viernes, 24 de febrero de 2017

The Igbos Are An Israelitish People Dwelling In West Africa II

Sabbatharianism: A Christo-Judaic Development in Igbo-Israel.

The Sabbatharian Movement: A Judaeo-Christian development in Igbo-Israel.

The Sabbatharians are the Igbo converts to Christianity who resigned from Christianity in the early twentieth century, and formed a new religion that is known among the Igbos as “Sabbath.”

The Sabbatharians are not easy to categorize. The Sabbatharians could be taken for Jews. They could also be seen as Christians. The Sabbath groups observe Saturday, the day that the Lord commanded the Israelites to rest (as is found in the Bible) as a holy day. The groups observe all the biblical feasts and holydays that the Lord ordered the Israelites to observe. For examples; they commemorate Passover, Sukkot, Atonement, etc, on the days that the worldwide Jewish community, with its headquarters in Eretz Yisrael does. They rigidly abhor all the foods that the Lord commanded the Israelites not to eat (as seen in the Bible). The Sabbatharians believed that keeping the Commandments was a true way to please God. In their early years they maintained and stressed that God was distinct and separate from anybody else. Their belief about God could be said to be unitarian in their early years. In that period the doctrine of the Trinity had not become popular and widely known among the Igbos, because Christianity was still new then. ‘Jah Jehovah’ was their preferred designation for the Supreme Being.

I cannot recall that they had a position for anybody else in their worship in those their early years. On the Sabbath day which they called ubosi ezumike (day of rest), and other feast days they dress in white flowing robes, and when they get close to the precincts of their missions, as they address their places of worship they remove their foot wears, as they believe that their places of worship are holy ground. An essential aspect of their worship is ibu amuma (prophesying). They have guilds of prophets known as ndi ozi (the message carriers).
For Bibles they used the Tanakh; known by Christians as the Old Testament and by the People of Israel who received it from God as the Hebrew Bible. As the Bible which they use contains the Christian Bible; the New Testament, we can say they also use it. However one thing was discernible. They generally concentrated on the ‘Old Testament’.

Interestingly their main areas of interest in those years were the first five books of the Bible (Torah), and then the Psalms, and the Prophets. As far as I can remember the Sabbatharians were not particularly curious about the New Testament.

There is no evidence that they ever heard about the Talmud. Also they knew next to nothing about other important Jewish texts. Besides what they gleaned from the Bible about Israel; they knew next to nothing about Jewish history; and the modern Jewish religion.

However the Sabbatharians have a place for Jesus in their belief. But they do not equate him to the Almighty God; the Supreme Being. They see and respect him as a messiah.

And in organizational structure the Sabbath is Christian however. A Sabbath is headed by a person; the founder, who is known as onye isi nchu aja. This term could mean high priest. He is assisted by other persons who are known as ndi ozi. As I had observed ndi ozi could be ‘messengers. But the Sabbatharians see them as prophets. In recent years as the English language continues to gain precedence over Igbo language among the Igbos, and Pentecostal culture continues to permeate the Igbo society, the Sabbatharians have started to call the ndi ozi pastors.

A Sabbath could have branches everywhere as Christian churches. But it is remarkable that unlike Christian churches that they do not proselytize. I will try to explain what I think that inhibits them from proselytizing.

The development of ‘Sabbath’ as this movement is called is in my opinion inspired by some Igbos desire to practice Judaism; the religious culture of Israel. Unfortunately most of the founders of the Sabbaths did not write their personal histories so we do not have first hand information about what they thought about the Igbos descent from Israel. But we can say with certainty that they as most Igbos were aware of the knowledge that the Igbos came from Israel. Thus we can say that they developed the desire to practice Judaism because of this knowledge. But something is puzzling here. 

From what we know about the founders of the movement they did not know much, if anything about Israel’s religion. Most; especially the earliest founders did not have much Western education. So we can rule out the possibility that they read about Judaism. Even today, in the 21st century most Igbos, including the highly educated ones do not know much about the Jews and Judaism. So we can say quite safely that the Sabbatharian founders did not try to establish Judaic movements because they studied Judaism. Then what happened? Most said that they had visions of God calling on them to establish ‘Sabbath’.

I will set out what I think that it happened. The Igbos like almost every other African people were enslaved and colonized by Europeans. The Europeans foisted foreign cultures on the colonized peoples. Initially members of the colonized entities thought that the colonization was beneficial. But with time some of their elites began to realize that colonization could not be beneficial in any way. That its short term gains are more than off-set by its long term disadvantages. The elites of colonized peoples thus always seized the first opportunity they have to throw off the yoke of foreign rule. We saw Herbert Macauley, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela, etc, struggling against foreign rule.

Unfortunately historians concentrate only on those that used political methods to achieve certain objectives. Well, we must not allow ourselves to digress. After years of striving and failing to stifle the various anti-colonial movements the colonial powers packed and left. But they did not go with the institutions, and the ideas that they planted in Africa. Principal among such institutions is Christianity. We will now talk very briefly about how some of the various peoples of Nigeria reacted to Christianity. After a few years in the Western versions of Christianity the various peoples of Nigeria began to try to head back to their own religions. Naturally they tried to rediscover their religions through Christianity. Naturally they had to match through Christianity because it was what they had grown up in.

The Yorubas came up with the Aladura churches: The Celestial Church of Christ, the Cherubim and Seraphim, Jesu Oyingbo, etc. And Pentecostal variant, which they effectively Yorubanized. A good look at the ‘White garment’ churches as the former are known in Nigeria, Nigerian Pentecostal Christianity, and Yoruba religious culture will show that the Yorubas succeeded very well in indigenizing Christianity. The Igbo effort to do the same threw up the ‘Sabbath’. As the Igbos are Israelite ethnically what they would head back to must have distinctive Jewish features. In my estimation that’s why the Igbos ‘created’ a Judaeo-Christian movement. And the rapid spread of this movement throughout Igboland, and to wherever Igbos have migrated to is very interesting. A prominent Sabbath leader mentioned in 2005 that Sabbatharians number eight millions. They might have numbered up to the mentioned figure in the latter parts of the 20th century. Now they would number a million, because they lost many members to the Yoruba dominated Pentecostal movement.

Some of the Sabbatharians gained the respect and gratitude of the Igbos because of the feats which some of them were believed to have performed. Employing prayers, fasting, holy oil, etc, they tried to cure cancers, insanity and other difficult ailments. Many persons believe that they actually cured those ailments. Also the Sabbatharians were not known to have participated in Igbo intra-ethnic religious-denominational discrimination. This discrimination took the following form: Some groups that operate in Igboland have rules that bar their members from marrying outside their group. The Sabbatharians did not bar their members from marrying fellow Igbos. The groups that contributed to a major problem that is bedeviling the Igbo society today: a glut of Igbo spinsters, and a rising trend in Igbo marital instability. Many persons could not find ideal spouses in their groups, and waited for too long. By the time they realized that they should marry any Igbo with clean family histories they were already old-maids.

Also persons that had only very little in common were forced to marry because they found themselves in the same groups. Marital instability resulted in a great many of such arrangements. In addition the intra religious-denominational discrimination forced many Igbos into the traps of non Igbo religious con men who were out to build large congregations by promising everything in the world to vulnerable persons. The Igbos that fell into such people’s traps have turned out to be bitter haters of the Igbo people today, because the con men ensure that they turn them against the core ethos of the Igbos. The Sabbatharians could say with pride that they did not ‘teach’ any Igbo to shun fellow Igbos. Today that the Igbo society is fundamentally divided, and reuniting the Igbos is seemingly impossible many Igbos are beginning to appreciate that groups like the Sabbatharians, and the Anglicans did not join in preaching intra-ethnic religious divisions.

As I have mentioned before, prophesying enjoys preeminence in the Sabbatharian movement, as it did in the ancient version of the religion of Israel. But really there is no basis for comparison. The Israelite prophets were social reformers, and champions of true religious worship par excellence.
And while the Israelite prophet was quite national, and even international in outlook, the Sabbatharian prophet is quite provincial. It is difficult to recall a single Sabbatharian prophet who showed extraordinary concern for the Igbos as a people; as a community. We cannot also say that the poor and defenseless among the Igbos have occupied the attention of the Sabbatharian prophet very much. Nor can we say that they foresaw the dangers that the Igbos would be in as a consequence of their religiously and denominationally induced divisions, and preached against such evils. Almost all were concerned just with the welfare of their communities. Had they seen beyond their own communities they would have with their preeminence in the former years stemmed the collapse of the Igbo society.

However in one respect some of the earliest Sabbatharian prophets resemble the Israelite models. A few railed against Igbos who were trying to import a particularly heinous unIgbo practice: ikpa nsi (poisoning people).

Up till this stage I still can’t find where to place the Sabbatharians. In Christianity or in Judaism? This is because I can’t remember any early Sabbatharian who did not concentrate on ‘Jah Jehovah’ only, as his God, or who did not emphasize the importance of the Laws of God, found in the ‘Old Testament’. I have tried to find the reasons why the Sabbatharians inclined towards an indivisible (Unitarian God) in their early years. I think the reason may be that the prevailing dominant influence rubbed off on them then. Many Igbos as at when the Sabbatharian movement began to rise still retained a memory of only Chukwu as the Supreme Being. In Igbo theology Chukwu (God), was seen as a Person. A single Person. Thus it was easy for the Sabbatharians to revert to a belief on only God (Chukwu Abiama) as God. I think that this factor helped the Sabbatharians to focus only on ‘Jah Jehovah.’

Yet in spite of all the above, particularly their tendency to rigid monotheism, I still cannot bring myself to describe the early Sabbatharians as Jews or Judaists or Israelites in religion. There are features of Israel’s religion as shown in the Bible, which is not manifest in their practices: Oneness for example. From what I have seen of Judaism, or Omenana Igbo, a very important essence of the Jewish way, and the Igbo way, is the perception of the Jewish or the Igbo community, respectively as one. The community’s good is the primary concern of Judaism and Omenana. The Sabbatharians believed in communitarianism too, but they worked towards creating new communities, which were to be distinct from the Igbo community. I know several Sabbatharians who were giants in the Sabbatharian world, but I do not know any who stood out as an Igbo stalwart, as I would expect Jews to stand out in the Israelite world. Also until recent times Israel as a people, as a nation, and as a land was not of particular importance to them, as it is to Jews. I would say that they viewed their communities as kinds of ‘new Israels’.

At this stage I feel like asking some questions. And those questions are:

From what we have shown we can say that there was an effort to go to Judaism; some might call it a teshuvah; to return to keeping the Laws. But that due to dearth of information and other resources perhaps, that the Sabbatharians stopped midway with a new religion. My number one question is: Would the Sabbatharians have developed to become Jews/Judaists /Israelites? Two: Would they have grown if they had been given Torahs and other Jewish texts? Three: Would they have progressed if selfless intellectuals had joined them? Four: Would a Jewish rabbi have made the difference? I ask all these questions because I think that the Sabbatharians thought that they were replicating the Israelite worship.

My answer to these questions is a simple yes!

If they had been given Torahs, teachers; and if selfless intellectuals had joined them, they would have learned how Jews lived, and worshipped God, or how Jews are supposed to live and worship God, and they would have adjusted their practices. They would have seen the similarities between the Igbo and Jewish patterns of living, and they would have started fifty years earlier what many of them are just beginning now.

And just as I can’t call them Jews I can’t call them Christians either. I can’t recall their addressing themselves in those years as Christians, perhaps because in those years, the Igbo identity suffixed for every Igbo; unlike in the present era when the Igbo identity is loosing ground due to the erosion of Igbo culture.

Also their belief that obeying the Commandments (the Laws) of God is enough to earn them salvation clearly makes it difficult to classify them as Christians. This is because central in Christianity is the doctrine that it is Faith, not keeping the Law that saves.

I would still say that the Sabbatharians are Christians transiting to the Igbo religion, which among Jews is called Judaism.

I say this because in recent times, due to more availability of information many Sabbaths have introduced quite a lot of Judaic beliefs, practices and rituals into their practices. Many Sabbatharians have started to dress like Jews. Some wear skull caps, and don tallits while praying. Some have started to learn Hebrew. Many are familiar with elementary Hebrew. A Sabbatharian is likely to greet a friend with ‘shalom’; the customary salutation of peace that Jews are known with. Some have started to use the Jewish Siddurim to pray.

And many have acquired Hebrew Bibles designed for synagogue study. And in recent years the biggest Sabbath group formulated a document about burying the dead that its members should be using. In every detail their burial practices would match those of Jews if they implement what they drew up. I will say the following even though it is digressional. If the Sabbath group disseminates the afore-mentioned document widely they would be doing the Igbos a major favor. This is because their document is reminiscent of Igbo burial practices which are Israelite; and which most Igbos have virtually forgotten everything about.

