Supremacy Cum Conflict Of Interest:The Unending Rift Between Aguleri And Umuleri Communities In Anambra State

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The debate over the true origin of the Igbo
continued recently when two communities laid
claims to being the progenitors. Now, the
professionals of Umueri extraction in Anambra
East Local Government Area of Anambra State,
under the auspices of Greater Umueri
Liberation Forum, GULF, debunked the claims
by Nri & Aguleri, saying their town was the
ancient Igbo settlement in Omambala valley.
Eze Obidiegwu Onyesoh, the traditional ruler of
Nri in Anaocha Local Government of Anambra
State, had said the Igbo originated from his
GULF described the claim of the monarch and
that of Aguleri as baseless and fallacious.
According to GULF, the story of the of the
Igbo was first dismissed by one Elder Ndive
Aniegboka, an elder from Umueri, who said
the monarch was being economical with the
truth as Umueri was the first area of human
settlement before the Igbo of Igala descent
The group, in its report endorsed by nine of
its members, described Aguleri & Nri, as
erstwhile partners in FOISTERING an
inconsistent and inaccurate story on the Igbo
people, which they termed fallacious &
misleading. The report was signed by
Comrade Biafra Diboh, Chief.Daniel Obi
Aninwetalu, Mr.Obi Kachi Nzedigwe, Mr. Titus
Ugo Nwoye, Comrade Sonny Onochie , Ms.
Purity Nwofia, Mr.Oliver Chinweze, Mr.Chike
Nnamdi and Sixtus Chinedu.
The group insisted that majority of the people
who make up the Igbo of today were those
who came from Israel while the rest migrated
from Igala and other places.
According to the group, the founders of the
earliest settlers of the town are from Eri clan
of Israel who left the Israelites during their
time in wilderness (post-Egypt exile), migrated
from East Jordan towards the Mediterranean
Sea and later crossed back to Egypt from
there to Ethiopia, then to Southern Sudan
from where they sailed through the rivers and
finally found themselves in Omambala or
Anambra valley where they settled.
“They now named the place after their clan,
Umu-Eri, which means children of Eri. The
migration was long-time ago before Saul was
made King over Israel”, GULF said.
It went on: “At the new settlement, the culture
of Hebrew worshipping, circumcision, burial &
other customs remained visibly the same
with some modifications. There was no king
or culture of king-making until the invasion of
the land by the second wave of migration
from the Igala descents who brought the
system of priest-king along with it.
“The Bini Kingdom also tried introducing its
kingship by imposing the Ezes & Onowu but
with limited success. However, the Umueri
people resisted the cultural encroachment
from them until the colonial administrators
foisted warrant chief system on them.
Relationship between Umunri & ancient
“The original settlers of the communities that
make up the Umunri clan are descendants of
the first settlers of Umueri. Therefore the
people of Umunri, otherwise called Nri
Kingdom, are part of our ancient town. It is a
fact that amongst numerous people that
constitute the Umunri Kingdom, the
descendants of Umueri people are regarded
as aborigines or the head of their various
communities. Those communities were even
named after founders of Umueri lineages. The
original settlers in Nri are from Nri-aka in old
Ugume ana of Ikenga Umueri.
“Nri people were actually occupying the large
expanse of land between Ugume Umueri and
Ikem Nando (then in old Umueri town) which
today subsist in Ugwu Nzu.
“There is a popular road path which exists till
date which the the Nri people use for their
itineraries from Ugume to Ugunzu and is
called ‘EZI NRI AKA’ till today.
The vast area was inhabited by the
descendants of Eri up to Omabala na Ezu
before the present settlement of aguleri which
is a recent settlement.
“The Ire and Oraeri were living in the portion
of land lying between Agu Eneneanya and Agu
Oda in today Ifite Umueri and Nneyi Umueri.
The Ire people abandoned this area in flight
due to the war between them and the Igalas.
“Today the Ire people can be found in Abba,
Obosi, Ogidi, Umuoji Enugu Ukwu. Occupying
these portion of lands today are several
artefacts’ and monuments, shrines, etc left
behind by the fleeing Ires.
