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A Profile of the Higi Ethnic Nationality

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A Profile of the Higi Ethnic Nationality

This is an ethnic nationality that is very industrious and very compatible with trade. They are popularly known as Michika, the name of their Local Government Area. They are littered all over Nigeria because the “Michika” would go anywhere, no matter how distant to look for money which they do through tea business, bakery, provisions, transportation and house helps.

     Although many people erroneously address them as “Michika,” their original name is Khakuma or Kapsiki. It may also interest you to know that they are officially known today as Higi and this ethnic group is a major ethnic group in Adamawa state of north-eastern Nigeria. The independence, industry and team spirit of the Higi have made them highly esteemed.

Origin of the word “Higi”

     The name Higi was given to the Khakuma (people of the hill) by the Marghi people and the word Higi means “Grasshopper.”The Marghi ethnic group gave this nomenclature to the Khakuma people because of the horrendous way and manner the Khakuma people descended on them from the mountain and conquered them. According to Kirk-Green, the Marghi people were invaded by the Khakuma race. In fact, the Khakuma people drove away from the Marghi people from the east to the western slope of the Mandara range. The term Higi which can also mean aboriginals was then labelled on the Khakuma people by the Marghi ethnic group and it has stuck to them ever since then.

 The Origin of the Higi Ethnic Nationality

     There are so many theories concerning the origin of the Higi race and most of them are contradictory. The most popular and widely accepted theory concerning the origin of the Higi ethnic group is the one that says that the ancestors of the Higi ethnic group were from the regions of Nubia and that they relocated to the regions of modern-day Chad because of insecurity. There are strong indications that the Higi people left the Nubia region because of inter-ethnic conflicts, and the fear of Arab slave raiders.

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     It was the constant attacks of the Mais[1] of the Kanem Empire that made the Higi ethnic group have a rethink. These attacks that were conducted by the Kanem Empire especially during the reign of Mai Idriss Alooma was not only carried out against the Higi ethnic group but also against ethnic groups like the Malgwa and Wandala. The fact that these ethnic groups were mostly not Muslims encouraged Mai Alooma to attack them so that he can take their territory and use them as slaves. As a result, the Higi ethnic group ancestors moved further to a safer place on the Mandara mountains. It was said that the ancestors of the Higi people set a Kingdom upon the mountains called the Sukur Kingdom. This then implies that the Higi ethnic group is an offshoot of the historical and now world-famous Sukur ethnic group.

     It was said that the paramount ruler of the Sukur Kingdom has so many sons and one of these sons was supposed to succeed him on the throne. Usually, it is the eldest son but a problem arose in the Kingdom when the subjects demanded that one of the last two songs of the ruler should rule them. This preference of the last two sons by the subjects angered the remaining brethren who then decided to conspire and murder their younger brothers. These two brothers, Jabani and Puthlumo, on hearing about the murderous plot of their brethren escaped unawares with their supporters to establish their dynasties over their people. These people were the first generation of the Higi ethnic group.

     The labour and childbirth of one of the wives of Puthlumo made Jabani leave him behind with some followers. It was agreed that tree leaves will be thrown on the ground to indicate the direction of the route taken by Jabani. So the brothers parted in peace in Kamale and it was unfortunate that Puthlumu could not locate Jabani and entourage. Puthlumu moved on and finally after tireless searching of his brother settled in Mukulo on the mountain overlooking present-day Ndakwa town while Jabani settled in Mukafachita.

     It was said that when the Higi people came to Mukulo under the leadership of Puthlumu, they met the Kilba people and the Kirya people but the arrival of the Higi compelled these two ethnic groups to relocate, thus the Kilba people are now in Hong while the Kiya people are in Betso. It was also within this period that the Marghi ethnic group was driven further away by the Higi people. The fact that the Kilba people and the Kirya people have their shrine and altar of traditional worship on the Mukulo mountain which they still retain up to date proofs that this assertion is correct. This is the reason why there are Higi people in Mdagali, Askira-Uba, Hong and Mubi LGA’s.

