By Admin on December, 13 2016
"Ohafia & their cousins Abiriba and Arochukwu owe us apology on slave trade @ John Okiyi Kalu What do you say?"-Biafra Buchi Diboh
Abiriba warriors and their successors owe nobody any apology for slave trade because Abiriba warriors were not involved in capturing people to sell into slavery. Our warriors decapitate their opponents and display their heads as trophies. That is why the war dancers actually carry original human skulls while dancing.
I understand the misunderstanding of some historians with regards to the strongest warriors in ancient Igbo land because they believed that every warrior that defeated their ancestors must be from Abiriba kingdom. Unfortunately that is not exactly true as there were also warriors from Ohafia, Abam and other communities that were misunderstood to be Abiriba warriors.
Uniquely, Abiriba people were blacksmiths who were involved in producing sharp weapons for warfare and agricultural purposes. As a young man in the eighties I remember the machete producing local factories at Abiriba. Even before Awka became famous for making local guns, Abiriba blacksmiths were already doing that except that they didn't have western educated historians to write about it in the 70s like their Awka brothers.
Migratory tribes are usually strong as they have to move through hostile territories before settling down wherever they wish to. Our ancestors migrated from the present day Calabar area of Cross River State to where we are currently located in Ohafia Local Government. As expected, they were surrounded by hostile neighbors seeking to destroy them and naturally had to defend themselves at all times and at all seasons.
The prowess of the Abiriba warrior was so well known and documented that even very distant communities involved in war will send emissaries to Abiriba to help them for an agreed consideration. Ask your elders if their fathers ever had to hire Abiriba warriors to protect them and you will get a better picture.
For instance, Arochukwu people are from same ancestral lineage with Abiriba but unlike Abiriba they are not warriors. Any time they are threatened they rush to their brothers for protection. After one of the interventions made by Abiriba to save Aro people from their enemies living in present day Akwa Ibom State, our warriors who came to collect the agreed lands in exchange for the defeat of Aro's enemies were so fascinated by the mirrors they saw for the first time and requested for that instead of the land agreed. It was given to the delight of the warriors and to this day that mirror remains at Umuachukwu Amaogudu Abiriba.
I am not going to start a debate on who and who actually sold slaves in Igbo land because 2016 cannot review 1850 without positioning history back in time. Amazingly people seeking to condemn others do not know that their communities sold those they considered weak or social misfits to the slave dealers.
Why should the buyers apologize when the sellers have not?
Note this clearly, Abiriba warriors don't capture and keep. They cut off your head as evidence.
We even assimilate those defeated via war and traditionally give them more privileges than even our "son of the soil". For instance, if anything is being shared it is the assimilated Abiriba man that will take before the son. If there is war, the "son" must lead troops to protect the "visitor" before protecting his own family.
Our traditional system supplied all the man power we needed and hence there was no need to acquire or keep slaves. Every Abiriba man of those days have mentors that he will work with and be trained to acquire whatever skill the master has. Organization into age grades also meant that the succeeding age grade literally serve and obey their age grade masters. That is the origin of the fabled apprenticeship system of Abiriba Kingdom.
We don't have slaves at Abiriba even though there were communities that came to our forefathers for protection from neighboring lands. They are not slaves but rather are fully assimilated into our traditional society as full Abiriba people.
Do you know that when the British came to Igbo land they met only 2 standing armies? Those two armies were the Abiriba and Ngwa army. The standing Abiriba army is the same one organized as age grades from cradle to grave. They are still involved in defending and protecting the community to this day. My age grade, Onyiba, will complete our own duties of protecting Abiriba Kingdom on the 21st of December 2016.
My good friend and brother Buchi, warriors don't apologize for doing their work. Our warriors didn't sell slaves to anyone, they killed their opponents and celebrated with their heads.
Go back to history and find out who sold slaves and to who in Igbo land. Ask your king or wise elders what your forefathers did to people perceived to be weaklings or societal misfits. Find out why after slave trade started with the coming of the British your people stopped sending people to evil forest.
Where did they send them? Sold!
If you need apologies, please ask those who stigmatized other Igbo as osu to apologize. As a proud Anambra man you must know about the Osu caste system and its evils. It is remarkable that Abiriba people have no osu and yet you want them to apologize for slave trade they were not involved in?
Hahahahahaha.....my brother please allow history to be history while we celebrate the 2016 Onyiba Age Grade igwa Mang ceremony of the greatest and purest Kingdom in Africa.