“The Umunri oral tradition also confirmed that
they once lived amongst our people here in
Omambala valley. The Nri people of Umueri
extraction had no king just like every other
true Igbo town until the arrival of the Igala
settlers who were forced to scatter and live
amongst all Igbo towns in northern Igbo
communities as a result of the ancient war
that was waged by the people of ancient
Umueri clan.
It was the Igala elements that brought the
issue of kingship in Nri. It was a foreign
culture amongst the earliest settlers.
Migration & trace of Umueri people
“The founders of ancient Umueri community
was not just a single man and woman as
fallacious story peddled around by people,
but group of people amongst whom was Eri, a
great hunter and warrior from Eri clan of
Gad’s tribe of Isreal around I,300BC.(See
Gen46:16, Numbers 26:16).
They found themselves in Omambala valley
where they settled. Original ancient Umueri
people settled amongst basically in all
northern Igbo communities notably Nteje
(Umueri/Umuevi Nteje), Umueri Awka, Umueri
Ogbunike, Umueri Okija, Umunagu- Achala,
Amåleri Ichida, Umueri Awkuzu, Umueri
Nkwelle Ezunaka.
The Influence of Bini Kingdom
“Another group that impacted its culture on
the Omambala people are the Binis known
formerly as the Idu in the local parlance. At
the height of Bini Kingdom, it annexed
territories at will through conquest, but the
emerging communities in Omambala valley
through juju & war charms were able to stop
the Binis.
In mutual pact agreed upon, Umueri and other
communities in Omambala communities,
through their powerful medicine men & charm
makers, provided the needed spiritual support
to the Bini Kingdom whose standing army was
busy fighting numerous wars during the
ancient days.
In reward for their effort, the Binis rewarded
and imposed them as Eze & Onowu Iyasele.
This is how all those parading themselves as
royal homes in northern part of Igboland
emerged. It was not part of our culture and so
anyone telling you that at the death of Eri, his
fore fathers became kings and that he is the
100th King of Eri is being far from truth. Our
culture has no room for such political stool.
“It’s obvious that the name Umueri (the name
by which other Omambala people address
Umueri from time immemorial), which literally
means “Children of Eri”, is a natural and
unbiased nomenclature indicating Umueri
special relationship with Eri, even though
several attempts have been made in the past
to deny Umueri its rightful position as the
cradle of Igboland through mispronunciation
of our name & heaping of false name as our
Archaeologically, the traces of the habitat of
the early Igbo settlers are still visible today in
Umueri. For Instance, ‘Akpu Nri’ and
‘Okpotoevi’ are still at Ugume Umueri. Akpu
Nri is an antiquity of great importance. It’s
about half a thousand year old tree located at
Ama Iruakpu-Ugume, Umueri. It was said to
be founded by founders of early settlers of
Agukwu-Nri who left long time ago.
“Apart from oral tradition & archaeological
evidence, the early European visitors
confirmed Umueri communities in Anambra
valley as the cradle of human existence in
Igboland. “According to the works of Dr
Elizabeth Isichei, while quoting L Froberius,
“The first cradle of human habitation in Igbo
area was probably the Cross River and
Anambra River Escarpment. In each of these
areas, latter Stone Age sites have been
excavated. The scholar cited an ancient
storage relic which was excavated in
Umunagu Umueri in 1975 by Mr. Emmanuel
Ozoemena which shows human existence in
Umueri during Stone Age era probably before
980 AD’ Elizabeth Isichei went further to state,
‘This picture of an early nucleus of settlement
in northern Igbo land is confirmed by Igbo
We urge all Igbo historians, scholars &
anthropologists of Igbo culture to go the who
hag in unravelling the true ancient map of
Umueri town (clan) and also to focus their
searchlight on this ancient town of Umueri to
study her unique culture and oral tradition
which has so far been suppressed deliberately
by fallacious works of some authors and
writers, who were unable to conquer prejudice
and bias, thereby ending up into distortion of
Migration & trace of Umueri people
The Umu asaja-owu clan of Mmanomma
Nneyi Umueri along with other families of
Umudiana Umueri founded Abegbu (and to
extention the Umuoba anam community),
where as the constant raid and inter tribal war
between the ancient Umueri town and Igala
forced some of our people to migrate to
distance places around the River Niger.