 The environment of the Higi Ethnic Nationality

     The local environment of the Higi people is located in Michika LGA which is located between the eastern boundary of Nigeria and the Republic of Cameroun. Michika LGA is about 80 km long and 32 km wide. It has the highest population in Adamawa state during the 1963 census and the town of Michika has 375,595 people in 1976. One cannot however give a correct estimate of the population of Michika because the whole issue is mired in controversy and political machinations. Iliya Yame Kwache, a Higi man wrote the following concerning the population of Michika when the disputed result of the last census was released:

The first documented census in the entity called Nigeria was conducted by the British in 1866. Subsequently, there were others censuses in 1871, 1896, 1901, 1911, 1921. All the above censuses were conducted in the Southern protectorate.

The first census that included the Northern Protectorate was conducted in 1952 and the population of the Kamwe people of Michika was estimated at 64,000. My source, ‘an atlas of Nigerian Languages by Roger Blench and published by Kay Willington Educational Foundation, page 59.’

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In the 1963 census, the Population of the Kamwe people of Michika rose to 170,000. In the 1973 census, the population rose to 180,000. That was the census conducted by the Gowon regime that was disputed.

In 1976, the population of the Kamwe people of Michika was estimated at 250,000. Source: “The peoples of Africa: an ethnohistorical dictionary” by James Stuart Olson, published in 1996 by Greenwood publishing group.

In the same vein, the population of the newly created Michika local government in 1976 was estimated at 375,596, this increase in the Kamwe people population I believe was due to the fact that the then Michika local government included Madagali local government. Source: The impact of Christian Missionary Activities on the people of Michika LGA of Gongola State 1940-1986.

According to the World Christian Encyclopedia published in 2000AD and edited by David Barrett etal, the population of the Kamwe people of Michika at that time was 327,538. IN all the above census fingers there has been a steady increase in the population of the Kamwe which naturally leads to an increase in the population of Michika local government.

Curiously while the 1991 disputed census decided to downsize and put the population of Michika local government at conservatively 200,000, the 2006 census on its part decided yet again to cut the population to 152,000! What is interesting about the population census is that all the censuses done by non-governmental independent organizations have seen steady growth in the population of Michika and particularly the Kamwe people. On the contrary, the censuses conducted by the Government bodies like the National Population Commission (NPC) has seen the population of Michika decline and dwindle from 170,000 in 1963 to a paltry 152,000 in 2006, a period of 43 long years. It is interesting to note in the same period, the population of some local governments who had far less population than Michika have been rising astronomically.

I need to put it on record here that Michika has been lucky that it has never recorded any serious catastrophic disaster that would have led to the decline of its population. Rather I have seen a steady rise in the number of other tribes like the Igbos, Yorubas, Hausa/Fulani, Margis, Kanuris and even foreigners who have found the peace-loving Kamwe people easy to co-habit with and troop to Michika to do their businesses without fear of any ethnoreligious crisis. This has been attested to by the article by one Sola Balogun titled “Michika, Home of Nyamiri Arewa” Daily Sun Newspaper Thursday, December 4, 2008.

During my over 40 years of living in Michika, I have seen Michika transformed from a small town that was in the early 1970s to a Major Town now such that all the Banks in Nigeria are struggling to outdo one another in opening a branch in Michika.

     Most of the HIgi people live at the foot and on top of the mountains. It was said that this settlement pattern was forced on the Higi people because of two sad events: the constant attacks of the Fulbe, and the looting and possible slavery by the Europeans. It is noteworthy to point out that there are still a lot of Higi people living on top of the mountains who had refused to come down. Their major reason for refusing to come down and settle on the plains was because the ancestral shrines are located on top of the mountains.

     The vegetation of the Higi environment is grassland with occasional sightings of wild game like gazelles, gorillas, and hyenas and so on. The Higi environment is part of the Guinea Savannah vegetation characterized by 40-50 of annual rainfall and an average temperature of 60f-70f annually. The year is divided into two seasons: the rainy and dry seasons. The rainy season usually starts in the month of May and ends in November but there are times where the rainy season had commenced in April.

