), Kper (Amere), and Nga-chem (Gerti). N-gbe-cho gave birth to Nga-Kyob (Ungwar Baki), Gharaz (Ungwar Fari) and Kpan-kon (Anbam). Summarily then, the Nnkyob tribe has seven major villages namely; Anbam, Amere, Bakin Kogi, Gerti, Ungwar Baki, Ungwar Fari and Gwoska. Dressing and Appearance The traditional outfit of the Ninkyob differs amongst men and women. The married women wore a mushroom shaped ‘lumber ornament’ called a ‘Sha-gbe’. Other adornments include the ‘N-kok’, which is a stud or plug worn on the upper hips, and a head board or tray, decorated with a red ochre, referred to as “N’wheng”. The men wore a traditional garb of skin coverings on the loins. It is imperative to know however, that these modes of dressing have been hugely influenced and replaced by more western outfits and the native ‘Babn riga, kaftan and Hula’ of the general northern culture. The tribal marks are usually vertical scars on the cheek and fringe cuts along the jaw. Men have marks on their abdomen while women were marked on the chest, abdomen, hands and backs as decorations.[3] Marriage in Ninkyob Tribe Like most southern Kaduna tribes, marriage in the primary case could be by the engagement of a girl right from birth. In some case, the process commences when the girl is a few years old. Some of the requirements of the process includes:
  • Four Fowls for the girl’s Father.
  • An annual one day’s labour by the intended groom and his friends (or the cash equivalent) till the girl attains the age of marriage.
  • Cooked goat and beans, including four chickens to the girl’s father on the day of the marriage ceremony.
  • A cash payment (like 100 cowries or its equivalent) made to the girl’s Father, who share s it amongst his kinsmen.
  • On the fix date of the marriage, the ‘bridal capture’ is done by the groom’s friends. She is kept at his relatives till the marriage is finally consummated.
However, modernization has caused a replacement in some of these practices, especially with the impact of Christian missionaries in the Ninkyob communities. Arts, Crafts and Food Most Ninkyob women specialized in weaving coarse wicks into baskets and “N-seng”. The Men twined palm fibre as ropes and basket covers; they also carve wood into head boards, seats, spoons, bowls, pestle, mortar, drums, bows, arrows etc. The Ninkyob tribe are also heavily engaged in farming. Major cultivars include Hungary Rice (acha), which is known as ‘Kith’, Millet, which is known as ‘Ma’gweh, Sorghum, which is known as kp-woh, Kidney Beans (Waken Rumpa), which is known as, ‘Nseng’gyem. Other well prevalent dishes amongst the Ninkyob tribe includes the draw soup, karkashi (hausa), but natively called, Nin-man-toq, Okra, which is referred to as N’darn, and Tuwo, which is called by the native language, Ky-oh. Paramount Ruler The Paramount ruler of the Ninkyob people is referred to as the Tum Ninkyob, with the traditional stool located at Gharaz (Ungwan Fari). [1] Harold D. Gunn, Pagan People of Central Nigerian Area of Northern Nigeria, London: International African Institute Press, 1956. [2] Roger Blench, An Atlas of Nigerian Languages, 3rd ed. Cambridge; Kay Williamson Educational Foundation, 2012. [3] Meek Charles Kingsley, Tribal Studies in Northern Nigeria, London: K. Paul, trench, Trubner and co. Ltd. 1931.   Featured image source:

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This article was first published on 23rd 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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