An Insight On The Gbagyi People: Real Owners Of Abuja - Culture -
Do you know that the Gbagyi People were the original owners of Abuja? Have you read about them before? Do you know that their land was reclaimed from them to form the seat of power? I know you don’t. This article will unveil all you need to know about the Gbagyi People.
The Gbagyi people were the original settlers of Abuja before it became the federal capital territory. After reading this write up, you will understand some of the things you never knew about this tribe.
Trouble started for the Gbagyi people in 1976. The then military government saw the need to find a location in the geographical center of the country where Nigerians could unite under.
However, the original idea was to look for a ‘no-man’s land’ in the geographical center of the country that no one could lay claim to. This was how the 8000 Square Kilometers of land upon which the FCT stood.
This land that houses the Presidential Villa, National Assembly, Federal Government Parastatals, Institutions, Suburban neighborhood and mall was somebody’s land. The Gbagyi people.
Painfully, the military government hurriedly forced them out of their land so that they can construct the new capital. As a matter of fact, the government underestimated the Gbagyi people living in the territory as they continue with their plan.
Although the government had plans to compensate them. But the plans lack proper implementation. Some displaced families were given housing, but others lived in transit camp for a long time.
Till date, the ethnic group still feel that federal government shortchanged them and deprived them of their lands and heritage.
Well, in this article, you will see all you need to know about the Gbagyi people.
Gbagyi are peace loving people whose major occupations are agricultural and artistic works. Also, they are Nupoid speaking people who live in the North Central Geographical zone of the Nigeria.
They are mainly in Niger, Kaduna States and Federal Capital Territory. You can also see this ethnic group in Nasarawa and Kogi state. However, they are the most populated ethnic group in the Federal Capital Territory.
According to oral tradition, the first settler was a hunter who went to hunt in Paikokun land, a thick forest in Abuja. Paikokun was the name of the mountain where the first settler inhabited.
The Gbagyi people initially used to live on mountain tops because they believed they were safer on the mountain than at the plain before western civilization made most of them relocate to the plain.
How To Know Gbagyi People
It is very easy to spot Gbagyi people, the women always place load on their shoulders, no matter how heavy the load is. They believe that the head represents the king of the body and should be treated with respect.
They call the part of the body they place their loads as Bwapa. Furthermore, they believe that the load is always lighter on their shoulder. This is still a common practice among the Gbagyi people till date.
We can’t tell you all you need to know about the Gbagyi people if we fail to mention their marriage.
In the past, marriage among these ethnic group was purely cultural. As a matter of fact, a man will have to serve in a girl’s father’s farm land for 7 years before he can marry that girl.
However, they don’t practice this tradition anymore. Groom now pays the bride pride instead of serving for 7 years in the bride’s father’s farm.
Some Gbayi believe in a god called Shekwoi. It was there before their ancestors. However, they also appease deities of the god such as Maigiro.
Indigenously, their main religion is Knunu, which they believe protects them from the evil that exist in the community. They worship the Knunu by offering fowl and beer as a sacrifice to a special tree found deep in the forest.
However, in modern day, Most Gbayi people are either muslim or christains.
The Gwari people enjoy eating a meal known as Wyizhe. It is made from Guinean corn which is also used to make a special drink known as Zhepwo. The Gwari people also enjoy drinking a soup known as Knadolo made from locust beans.
The Gbagyi people wear tie and dye clothing known as Ajeside, made from local cotton and traditional woven and dyed.
The Gbagyi people are predominantly farmers. However, they are also good at fetching firewood, doing pottery work and blacksmith.
In the past, the Gbagyi people were also known for their visual art, most especially pottery work. They also practice other arts like sculpture, iron smelting, domestic craft and smelting.
Check: 24hoursreporter to see more pictures of the Gbagyi people.
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