Economic Life of the Higi People

      The Higi people are farmers and every Higi man or woman wants to own a farm even if he or she is not opportune to cultivate the soil him or herself in the village. Various crops like guinea corn, groundnuts, maize, millets, rice, and sesame are grown in abundance. While crops like guinea corn, millets, maize, cassava etc are grown as food crops, others, like groundnuts, rice, sesame, beans are mostly grown as cash crops. One thing to bear in mind is that no one crop was exclusively grown for either cash or food crop. Whenever there is an economic need, for example, tax, food crops like guinea corn could be sold when there is no cash crop to sell in order to pay the tax. Under normal circumstances, the Higi farmers rarely sell their guinea corn, maize or millet when there are some cash crops available.

     During the dry season, Higi people engage in activities like craftwork [pottery works, weaving, cotton spinning, and groundnut shelling and so on].

     There are dozens of Higin people, mostly men residing in places like Yola, Maiduguri, Kano, Abuja and Lagos who engage themselves in trade. One particular business that has been dominated by the Higi ethnic group in the northern parts of Nigeria is that of tea-making and bakery. Research has shown that eight out of every ten tea-makers or bakers are of Higi origins. They run the business in such a way that their monopoly is assured. The fact that every Higi young man, nowadays wants to go back to his village during the Christmas season to show his wealth and material possessions is perhaps one major reason why there is a mass exodus of Higi young men from Michika to other places.

     It is obvious that the emergence of people like Boni Haruna, Zira Miagadi and Buba Marwa had motivated a lot of Higi youths to seek for western education. There are numerous lawyers, medical doctors, educationalists, engineers and d bankers of Higi origins today.

     The self-reliance and resilience of the Higi people is a primary factor that propels them to be industrious and be self-employed. Because the Higi ethnic group is good at creating their own jobs, the level of poverty among the Higi people is generally low when compared to their neighbours.

Political Life of the Higi Ethnic Nationality

     The Higi ethnic nationality has their monarch in the town of Mukulo and according to Kirk-Greene, before the rise of the Fulbe Empire, the Yedzaram River hosted four different independent chiefdoms. They are that of Sukur, Mukulo, Mubi, and Hong.It implies that the Higi people have an organized society before the advent of colonialism. The chief of Mukulo is the paramount Higi ruler and succession to the throne is Adelphi call done. This means that power goes from chief to his brother, and not chief to his son as it is obtained in most societies.

     At the moment the Mukulo chiefdom is not autonomous as it used to be. It is now under the control of a District Head in Michika, a Fulbe who in turn is subject to the Emir of Mubi. Investigations have shown that there is general discontent among the Higi people because of the imposition of a Fulbe District Head over them, and this discontent is growing at an alarming rate. The Higi people are clamouring for a District Head or chief of Higi origins to oversee Michika LGA.

     When it comes to the issue of modern-day democracy, the Higi people are part and parcel of Adamawa state politics. The ethnic group had produced two civilian governors of Adamawa state: Alhaji Saleh Michika and Mr Boni Haruna. A former military administrator of Borno and Lagos state, Brig. Gen Buba Marwa, also of Higi extractions is also striving and strategizing to become the next governor of Adamawa state in 2012. Although the fact that Gen. Marwa had decided to seek votes under the platform of a political party[CPC] that is unpopular among the Higi because they see Islam and Fulbe domination might work against him. The Higi people are always skeptical of politicians of Fulbe origins and the Islamic faith. As earlier mentioned, this was because of what the Higi ethnic nationality suffered under the Fulbe.

     Research has shown that most Higi people belong to a political party and since Michika LGA has the highest number of people in the state, the goal of Adamawa politicians is to see that they capture the votes of Michika LGA so as to ensure victory.

