UGEP: AWAY FROM POPULAR VIEW AND HISTORICAL BELIEVE, UGEP PEOPLE DON’T EAT HUMAN FLESH

UGEP: AWAY FROM POPULAR AND HISTORICAL BELEIVE, UGEP PEOPLE DON’T EAT HUMAN FLESH

Ugep In brief

Ugep as it is popularly known is one of the largest unit that constitute Yakurr and where referred to as the largest village in West Africa, its indigenes speaks the Lokaa Language which is the general language spoken in Yakurr.

Cultures and tradition is another interesting thing among the Ugep peoples of cross river state, they  are one of the most educated, enlightened; Liberated, egalitarian; industrious, resourceful; courageous, political conscious in the  State and they are blessed with brave men and women of substance in many sectors and also in the Nigerian political sector.

True story of  cannibalism in Ugep, cross river state

100 years after the colonization, such feral traditions are believed to still exist, albeit remotely in some communities. For instance, it is assumed that some communities allegedly indulge in eating the flesh of their own kind

A 78-year-old paramount ruler gave an insight into the cannibalism affair said that “the background to this eating of people (flesh) came from the area we were occupying before known as Agba which is very close to Calabar. All of us who now formed the bulk of Yakurr were living there.”

Te paramount ruler said while living peacefully together, we share a custom with those people (Agba) who also lived with us. Any time any of them (Agba) died they would call us as brothers living with them to go and help bury their dead. That was the old custom several years back. On the other hand, when any of us died we would also call them to come and reciprocate that gesture by helping us burying our dead.”

This traditional and custom was practiced for several years until the Agba people started suspecting something, “at a point they became suspicious that anytime they gave us their dead to bury, we did not bury them, we instead ate them, so they became  angry and drove us away from that land.

Further studies revealed that the Agba people chased them out of the village with their warriors and killing many people along the way through Calabar and inside the thick forest up to Edomi hills which was deserted then, up to the time the ugep people climbed the hill the enemies were still chasing them to a particular height then an old man amongst them call Edem Omilakpa then advised that if the enemies are allowed to climbed the hill and meet them, they will all be killed. Why don’t we therefore push some big stones down their direction so that it will kill them? So the ugep people all pushed the stones and killed some of them and the rest ran away, so God used the stones to save the people and this story made up (Ugep history).

After that episode, the people disintegrated and established the various towns that formed the current Yakurr Local Government, but the people of Ugep don’t just walk away from Agba, they left with cultural heritage such as the: New yam festival which is now one of the renowned festival in cross river state. And it was rebranded to international festival by Mr. Donald Duke the former Governor Cross River State in 2005.

The Ugep paramount ruler who is also a member of Cross Rivers State traditional council of chiefs, said that the accusation of cannibalism against them should not be treated in isolation as it had at one time or the other been a part of life of other communities, not only in the South but in the North as well, “in those days there were some villages that were very rough, I visited some of them. Some were accused of cannibalism but they denied such allegations.”

Even though the people had eaten (the flesh) of people in the olden days, it is now history, added that cannibalism amongst Ugep people is no longer feasible even if it had happened in the past, if as at now Ugep still eat human flesh, then our children who are scattered all over the north and even outside the country will also be eaten up as well.

According to the traditional ruler of the community, Obol Lopon of Ugep, Obol Ubi Ujong who is the paramount ruler of Yakurr Local Government that comprises the towns of Nko, Ikori, Mpani, Edomi, Agoyi Mpani, Agoyi Ikpo, old Asiga and new Asiga in Cross Rivers State, said in my 79years I  have not witnessed human flesh eating in this community it was actually done in the olden days, but as civilization came up we discovered that those things had stopped,  this allegation has also found expression in the minds of even the neighbors of the Ugep who have equally accused us of cannibalism,

Ugep people  enjoy the status of a local council in 1923 and today Ugep/Yakurr are very special, enviable with the total number of inhabitants estimated at 250,000 constituted by life and energy full men and women of excellent with an estimated land mass of thirty and a have square kilometers.

Ugep people are recognized at all time through some of their native food such as Ejakpo, Yedamblongh and Ebelebele among others.

(Ejakpo – smother part of cassava leaf.

Yedamblongh – eating of salad with mixed fresh palm oil with paper and kola

Ebelebele – eating of cassava when slice and cook and left till the nest day.)

Tourist Centres in Ugep/Yakurr are:

Ketabebe monolith Asa historical monument, Uleng and kiwel, Ekumini Del, Mma Itam Kema of Yatiyomoh, Ojokobi Deity and Ojonen.

INCONCLUSION:

Ugep people don’t eat human flesh, Ugep people are lovers of truth and transparency, hardworking; courageous, brave; resourceful, well-educated etc. their major source of livelihood is farming and seasonal fishing, the community is  accommodating  for all foreigners as they do not believe in discrimination and sentiment, they are peace loving people and there is always enough of food for all.

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