Lastly the Sabbatharians are beginning to become voracious readers of books. And many are beginning to plan to invest in schools and education. As everybody knows the Jews are the people of the Book. I would say that there are many indications that the Sabbatharians are transiting to Judaism

CHALLAH ON AN OPEN FIRE: SHAVEI ISRAEL EMISSARIES SHARE STORIES OF THE IGBO JEWS OF NIGERIA

Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, sprawls over 275 square kilometers. A planned city that replaced Lagos as the country’s center of government in the 1980s, Abuja and its metropolitan area have close to three million residents who live either in the city’s relatively wealthy central core or one of five main suburban areas. In addition, a number of hardscrabble neighborhoods have sprouted up on the city’s outskirts – that’s where some of the estimated 2,000-3,500 Igbo Jews of Nigeria live.

Noga Kohl knew little about Nigeria’s Jewish community – one of the most fascinating possible “lost” Jewish tribes to be found anywhere in the world – before she and her friend Michal Elroy landed at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja earlier this year. They spent three weeks in Nigeria as Shavei Israel’s unofficial emissaries to the Jewish community there.

By the time Kohl left Nigeria, though, she was convinced that the history of the Igbo Jews is “a key part of the Jewish story. It’s about a people who kept much of our tradition and culture over many years, in good times and in bad. The Torah connects us to people like the Igbo Jews. The way they choose to live their lives is very similar to the way I want to live mine. We have so much in common and, after three weeks in Africa, I feel very close to them.”

What Kohl discovered in this most unlikely of Jewish communities is that, no matter how far away we might live from one another, the Jewish people is a family. Which is exactly how Kohl says she was treated from the moment she landed in Africa. Kohl told her story to Shavei Israel.

“The community leaders came to meet us at the airport and, from those first minutes that we were on the ground, they didn’t leave us, not for a minute,” Kohl recalls. “They hosted us very well and gave us a lot of respect. And I thought – who am I? I’m just a 25-year-old education student from Jerusalem. [Kohl is studying special education and art therapy at the David Yellin Academic College.] These people can teach me way more about life than I can teach them. But they saw us as teachers. They had big expectations from us.”

Elroy, Kohl and Kohl’s husband Gabriel – who joined the two women a week into the trip – didn’t let the community down. “We taught them Hebrew, we talked about Jewish identity and the Jewish calendar, about the Ten Lost Tribes,” Kohl says. “We gave lessons to children and adults, from the ages of 8 to 50. Whatever their age, they all have a passion to learn.”

In return, Kohl and her friends received a crash course in Igbo Jewish history.

The Igbo Jews first came to the Western world’s attention more than 500 years ago when Portuguese missionaries sailed to West Africa. They sent written reports back home about a tribe of Africans who were keeping the Jewish Sabbath and kosher laws. Most significant, though, was circumcision. With a large Muslim influence, circumcision was common among other Africans. But the Igbo were observing the tradition specifically on the eighth day, as Jewish practice stipulates.

The Igbo, the missionaries concluded, were Jewish…and they quickly proceeded to convert most of them to Christianity. But the Igbo Jews didn’t forget their roots and in the last several decades have begun reconnecting with their heritage. Rabbis and Jewish leaders began to visit them and bring more knowledge. The Igbo Jews are keeping Shabbat and kashrut again, not to mention brit mila (circumcision on the eighth day), which was observed consistently even when other practices faded away.

The Igbo Jews live mainly in Igboland, the ancestral Nigerian region of the larger Igbo people, who comprise upwards of 35 million people in this poor African nation. Igboland today is a part of the Nigerian state of Anambra. A small number of Igbo Jews live in Abuja, which is where Kohl was based.

The Igbo Jewish neighborhoods of Abuja are chaotic “with no roads, lots of cars and people in the streets,” Kohl says of her time there. “It’s a big mess compared to what we’re used to in Israel.”
Kohl and her companions were hosted in local Igbo Jewish community member homes in Abuja. (Elroy spent most of her time in Lagos.) Every morning they were driven to a different neighborhood where they would teach. (The Igbo Jews of Abuja are not concentrated in a single area.) Their Igbo hosts would make them meals – but not the local dishes.

“They had hosted non-African guests before, so they knew we’re not used to eating their food which is very spicy. So they tried to give us more rice and spaghetti.” Nevertheless, Kohl insisted on trying what her hosts were eating. “They use a lot of nuts, corn and yams. Plus delicious tropical fruit.”
The food sharing went both ways: Kohl taught the local women how to bake challah for Shabbat. It was a new experience for them, Kohl says. “They hardly eat any bread. And they don’t have ovens. So we had to make the challah inside these big pots that they put directly on top of an open fire.”

Shabbat in Nigeria is as unique as the challah. The Igbo Jews have 26 synagogues across the country, including three in Abuja. “The Shabbat morning service can take up to five hours,” Kohl says. “First of all, they call every man up to the Torah for an aliyah. And the chazzan [the Cantor] chants out every word in Hebrew.” Most of the Igbo Jews don’t understand Hebrew, but they still listen intently to every word. “They are all very into it,” Kohl adds.

The community also likes to sing on Shabbat. “The service is a mix and match of different tunes, some they heard from people who came to visit, others from the Internet, and a lot they developed and created on their own,” Kohl says. “Many of them have beautiful voices. You can really hear the harmonies. They have so much happiness – you see it in how they sing and how they move.”

The Igbo Jews are strict vegetarians. “They used to eat meat,” Kohl explains, “but once they learned the laws for making meat kosher and they realized they didn’t have a shochet (a ritual slaughterer), they stopped.” One project Shavei Israel is considering involves bringing a few people from the Igbo Jewish community to Israel for training in how to properly prepare kosher meat.

Kohl and her friends didn’t have much time to tour the country (their hosts didn’t want to them to venture outside alone – “too dangerous,” Kohl says), but they did manage to do a brief trek up a nearby mountain and they visited an indoor market. “It was very hard to see for someone coming from the west. Plus I’m a vegetarian and I keep kosher. It was very hot and there were so many flies and smells,” Kohl says.

Kohl grew up in a non-religious home in the Jerusalem suburb of Givat Ze’ev. She began her own journey towards observance while working as a counselor at Mechinat Nachshon (a pre-army preparatory program) in the Israeli city of Sderot, “We would talk a lot about identity and what it means to be Jewish,” she says.

One of the managers of the mechina was Dani Limor, who had been visiting the Igbo Jews for several years already. (It was Limor who connected Shavei Israel with the community.) After Shavei Israel’s first emissary to the Igbo Jews returned to Israel, Limor asked Kohl if she’d be interested in following up. “We weren’t clear at first what we were going to do in Nigeria,” Kohl says. “So we decided to go, to meet the people and only then decide what is the best way to proceed.”

The Igbo Jews have “a thirst for knowledge,” Limor tells Shavei Israel. “They are well educated and many are studying in university. Most important for them is learning and acting on the rabbinic traditions they never had.” As a possible “lost” tribe that left the Land of Israel long before the Talmud was codified, their Jewish practice has been until recently entirely biblical, based solely on the 613 commandments enumerated in the Torah.

“To Igbo Jews, the Jewish practices they have begun embracing in the past few decades are not those of a foreign religion or culture, but rather their own,” explains Shai Afsai who visited Nigeria in 2013 and reported on his trip in The Times of Israel. “They see themselves as ba’ale teshuvah: Jews returning to Judaism and to the traditional observances of their ancestors, which were lost due to the Igbos’ long exile from the Land of Israel and due to the introduction of Christianity to Igboland.”

The Igbo Jews are not thinking about aliyah – immigration to Israel – at least not yet. But Kohl says her identity as an Israeli in Nigeria was crucial. “My grandparents came to Israel from Russia and Poland and from Libya and Tunisia,” she says. “Having our own country is something that’s unique in Jewish history. I feel it’s our duty to keep in touch with people like the Igbo Jews. When people like them meet us, as Israelis, it becomes something very important for them – and for us.”

Monotheistic Jewish Religion: Omenana

We know what happens to people who violate certain norms. For example when we were governed by the rules of Omenana, if an Igboman inadvertently slew a kinsman he had to flee from the clan, because he had transgressed the rules of the land/clan, and not because he had offended the earth/ground. It's not beyond clever charlatans to misinterpret and exploit this fear of offending the land/clan, and create a god called the earth goddess out of this mistaken understanding of our culture. Another tool that we can, and should rely on is Jewish Studies.

Decades ago G.T .Basden advised his fellow missionaries that came to work among the Igbos to familiarize themselves with Judaism. We can’t say that many Igbos have tried to use this tool, because factors ranging from lack of awareness, afro-centrism, anti-semitism, racism, have combined to make most Igbos to be unaware that Jewish Studies remain the only reliable primer for Igbo Studies.

However as there is growing unanimity in the positions of the two groups which hold divergent opinions on the origins of the Igbos with Professor Catherine Acholonu’s unequivocal declaration in this Igboville that she believes that the Jews are blood relatives of the Igbos, we can be optimistic that we can begin to plumb into the very rich trove of Jewish Studies to know more about the Igbos. What do the Jews think of the notion that other gods, besides YHWH (mistranslated in English as Jehovah) and acknowledged by Jews, Christians and Moslems as the Supreme Being, exist?

Israel saw it as extreme foolishness for one to believe that things created by the Creator or things formed by the hands of men can be viewed as gods. But Israel was aware even in very ancient times that among the other nations that there was the belief that gods other than the God of Israel; the God that much of humanity has come to accept as the One True God.

The Igbos of Nigeria and their Osu problem

Among the Igbos one is an Osu if one is a descendant of an Osu man or woman. In other-words one is an Osu if one is a member of an Osu family. Osu families exist in almost all the clans that constitute the Igbo people. Accordingly the Igbos know who is an Osu, because Igbos' proper identification is by their clans and families. The writer; Remy Chukwukaodinaka Ilona can be very easily traced in Igboland if the person interested in tracing him finds out that he is from Ozubulu. The next step is to ask about the Ilona family, and in minutes the author will be accounted for. The same way the author could be traced is the same way that Igbos know who is an Osu and who is not one.
Since most Igbos would remember, the Osu is among the Igbos an inferior Igbo. He or she could be very well educated, and be super-rich; but to the rich, educated, very religious, poorest, not educated, and irreligious Igbo, he or she is still an inferior person. He could even be a Christian priest, thus falling into the category of Igbos that command respect among the Igbos today, yet to the Igbos he is still inferior. He is less than a ‘normal’, ‘freeborn’ Igbo. An Osu man would not be inducted into the prestigious ozo society of the Igbos, nor would he be made a traditional ruler in any Igbo clan, even if he is the most qualified member of the clan. An Osu can hardly get a spouse of his choice from a non Osu Igbo family.

Today only very very few Igbos know why the Igbos treat fellow Igbos in such an ungodly way. Physically the Igbo who is an Osu, and the one who is not, are the same. They shared the same Igbo culture (Omenana), which it must be mentioned that the Igbos have generally abandoned, as they are abandoning the Igbo language. Since the Igbos are almost all Christians today both would invariably be Christians. Yet in spite of all these shared commonalities the non Osu Igbo still looks down on the Osu Igbo, and would not intermarry with him or her. A few Igbos, a few that can be counted off one’s fingers have tried to cross the lines. Their families have generally disowned and ostracized them so that the entire family would avoid the taint, and the disadvantages that follow being an Osu. Today there are millions of Igbos consigned to perpetual spinster-hood and bachelor-hood because of this problem. Well meaning Igbos; of Osu, and non Osu stock have tried to fight the problem, but have failed woefully, because rather than getting weaker, the discrimination is getting stronger. In my opinion Igbos have failed to tackle the problem successfully because the matter has not been studied at all. Any problem that is not studied cannot be solved.

I am from a noble Igbo family that was chosen to become a royal family when the Igbos began to have kings in imitation of their neighbors; the Igala, and the Bini. The Ilona/Udoji family of Uruokwe, Egbema, Ozubulu in Anambra State produces the obi of Egbema in Ozubulu. The obi is the traditional ruler (king) of Egbema, Ozubulu. Accordingly in this my present sojourn or existence in life there is no chance that I would suffer what the Osu Igbos suffer. Yet for as long as I can remember I have been disturbed about this form of apartheid that the Igbos practice. To be candid; even though I was disturbed I never thought or imagined that I would rise up one day, and fight for the eradication of the blight. Perhaps I did not give the problem much thought because I accepted as accurate what the Igbo people ‘know’ about the Osu Igbos, and the Osu issue, even though I doubted the genuineness of such knowledge: That the Osu Igbos are people whose ancestors were sacrificed to idols, gods, and deities (agbara or arusi). And people whose ancestors ran to idols, gods, and deities (agbara or arusi) for protection. Like many Igbos I have wondered about, and doubted that the explanation is accurate.