Religious Life of the Higi people

     The Higi ethnic group practised a form of traditional faith known to them as mirie. This form of traditional religion is gradually becoming outdated in Higi societies although there are strong indications that it is still practised on top of the mountains and in some remote places near Mukulo.

Research has shown that Islam came to the Higi people before Christianity but the number of Higi Muslims is very dismal and in most cases, the few Higi people that are Muslims were formally animists or Christians who converted to Islam. It has been discovered that Higi ladies easily convert to Islam than men. The ladies do so because of marriage. Whenever a Higi man converted to another religion, especially Islam, he is seen as a betrayer, a collaborator with the enemy. The undemocratic approach of issues and hatred of non-Muslims by the Fulbes were the major reason why the Higi people rejected Islam in the 18th century.     Christianity came to Higi land somewhere around 1945-1950 and the simplicity of the Christian missionaries made the Higi people embrace the religion. Investigations has shown that the Higi and Igbo ethnic nationalities have similar religious views with regards to religious conversions.

Characteristics of the Higi people

  • They hardly live in isolation from their clan people.
  • Most Higi people communicate with one another strictly in their language.
  • All Higi men want to own a business: provisions, tea-shop, bakery etc.
  • The Higi are mostly dark in complexion and average in height.

Society of the Higi People

     The Higi people are said to have lived in an organized society right from Mukulo where they had their ruling dynasty. The Higi people have a very strong presence in all most all the major cities and towns of Nigeria. It is however in Michika LGA that one can see a considerable number of the Higi ethnic group. In fact, the Higi ethnic group is the dominant ethnic group in Michika LGA. Thus the reason why the Higi ethnic group is synonymous with the nomenclature Michika.

Research has shown that there is a mass exodus of Higi males from Michika LGA to other places in order to search for greener pastures and this exodus is increasing at an alarming rate. Most of these men who live in their area to another place are married but they do not go with their wives and children. This implies that there is a high number of the old, women and children but a very minute proportion of young men in Michika LGA. The only exception is during the Christmas and New Year seasons. At this time every member of the Higi ethnic group wants to be in Michika for re-union, festivities and extravagant display of wealth. It has been observed that it is always at this time that young girls get impregnated.

     Despite the fact that the Higi young men are living in faraway places from home, they always try to keep in touch with each other every Sunday since most of them do not work or do business on Sundays. So at such a time they would congregate and discuss in the Higi language.

Family Life among the Higi People

     The Higi people marry very early. Most young men marry below the age of 25 and the ladies below the age of 20. Until the advent and embracing of Christianity, polygamy was prevalent among the Higi people. This was because polygamy gives a man dignity in the community and access to manpower to cultivate his farm. This implies that it will be unbecoming of a married woman not to give birth to children. Adultery is frowned upon but there is a high rate of pre-marital sex among the youths.

When a young man wants to get married to a lady he loves, the young man will, first of all, discuss with his family before presenting himself to the girl’s parents. If the parents consented he will produce items like salt, kola nuts, soap, goat and clothing as engagement material. These items will be taken to the bride’s parents by his representatives. He may pay the dowry if he has the means otherwise he can delay it until after the wedding ceremony. It is interesting to note that the wedding ceremony and festivity of the Higi people is always an avenue to get capital to start or expand the business. It is expedient that one’s friends and relations contribute and donate handsomely during the festivity because the celebrant will also pay back when their turn comes. It is normally after this ceremony that the young man pays the dowry. But the young man normally takes the girl to his house after he has produced the aforementioned items.

     The implication is that Higi people prefer to do traditional marriage and solemnize it in the church after a year or so, usually in April or December. Monogamy is the most preferable marriage system and divorce is rare.

     One particularly interesting aspect of the Higi traditional wedding is the Gagurah dance. It is a very lively and interesting display of body movements and musical prowess.

Most women own a farm or engage in farming activities on their husband’s farms. They cultivate guinea-corn, maize, groundnuts, sesame and beans. Foodstuff is cheap and affordable in Michika because of the abundant supply.