The Original Umueri settlers can be found
amongst the Umuchi Ossomari Ogbaru, the
Ozeh Nkwelle & the aborigine Onitsha, whom
the Eze Chima conquered to establish the Eze
Chima dynasty. Other distant places that
descendants of the first Umueri people
founded directly were the Ụmụeri-Owerri,
Ụmụeri Ọraukwu, Umuoba Anam and even in
far away Kwale in delta state where the
Ugume Kwale still recounts there history that
they migrated from Ugume Umueri.
At the height of Bini empire, most of our
people who went to war of conquest for the
Binis as medicine & Juju men in far away
Yoruba land and could not return back
founded places like Okeri(in Oyo), Iponri
(Lagos) & Igboeri now called Igberi(in Kwara
Apart from Umueri no other community in
Igboland has such connection of lineages.
Relationship with Aguleri People Long ago,
some of the Aguleri people and Umueri live in
ancient Umueri town as a community before
the people of Ezi-agulu, Enugu & Onogu
migrated into our land from Ibaji in Kogi
State. Aguleri which really translates to
farmland of Eri (Agu-Eri) just like other farm
settlement such as Agu Nneyi (Nneyi’s
farmland), Agu-Mgbede(Mgbede farmland),
Agu Ukatta(Ukatta farmland) was indeed a
recent settlement inhabited by the
descendants of Okpu of ancient Umueri town
(now in Aguleri) until they were joined by
strangers elements from Igala also referred as
The Inhabitants of Aguleri as presently
constituted are immigrants from different
places and they met the Okpu people who is
been referred as the head Village in Aguleri.
The Okpu Village traced their lineage to
Ugume-ana Village of Ikenga Umueri.
The Oral tradition of Umueri traces the
genealogy to Dabawor, one of the Sons of Eri
whose daughter was Okpu, the founder of the
most elderly village in Aguleri till today.
Nevertheless, to prove the fact that the Okpu ,
the head village of Aguleri emanates from
Umueri, the Okpu Village has kept the ritual
practice of paying tribute to Dabawor Shrine.
And they have never failed to pay the homage
despite recent stain in the relationship
Occasioned by land dispute, litigation and
During Sacrifices, their elders received the
daughterly share (an Omambala culture that’s
still in existence) of hip of Cow or Goat used
for its sacrifice. Apart from the Okpu, the
Igboezunu Aguleri was also part of ancient
umueri clan as they have blood relationship
with Ugume Umueri. Umumba
Igboezunu,Aguleri- the Custodian of Ajana
Aguleri has never DENIED it’s blood
relationship with Ugume(Dabawor) Umueri.
At the Installation of an AJANA Chief Priest,
Ugume Village of Umueri is usually informed.
It’s mandatory that “Sons of Dabawor
(Ugume) should be there to perform the
customary rites. The story of how Enugu,
Eziagulu & Onogu people were settled
amongst our people, in the ancient Umueri
clan after series of war of conquest from the
Igala are well known facts. The series of war
known in Umueri oral tradition as ‘Ogu Onoja
Nwa Oboli’ saw the war brought to an end
with treaty dully signed by the Igbos & the
The Umungalagu of present Aguleri was settle
in their present place by the people of Ugume
after taking Oath of obedience before their
hosts; the Okpus then of Umueri (now in
Aguleri) and Ugume allocated some portion of
land to Isiokwe after Oath taking; Some others
were settled in Umunkiti Aguleri. The areas
WHERE these immigrants were settled was
known as Agu-Eri- (Eri farm settlement).
These immigrants assimilated with each other
to become known as Aguleri. While the Onogu
people are scattered amongst the Igbariam,
Nteje, Nsugbe and other coastal Igbo towns.
In 1974, the then traditional Ruler of Aguleri,
Igwe Raphael Akwuba Idigo admitted openly in
a publication that Aguleri people are from
Igala ( See’The History of Aguleri’ by MCM
Idigo, Page 5 (Published in 1955) ), that they
migrated to Omambala about four hundred
years ago. According to him they met Igbo
Speaking people and by mixing with them and
inter-marriage, the immigrants adopted the
language. Even with this open confession, it’s
worrisome to see some Aguleri declaring that
they are the Igbo aborigine.


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