This is because if the Osus became Osus because their ancestors were associated with idols, gods, and deities, and today the Igbos generally do not worship those idols, gods, and deities anymore, why do Igbos still treat the Osus descendants as if the idols, gods, and deities are still relevant? More than seventy percent of the Igbos are Christians today. Since the colonial era all the political leaders that the Igbos have produced are Christians. Presently the 5+1 Igbo governors are Christians. Also the business leaders of the Igbos are Christians. With the foregoing we can say that all the people that make and influence policies in the Igbo society are Christians. With the statistics that I have reeled out, even Europe, the continent that Christianized the Igbos can’t boast of a stronger attachment to the religion than the Igbos. Yet it appears that the Igbos still respect the ‘idols’, ‘gods’ and ‘deities’, that they are thought to have worshipped in their pre-Christian milieu as if their very lives depended on respecting them. Otherwise why do openly fervent Igbo Christians who are not of Osu stock participants in the drama of shunning the Igbos of Osu stock, who together with them are Christians? One would expect old things to have passed away, now that the ‘idols’, ‘gods’, deities’, have been abandoned, and a great majority of Igbos worship Jesus.

I felt bad, and confused but suppressed my bitterness, and doubts, and continued to pursue my career in legal practice. At a stage in my life I developed an unusual interest in the Igbo people. I began to have an urge to know the Igbos. I began to study the Igbo culture. And Igbo studies led me to Jewish and biblical studies. And working intensively in the three fields I found the origins, and meaning of the Osu institution, and how misinformation and ignorance have created a problem that never existed before, and that is today an albatross on the neck of the Igbos.

Every adult Nigerian is familiar with the notion that the Igbos are Jews. The most cursory examination reveals that Igbo culture and Jewish culture are similar. Since 2002 I have been comparing the Igbo and Israelite cultures in a systematic and scholarly way. I am well positioned to begin this. I have help and motivation from very important Jewish organizations like the Kulanu Inc, Tikvat Israel, Derusha LLC, Forest Foundation, Brandeis University, etc. I am also connected to great Jewish scholars; anthropologists, historians, archeologists, linguists, language experts, ethnologists, and theologians who have interest in finding out if Omenana Igbo (Igbo culture) is truly like Jewish culture. With collaboration from the groups and individuals mentioned above, and with the biggest Jewish and Igbo private library south of the Mediterranean at my disposal, dissecting, analyzing and studying the Igbos was not as onerous to me as it should have been. A small portion of my findings have been published as “The Igbos: Jews In Africa Vol 1”, with contributions from Ehav Eliyahu-New York, U.S.A, Israel, “The Igbos: Jews In Africa-With Reflections on the Civil War and Solutions to the most critical Igbo problems”, “Introduction to the Chronicles of Igbo-Israel and with the connections between the Afro-Americans and the Jews”, with contributions from Anthony Edwards-San Francisco, U.S.A, ‘A Short Story from Igbo Israel”, “Igbo-Israel Union Handbook”. I contributed to “The Encyclopedia of Diaspora Jewry” edited by Professor Errhlich, “The Black Jews Of Africa”, by Edith Bruder. Also much of my thoughts are reflected in ‘Biography of Remy Ilona-The man who worked for Igbo-Israel” by Uche Onwumelu Umeokolo, and www.igboisrael.com, by American Friends of Igbo-Israel, and Derusha Publishing LLC.

Any proper study of the Igbos must engage the Osu matter, because of its centrality and importance to the Igbo people. Accordingly in my study of the Igbos I gave the Osu matter much attention. As I looked at the Osu I was led deeper and deeper into the Igbo religious culture which we believed that it gave us the Osu, and the problems associated with it, such as the discrimination which I mentioned earlier. As I probed I began to see and understand things that could only be understood if properly studied. I discovered that the Osu person was not what the Igbos think that he is today, but a different person who played a very important and holy role in Igbo life in ancient times. I also confirmed what an European scholar suspected: that the Osu institution must have become corrupt and perverted because of Igbo contact with Europeans during the European sponsored Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.
To find out if the Osus were actually sacrificed to idols/deities/gods I investigated the Igbo religion. I did not find idols as objects of worship or veneration. Traditionally the Igbos do not prostrate or kneel in prayer. Also traditionally the Igbos do not kneel, prostrate or bow to any object that has physical form. The Igbo person is onye ogo Mmuo (worshipper of the Spirit).

His God has no form. Also I did not find deities or gods. Interestingly the Igbos do not have a word or phrase that could be used for gods or deities, as they have a phrase-Chi- ukwu that is used for the Supreme Being (God). In English language ‘God’ stands for the Supreme Being alone, and ‘gods’ stand for ‘false’, ‘smaller’ and ‘other’ gods. This suggests strongly that the English people knew many, or at least more than one god. In other words that culturally that they are polytheistic. In Igbo language Chi-ukwu means ‘big God’, but the Igbos have no equivalent phrases like chi- nta or chi-obere (small gods) or chi-ozo (other gods) or chi ugha/asi (false god). So even at this stage we can rule out the falsity that any Igbo person was sacrificed to any idols, deities or gods. As I advanced further I found out that there was actually an Igbo religious practice that called for persons to be dedicated to the Supreme Being (Chi-ukwu). I saw an equivalent practice in ancient Israel. The Gibeonites were dedicated by Joshua, the successor of Moses. Samuel was dedicated by Hannah his mother. As I did not find idols/gods/deities worshipped by the Igbos in Omenana I ruled out the option that any person was dedicated to any phantom idol, god or deity among the Igbos, but to the Supreme Being. At this stage it was easy for me to confirm what I suspected; that it was only after the British defeated the Igbos, and the European missionaries that took charge of Igbo education and instruction taught the Igbos that the Igbos were idols, and ‘gods’ worshippers that the Igbos began to think that the Osu was dedicated to idols, deities, and gods.

Igbos also think that an Osu is someone who ran to an idol, a deity or a god for protection. Truly there was an ancient Igbo practice that guaranteed immunity to anyone who fled to Chi-ukwu for protection. As there were no idols or deities or gods among the Igbos it is simple to understand that it was the same process that led the Igbos to forget as in the former case that also made them to forget in the case in question. In ancient Israelite culture there was automatic immunity for an Israelite that ran to the God of Israel for protection.

Contemporary Igbos; cut-off from their culture, and history, would identify mmuo, arusi or agbara with idols, gods or deities. Mmuo means spirit. Arusi is an abbreviation of the following phrase: ‘ife nkea wu si aru’ (this is abominable). Ancient Igbos regarded idolatry and image worshipping as abominable. They opined that worshipping of idols was abominable. Abomination is aru in Igbo language. Anything that hints of idol or image worshipping was/is aru to the Igbos in pure Omenana.
Agbara is used to refer to illustrious personalities; living or departed. Igbos have much regard for their ancestors. In some Igbo localities these ancestors are known as ndi ichie.

In some they are known as agbara. In some Igbo communities great Igbo women like Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Dora Akunyili, Chimamanda Adichie, Irene Malizu-Ilona, Ndi Onyiuke-Okereke, Onyeka Onwenu, Uche Onwumelu-Umeokolo, Nchedo Ilona-Onwuamegbu, my mother ‘Amaka Ilona, etc, are addressed as agbara nwanyi (strong women) I am going to great lengths to prove that in Igbo culture that there are no gods, because it would not be easy for many persons at this stage to agree that there were/are no Igbo gods, but only one: Chi-ukwu, and that the notion that there were more than the One was imported and imposed by non Igbos. With common-sense one would easily realize this; because if there were gods there would have been phrases similar to Chi-ukwu identifying them in the Igbo language.

So if we see that in Igbo culture that there is only one God-Chi-ukwu-the Supreme Being, we would easily see that the Igbo Osu was dedicated to serve that God, and that the Igbo that ran for protection to Chi-ukwu ran to the God that most Igbos believe that they are worshipping today.

And on why the Osu receives the ignoble treatment that he receives today? As in ancient Israel, the person, among the Igbos, who was dedicated to God was not to be killed, or molested. Also as in ancient Israel, among the Igbos a person that fled to God had automatic immunity from all pursuers. He could not be killed, or even molested. In fact among the Igbos it is an abomination to draw blood from an Osu; i.e, to wound him or her. With all the foregoing it is easy to see that it is the fear of violating the custom that has resulted in what we have today. A reconstruction of how the present apartheid-like situation evolved could present the following picture: ‘I shouldn’t hurt this priest-like personality. To avoid ever doing so let me give him/her a wide berth’. With time the reasons for giving the Osu a wide berth was forgotten, but the giving of a ‘wide berth’ remained, and took on the present form that is shameful.

One could ask why all these have not occurred to most Igbos. Igbos do not know all these because Igbo Studies is still very very undeveloped, and most Igbos have not yet realized that there is anything worth studying in their own history and culture. This is because the little that the Igbos have been taught about their history and culture, though filled with lies, inaccuracies, and forgeries, are not edifying, but are what the Igbos know to be Igbo history and culture.

For something that hints at support for my last statement I would like to continue this article with a quote from the ‘Ropes of Sands’ by A .E. Afigbo. “Nevertheless, every now and again, one has a sense of an older culture lying behind what one sees, long forgotten by the people themselves, grown so faint that it is only in certain lights that one catches a glimpse of it, but the glimpse is of something so rich, so vital that the present sinks into insignificance beside it. I heard it twice in a woman’s song, saw it once in a woman’s dance, once in a ritual gesture of embrace, once in the shape and decoration of a water-pot, once in the mural decoration of a mbari house” (Mrs. Sylvia Leight-Ross on Igbo culture in African Women, 1939, p55).

I have my most substantive findings on the Osu in my forthcoming book: ‘From Ibri to Igbo: Forty Million More Jews In West Africa’, which will very likely be published in the U.S.A, by Derusha Publishing LLC this year.

The Igbos would seem to have collectively agreed to forget their problems; and concentrate on programmes and objectives that are not very important to the Igbos as a people. If the Igbos had not taken the suggested decision the Igbos would have been fighting tooth and nail to find redress for the Osu problem. This is because the problem has poisoned and divided the Igbo nation, and would not let the nation move up, or forward. I will be contributing pieces on how the problem, and other topical problems have been hindering the Igbos. I will also be suggesting solutions.

.IGBO JEWS: THE OTHER LOST TRIBE OF ISRAEL IN AFRICA


This week, the Israeli government approved the immigration of some 9,000 Ethiopians of Jewish ancestry in line with its “law of return” which gives Jewish descendants the right to immigrate to Israel and grants them citizenship if they convert to Judaism. The Ethiopian Jews known as the Falaash Mura were members of the Beta Israel community who had lived in Ethiopia and Eritrea for over a millennia. They were termed the ‘Faalash Mura’ because they converted to Christianity or stopped practicing their Jewish faith in the late 19th and early 20th century due to pressure from missionaries which was at times overtly aggressive. After the Israeli government completed the airlifting of the Beta Israel community in the 1991, the Faalash Mura began their campaign for immigration. Though it initially resisted, the Israeli government began taking in the Faalash Mura in the late 1990s and the current batch of 9000 is seen as the last set of Africans of Jewish heritage who still live in the continent. However, many Igbos of Nigeria would strongly reject this point of view.

It is a widely held belief among the Igbos, albeit to varying degrees of certainty, that they are descendants of the Jews. The argument for Jewish ancestry first gained international attention in the 18 century following the arrival of Christian missionaries in Igbo land who discovered many cultural similarities between the Igbo and the Jewish traditions. One of the missionaries, George Thomas Basden, went on to write a book on these cultural comparisons and in it proposed that the word ‘Igbo‘ evolved as a corruption of the word ‘hebrew’. Cultural resemblances apart, historians say it is not improbable that some of the tribes of Israel migrated to parts of Africa after the Assyrians invaded Israel’s northern kingdom in the eighth century B.C. and forced 10 tribes into exile. However, the highest international awareness that the story of Igbo-Jewish lineage has gotten in recent times was in the form of a CNN article in 2013. In the article, Eze A.E. Chukwuemeka Eri, the King of the Aguleri, the oldest and one of the most prominent Igbo communities, told the news network that his community was founded by Eri, the son of Gad, the seventh son of Jacob.

There is general consensus among Igbo historians and scholars that Eri, through his offspring, founded Aguleri, Nri (another historic Igbo kingdom) and several other Igbo communities—which are collectively known as the Umueri. The differences arise in discussions concerning where Eri came from. The traditional Igbo religion holds that Eri is a sky being sent to earth by God (Chukwu in Igbo language). Another school of thought holds that he migrated from southern Egypt, while others, like the Eze Eri, claim that he along with his two brothers—Arodi and Areli (as mentioned in the book of Genesis) emigrated from Israel to establish present day Igbo land. Some Igbos have taken their convictions of a Jewish heritage to new heights by converting to Judaism or becoming members of what is commonly referred to as Sabbath Churches. One of such persons is Kadmiel Izungu Abor who was featured in the CNN article and referred to himself as Jewish Igbo. “The son of Yaakov, Jacob, [was] Gad and I learned that he was among those people who went out of Israel to exile,” Abor told CNN. “So from there he had a son called Eri and a son gave birth to a son called Aguleri and that’s how the Igbo race began.”