     In the olden days, a ritual known as kwazemeye which means taking a new woman into a new house of your own is observed. It is normally done in the month of September and October. This ritual is for young men. That of the ladies is known as ndihee and it is being symbolized by marks made on their faces and around their abdomen. Elderly women instructed them on womanhood and the maintenance of the home. It is a long and elaborate body of ritual acts which included putting marks on the body, singing, dancing and handling separate emblems.

Common traditional wear among the Higi People

MALE DRESSING

Twuea: This is a traditional wear for only men among the Higi people. It is made from goat and sheep skin which they use during the occasion, Church, Market and other special places of visit.

While for home activities they always use tree leaves to cover their body at home.

WOMEN DRESSING

Women use tree leaves at home to cover their bodies during their home activities.

Tsahe’ Dzari: This is the traditional wear for women. During this period girls will be tying Dzari for ritual dance which usually came in a competition.

Weaving: is another occupation of the Higi using locally produced handlooms. It is said that the art of weaving began at Nkafamiya. Before then, clothes were made from animals skin (KAVBE) softened with mahogany oil (Enue).

Women wore Dzari, which is made of animal skin and covering from the waist to the knees. The Dzari wear consists of Guri, Dzari and Dza that is shown below:

Beliefs of the Higi People

  • The Higi people detest and loath blacksmiths.
  • The Higi believe that death is not the end of life but rather the end of one phase of life and the beginning of another.
  • The Higi believe that the dead normally comes back to life during the ndzhehue festival to fraternize with his people.
  • All men and women of Higi believe in the power of trade to lift them out of poverty.
  • Kamwe people believe in the existence of Hyalatemwe Thlamda. Ordinarily, Hyala refers to anything invisible and believed to possess divine power.
  • Religion is the strongest element in the Kamwe traditional background that exerts the greatest influence upon the living and thinking of Kamwe. They were no founders, reformers, missionaries etc. This was because there was no stipulated dogma or theology that an individual or a group were expected to follow or accept as a rule of law. They were no sacred writings, but the norms enshrined were easily remembered and passed to other generations through stories, songs and other means available. There were taken up with little modifications suitable to the historical situation, context, environment, events and needs.
  • The Supreme Being is viewed as too powerful to contact directly. So there was a high belief in intermediary beings. These beings are the gods represented by any phenomena or object such as rocks, snakes, trees, the sound of thunder, lightning, sun, moon, stars etc. there was a god for every event. There was a god of childbirth and good health, rain, planting, harvest etc. Any act of sacrifice was believed to be charged with magical power. Thus, the god of rain was held responsible for any drought condition.

The Ndzehehue Festival of the Higi Ethnic Nationality

     Standard Higi tradition does not allow the king of the Higi nation to eat the produce of the new harvest. The king has to wait until the time of the ndzhehue festival to taste the ground nuts, maize, roots, and vegetables and so on. It is only at the beginning that the ndzehehue is celebrated and it was at this time that an initiated member of the society will cook a mixture of the farm produce inside a single clay pot for the king to eat at the ancestral shrine. The chief of Mele and the chief of Reghe would be the first people to visit the shrine where the new harvest would be eaten. The traditional alcoholic drink would also be prepared and served at the shrine. The chief of Reghe who is the king of the blacksmiths would lead the procession to the shrine.

     The Higi people believe that the partition between the material and spiritual is removed at such a time and that there is harmony between the living and the dead at the time of the ndzehehue festival. The practice of divination to see and understand the past, present and future is also done at the time.

     It is good to note that the ndzehehue festival is strictly reserved for the initiated members of the society among the Higi nation. It means that the fact that one is of Higi extraction is not enough for him or her to participate in the ndzehehue festival. The person must also be an initiated member.

