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A Brief Profile Of The Igbo People Of Jamaica



Wah gwaan bredrin, everyting ire? Ever heard the word “red eboe” in Jamaica? Your suspicion is true. “Red eboe” was used to refer to the Igbo slaves in Jamaica because of their light skin.

Jamaica witnessed the influx of the Igbo race between 1790 and 1809, a time when the British had just passed the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act. The modern Igbo race dwelt in the Bight of Biafra in Nigeria. It was from here that the Igbos who were kidnapped and sold as slaves by the Europeans were taken to work on plantations.

While it is known that Virginia was the destination point of most slave ships from the Bight of Biafra, the majority of the slave ships from the Bight of Biafra that delivered the slaves to the Caribbean Islands landed in Jamaica.

Cane cutters in Jamaica. | Photo National Maritime Museum

— Cultural Influence —


Jamaica’s history cannot be discussed without mentioning the influence of the Igbos. The Igbos influenced the culture, music, the pouring of libation, the “eboe” style, idioms, language and way of life of the Jamaicans. While a large number of the Jamaican Patois is from the Akan language of modern-day Ghana, the Igbos, due to their inability to speak the language, the introduced some of their words which have now become infused into the Jamaican Patois. Some of these words include:

Unu – You people

Ima osu (Jamaica) Imu oso (Igbo) – to hiss by sucking your teeth

Akara (Jamaica) Akàrà (Igbo/Yoruba) – bean cake

Soso (Jamaica) Sọsọ (Igbo) – only

Their yam festival, the Jonkonnu (A masquerade festival attributed to Njoku Ji (yam -spirit cult), Okonko and Ekpe masquerades”, was arguably introduced by the Igbos. Most of the Igbo/Akan -concentrated areas are found in the northwestern and southern sections of Jamaica. Some of these are Maroon Village, formerly known as Cudjoe’s Town (Trelawny Town), Montego Bay and St. Ann’s Bay. In Maroon, there are some songs called “Ibo”. The Jamaicans are akin to the ways of the Igbos such that it is not uncommon to see Jamaicans watch Igbo Nollywood films.

The Igbos showed themselves to be an organised sect. This is evident in slave owner Matthew Lewis’s confession after he noted that there was a time he “went down to the negro-houses to hear the whole body of Eboes lodge a complaint against one of the book-keepers”.

— Exemplary Courage —

Out of these people came individuals who left a mark in that period. A popular example is the author Olaudah Equiano who was very instrumental in maintaining law and order among the Igbos in Jamaica during the 1776 Mosquito Shore Scheme. He is also regarded as being one of the campaigners of the abolition of slave trade.

Anaeso, later rechristened Archibald Monteith, is another example. He wrote a popular autobiography of his kidnap from his homeland to Jamaica where he was converted to Christianity. Also, one of Canadian journalist Malcolm Gladwell’s ancestors is of Igbo origin and gave rise to the mixed-race Ford family.

— Rebels —

Known for their pride, the Igbos are said to have unwritten rules that even the slave owners were made to abide by. This maintenance of “unwritten rules of the plantation” arguably gave rise to the Obeah magic (the use of a Dibia in ‘predicting the future and manufacturing charms’).

The Igbo slaves were also popular for committing suicide as they believed it would return their spirits back to their homeland. This suicide was what made most slave traders sceptical of having them as slaves.

When they could no longer bear the slavery, 250 Igbo men in Saint Elizabeth’s Parish conspired to kill every white man in the land in what is now known as the 1815 Igbo conspiracy. The following year, that is 1816, another revolt tagged the Black River rebellion plot was uncovered after a novelist Matthew Gregory “Monk” Lewis took a recording of their song:

Oh me good friend, Mr Wilberforce, make we free!
God Almighty thank ye! God Almighty thank ye!
God Almighty, make we free!
Buckra in this country no make we free:
What Negro for to do? What Negro for to do?
Take force by force! Take force by force!


To be sure! to be sure! to be sure!
These two events massively contributed to the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act.



1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Kelvin Agbogidi

    December 4, 2019 at 5:53 pm

    Quite educating

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Four Fulani Herdsmen Killed In Kogi Reprisal Attack



Youths from Oforachi community in Idah local government council of Kogi state allegedly killed four Fulani herdsmen and dumped their bodies in Ofu river following the killing of one Godwin Egbunu aged 65 years at his farm.

An eye witness who simply gives his name as Audu disclosed that the farmer was attacked last Friday by some Fulanis herdsmen who invaded his farmland, destroyed all the crops.