Despite this strengthening Igbo-Jewish identity, there is also a vocal derision of the idea that Igbos are the descendants of Jews. Perhaps the most vocal is the book They Lived before Adam by Famous Igbo scholar, Professor Catherine Acholonu. In the award-winning book, Professor Acholonu argued that Igbo land was in fact the original home of Homo Erectus and that ‘out of Africa’ migrations were more or less an ‘out of Igbo land’ migration. She has also described the linking of Igbo ancestry to the Jews whom she believes are themselves of Igbo heritage. In 2013 she told the CNN that “Everybody is excited to say they belong to the people of the Bible because the Bible is reigning.” Still, the belief in a Jewish heritage holds water in Igbo land solidified in part by Christianity to which most Igbos belong and their strong attachment to the Bible which glorifies the Jews as specially chosen by God.

Regardless of how strongly some Igbos hold their claim to a Jewish ancestry and while some top Israeli personalities—such as Noam Katz the former Ambassador of Israel to Nigeria—have publicly recognized the cultural similarities between the Igbos and the Jews, there is almost no chance that the “Igbo-Jews” will ever gain recognition similar to the of the Faalash Mura. They cannot meet the criteria required to qualify for the “right of return” because the Israeli government does not recognize ethnic communities that claim to be descendants of the lost tribes and also because they cannot prove that they have a Jewish grandfather or grandmother. All the Igbo-Jews have is “an interesting story,” according to Arik Puder, the media spokesperson of Shavei Israel, a non-profit organization in Israel that focuses on finding descendants of the legendary lost tribes.

However, migrating to the Promised Land does not guarantee the easy flow of milk and honey, as the Ethiopian Jews who now live in Israel have found out. They have severally protested against discrimination, institutional racism and police brutality. The biggest of such protests was in May after a video emerged showing two Israeli police officers beating an Ethiopian Jew drew several thousands to the streets of Tel Aviv, the capital of Israel. Although they constitute 1.7 percent of Israel’s population, Ethiopian Jews lag behind other Israelis in all sectors of the society according to official figures cited by Reuters. “Ethiopian households earn 35 percent less than the national average and only half of their youth receive high school diplomas, compared with 63 percent for the rest of the population,” the news Agency said.

Unlike with the Ethiopian Jews, there is no significant organized campaign among the Igbos to migrate to Israel on the claim of Jewish ancestry. Instead, the most significant campaign is the clamor for a secession from Nigeria to form the Republic of Biafra. But even this current campaign does not enjoy a local support as popular or fervent as that of I967 which led to the Nigerian Civil War. For most Igbos, the claim of Jewish ancestry, like identifying as Biafrans, is more of a sentimental attachment than an active pursuit of a cause.

ISRAEL TO STOP KIDNAPPING IN THE SOUTH EAST

Recently the newspapers were awash with news that the MOSSAD; Israel’s intelligence agency has been contracted by the Nigerian government to help rid the South East, and South South sections of Nigeria, of the menace of kidnappings, which is sending the Igbos into exile.

The MOSSAD is a successful secret service. Its role in enabling beleaguered Israel to survive, and even thrive cannot be over-emphasized. Surely it has a lot to offer Nigeria in terms of security. If Israel with little natural resources, location in deserts and semi deserts, religious and cultural diversities could be secure, Nigeria, with its endowments should.

MOSSAD would help to douse the fire raging currently by helping the Nigeria Police, and our other security agencies to keep abreast of the latest innovations in intelligence and information gathering. Surely this would stem the tide, improve security now, and allow concerned parties to settle down and give the problem a long-term solution. The kidnapping is a symptom of something which needs to be treated. The societies in which kidnapping for ransom has almost become legitimized are largely dysfunctional; with all forms of legitimate authority broken down. And all the institutions that could genuinely help to foster social harmony rendered sterile, and irrelevant.

For long-term solutions; among the Igbos who share a similar culture with the MOSSAD operatives, the Israelis could help by enabling the Igbos to see that their traditional social organization, which has been largely displaced without good reason, and which is presented in the essay A Brief Survey Of Ancient Israel: From The Igbo Perspective and Experience, has the potential of stabilizing the society, reducing crime to the lowest level and also make it easier for the police, and other security agencies to succeed in combating crime, if and when they occur. Criminals thrive in societies that ‘thrive’ on injustice. The Igbo society in its pure form has inbuilt mechanisms that ensure that injustice does not take root. The afore-mentioned study which compared the Igbo and Israelite societies shows that the Republic of Israel which owns the MOSSAD operates a society akin to the traditional Igbo society, and enjoys the consequent social harmony and equilibrium.

If the MOSSAD instructs the Igbos to reduce poverty, and empower more of their people by starting to practice those aspects of their culture which mandate the rich to share their wealth and opportunities with the poorer members of their community, they will have a listening ear, because many Igbos have started to realize that Igbo abandonment of Igbo culture has only led to problems. A look at the mission statements of Igbo groups such as the Igbo Israel Union, the Igbo Origin and Culture Research Platform, and Igbozurume will confirm what I just mentioned.

The Igbos Come from Hebrews & Hebrews Come from Adam, Father of All Mankind

Remy Ilona- The ndi Igbo and Jews are ‘blood brothers’. This helps to solve a problem. In the submission that sparked off the debate I saw where the author stated or quoted sources that expressed and implied that Igbo culture and Judaism are not similar. But blood brothers have similar, if not identical cultures. And many of us have found, and proved beyond reasonable doubt that the Igbos and the branch of the Ibri called the Jews are genetically related. So we can consign the submission to where it deserves to belong; the rubbish heap. The malevolent attempt to degrade the magnificent film, and the theory that the Igbos are related to Israel got the reward it deserves; ignominy. Ignominy big time! And presently the film and books talking about Igbo Israelism are climbing the charts, because people want to know...

Any one that reads my latest book; “The Igbos And Israel-An Inter-cultural Study of the Oldest And Largest Jewish Diaspora” will get enough information about the ofo and its place in Jewish culture therein.

                                                                       Igbo Israelite symbol

Secondly, no Jew runs around Igboland, spending money, to convince Igbos that they are related to each other. If , and as we are related, as can be inferred from Acholonu’s admission that we are related genetically, the need for that does not arise. The Jews that come to Nigeria, and see some Igbos, see those Igbos that have realized the importance of renewing their links with their brethren, and have reached out to their brethren. The Jews that visited the places that Acholonu mentioned in Anambra came at the invitation of some Igbos who wanted them to confirm if Eri the ancestor of a group of Igbos actually inhabited there. Judaism, as Omenana, is a non proselytizing culture/religion. Jews actually block non Jews from joining them, and I can’t imagine ndi Igbo permitting non Igbos to attend and participate in nzuko umu nna of any Igbo community.

Acholonu holds that the Igbos were the first human beings to inhabit the earth, as we can infer from the title of her book, ‘They Lived Before Adam’. Likely she holds that view because some findings indicate that (some) of the oldest fossils of the homo sapiens have been found in Africa-at a point (East Africa to be exact) thousands of miles away from Igboland. She has not proved that what she insists that she discovered is the absolute fact. Objective analysis and assessment of available data yields rather that everybody in the world descended from man.

Acholonu holds that the Jews descended from the Igbos. I think that she holds this view because she has not really extended her research to Jewish history and culture. When you say the ‘Jews’ you are just talking about the branches of Israel that lived in Western and the Middle Eastern lands. An Ethiopian Jew was not known as the Ethiopian Jew until recent times. He was known as the Falasha and as the Beta Israel. The Jews of Somalia are known as the Yibir (mis) pronunciation of Ibri or Hebrew), just as the Jews of Nigeria have been, and are known as the Ebo/Ibo/Igbo-(mis) pronunciations of Ibri or Hebrew).

If we must be frank, Hebrew culture, which both the Jews and the Igbos share, as can be inferred from Acholonu’s admission that ‘both groups are blood brothers’ did not begin to evolve in Igboland. The epicenter of Hebrew, if you like to call it Igbo, if you like call it Jewish, if you like call it Yibir, culture, is eretz Yisrael (the land of Israel). We have enough evidence that the Igbos trekked from there to Igboland thousands of years ago. Igbo language proves it. The Igbo spoken 700 years ago is unmistakably Hebraic, and, and, and once again, it's in Israel, not, not, not Igboland where archaeology has shown that Hebrew was in use more than 3000 years ago. Interested persons can confirm this themselves. Some very old and obscure dialects of Igbo still yield a lot of Hebrew.
Ndi Igbo certainly did not spawn the human race. Ndi Igbo are part of the human race, from the family of Israel. It might salve our vanity to think that we lived before Adam, but actually we didn’t. Adam which means earth or and in some ways ‘man’ in Hebrew spawned the human race, including the Igbos.

Comparing the Igbo and Other Nigerian Cultures on Toilet Practices

I would like us to talk about another custom today. How do the Igbo and other Nigerians deal with defecation and human faeces?

When I grew up in Igboland, every Igbo home in Ozubulu had a pit latrine situated some distance away from the main dwellings. I cannot recall any dwelling that did not have toilets or latrines, and when a miscreant child mischievously defecated on the farms or on the roads, what I observed was that the first person that saw the excrement would exclaim, 'anya afuo m aru' (my eyes have beheld an abominable thing), quickly look for an egg, break it, and smear the contents on the eye (our belief is that this is purification), and a search is conducted for the offender who's parents will be fined.
Yesterday in synagogue, as we discussed Omenana Joseph N Igbo recounted what was the older practice in his Orogwe, near Owerri. He said that in the distant past when many Igbos could not afford toilets, that what people did was to head into the wilds with "mbazu"-a spear-like farming implement, and on getting to the wilds-very far from human dwellings, the person in need would dig holes with the implement, relieve himself/herself over the holes, cover the excrement carefully with sand, and return home, fully relieved.

And what does the Igbo (Hebrew) Book of life say?....Deuteronomy 23:13 says.....And you shall have a trowel with your tools, and when you sit down outside, you shall dig a hole with it and turn back and cover up your excrement......

I mentioned in my last post that I have lived in many non Igbo parts of Nigeria. In one part, that is deemed to be the most sophisticated presently, and its people the most civilized, the people defecate in their bedrooms, living rooms, and in all parts of their homes. Fully grown adults retire into their homes with the plastic bowl called 'poo', defecate inside it, and pour the excrement on the streets.
In some other parts people simply defecated on streets, leave the excrement uncovered and walk away.

And in some areas people have the tradition of defecating inside bodies of water.

These are part of my observations...

Unlike · 1 אבן כהן :Defecation is simply defined as act of discharge of feces from the body. Even though is a act purely natural, most people according to their culture does not discharge feces properly. The Igbo for instance responds to this natural call positively by not deficating in their farms, market places, and other designated public or private areas. The reason for doing that in Igbo culture is because feces though regarded as a waste, is not only loathsome but very foul smelling. In other tribes' culture, I have not seen feces properly handled or disposed. Take for instance; I went to a kiosk in a motor park in Lagos to buy some biscuits. On getting there I saw a woman who covered herself, sitting just beside the open door of the kiosk and I asked her if the seller is around to sell some items to me. A man who wanted me to board his vehile came to me and said; "nwa nne! okwa I bu onye Igbo?" And I answered 'yes', then he said; "hapu nwanyi ahu obu nsi ka onanyi." I was shocked and horridly left the scene because I can not imagine a full fledged person defecating openly in the public right there in the business shop! Ever since then, I stopped buying biscuits and other sealed edible things for travel in the park and similar places. Today, it needed the power of task force to stop defecation on the main roads and other public areas, a typical sign how their culture view feces. 

Great differences exist between the Igbo and other Nigerians. Knowing and understanding these differences will help the Igbo to cope. Yorubas do not dig at all. In Lagos what they normally do is connect their toilet pipe to the gotta. That's all. And the same to the Hawusa Fulani.

Igbo Origins- The Pathway


The Igbos have began to take charge in this area. Careful studies have been settling the question. Our origins was deemed difficult to situate because while our neighbours contented themselves with creating myths, and stating that the myths were the accounts of their origins, we were contented to say that Gad's son Eri fathered the Igbos, and leave things like that. Myths are sexier, more attractive and complex than facts, so what we said did not attract many 'scholars' approval; Igbos and non Igbos alike.