Initiation Rites

     Man can ontologically and socially be defined as a life –force in vital relationship with other life forces in the universe and with reference to his positions in the different groups to which he belongs. As he grows biologically, and assumes more responsibilities, this transaction or change from one state of being to the other whether it be ontological, biological or social is accompanied by a set of rituals that have come to be called “Life Crisis Rituals” or “Rites of Passage.”This opinion is further corroborated by Van Gennep where he asserted that “the universe itself is governed by a periodicity which has repercussions on human life, with stages and transitions, movements’ forwards, and periods of relative inactivity. We should therefore include among ceremonies of human passage those rites occasioned by celestial changes, such as the change over from month to  month, from season to season, and from year to year.” Rites of passage include rituals to mark the transition into different places of human life such as birth, social puberty, marriage, fatherhood, advancement to a higher social class, occupational specialization and death(Mijah 2008).

     Almost every African tribe has its initiation ceremony. This is a period when one either boy or girl is said to be matured enough to join the group of elders. This is a time, when, as observed by some African societies, a child is said to have washed his hands and is considered worthy to sit and to eat with elders. During that period, the initiated goes through enough physical, emotional and psychological changes, which transform him from childhood to adolescence, and adulthood. Initiation is one major factor that distinguishes the Higi Mukulo from Higi Nkafa. It is called “Zhieta“. 

     This is peculiar to Bazza, Vii and Zah areas, among the Higi Nkafa according to an Oral source, Zhieta is not a prerequisite for marriage unlike the Higi of Bazza and the other areas mentioned. This initiation has three major stages, as stated by Arnold Van Gennep. (1863-1937) in his book “The Right of Passage.” He asserts that all human cultures have groups of rituals that dramatise or mark the passage or transition of individuals from one status to another. He goes on to suggest that all these rituals pass through three (3) ritual phases. 

  1. The rites of separation
  1. Rites of transition
  1. Rites of incorporation

     Among the Higi, first, the Zhieta where boys of approximately the same age, probably 17-18 years are brought together in a kind of seclusion, placed under the care of an elderly man chosen by them as their Godfather. they stayed in his custody for the period of three or four days during which they were educated in rights and obligations, which equip them to live now as, full members of the society. They also underwent physical training to overcome difficulties and pain and to cultivate courage, endurance, perseverance and obedience. Calabashes were provided for themselves, for the collection of gifts such as guinea corn, which they used in preparing food for them while going through the initiation. During this period, the boys went out at intervals for a systematic dance at sacred places.

The zhieta initiation ceremony

During the “Zhieta” initiation ceremony, only goat meat and beniseed “Murhi” were served as food and honey juice was allowed for drinking and bathing. Each person had his intended bride beside him who will be cleaning his shoes and sweat. At the end of the fourth day, they went back to their various houses where they have happily received them. This marked the rites of separation.

     After the Zhieta came the “Mputa” which means trying animals skin as a lion. This dance around the tribal sacred places reached its climax with the “Kluttu” which was yearly done. The head of the traditional ruler would be barbed; usually, he was not allowed to eat a new harvest before the “Zhehu” feast. Here the king blessed the boys and threw sand on them in three different directions. Thus, the initiated boys holding irons and thorns in their hands ran helter-skelter each towards his house while people kept throwing stones and sand randomly at them. That marked the end of the initiation (Zhieta and Mputta ceremony). That is the rite of transition.

     The final stage, which according to Gennep is the rite of incorporation i.e the post luminal phase. This was “Kwazemeya” which meant taking a new woman into a new house of your own. This explicitly means marriage. Thus initiation was the gateway to marriage among the traditional Higis as in other African societies. In traditional Higi society, the initiated boys became autonomous. This used to be done between September and October or the beginning of new harvests.

     That of the girls is called “Ndihee“. This was symbolized by marks made on their faces and around their abdomen. Elderly women instructed them on womanhood and the maintenance of the house. The “Ndihee” of the Higi is usually described either as puberty for the girls or as a female initiation ceremony. It was a long and elaborate body of ritual acts, which included putting marks on the body, singing, dancing endurance and handling separate emblems. It was a ceremony that precedes marriage. It celebrated the attainment of sex maturity and the visible possibility of marriage, nubile fertility and motherhood tended to be the focus of the right passage. The “Ndihee” was an individual Nobility right organized for each girl or two or three girls together, proceeded by a short puberty ceremony, proper showing her the face of womanhood following the first menstrual period.

