About the Igbo's

The Igbos, also refered as Ibos, are a West African ethnic group. As one of the largest ethnic group in Africa, they are estimated to be about 43 – 46 Million.

They occupy the major part of eastern region in the current geographical Map of Nigeria.

It is bounded in the South of Atlantic Ocean very close to the centre of the world near Greenwich Meridian or latitude 5 and 7 degrees north and latitude 6 and 8 degrees east. They occupy a continuous stretch of territory of about 25,500 Square kilometres. This area is divided by the Niger River into two unequal sections. The eastern region (which is the largest) and the Midwestern region. The West of Igbo land is bounded by the Urobo people and the Benin, while the Igalas, Idomas and Tiv are the Northern borders.

The Efik and Ibibio people occupy the eastern boundaries of Igboland.

Igboland is surrounded with the River Benue in the North, the River Niger in the West, the cross River in the East, and the Atlantic Ocean in the South.

They predominantly occupy six states out of 36 current states of Nigeria-Abia, Anambra.

Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Rivers.

They are also found in another 7 states of Nigeria: Akwa Ibon, Benue, cross River, Delta, Bayelsa and Kogi states.



There is no general agreement among scholars as to the origin of the Igbo. This has always been a Subject of speculation. Most anthropological, ethnological, historical writting are oral legacies. They based their explanations as per the Origin and ancestors of the Igbo's on two Fundaments.

1) The core Igbo area

2) The Migrants

This core area namely Owerri, Orlu and Okigwe forms both, and the people in this area have no tradition of coming from anywhere else.

Another school of though identifies Igbo's from the general area of Onitsha, including Ika Igbos, with Benin ancestry. However some prominent Onitsha indigenes and historians rejected this view, tracing their ancestry instead to Igala people of middle belt of Nigeria. Yet some traced Igbos to the Ogoja and Ekoi people northwest of Igboland. Migration from this area in the recent past tended to be in all directions, and in this way, the Igbo culture gradually become homogenized. There are notes, that waves of immigrant communities from north and west positioned themselves on the border of this core area as early as the ninth century.

In addition to this pattern of migration into this core area, other people also entered the Igbo territory in about fourteenth or fifteenth centuries.

Among those believed to be Igbo immigrants are so-called Igbo Jews, some believe they descended from North Africa or Egyptian Hebraic and later Israelite migrations into west Africa. In addition, some believe that they are descendants of jews who had migrated to Western Africa over many centuries into Sub- Sahara, as well as West across North Africa, possibly following the path of the Arab conquests. Some Nigerian Jews hold that families amongst the community are descendants of Kohanim and Levites, the Jewish priests and their assistants who functioned in the temple of Jerusalem. Fact is that Jewish tribes settled in West Africa during the days of the Songhai, Mali and Ghana empires.

Some Historians claim such Igbo heritage and noted that the Igbos of Arochukwu might have associated with, but not descended from Jews, taking into consideration the similarities between their cultural practises.

Pre-colonial political Organization and Social system in Igbo land.

Pre-colonial Igbo political Organization was based on communities, ruled by kings or governing chiefs. With had kings called Obis, and places like Nri, Arochukwu, Nkwere-echi which had priest kings known as Ezes, most Igbo village governments were ruled solely by an assembly of elders. While the monarchies (kings) are being inherited in some communities it is rotational among the villages or kings men.

The Igbos have a calendar in which a week has four days, a month consists of seven weeks, and thirteen months make a year.

In the last month, an extra day is added. This calendar is still being used in villages and towns to determine the market days. Igbos have also mathematics called Okwe and Mkpisi and a savings and loans bank system called "Isusu" and "Mbibi".

The highest instant of settling matters are by oath-taking to a God "Chi". If the person dies within a specified period of time, he was guilty. That person could face exile or servitude to a deity.

Besides, the Igbos have a judicial structure, where matters are judged within the family, clans, village assembly or by the king and his chiefs.