Should this be surprising? It shouldn't be, because of obvious reasons. The scholars were scholars but they were not trained to understand Igbo culture and history. Also because of afro-centricism many were loth to look at the evidence lying around everywhere, because in their thinking; the Igbos-a 'black' people, couldn't be related to the Israelis-'a white' people-not minding that not only are there no people that are black or white, but that there are Ethiopian Jews, Lemba Jews of Zimbabwe who are also dark-skinned, and that in Nigeria the Igbos are noted as ndi nwekariri ndi na acha ocha. Evidence that proves the origin of the Igbos is readily available. In the culture-Omenana, a concept that is even locatable in the Hebrew Bible. In the language. In the lore. In the history. And in many other accessible things.

Why "Igbo Israel"? Re-Branding the Igbo People

My friend Malachi Okwudiri Iheanacho, an MSc student at UI, and Igbo- Israel Union liaison for the South-West, and UI, advocated that the Igbos be re-branded.

Essentially by excavating the Igbos history and re-presenting Omenana as it is, I've been re-branding the Igbos. So I took what Iheanacho said as a call to do more. I began my latest work; 'An Introduction to the Chronicles of Igbo -Israel'. This work details how the Igbos began as ha Ibri, became Ibo, then became the Igbos, and today are on the verge of just being known by their Nigerian designated states such as Anambra, Abia, etc. In other words many Igbos would in the near future forget that they were Igbos; and would forget that they were Hebrews, and Israelites. Most still remember that they are Hebrews, because the word 'Igbo' is close to 'Ibri' (Hebrew). To make sure that the identity is not lost I resolved to re-brand the Igbos with the Igbos proper name; and to me this name is 'Igbo-Israel'.

More in the days ahead.

The Igbo 'town unions' which really are clan unions are slowly coming out of doldrums. This associations which are equivalent to Jewish synagogues and community centres were the Igbos' engines of growth in the later decades of the 20th century. They sent bright young people who hadn't wealthy parents to school. they trained orphans. They contribute development to their communities. Many markets, boreholes, etc, in Igboland were financed by 'town unions'.


Then the town unions began to decline. We at the Igbo Israel Union have decided to help the 'town unions', to reinvent them. Join us, and contribute your quota to rebuilding Igbo Israel.

jueves, 23 de febrero de 2017

The Igbos Are An Israelitish People Dwelling In West Africa I

Some among the Igbo (Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea) claim descent from East African Jewish communities.

Some Igbo toponyms have Holy Land names or possibly Hebrew ones: Afia ISaGha Orie (iSaaC), ISieKe Ibeku (iSaaC), Abam (Abram), Edda (Edom). Calabar (like Caledonia the beginning CaL or CaLa might come from GaLut, diaspora in Hebrew & Bar is son in Aramaic. So Calabar would mean "Son of the Diaspora"). Umuahia (like Ushuaia, Argentina, the end ia is possible Yah, or Yahweh)

A few webs that consider the Igbos & other Africans & Blacks as Israelites:
http://raybash.blogspot.com, http://www.hebrewigbo.com, http://www.abrahamsdescendants.com, http://www.africaresource.com, http://www.igbohebrew.com, http://www.blackjews.org/  
http://www.yahspeople.com, http://igboisrael.blogspot.com

It's considered that Igboland had a very ancient civilization. Ebri is an Ibo or neighborly tribe's last name strikingly similar to Ibri, Hebrew in Hebrew. Abiriba, an Igbo village,  might have the same root.

According to tradition in ancient a spirit made Igbos (while on vertical position) go to and fro. This is what the Jews do, while praying to God or reading the scriptures. That spirit should be originally the Holy Ghost.

In Igbo, “Ama anyi” means the” place of my people”. Are the Anyi Israelites?

Tel Aro'er is the ruins of an 8th-6th BC Israelite walled city,  located on the side of the ancient route leading from the east to Beersheba. It was mentioned as one of the southern Judean cities during the Kingdom of David. The Aro Igbos (or their Israelite ancestors) may have given their name to this place.


Steps to Redemption of the Igbos

Any person that uses the brain will be depressed by 'Nigeria', and an Igbo, more so, because if the Igbos had gotten things right, Igboland, and the Igbo community would have been an oasis in the actual hell that sub-Saharan Africa has turned into. Before we decided to become like others we were ahead; far ahead. Even colonial officers who declared their hatred for us stated so loud and clear. R. Collis said that we hadn't malnutrition-because we ate green vegetables (unlike the others, including the Yoruba whom the Igbos worship today because they take them to, and teach them about Christ). My book The Igbos: Jews In Africa carefully laid out these, and more. Nwanne Chukwu has given us enough tools to free ourselves. Didn't He empower people, including our son Emeagwali to make the Internet, and make it available in our time? So that we would use it to look back, look at the present, and march into the future with knowledge and wisdom! However we must decide to be free. And we must decide to be holy, because we are the seed of the only people who entered a covenant with Him. We were at Sinai.

Remember His warning through Prophet Amos if I recall correctly,' Israel, ye alone have I known among the nations, (be careful because), I 'll look into all your transgressions). The child we love we must reprove! Nothing wrong with loving money (other Nigerians love it even more than Igbos). I proved that in The Igbos: Jews In Africa, but as Igbo wisdom (the Igbo sense) has gone, Igbos do everything crassly. The same colonialists said that they didn't see prostitution as a commercial venture among the Igbos, but today all the brothels in Nigeria have more Igbo girls, than girls from the other groups in Nigeria. the Igbos: Jews In Africa provided facts and figures that showed that ndi Igbo wu o muta ogbakaria-the amateur who out-dances the professionals.The 'genocide' was a consequence of a crime! High treason! Committed by the Igbos! I'll try to forward to you my article which was published in the National Times newspaper.

I don't know why Igbos refuse to see what should be obvious. I don't know why Igbos refuse to understand what 'Biafra' really stands for: Well I shouldn't be surprised> Didn't Moses say that one of the consequences of idolatry would be lack of discernment and wisdom? I told you in one of my last letters that as Igbos withdraw from Omenana/Laws of the God of Israel, that their wisdom, power, etc, will be reducing. Okpara and co were prophets if compared to contemporary Igbos, but midgets when compared to Joshua, David, Elijah, Isaiah, Equiano, the type that Okonkwo of Things Fall Apart is the prototype of, and their other ancestors. Igbos can only begin to think about redemption of any kind when a sizable number of Igbos break free from the yoke of idolatry. This is easy to achieve. If the Igbos know what is Omenana, and begin to practice it, they will break free of idolatry. It’s not easy for me to say the following as I could be misunderstood, and viewed as indulging in self-adulation.

But as we are dialoguing I'll talk. With God's help I have been able to excavate the true history of the Igbos, and have also found the true Igbo culture. It is Omenana, and I found evidence that it is the culture of Israel, and that it remains pure, even while the Igbos regressed, and degenerated. Presently a group of Igbo academics, professionals, and artists, based in Nigeria, and abroad, who have read some of my books have been assembling with the objective of rebuilding the Igbo people with what they found in the books. In the words of the facilitator, and the chairman of the 'Platform, 'we have read many Igbo texts, but The Igbos: Jews In Africa' gave us a key which we had not known about previously'. And in the words of a leader of the group based abroad, 'after reading the book, it was no longer gloom and doom, as I began to see light at the end of the tunnel'.

If you read some of them you'll have the same feelings, and will begin to think of how to make sure that many if not all Igbos begin to read them, and begin to study about the Igbos. And who made it possible for us to have what is actually the base of Igbo Studies? It's the Jews! Today a Jewish company is working to publish' From Ibri To Igbo-Forty Million More Jews In West Africa' beside which the books which kick-started the afore-mentioned group pales into insignificance. More on that later, but I'll drop this before I sign off now, to restart later. If the Igbos begin to study the Jews, as they study the Igbos, redemption will come in no time.


Note: The treason wasn't against Nigeria, but against the God of our forefathers. A close reading of Deut 28 will convince you that we benefited from the blessings when we recognized Him alone as our God, and tried to keep His commandments, and that the Igbos are reaping the curses presently, because the Igbos have turned to another god, whom their fathers did not know.

I'm an Igbo, I'm a Jew

I am studying the Igbo culture, which has been noted to have unique similarities and parallels with the culture and history of ancient Israel. So, I can also say that I am studying ancient Israel. I think that we can never have a surfeit of studies about ancient Israel. My own opinion, formed by my experience is that though much is known about the ancient Israelites, still much is yet to be known.
Many believe that much of my findings which I have documented in 6 books is helping to fill the void. I have been told many times that my presentations of Igbo culture illuminate the Tanakh, that they make clear many of what otherwise would seem of no consequence or importance. On the other hand, Jewish cultural studies have served as an Igbo Studies primer to me. As could be seen Jewish Studies is providing us with help in understanding the history of some of the customs. As well as enabling us to fill gaps in our general history. So it’s a win-win situation for both the Igbos and the Jews.

The Igbo, in older times more commonly referred to as the Ibo, have been referred to as the Jews of Africa for a long time. We have been native to 16000 sq miles in the deep south of Nigeria for estimatedly 1000 years.

The Omenana

The Igbo way of life is called Omenana, which if you translate to English you will get ‘things, laws, customs, traditions that you have to do or observe in or on the land’. This I believe will give you a clear message because the Torah of Israel which is the basic code of the culture of Israel contains essentially what/the laws, customs, etc, that the Israelites are to do/observe on the land..’

300 years or so ago, my family with Udoji my great grandfather, who was an obi, and an nze, at its head brought in, and accommodated Nri from Ohaeri, another Igbo clan, who from all indications; which include evidence that Igbo migrated from the ‘north’, are Levites, and if they are not, we would then be forced to consider the strange possibility that there were two Israelite entities that were not connected in any way in ancient times.

My father who was born in 1920 told me that the family of non Ozubulu ancestry that are our ‘brothers’, because they live on our land, attend family meetings with us, and are our kinsmen presently came the following way to join us: Udoji was sitting on the corridor of his obi one day, around 300 years ago, enjoying the cool breeze, when he espied a family walking towards him. Getting closer, they saluted him, and responding he asked who they were, and they responded that they were Umu Nri; that they were looking for a place to settle and live. Udoji invited them in, gave them hospitality, allocated land to them, and they settled and became members of his family. They still live with us today. The special occupation of this family gives us a hint of who they are. Among the Igbo, like among the Jews, a suicide was not given a regular burial. The Torah said that a hanged person is an abomination. Here the English language I think missed the point of the Torah. Torah must have meant a person that hanged himself. A suicide! Hanging was a very regular means of committing suicide in ancient times. The Igbo believe that one who committed suicide by hanging -committed abomination-soiled the land (society), offended G-d, and that purifications must be performed before his body could be cut down to be thrown away. And he or she must not be mourned. My studies of Jewish traditions show that no Jewish group accords the suicide a normal, and regular mourning and burial.

Back to our Levites. This family that Udoji accommodated came from one of the families/clans that had authority to perform the required purification (cleansing). They had right, and freedom to move around, and to be allocated land by their brother Igbos to settle and practice their profession, exactly as the Lord required the biblical Israelites to do in the case of the Levites, who were also to move around in Israel, practicing their craft. Among the Igbo, the major purifications and cleansings have to be done by the priests of Nri.


    Jewish lions with Levitish hand symbols

Here we have another clincher: the primary family/clan of the Nri; Agukwu, where I conducted much research, and met great Igbo sages has the nickname: ‘Nri enwela ani’: the meaning of this would shock you. It means that the Nri don’t have lands.

Jacob, the Hebrew Patriarch prophesied that Levi would have no land in Israel, but would be scattered in Israel. Moses, the Law-Giver, through whom G-d instructed Israel directly relayed what G-d said about the Levites: they were to be scattered in Israel, as the priests of the Israelites. The Nri are scattered among the Igbo, as the primary priests. Nri have had this nickname ‘Nri do not have lands’ since immemorial times, and most probably most Nri indigenes have forgotten why they acquired the nickname. Tellingly, the family of Nri that settled with the Ilona, named one of their sons Asomba, which means that they can settle anywhere among their brother Igbos.

The Obi

The obi are the persons who traditionally serve as the political leaders of Igbo communities. My family which I have introduced by narrating how it accommodated a family of Igbo Levites, has provided the obi for my community, the Egbema, Ozubulu sub-clan for centuries. The function of an obi includes provision of the meeting place for the community, and maintenance of same. In this structure which is called community obi, the community also gathers for formal religious activities like prayers, which the oldest male member of the community leads. The obi also serves as the ‘court-house’ of the community. Issues are settled inside it, and sittings are only taken to the ilo (stadium) if the proceedings would attract very many people, and its feared that the obi would not be able to accommodate those that would like to attend.