     After the first menstrual period, the Ndihee i.e marks would be put on the girl’s forehead. The following year other marks would be put on both cheeks. After another year they marked the left side of the abdomen. Another year they will mark the right side of the abdomen. The ” Ndihee” of the face and abdomen were usually done proceeding marriage. During this period the girls would be tying “Dzari” (Traditional wears for women) for ritual dance which usually came in a competition. At this period, the girls would build something that served as a chair in their rooms “Duh’glu” for their male visitors and friends. They usually had a girl attached to them “M’mechichi” that would be helping them as they termed the period as painful and a period they need to be cared for.

     The “Ndihee” reflected the anxiety of parents and relations as to whether the candidates are really groomed up or socially fit for married life as well as their recognition of the society that a chain of status had occurred. The initiated girls also learnt the secrets of marriage. ” Ndihee” ceremony taught not the technical activities of the wife mother and housewife, but its socially approved attitudes towards them. The girl (status acquisition) acquired new relationships through the “Ndihee” ceremony and submitted themselves to new authorities.

     After these stages, the next “Ndihee” would be given in the husband house. The mark would be put on their hands immediately after marriage, which normally took place in October and November. The final stage, of “Ndihee” the one at the back would be done during the corn harvest. That marked the last stage of a girl’s initiation rite. The ceremony was the first of the series of rites that marked the gradual consolidation of marriage relationships. It underlined the need for noble family heritage, eulogies motherhood whiles underplaying its hardship.

Funeral in Higi land

     Like any other person, the Higi man accepts death as a necessary end. However, for them, death is not the end of life. It is rather the end of one phase of life and the beginning of another. Many of Higi funeral songs describe death as going home. A befitting burial is expected to be given to any Higi man/woman at death. A burial, which includes mourning and dancing, is only accorded to those who have been initiated. At one’s death, the casket is washed, dressed and placed in an armchair. Professional mourners sing or chant the praises of the deceased. Drumming also takes place. Image-making like “Thuvuu” was usually displayed.

    This goes on for about three-four days, but for a king, it takes seven days. Meanwhile, the grave is digged either by the sons of the daughter of the deceased or the blacksmiths ‘Reghe‘. On the day of the burial, the blacksmiths will carry the corpse on their shoulders dancing around with it amidst drumming, singing and dancing crowd. Then, it would be laid to rest. In the case of a king, sound signals like “Ldubori” and Ngwe’ ” were used to call the attention of the people living in the community. The king was buried standing, and no sand was thrown on him except charcoal. The blacksmiths (Reghe) usually were given a goat for the work they do, this is called “Ihefanah“.

Dzirre: This type of dance takes place during the burial ceremony.

Misrepresentation of the Higi Ethnic Nationality

Most people identify the Higi people as Michika. This is wrong because their proper appellation is Higi.

Some people consider the Higi people as less educated. This is not true because there are so many Higi intellectuals.

Because the few Higi people that could not further their education engage in menial tasks like tea making, shoe repairs, selling of eggs and cigarettes, house-helps and so on, some people tend to look down on the Higi as an ethnic group that is less indignity. On the contrary, this development has come into existence because the Higi people are industrious and not lazy. They would rather do any menial job than beg.

Reference

Mijah, S.E(2000)The Mbula ofNorth- Eastern Nigeria.Jos University Press. Jos

Meek, C.K (1931) Tribal Studies in Northern Nigeria Vol.1.Kegan Paul. London.

Burdon, J.A (1909)Northern Nigeria: HistoricalNotes on certain Emirates and Tribes. London

Hastings, J(ED.)(1912)Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics. T and T Clark. Edinburgh

Population Census In Nigeria, The Case Of Michika Adamawa State

Iliya Yame Kwache http://www.gamji.com/article8000/NEWS8535.htm


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