According to him, “The farmer went to the police station where two policemen were asked to follow the farmer to the said farm and on getting there, the suspected herdsmen attack the farmer again right in the presence of the policemen and killed him.

“The policemen said they could not stop the killing of the farmer because they were not armed. This angered the youths in the community who killed four Fulanis in retaliation.”

Audu, however, said members of the community no longer sleep but are keeping vigil to ensure Fulanis do not come and killed them at night in retaliation of their brothers that were killed by the youth.


“Kogi communities such as Ogbogbo, Odolu, Akpanya, that are close to Oforachi are now living in fear as a result of possible reprisal attack by the Fulani herdsmen.”

Kogi state has witnessed different attacks in respective communities in the last five years, with Tarawi and Oforachi been the latest.

Meanwhile, the Public Relations Officer of Kogi State Police Command, Mr Williams Anya in a press statement confirmed the incident to Vanguard on Monday.

According to him, “On the 18 of this month, at about 0700hrs, information was received from Oforachi that unknown persons suspected to be herdsmen killed one Godwin Egbunu aged 65 of same addressed at his farm and as a result angry youths from the village began attacking any Fulanis on sight.

“SUPOL stationed at Ajaka immediately mobilised his personnel to scene and rescussd two fulani men from the mob but seriously injured. The injured Fulani men were rushed to Idah hospital for treatment.

“Area Command Idah equally mobilized personnel from divisions under his command PMF SARS Operatives reinforced team on ground.

“Normalcy has been restored, they took the photographs of the corpse and was taken to the general hospital mortuary for autopsy as investigation continue”.

Anya also said One Mohammed Arade a Fulani man of Egabada village reported at the Ajaka police station that two of their men namely Abubakar Nahare aged 65 years, and Hassan Natunku aged 60 years were not seen since the incident happened.

“Immediately, a search party led by the Acting Area Commander Idah swung into action as the corpse of the two missing Fulani men were recovered from inside Ofu river at Oforachi with their hands tied into nine inches block.

“The photographs of the deceased was taken and their corpse was taken to the general hospital mortuary for autopsy as investigation continued.” Vanguard

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BREAKING: Another Petrol Tanker Explodes At Alaba



explosion in Maiduguri - Boko Haram

Barely 24hours after a pipeline explosion at Ekoro area, another fire incident has occurred in Lagos, at the Alaba area, when a fuel-ladden tanker on Monday exploded leaving property destroyed.

As at the time of filing this report, it could not be ascertained if lives were lost or if nobody sustain injuries in the incident which happened at the popular Alaba area of Lagos.

The extent of damage also couldn’t also be verified as efforts were ongoing to put out the fire.

Preliminary investigation revealed that a tanker conveying approximately 33,000 litres of diesel had fallen on the roadside spilling its contents before exploding.

As at press time, men of the Lagos State Fire Service, LASEMA, NEMA and other emergency responders are currently managing the scene of the explosion.


Confirming the explosion, the Directo-General of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr Femi Oke-Osanyintolu said the management of the disaster scene was seriously ongoing.

“Upon arrival of the LRT at the incident scene, it was observed that a tanker conveying approximately 33,000 litres of diesel had fallen to its side spilling its contents.

“The LRT and men of Lagos State Fire Services are carrying out suppression activities to mitigate/curtail the spread of the fire. Rescue/Recovery operations ongoing,” he said.

Osanyintolu appealed to members of the public to remain calm and observe the directives of LASTMA and other agencies on ground, adding that the situation would soon be brought under control.

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Orji Kalu’s Daughter Bags First Class In Law From UK University



Daughter of former Governor of Abia state Orji Uzor Kalu, Miss Ezinne Kalu has bagged a first-class honours degree from the University of Burkingham, UK.

The Spokesman of the House of Representatives, Hon. Benjamin Kalu spoke on Miss Ezinne Kalu academic excellence, stating that the Bende Federal Constituency is proud of her.

In a statement he issued on Sunday, Benjamin Kalu said Bende Constituency also felicitates with Ms. Kalu for winning the prize for the Best Performance in Family Law as well as the Roderick Wu Prize for Best Performance in Law of Evidence, noting that her remarkable academic feat follows that of her brother, Michael Kalu, who also graduated with a first-class honours degree in Law from Queen Mary University of London in the summer of July 2018.



According to Benjamin Kalu, “On behalf of the Constituency, the Office of Rep. Benjamin Okezie Kalu (MHR), is pleased to announce that Ms. Kalu will be honoured with a recognition and an award to be presented to her upon her return to Nigeria, for distinguishing herself academically and to serve as a motivation for other students from Bende to excel in their studies.”

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