The obi would very likely be the person that would represent the community if there are risky and costly assignments that the community needs to execute. For example, if the community needed to fight a neighboring community, the obi would lead the community. Also the obi is expected to shoulder the responsibility of the community, like accommodating the ‘Levites’ as I have narrated. The obi reminds me of the Hebrew judges, and kings, who led the people from the front; were at the forefront of the fights, and not at the rear. Saul was there at the war front making the arrangements for tackling Goliath, even volunteering his armor for the boy-soldier David. Also the obi who is wrongly misrepresented as ‘king’ today, or traditional ruler, to use what is in the Nigerian lexicon, reminds an observer of the Israelite ‘king’ whom G-d instructed that he is to still remain more less an equal of his brethren. The Igbo obi, unlike the kings (traditional rulers) among the Yoruba, Benin, Hausa/Fulani, Europeans,etc did not receive any special treatment from the Igbo. Like King Ehav, who wanted to buy Naboth’s land, because unlike real kings, he hadn’t control of the land in Israel, the Igbo obi has only his own portion of the ancestral land, and if he needs more, he has to buy.

The obi is empowered so that he can be strong as he performs his functions. An ofo which will help him to live a clean life is given to him. The Igbo have a belief that living sinfully leads to death. To avoid this fate, the obi who as a prominent person could more easily stray, is given an ofo, which one is scared of sinning when one is in possession of it. If the obi is the oldest man from the oldest family in the community, things are very simple in regards to the ofo, because it is the oldest Igbo from the oldest family that possesses the ofo of a particular community, among the Igbo. But if he is not, an ofo which will be subordinate to the main one will be provided for him.

Nze

In the good old days every Igbo goes to be consecrated, to become an ‘nze’. An nze is distinguished by the following: he is very careful about what he eats, and extra careful about what he does, says and hears. Traditionally the Igbo keep kosher. Substantial evidence of this exists in the wise sayings, lore, music of the Igbo, and in the animals that the Igbo consider as suitable for sacrifice. The nze goes an extra mile in observing the laws of kashrut, and general kosher. He can only eat food prepared in his home, by his wife, and this depends on her state. So sometimes he prepares his food himself. He does not say sinful things. And he must not hear sinful things. In my clan the nze has a bell that tingles tied to his bag. The purpose of the bell is to give sufficient warning that a holy man is passing, whenever he is abroad, so that people will be careful, because if someone says an unholy thing to his hearing, he has right to levy a fine, which must be paid without delay. The nze is distinguished by this red fez which must always be on his head.

The nze is the Igbo nazarite. Samson was a biblical model of the nazarite. How many letters are shared by nze and nazarite?

The OSU or Oruma

The osu, in some sections of Igboland and oru-ma in the Nsukka area of Igboland are auxiliary priests in the Igbo religion who lost status, and employment when the colonial authorities replaced Omenana with Christianity as the religion of the Igbos. Having being replaced, and their role and function forgotten and misunderstood, they presently suffer discrimination from other Igbos.

The osu have direct parallels in biblical Judaism. It is completely established and above ambiguity of any kind among the Igbo that the osu were people whose ancestors served in the sanctuaries that the Igbos set up in Igboland.

There were some that were dedicated by other people to serve G-d in Omenana, forever. Some also elected to serve G-d as auxiliary priests in perpetuity.

In ancient Israel, the Gibeonites were dedicated, to serve in the house of G-d, forever. Samuel was dedicated by his mother to serve in the house of the Lord forever. We have seen two examples that paralleled the Igbo experience. Following is another one: The Gibeonites were not to be harmed. King Saul contravened the solemn vow of Joshua, and killed some of them. Under King David they had their pound of flesh back. Among the Igbo, one must never hurt an osu physically. General Joab who sought to avail himself of this protection and immunity when King Solomon pursued him, went into the House of G-d, caught hold of the horns of the Temple, because ancient Israelite law gave immunity to an Israelite that sought protection from pursuers by taking refuge with G-d Remember, some Igbo became servants/auxiliary priests by running into the sanctuaries for protection.

These people are in trouble presently. They have been replaced by Christian priests, their functions forgotten, misunderstood, scorned as pagan service. Accordingly they are as I said earlier, discriminated against. This has taken its toll on the truth that rests behind the Igbo people’s connection to ancient Israel and the Jewish people. However, it is not over yet. The Igbo are realizing that they are not truly like the rest of the tribes and people that surround them. We are at our core, a mixture of the lost tribes and those Judeans that were exiled at the time of the Roman conquest of the Land of Israel. Josephus recorded that millions of Judeans were in fact sold into slavery to Africa. Thank G-d we are returning.

Linguistic Similarities

And while my comparison of Igbo and Ivrit is still in infancy I must reveal that I have observed that both languages share quite an uncommon resemblance; from idiomatic, to similar words having similar meanings in both, etc. An Igbo who is intelligent and compared Igbo and Hebrew as part of her graduate work reached the conclusion that both languages are genetically related. Below is part of the work that I have started to do in the studying of both languages: It is interesting that the Igbo word for house or home is be, and the Hebrew word for house is bes or beth. That an Igbo type of light is urimmu, and six of the lights on the breast-plate of the Israelite chief priest is urim. That the meaning of Israel’s Name for God in Hebrew Yawe, is ‘I am’, and in Igbo Yawu means ‘He is’. That wine in Hebrew is yayin and mmanya in Igbo. Abraham to the Igbo is Abiama. We must admit that Abraham and Abiama are close in spelling and pronunciation.

The Creator of the universe to the Igbos is Chukwu Abiama (Great God of Abraham). Omenana is the phrase for the Igbos religion and culture, and Emuna is the Hebrew word for faith. And adam (Hebrew) and madu (Igbo) both mean man (humans). G.T. Basden devoted a large portion of his work to a comparison of Igbo and Israelite traditions, and he started the comparison thus: ‘There are one or two peculiarities of idiom in Ibo similar to some found in Hebrew. The chief parallel is found in the repetition of words to express a single idea and, perhaps to add emphasis. The practice of reduplicating verbs or adding their cognate nouns is characteristic of Ibo- e.g. ‘O galu aga’ = he passed; ‘o jelu ije’ = he went. As a rule, the addition makes little or no appreciable difference to the meaning.

There are many verbs which are rarely used without reduplication or with their derived noun either attached or in close proximity, e.g., we have such terms as “murmur a murmur” = “o natamu atamu”, or, as we have in the litany, “those who have erred”= “ndi jefielu ejefie”, and “those who are deceived” = “ndi alaputalu alaputa.” My exploratory work on the idioms, expressions, usages, etc, is set out hereafter. Moses’ call on ‘heaven and earth’ to be his witness that he gave Israel sufficient warning to stay away from idolatry and evil made profound impact on me the first time I read it scholastically (in Deuteronomy 4:26), because it is our (Igbo) fashion when we want to really lay emphasis on a matter in discussion. When the Igbo man says ‘enu igwe na ana nukwa onu m’ (‘may heaven and earth hear my voice’) he is really serious, and does not want to play with the matter that made him to utter those words.

An Igbo writer; S.C. Onwuka mentioned that Igbos call upon ‘heaven and earth to witness’ while they are praying. I submit that it is not just coincidental that both languages have such an identical expression, and use it in similar circumstances. Also Dr. J. H. Hertz, a Jewish scholar; had while explaining the nuance in Numbers 14:22, “these ten times” stated that it could stand for a ‘large number of times’. He further explained it to mean: “They had now filled up the measure of their iniquities, and punishment must inevitably come upon them.”7 Dr. Hertz used expressions very close to the Igbo idiom—‘iko ya ejuna’, which means that he has exhausted all his chances, but which can be translated literally to mean ‘his cup or measure is filled up.’ Igbos use this phrase or idiom when an evil doer gets caught and is awaiting punishment. From Hertz’s explanation it is easy to see that the same idea lies behind both the Igbo usage of the expression, and the Israelite usage, as explained by Hertz. Hertz also explains, ‘for they are bread for us’ which is in Numbers 14:9 as meaning that: ‘We shall easily destroy them.’

His explanation is very similar to an Igbo expression nni nracha ka ha wu which literally means (‘they are easy food’), which if employed during a quarrel or fight signifies that the opponent can be defeated easily. Also very interesting is the nearness of words that Jacob and his sons deployed when they were talking about Joseph’s supposed loss, to a wild beast, to the words that Igbos would have used in similar circumstances. The sons reported that an ‘evil beast’ might have devoured their brother. Jacob also referred to the beast as an ‘evil beast.’ Genesis 37:35.9 Ordinarily a beast is either a wild one or a domestic one. But I understand what Jacob and his sons said and why because as an Igbo I know that Igbos will refer to a ferocious or wild beast as ajo anu (evil beast), even though the beast could have equally been tagged anu ofia (wild beast) by the Igbos. One comes across the phrase ‘the anger of the Lord was kindled’,—Numbers 12:9, ‘My wrath shall wax hot’,-Exodus 22:23.

If the phrases are translated into Igbo language we will have iwe oku which means hot anger. The Igbos call their anger iwe oku (hot anger) when they are very angry. As I was pointing out in the section that dealt with “evil beast,” is anger supposed to be “hot” or cold? Applying such adjectives in certain cases makes sense to me only when I consider that every language has its own idioms and characteristics. I will make a preliminary conclusion of this section with the words of Basden: “The language (Igbo) also bears several interesting parallels with the Hebrew idiom.” But before making my final comment on this subject which I am just beginning to look at I want to bring up more strikingly similar Igbo and Hebrew words which have identical or near meanings. It is not mere coincidence that makes may-im- hayy-iym “waters of life, living waters,” in Hebrew similar to iyi which is “stream, river” in Igbo language.

Also the belt that was part of the Israelite priest’s garment—the ephod or ‘efowd, which is comparable with the Igbo word mfiedo = girdle or belt. In addition the Hebrew nasas /nasah which are “be clear, be pure /shinning”, can be related to the Igbo nso and which can be used for holiness. Aso can also be used for holiness, and in Igbo thought what is nso or aso (holy) is pure. And I also observed that many Igbo words like unyahu, ebe ahu, and nke ahu (yesterday, that place, and that thing) definitely excites one to think of Hebrew names like Eliyahu, Netanyahu, Yeshayahu, etc., because of the ahu endings. It also occurred to me that Igbos would include an u when pronouncing a name like John giving out something like Johnu. I was moved by the following prayer: Barukh atah Adonai….shehekhyanu vekiymanu vehigianu lazman hazeh, because of the nu endings. I find it my favorite prayer in Hebrew.

Researchers would find this area very interesting to explore I predict. As I am only beginning an exploration of this section I will not go too far. I will not make definitive assertions on the relationship between the Igbo and Hebrew languages at this stage. However I must say that my observation is that the Igbo spoken fifty years ago was not very dissimilar in aspects like sound, pronunciation, etc, with ancient Ivrit. Shortly I will resume a comparison of both languages with Avraham Phil van Riper; an American Jewish scholar. Igbo language has a lot of similarities and ties with the language of the Jews.

Is Habbakuk An Igbo Word?

We continue our investigative inquiry into names we can find in the Bible, names like Jeremiah and now Habbakuk. Once more we want to ask, what is the meaning of the word Habbakuk in Hebrew? 
Well, Habbakuk simply means “exalted father” in Hebrew. It is a Hebrew word which is seriously encomiastic, meaning that some Jews would rather interprete Habbakuk as “Holy father”.

Habbakuk is very simply Hebrew to interprete and one of the most profound in essence. The book is possibly post-exilic written by returnees to Jerusalem or thereabout, following Nebuchadnezzer enslavement of Judeans, in 586 Bc.

Our immediate concern is the meaning of the name in Igbo, but its meaning in Hebrew might suggest that Habbakuk was perhaps a record of a prophet’s oracles. In essence, Habakkuk was intended as an address of some sort. In that word Habbakuk, we recognize the presence of two words; one, Habba, sourthern Israelite for Abba, meaning ‘father’, and the other, Kuku or Kuk in Hebrew, reffering to the ‘greater one’.

This is clearly Igbo since we can easily adjust the play in terms of conversion, for we know that Uku in Igbo is simply exact in meaning as ‘exalted’ or ‘great one’. In Igbo,’Nke Uku’ is an extented version of the word Uku, Nkuku which makes no mistakes about the ‘great one’ the ‘exalted one’, chimes exactly with Hebrew’s kuku/kuk.

This is hardly the end, yet no demonstration is entirely needed to check mate Habbakuku as the equivalent Igbo's Abba Nkuku, meaning the more ‘exalted father’. It mirrors in my perspective the degree to which Igbos or Hebrews, or anyone group, might become ennui with ‘new found’ glossary when the know the frame of the existing words in both Hebrew and Igbo languages are still under trial.

Some Igbos might argue that Abba as "father" is not universally accepted as Igbo word for "father". Such position is very short in view and playing naive.

