5 Main Ethnic Tribes in Akwa Ibom State

Akwa Ibom State is one of the six states that make up the South-South geopolitical zone of Nigeria. It has interstate boundaries with Cross River State to the East, Abia State to the North and Northwest and Rivers State to the Southwest. To its South is the Gulf of Guinea.

Akwa Ibom State covers an area of 7,081 square kilometres. It lies at latitude 05°00′ North and 07°50′ East. It has a population of 3,902,051 (2006 census) 5,482,177 (2016 forecast) and a population density of 551. The state accounts for 2.78% of Nigeria’s total population.

The main ethnic tribes in Akwa Ibom State are the Ibibio, Anang, Oron, Eket and Mbo. There are twenty languages in the state. The Ibibio people form the largest ethnic tibe and their language is the most widespread. Other significant languages in the state are Annang, Oron, Ibeno and Eket.
Christianity is the major religion in Akwa Ibom State although some people in the state practise traditional religions.

The different people of Akwa Ibom State have many cultural attributes in common particularly food, festivals and rituals.

Festivals and cultural dances abound in the state some of the main ones are Usoro Ita, a hunting festival; Usoro Usuuk Udia, the new yam festival; Usoro Iyak, a fishing festival and Usoro Isong Inyang, a water regatta. Asian Uboikpa is a dance by maidens in their prime, it marks the successful completion of Mbopo  the schooling and preparation of maidens for marriage. Oko is a war dance performed by men.

5 Main Ethnic Tribes in Akwa Ibom State

As hinted earlier, the Ibibio people form the largest ethnic tribe and their language is the most widespread. Other significant languages in the state are Annang, Oron, Ibeno and Eket.

1. Eket Tribe

The people of Eket are believed to have migrated from Cameroun during the Great Movement of the Bantu Stock of Africa. The migration brought the people to the location around the mouth of Cross River, which they claim as their first settlement with Oron people along the estuary of Cross River.

This tribe is a sub-tribe under the Ibibio tribe. The people of this tribe number about 1 million people and are known for their Ekpo festivals.

Christianity is the major religion of this tribe while farming and trading are their major occupations. Eket men tie wrappers on singlets while their women tie wrappers on blouse and cover their heads occasionally.

There you have it! The tribes in Akwa-ibom state. Are you from any of these tribes? Let us know more about your tribe in the comments section.

2. Anang Tribe

The Annangs have a history and reputation for fearlessness and the ability of villages and clans to bind together to fight a common enemy. However, they suffered genocide during the Nigerian Civil War, which lasted for three years (1967–1970) and the Annang lost a significant number of its people.

The Anang tribe is one of the dominant tribes in Akwa ibom state, southeast Nigeria. The Anang people can be found in 8 local government areas, namely: Abak, Essien Udim, Etim Ekpo, Ika, Ikot Epene, Obot Akwara, Oruk Anam and Ukanafun and are the second largest tribe in Akwa-Ibom state. Members of this tribe are not only found in Nigeria, they can be found in parts of Cameroon.

The Anang people are known for both their trading and spiritual abilities. As a result of lots of inter-tribal wars that this people went through in pre-colonial days, charms are highly relied upon by the Anang people. This people are also popular nation wide for their cooking ability which seems to be hereditary.

The ibibio language is the major form of communication in this predominantly Christian tribe. The Anang people are majorly farmers and feed on afang soup.

One practice among the Anang people that is worthy of notice is the practice of locking up soon to be brides in a room called “the Fattening room”. In this room, young girls are fed heavily and are made to add weight. It is believed that this process prepares them for womanhood.

3. Ibiobio Tribe

The early settlers of Akwa Ibom State were the Ibibio people. The area was a centre for early missionary activity and contact. It was a prominent trade route providing the city-states of Old Calabar with slaves and palm produce.

The Ibiobio people are very closely related to the Annang people. They have very similar traditions with the Anang and also speak different dialects of the same language.

There are over 4 million Ibiobios in Nigeria and most of them are Christians. Farming and trading are the major occupations of this people.

4. Ibeno Tribe

Ibeno people are ancestrally related to the Andoni people and Oron people in origin. The common dialect of Ibeno people is the Ibeno language, prominently spoken by Ibeno and Eastern Obolo people in Akwa Ibom State. The people also enjoy an active aquatic life.

The Ibeno people of Akwa-Ibom state are located very close to the Kwa Ibo River. This tribe is the biggest fishing tribe in Akwa-Ibom state. This people speak a dialect of the Ibiobio-Efik language and are majorly Christians.

Apart from fishing, the Ibeno people also engage in farming and trading. This people are known for their numerous festivals and their very delicious meals.

5. Oron Tribe

The Oron tribe is the third largest tribe in Akwa-Ibom. The Oron people are found in Oron town and occupy five local government areas in Akwa-Ibom state. Although people of Oron understand Efik, they speak a dialect called Oron.

The Oron people occupy a fertile land and are are majorly into farming. Most of them practice Christianity, however, a few are traditionalists.

Men from Oron tie wrappers on singlet and sometimes shirts while their women tie wrappers on blouses and cover their heads with head gears. Afang soup is a regular on the table of an average Oron indigene.

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