History of the Jenjo People

The Jen people like every other ethnic group in Nigeria claimed to have migrated from the East into this country. They traced their history to the ‘Tower of Babel’ where the Hebrews were scattered as many tribes (Genesis 11:1-9). They also traced their origin to Yemen in Arabia. They said, “They had to migrate because of the constant Islamic Revolution. In the Revolution, those who do not uphold the worship of Allah were persecuted.
According to oral testimony, they were the first people that landed in the Northern part of Nigeria. They migrated along with the Kanuris, the Jukun Kwararafa and the Bachama ethnic groups. The Kanuri tribe decided to remain in Kanem-Bornu, and the Jukun-Kararafa shifted base to Wukari area and established their chiefdom. The Bachama on the other hand decided to occupy Lamorde, Numan and its environs. These people mentioned still maintain a steady relationship with the people of Jen. All of them call themselves ” play or joking mates.” There are hundreds of jokes among them. In no circumstance should anyone take his joke mate to any law court, except for extreme cases.
The first settlement of the Jen people in the land now called Nigeria was in Gusau, the present capital of Zamfara State. “They could not stay long there, they considered migrating to Zaria in Kaduna State. In Zaria, they joined force with the Kwararafa kingdom, and were able to defeat the notorious Sarkin Kano.” When the Jukun-Kwararafa were balkanized into smaller units, and they left Kaduna to Pindiga Gombe State. The Jen people had to leave Zaria for Tula near Kaltungo in Gombe State. The Tula settlement was mountainous, and not conducive for the Jenjo people who were used to the riverine areas settlement. They thus had tough time experiencing such hard condition. They then left Tula and migrated northeast to Kiri in Guyuk Local Government Area of Adamawa State. With the exception of Tula and Zamfara settlements, most Jenjo settlements identified are mainly near rivers, streams or ponds. The silk cotton trees (rimi), or the baobab trees (kuka) are marks of their dwellings in most areas occupied by the Jenjo people.
In all the movements, no actual dates were recorded, owing to the people’s low intellectual ability. Literacy was at its lowest ebb. Besides, the people were itinerant peasants. From Kiri, the Jen people migrated to Imburu-Numan and occupied between River Gongola and River Benue. In Imburu, “a myth was told of a Jenjoman named ‘Janpeh.’ He once surprised the Bachama by rescuing a sacred pot thrown into the river.” The people of Jen were experts In the art of fishing, and fishes were sometimes caught without the use of fishing implements. The continuous stay in Numan gave them a glorious name among their neighbors the Bachama people.

According to oral tradition, “a family conflict ensued among the Bahamas, the Jen people not being aware of this development were arose by a blow of war trumpet. On hearing the blast of the strange trumpet, the Jenjo people migrated overnight and travelled until the day broke over them at ” “Jompti.” The first set of the advanced party who is the “Inamuah” family clans in Jakka area of Jen claimed the ownership of a very large fishing pond. All other migrants advance a little forward, and the “Dullum” lake was discovered for the entire Jenjo race. The lake lays 12 kilometers from the Jenjo present permanent home, Jen. The Ivah Zapte who was the ancient Jenjo war ruler was mandated to take charge of the fishing lake at Dullum, till date. According to Hilkia Bubajoda Mafindi Djen community was predominantly peasants and traditionalists. There was the preponderance of deities of of varying significances to the lives of the people with direct bearing on their material being. They include the deities responsible for their rituals for rain, corn, fishing, and hunting. Behold, the historic movement terminated at Jen,the ancient abode of the Jenjo race. Today, the Jen people spread to almost two Local Governments in Adamawa State. They are found in Balaifi, Bwaso, Bunari and Dullum villages in Lamorde Local Government Area of Adamawa State, and are permanent residents of Numan, Ba’angta, Gamadio, Bwei-Iyaka and Tunga-Ladan all in Numan Local Government Area. The Jenjo people are found in large numbers in Bali, Ardo Kola, Gassol, Lau, Ibi, Jalingo and Karim Local Government Areas of Taraba State. They found themselves in Jalingo because of the role the played in destabilising the “Gongshi” wall of the Jukun-Kona kingdom. Because they were a strong folk, the Jenjo people were used by the Fulani Aristocrats to defeat the inhabitants to set up their emirates.
The people of Jen called themselves “Edzah.” The Fulani Aristocrats who came and settled among them addressed them as Janjo. The word ‘Jamu’ is a Fulani word, meaning a strong person. They reverted in calling the people “Jenjo,” while their land “Jen.” Gradually, the name Jen became the valid name of the land of the Jenjo people. Besides, the Bachama who were residing with the Jenjo remnants in Numan, Imburu, Zekun, and Opalo were addressed as “Jenne.” It could be recalled that Jen people, when they began their Yemen movement to Kiri, were not divided, but remained a single entity.

They separated themselves into three major wards with lesser units because of a family feud. The major wards were “Eh Djakah, Eh Fa’aye, and Eh Nwabang.” (This simply means, the people of Jakka, Saredau and Saretunde). These names were the handiwork of the Fulani Aristocrats who had helped in modernizing the people’s settlements for easy administration of divide and rule system.

These major settlements have continued to play some very active rolls in people:s lives as individuals and collectively in fostering their political, religious and economic advancement. Bubajoda reported, during the period of colonial rule, Djen was administered as two administrative units (Djen Kaigama, and Djen Ardido). The entire native authority system, especially at the center was based on the cooperation of elements from the two units. The village heads performed judicial and executive functions within the framework of the native authority system.” Even today, some village heads are bestowed with powers to administer justice in some lighter issues.

6 thoughts on “History of the Jenjo People

  1. Phee palamah be nwatu nn a tswe kanah. Phee na jwe nn a olayan, o bema ninyalah bisi talachimah be jwun dja,
    Tsiyang mambb.

  2. I remain grateful till this day for your kiness in this great work to acquaint me of my tribe. God Bless You, Pheebemi…

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