It is still okay to argue about such thing, but we now know that such awe that they are absolutely persuaded that He deserves nothing less than complete obedience. This same fear and reverence brings along a remorse and a grief over those acts, words and thoughts whereby they have transgressed against His laws and whereby they have grieved his set-apart spirit. It is a pity that this aspect of the fear of Yahweh is very much neglected among those who claim to be believers in the Almighty.
Koho

In the New American Standard Bible Habakkuk 1:11 says: "Then they will sweep through like the wind and pass on. But they will be held guilty, They whose strength is their god." In the same text the Hebrew word "koho" is translated as WHOSE STRENGTH. Here we see a similar translation (if not the same): The loyal people of Israel praise the one whose “strength” (koho) and “power” (gevurato) fill the universe.

Where Did the Igbos Come From?

“Majority of Igbos are satisfied to accept the Israel hypothesis supported by the triple testimonies of oral tradition, Eri migration and archaeological evidence.”

Where the Igbos migrated from has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt. The ancestry of the Igbos has bothered many people for a long time. Many historians, philosophers, sociologists, archaeologists and anthropologists have raised a lot of dust on this issue. A lot of views have been proffered but yet the origin of the Igbos remained a mirage.

Suffice it to say that the Igbos have found themselves in Nigeria and indeed they are Nigerians like every other tribe. This tend to support the claim of an elderly Mbaise man from Imo State of Nigeria, whose name remain anonymous, in a book by Dr. Elizabeth Isichei titled “History of the Igbo People”.


                                                Mazi Nweke, Enugu State, Nigeria

The Igbos are more pragmatic in the claim of their origin unlike some other tribes in Nigeria. To suit their natural and competitive tendencies, they rarely rely on myths, legends and oral traditions. What the average Igbo man cannot hold on in respect of practical evidence, he would rather resign to faith and to God with whom he is more comfortable. This explains why they give such names as Chimaroke (God knows my portion), Chijioke (The Creator God), Chikelu (God creates), Chukwuma (God knows), Chinenye (God gives), Chukwuebuka (God is great), Chukwudi (God exits), Ngozichukwu (blessing of God), Eberechukwu (mercy of God), etc.

Well, there are three basic ways of providing the historical claims of any people or tribe. These ways are by written documents, by oral tradition and by archeological evidence. Needless to say that the Igbos have these three ways to present in the justification of the claim of their origin. The historical problem of the Igbo man since the inception of Nigeria has been how to convince his fellow Nigerians that he is part and parcel of the political entity called Nigeria. While some people have tried to link the Igbos to the Jewish race, others simply see them as the Jews of Africa. It is not a mistake to mention that the Igbos have genealogical relationship as well as historical resemblance with the Jewish race.

First and foremost, they are adventurous and aggressive like the Jews. The Igbo and Jewish customs permit a man to raise children from his brother’s widow. Both the Igbos and the Jews have a common tradition of lengthy funeral ceremony (Genesis 50:1-3). Igbos and the Jews have common circumcision; date on the eight-day following the delivering of a male child. Igbos and the Jews use intermediaries in marriage negotiations, this is practicable in Igboland up till now. Abraham did it while negotiating Rebecca for Isaac (Genesis 24.). Many groups of scholars have the view that the Igbos originated from the Jewish stock. To make this view more acceptable, Olaudah Equiano, an Igbo ex-slave in London, who is said to have travelled widely, happens to be the first person to write about the Igbo tribe before his death in 1797. Equiano, in one of his findings, discovered that some names amongst the Igbos such as Uburu and even the “Igbo” itself are derived from Hebrew words.

The vast majority of the Igbos who fell victim of the trans-Atlantic slave trade have been forgotten. They lived lives of toil and suffering, and their children rapidly lost a sense of their Igbo identity. One of them, however, by his courage and ability, won his freedom, and went on to a remarkable career which he described in an autobiography which is one of our most valuable sources of knowledge of the Igbo past. He was the first of many Igbos who have achieved distinction in Europe, and the first of a series of notable Igbo authors in English. His name was Olaudah Equiano, which might mean Olaude Ekweano and he was born in about 1745 and died in 1797.

Rev. J.T. Basden, an Anglican missionary, who worked in Igboland for over a decade, shared the opinion that the word ‘Igbo’ might be a shortening of a longer name of an Igbo influential ancestor. Another school of thought led by Late Professor Dike, whose book was expanded by I.C.U. Enochusi in his book: “The Living Document of Ekwulobia”, found out that the Igbos had three origins and settled in their homes in two different periods. According to them, the first branch of the Igbo was the Jewish stock who wandered through the Sudan and eventually settled at their current home earlier than 9th century A.D. Those Jewish Igbos have the same tradition and custom with the Jews of the Eastern World. They are the Nris, the Aros, the Igbo Ukwus, the Otuochas and so on.

The second origin is the Benin or Oduduwa origin. These Igbos were believed to be a part of the descendants of Oduduwa, the father of the Yorubas, and originated from Benin Kingdom only to settle at River line area or the Ika Igbo country land of the Igbo man in 17th century A.D. Dr. K. O. Dike, in support of this assertion, said that there was an eastward movement of population from Benin in 17th century A.D., which resulted in increased population of the Western, or Ika Igbo country. The third Igbo origin is the Benue River Region origin. These Igbos migrated from Igala country of the Benue River country into Igbo belt late 17th century A.D. to avoid the Fulani slave trade. Majority of these Igala Igbos settled in the Northern part of the Igbo territory.

According to a team of researchers from University of Ibadan, led by Thusten Shaw, it is now believed that some ancient Igbos had settled at Igbo-Ukwu-Aguatat-Anambra State earlier. That in 19th century A.D. Igbo-Ukwu, Ekwulobia and the environs were believed to belong to Jewish Igbos due to the period of the settlement. Another group headed by A.E. Afigbo linked the Igbos to branch of a Negro race who originated along the latitude of Asselar and Khartoun. Some linguists in support of this came out with the view that the Igbos originated from Niger-Congo family. This was due to the alignment of the language with that of ‘kwa’ in this area who were separated from Igbos by the Niger-Benue confluence.

That the Igbos migrated from Israel is no longer in doubt. According to Uche P. Ikeanyibe, as for geographical migrations and settlements, majority of Igbos are satisfied to accept the Israel hypothesis supported by the triple testimonies of oral tradition, Eri migration and the biblical evidence of Eri as a true historical descendant of Israel and the archaeological evidence, some of which are now lodged by Anambra state Government at Igbo-Ukwu Musem”.

Speaking on the origin of the Igbos, on behalf of Nri people, during an audience participation programme of Radio Nigeria on July 13, 1966, Ogbuefi Madubueze Enemmou was quoted as having said, “about two years ago, Israel government sent delegates to our place, Nri to confirm the historical relationship between Igbos and Hebrew people. We took Israeli officials round historical places in our town. They expressed surprise at what they observed as obvious similarities between our custom and theirs. Later, they could not help but conclude that Nri and Igbo in general are among the lost tribes of Israel”.

Oral Evidence

Oduduwa who is the Father of the Yoruba people, it should be noted here that one of his clans, the Ijebu (sounds like Igbo) indeed have Igbo traits in regards to their business saavy. It is believed that this clan is related to the Igbo in some way. Also, in Yorubaland is a town called Oke-eri, notice; “Eri” is in the name. So could have one of Eri’s descendants settled there and married into the Yoruba people?

Another theory in Igbo origins states that the Igbos originated in “Schechenigbo” between Bethlehem and Hebron on the road that runs through Cairo in Egypt. This also reiterated in the book “The History of the Igbos as Revealed to Innocent Okorie, A Stigmatist” who, while in a trance like state during the Holy Week reported that Rabbi Yeshua (Jesus) came to him and told him that the Igbos and the Efiks first arrived in Nigeria in 638 BCE after the exile of the Israelites in 718 BCE. And that the original town of the Igbos was Schechenigbo in Judea. 

Ogbuefi Madubueze Enemmou said on Radio Nigeria Enugu National Station on July 13, 1996 that in Nri, there is a long standing tradition of a man called Eri who fell from heaven, and this Eri was a contemporary of Moses and lived during the reign of the 5th Pharaoh but left with an entourage before the Exodus and went across the Nile into the Sudan and eventually made their way south and settled where the Anambra and Niger rivers meet.

Prof. O. Alaezi in his book “Ibo Exodus” said what the Chiefs at Obu-Gad told him concerning Eri’s appearance, “Eri, the founder of Agulueri, who I was told was so handsome with very light skin, beautiful brown eyes and pointed nose that his name became a symbol of beauty, strength the respect of Iboland. This is exemplified in such Ibo names as Erinma (a child of beauty and great prospect) born by some people in Iboland, especially females in southern Iboland.”

Eri

According to Igbo Scholars and Authorities, Eri is said to have had six children; Agulu, Atta, Oba, Igbo, Meneri and his only daughter, Adamgbo. Eri. He blessed and then settled each of his children in different places and left his firstborn at Obu-Gad (Compound/Camp of Gad) where Eri ended up settling and building a throne and altar in honor of his father Gad unto YHWH, the G-d of His father. 

Some say Eri had seven children and the seventh was named Edozie who became the father of the Edo people. 

Agulu inherited Eri’s Ofo (scepter) to rule over his brothers and thus established the Agulerian dynasty. 

Eri’s Son: Menri

Nnamoko Ogbodudu (Enugu-Agu?), one of Menri’s descendants is said to have been consecrated priest during the first year of Eze Anyiamigbo Ezeora I. He was then sent away with bronze family heirlooms inherited from Eri, Gad and Jacob (Israel) in order to find a safe place for these items so they wouldn’t be taken by raiders or invaders. He found a secure place know today as Agulu Lake. 

Nnamoko married Mgbankwo and had a son he called, Agulu and is the founder of the town named after him. 

Nnamoko’s second son was Diani and is the ancestor of the Umudiani, the first to settle in Aguukwu land. 

Nnamoko’s third son was Nwankwo ancestor of the ones who settled in Umunwankwo known today as Enuguukwu land. 

Eze Anyiamigbo Ezeora I crowned Nnamoko a Nri (King) around 1090 BCE.

Ijaw of Zebulon

Ijaw was a traveling companion of Eri, Areli and Adodi as they fled Egypt. Oral tradition states that Ijaw is a son of Zebulon who was the 10th son of Israel (Jacob). However, Ijaw is not listed in any Canonical Biblical genealogies. But this should come as no surprise as one person could go by different names and it may be that Ijaw was known by another name in Biblical Writ. Or it could be Ijaw was a son of one of Zebulun’s sons, and there for not recorded in any Biblical genealogy. He was said to be the water scout and river navigator of the group, and even today the Ijaw tribe and land can be found near water.

The Importance of Research and Revelation

It’s not that God can’t use evolution, for God is Omnipotent. It is simply that He didn’t. I’m not speaking of micro-evolution, or adaptation, this is clearly evident in creation. For example, how goats who lived on the savannah over time and generations have adapted their hooves to live on and traverse the mountains. I am speaking of macro-evolution, where one species literally evolves or turns into another. My image is that of God’s, not the apes. This is about as ridiculous as a frog turning in to a prince. All we see is not the result of a grand explosion, that would be like me detonating a bomb in a junk yard and fully formed and functional vehicles be the result of that explosion. I do not look at a watch on someone’s wrist and wonder, “Gee, how many billions of years did that take to evolve!?” No, I see it and due to its complexity, function and purpose I see there was a designer and I ask myself, “I wonder who made that?” Because we are so fearfully and wonderfully made (Psa. 139:14), I see the intricacy of humans, animals, the ecosystem and the solar system and think, there is exactitudes and precisions therefore there must be a Grand Designer and Maker and that could be none but Almighty God.


Likewise with history, I see it through the eyes of a Creator with a Master Plan who gave us certain promises and prophetic clues on how things are going to unfold. How He is ultimately behind and has orchestrated major world powers and events to its ends. With this being said, God has promised a man named Jacob who had twelve sons who became twelve tribes that they would be so numerous and uncountable as stars and grains of sand (Gen. 22:17) and yet we can identify and number the sons of Judah and Levi; which, due to Assyrian exile leaves ten sons and their descendants “lost.” They could not have just disappeared and or died out. This would make God a liar and a covenant breaker, which He is not (Gen. 17:7, Titus 1:2). The only logical conclusion is that they were dispersed throughout the world. Some knowing who they are regardless of who believes their claim and others have lost their identity and have assimilated into the lands, peoples and cultures around them. For these reasons I confidently assert that the Igbos are Hebrews. For these reasons I know the humanistic, secular researchers, scientists, anthropologists and archeologists do not know it all. For these reasons I put little stock in their work that is a result of their world view which I reject. The evidences lay equally before us both. Do they have all the answers? Do I? Equally, NO. We both still have unanswered questions and more findings generate more questions and so there is more research to be done, but I have something they lack; FAITH and REVELATION which is like the component that causes concrete to solidify. It is the ribbon which holds the bundle together. FAITH and REVELATION further backs up the Research. Research without FAITH and REVELATION is like flying a plane or driving a car on instrumentations alone, without instinct, without “feeling” the plane or car beneath them. 

