The Bahumono (Ehumono, Kohumono) people are an ethnic group in Nigeria located primarily in the Abi local government area of Cross River State and are the largest ethnic group in the region.
Read more about Ethnic groups in Nigeria
The Kohumono people live along the Cross River which is located in southsouthern Nigeria. It is primarily in rural settings bordering Cameroon to the east. They speak the Kohumono language.
The Ehumono live along the Cross River and are known to have migrated from Hotumusa around the region of a rock called Ekpon a Ruhura, which they claim to be their spiritual and ancestral home.
The ethnic group consists of eight villages, namely Ebijakara (Ebriba), Ebom, Ediba, Usumutong, Anong, Igonigoni, Afafanyi, and Abeugo. They are closely related to the Igbo, Efik, Yakurr, Akunakuna, Ekoi people and Annang people.
The Bahumono people during the pre-colonial period were adamant to accept the laws of the Europeans and British administration. They and other upper Cross River ethnic groups foiled the Cross River expedition of 1895, 1896 and 1898 leading to the massacre of several British personnel. They were part of the Aro Confederacy.
Background of the Bahumono
One of the largest ethnic groups within Abi Local Government is Bahumono, which includes eight villages: Anong, Ediba, Usumutong, Abeugo, Afafanyi, Igonigoni, Ebom, and Ebijakara(Ebriba). There are linguistic differences among the Bahumono people with the major variant being the Kohumono language.
They are all historically known to have migrated from a place within the hills of Ruhura (ekpon a ruhura) called Hotumusa (old town) which lies in a region between the present-day Ediba and Usumutong, Ebijakara villages.
The Ediba people at Hotumusa had hunters who found a riverine location where Ediba situates presently. The hunters related the news to her people and Ogbudene led the people in a siege against the locals of the river-dwelling and drove them across the river. Four of Five of the Ediba families (Henugwehuma, Henusokwe, Enihom and Henuowom) quickly left and colonised the river area.
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The Ezono clan (made up of Bazorang, Batonene and Fonahini), the last family, decided to stay back at Hotumusa, where they had always been the head landowners and leading family among the other five. This small clan has had its own dynastic legacy, festivals, deities and new yam celebrations to this day.
Culture and tradition
The Bahumono Culture and tradition shares similarities with the neighbouring communities. Individuals trace their origin and ancestry through the Eshi which means womb, people from the same eshi are considered as brothers/sisters and can trace their origin to the same father and mother similar to the Ananng people.
Apart from the Eshi, villages are further divided into Rovone. The practice of the Ekpe secret society and fattening room is widely observed while few people practice the Bahumono traditional religion.
Major Bahumono festivals include;
Rathobai, Afu wrestling festival, Masquerade parade, Oboko, The annual Bahumono festival, The traditional boat racing challenge, Obam.
The Bahumono traditional food is similar to the Efik, Igbo and other Cross River communities. Major dishes include: Fufu, Okho(Oha) soup, Edikang Ikong, Ehkpan
Their Belief Systems
In 1911, Christian workers from the southern Nigerian city of Calabar paddled the rivers to bring the Gospel to the Kohumono people. Churches have grown up in the wake of the Good News. Now the second wave of help is needed to evangelize the people in their own language.
Devoid of Scripture, church-goers have little understanding of the faith they’ve claimed. Interest in their own Scripture was generated through neighbouring groups with mother-tongue Scripture. Does God really understand their thoughts if they can’t communicate with Him in their heart language?
For generations, many Kohumono believers have added “Christian” practices to a plethora of African animistic traditions.
The Kohumono earn their livelihood through fishing, farming, trading and some work as civil servants.
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