Brief History Of Ete Ebira (Ebiraland)


Anebira Which Shortened name is Ebira, Means People From Ebira. Bira Was a Settlement located somewhere In Adamawa State. This Name was Adopted after there Migration from Bira to the Lower Benue Valley as a Mark Identity. According to the Tradition, the Ebira in this Period Formed part and A parcel of the Apa Group (The Jukun)  Who Founded the Kwararafa Confederacy Consisting of Pindinga, Kan and Kwararafa . This Was the time they were located in Bira, A name they came to be known and Identified by themselves, This was Around 14th Century.


They Later Migrated from Bira to Abinse in Benue State Down to Agatu Between the mid 14th and late 14th Centuries. Early AD 1500, They settled at Inoida (Idah) that is the stock that Ebira Tao belongs to. From there they Migrated to Upake (Opete) then to Uko-angwe Now known as OKENGWE, Where they now occupy. Other Biras migrated from Lower  Benue Valley to the Four Corners of the federation.

Ebira History has it that Ebiras are Ten in Number Supported by this Adage: “Ebira vi onya di yaa kaa oze ewu ni” Meaning that ebira is one and it is been Spoken in Ten Ways.

The Possible ten Ebiras Could be as Follows:

1.       Ebira Tao (Okene).

2.       Ebira Koto of Kogi state and Abaji Of Abuja.

3.       Ebira Etuno (Igarra) of Edo state.

4.       Ebira Toto of Nassarawa State.

5.       Ebira Lafia of Nassarawa  State.

6.       Ebira Idoma of Benue State.

7.       Ebira Mozum of Bassa in Kogi State.

8.       Ebira Opete (Eganyi) of Kogi State.

9.       Ebira of Jimet in Adamawa.

10.   Ebira Bida/Wushishi in Niger state etc.

Ebira Tao are Found majorly in the central part of Nigeria which are About 750,000 (1991 Census) in Population.


Ebira of Okene Settled in Kogi central or Kogi Central Senatorial  District. It shares a boundary with the Igalas at Itobe, on the Terminal South end of the Ajaokuta bridge in the eastern part of the state. On the north it shares a boundary with Lokoja of Kogi Local Government Area, on the West it Shares Boundary with the Aduge in the Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State, On the South with Okpella, Ososo, and Lampese, Imoga in Etsako Local Government Area of Edo State.


The Ebiras of Okene are properly placed in terms of Transportation and communication. There is an airstrip at Adogo in Ajaokuta Local government Area in the state, As a major Link between the Old North and South, There is a network of Roads that serves her. There is a federal Highway Linking Abuja to Lagos and Abuja to Benin that Passes through the nucleus of the land. The Ebira migrated to its Present Location on foot in the late A.D. 1700.


Mr. O.  Temple (1965) as described in his history of the Ebiras Stated that one section under the name of igara ( which is also the name of their town, has been joined to a group of Edo tribes nicknamed (KUKURUKU). The Headquarters of those in Bassa Province is at Gbede, Just South of the confluence of the Niger and Benue Rivers, Others penetrated up the Benue. Settling First north of Umaisha, Where they established supremacy over the Gwaris and Bassa, where a large branch descended to koton-karfe (Ebira Koto).

The Ebiras have the reputation of being energetic and intelligent. Their Skulls are broad across the forehead, but taper to the chin. They are light-complexioned, their lips are moderately full and their nose is. Jewish in Formation. They are well built and fairly tall. The Pure-breed Bira refuses to marry Bassa or slaves. They have no tribal marks but slightly widen the division between the two Upper teeth.


Hajia  Asimau (Alias Inya Ogodo of Jos (1996) That the mark the Ebiras of Kogi state has presently popularly Called Eleven (11) came to be in the 1930’s when the chief Alhaji Atta Ichogudo Ibrahim Alias (Aji Vaja Wuru) meaning  (omo aji ba oja owuro) Literally means the one that bought fresh products from early markets: Embraced Islam. The Islamic Teachers then were from Ilorin and his students from Ebira Copied the tribal mark of their Islamic teachers as a mark of belonging.

This time there were two types of tribal Marks the Ebiras Adopted. Eika and Adavi group Adopted the Yagba Style. Serrated marks on the Chick. While the Okengwe and Ihima have the Egwu Mark on the Side Chick that looks like their brothers from Borno State.

The Present mark is called Avuku (Abukun in Ilorin Yoruba) which in Yoruba of Ilorin meaning cut deep in the Face, Though all of these Marks are fading away, They are seldomly given to “Ozimasu” (literally means (Born Die) that is the Child that dies and comes back). This is given to them to prevent them from going back again according to the Ebira Fetish Belief.

Reflecting on the Place of Language in the Human Enterprise a renowned 20th Century Philosopher, Herbert  Spencer, once Declared that Language is not the invention of Yesterday; it is one of the most precious hair looms bestowed by the divinity at the Sophisticated medium of human communication. It is the principle Element of Cultural identity and the primary Instrument Possessed by human societies for the interpretation of reality. 

With the Advert of Modernity, Ebira Language like other Nigerian Language was supposed to have Continued to grow and expand in such a way as to be able to capture adequately the elements, concepts, and symbols of the new civilization. But that Unfortunately did not happen. 

Due to a deliberate attempt on the part of the colonizers from Britain, France, Belgium, and Portugal to destroy the Fundamental Basis of the people's identity in order to make their Exploitation easier and their Assimilation into these Conquering cultures more total, and due to what we may describe as culpable ignorance on the part of many early Missionaries of both the Islamic and Christian Stock, Who didn’t Encourage the Study of the people's languages, Ebira, Like most African Languages lost its Original Dynamism and Became fossilized as it were. 

That is why we have found it nearly impossible  to develop autochthonous words to capture such Symbols, Artifacts, and Feature of the New Civilization as Radio, Television, Motor Car, Tyre, Airplane, Electric Mail, and Today many Enlightened people do not even consider it necessary to make an Attempt.

Subscribe for our Newsletter

Back to top