The Igbos, being a portion of Gad as well as other Israelite Tribes were a part of the Assyrian captivity.; vomited out from the land of Israel mostly due to their idolatry. For a time on and off throughout their history in Nigeria they ended up deifying their ancestors and worshipping and adopting pagan deities and worshipping them alongside Chukwu Abiama (The God of Abraham). So European scholars as well as Igbo scholars who have done extensive research and study on these “gods” try to discredit or make light of the clear connection between Israel and Ndi Igbo through Igbo Omenana and the Hebrew Torah; completely ignoring Biblical and religious history in favor of honing in on the paganistic idolatry of the people. That is like a blind man examining an elephant’s leg and thinking it to be some sort of strange tree trunk; failing to see the bigger picture of the huge palm leaf like ears, its twig like tail and its serpentine like trunk. That is like trying to interpret a photo by a few puzzle pieces. Who am I going to trust? The elders who despite oral history has been consistent or European outsiders looking with a Western eye or Igbo scholars who wants to win favor in Western Academia? I’m going to go with the Elders and Scriptures backed by research and evidence.

Talking About The Igbo of Nigeria

I decided to write this article because of the prompting of the Israel …….. which I liked its page on facebook, and endorsed their work with the comment that I hope that one day they will carry my story, and they wrote back, ‘tell it to us, and we’ll tell it to the world’. This strengthened my resolve to begin to write this article which will be a very long one. I’m going to start off this discussion with some positions that followed some discoveries which came after some DNA findings about the Jewish people which also attracted a wonderful exposition by prominent Jewish writer Hillel Halkin.

“…..What is evident from these studies is that traditional assumptions are not correct assumptions. As Hillel [Halkin] points out in his article:

"On the one hand, the existence of a kohenite Y chromosome traceable to a single progenitor who lived near the supposed date of the Exodus supports, if not the Bible's account of the priesthood's origins, at least the antiquity of the institution and its hereditary nature. At a time when a radical "biblical minimalism" denying the historicity of the entire Pentateuch has been gaining ground among scholars, the kohenite Y chromosome is thus a striking argument for a more conservative reading of biblical texts."

and,

"On the other hand, there are the Lemba. Out of the blue, as it were--for nowhere in any Jewish or non-Jewish source are they even hinted at--we find an ethnic group near the southern tip of Africa with a genetic tie to Jews elsewhere. Where did they come from? How did they get to be where they are? If they lived totally apart from other Jews for hundreds or thousands of years while retaining a distinct "Jewish" identity, can this have happened in other places, too? Did the Jewish people have another, "shadow" history, inhabited by groups that we know little or nothing about?"

and,

"...the Hammer/Bonne-Tamir report would seem to corroborate the age-old Jewish belief that, allowing for a relatively small increment of proselytes throughout the ages, the Jewish people forms a biologically close-knit family originally hailing from the Fertile Crescent and Palestine. On the face of it, then, these findings refute various "revisionist" theories proposing that, not only in remote regions like Ethiopia and Yemen but even in such great Jewish population centers as Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean basin, much or possibly most of the Jewish community resulted from a massive conversion of non-Jews."

Above, writer Hillel Halkin was reviewing genetic findings indicating that the Jewish people are generally related by blood. Notably Halkin suggested that what happened in southern Africa (the discovery that the Lemba have Jewish genes, and that the Jewish community was totally unaware of it) might have parallels in other places. What I want to do here is to show that Igbo history is part of that ‘shadow’ Jewish history that Halkin says that it might exist. A comprehensive study of the Igbo people will always prove definitively that the culture of the Igbos is quintessentially Israelite. I have been doing such a study since 2002. I will discuss some of my work in this article which I have indicated that it will have many parts. The Igbo culture, ‘Ome na ana’ which is pronounced ‘Omenana’ can be studied by a scholar that understands the Igbo language very well, knows Igbo history intimately, and has the right background in research of this kind. I say this because the culture is still a living one. The Igbo people still live by their cultural norms and traditions. I will explain what I mean. Even though the Igbo are generally seen as Christians (during colonization by the British, all formal education among the Igbo was handled by Christian missionaries who Christianized the young), because presently majority of Igbos profess Christianity, the Igbos-even those that profess Christianity still practice the Igbo culture. Also many Igbos who did not embrace Christianity remain.

They practice ‘Omenana’. A study of their practices and beliefs will yield much information about the Igbo culture. In addition what I am going to say about the Igbo Christian will be quite revealing and interesting. Those that practice Christianity also practice Omenana as I have written earlier. An Igbo Christian undergoes the Christian and the Nigerian statutory marriages, and the Igbo marriage which is called the ‘traditional marriage’ presently. When the Igbo Christian dies, his fellow Christians among whom would inevitably be his own kinsmen attend his funeral, pray for him, and bid him farewell. After they go (with the deceased’s kinsmen remaining behind), the ‘Igbo mourning’ (‘ikwa ozu’) continues. ‘Ikwa ozu’ means to mourn for the dead. Many a time, it must be noted; there is tension about the system that will be accorded more importance. At Igbo meetings, the Christian prayers are said, and then the Igbo prayers are also said.

What I just described is what happens everywhere that the Igbos are, which is everywhere. So one can see that the Igbo culture can still be studied from primary sources, from and in many places. A Swiss-Israeli Social Anthropologist, Daniel Lis, who studied the Igbos, visited and interacted with numerous Igbos in Nigeria, and also interacted with Igbos in Europe, Israel, and America, all this while studying and observing. I am Igbo, so though I already have a lot of residual information, I know the Igbo language, is a participant in Igbo community affairs, to make my research richer this was essentially what I did in my comparison of Omenana and Judaism which I have published in the United States as “The Igbos And Israel: An Inter-cultural Study of the Largest Jewish Diaspora”. In this study I not only raised and discussed many Igbo customs that are uniquely similar to Israelite ones, but I also established that the Igbo share with the Jews the observance of many customs that Christians, be they missionaries or otherwise, could not have been aware of, because those cultural practices and beliefs are not presented in details in the Bible, nor was the way they should be practiced described in the Bible.

I took special interest in doing this because of the following: some persons who have not studied the Igbos have managed to introduce some confusion into Igbo Studies by alleging that Christian missionary influence may have been responsible for the Judaization, and what they call ‘self-identification’ of the Igbos as Jews. A little illustration will be helpful to clear the air, and prove that the persons who have this opinion did not do research, and accordingly were wrong to issue such suggestions. In the Torah, there were references about the position of children vis a vis their mothers kinsmen among the Israelites, and among the Semitic ancestors of the Hebrews. A Christian would not know by merely studying the Bible that the Bible was sending a powerful message when it narrates how Absalom fled to his mother’s kinsmen to escape from his father’s wrath, nor would he know why he fled to that particular refuge. But an Igbo who knows that a child gets full immunity from mistreatment if it flees to his mother’s kinsmen when in danger would understand what the Torah was getting at, and what ancient Semitic custom also provided for. Jacob fled to Laban, when he feared that Esau would harm him.

Also a Jew who came from a community that still adheres to the biblical customs, or that kept careful records of its most ancient practices and beliefs would know what the Torah was doing. A marquee Jewish scholar who reviewed my book while it was still in progress in 2008, admitted that though this custom may have been more rigidly observed by the Igbos, that there are still grounds in Western Jewish culture that should make an observer to believe that a child among its mother’s kinsmen occupies a special and privileged position. In her own words, Igbo culture helps to amplify the Torah for her. In addition, for the most part many of the Israelite traditions that I compared Igbo traditions favorably with were no longer so much in evidence in the Holy Land, and in the parts of the Diaspora where Christianity developed and flourished. We can use as examples some of the practices that are related to the sacrifice and offerings customs of the Israelites.

The Bible provides for how some of the meat that become available after some offerings are to be shared. As we know, it was primarily rabbinic Judaism, and not biblical Judaism in which offerings and sacrifices played major and important roles that Christianity met. Even though biblical Judaism still existed when the ‘founders’ of Christianity were still around, by the time that Christianity divorced itself from its mother-faith, and became a new and different religion, what was solidly on ground was rabbinic Judaism. As I noted earlier this section is very important because some persons who do not know the Igbos, and have not studied them have alleged that the Christian missionary intrusion into Igboland in the 19th century could have brought about what I would call the ‘Jewishness of the Igbo’. I also raised and discussed many Igbo traditions which are also Israelite, which no Christian community practiced, and in fact which the Christian missionaries called pagan, and heathen when they encountered the Igbo and saw them practicing those traditions. I deliberately went to great lengths to debunk the inclusion of the Igbo in the group that Christian missionary influence may have been responsible, or may have contributed to their self identification as Jews (if indeed any such thing happened), and to prove that such an assumption is not based on evidence.

Also it is important to mention that what the European missionaries observed was that the Igbo had traditions that reminded them of Judaism. Those traditions were Igbo before the introduction of Christianity, and they remain part of Igbo culture after the Christianization of major parts of the Igbo society. Among the more obvious traditions that they noted was universal circumcision of males by the Igbo on the 8 th day. It is also important to stress what I observed and noted; that many of the traditions could not have come from outside the Igbos, i.e, outside Israel. Examples are-

1.The socio-political structure of the Igbo society which parallels Israel at the time of the Judges.

2.The style of the division of the land (Igboland).

3. Communities of Levite-like priests scattered all over Igboland.

4. There is a man called the Nazer/Nazerite in biblical Judaism. The standard of Kosher required of him to keep was considerably higher than what was required of the other Israelites. Samson, the son of Manoah, the world’s strongest man in his era was such a man. In Omenana there are certain men that become ‘Nze’. One of the things that distinguish them from other Igbos is that they are more careful about what they eat, and the places that they eat.

5.The language- In the words of American Jewish student of world Jewish history Avraham Van Riper during an interview by Chika Oduah, Igbo-American journalist, on behalf of the CNN, Van Riper said “…………..Although my Igbo brothers and sisters have a problem with actual documentation, actual paperwork - I've learned that they have a rather extensive mass of circumstantial data to present...if they were to pursue 'official' recognition as Jews. Chika, you're an anthro, not just a reporter. Check out just half of the 'data!' ……………….. Oh, I almost forgot language! There are lots of Asusu Igbo words that can, even now in 2013, be shown to be clearly related to ancient Hebrew……………….”

Yes, I too have come to realize that the Igbo language and Hebrew are uncommonly close in many important ways. A Nigerian scholar that is not Igbo had compared both languages and had arrived at the conclusion that they are genetically related. A Welsh Anglican missionary who lived among the Igbo for twenty years in the 19th century, and who learned and spoke the Igbo language also noted this in his books and gave a few examples which made him to conclude that Igbo ‘runs a close parallel with Hebrew idioms’. There was an effort to compare both languages by an important Israeli linguist. Avraham Van Riper was in the team that made the effort. Significantly important finds were made, but because Igbos who know Hebrew very well have not been found, the work’s progress is slow. But as I continue to dig at it as archeologists would say, I continue to find important things. Recently Will Morell, a Jew who is my friend on facebook shared the following, and my response is the message below his…… ‘Prayer - The Hebrew word tefilah (תפלה) comes from the verb pallel (פלל), "to judge."'

We use the reflexive verb lehitpallel ("to pray"), which also means "to judge oneself." Thus, the time of prayer is the time of self-judgment and self-evaluation. When a person addresses himself to G d and prays for His blessings, he must inevitably search his heart and examine himself whether he measures up to the standards of daily conduct which G d had prescribed for man to follow. If he is not one who fools himself, he will be filled with humility, realizing that he hardly merits the blessings and favors for which he is asking. This is why we stress in our prayers G d's infinite goodness and mercies, and pray to G d to grant us our heart's desires not because we merit them, but even though we do not deserve them. This is also why our prayers, on week-days, contain a confession of sins which we may have committed knowingly or unknowingly.


We pray for G d's forgiveness, and resolve to better ourselves. Prayers help us to lead a better life in every respect, by living more fully the way of the Torah and Mitzvoth which G d commanded us.’ ‘The post gives room for me to add more evidence to the fact which is that the Igbo language and the Hebrew language have one spirit. So 'to pray' means 'to judge...' eh. What does 'ikpe' mean in Igbo? It means 'to judge'. If an Igbo wants to say 'to pray' he or she would say 'ikpe ekpere', or 'ikpe ekpele'. So what the Igbos actually say when they say that they want to pray in Igbo is that they want to 'judge themselves'!

The Igbos Come From Several Tribes of Israel As Several of Their Neighboring Tribes: Ijaws, Efiks (Eburus), Anaangs, Ibibios & Igalas

Tivs are Hebrews according to the scholar Collis. Tiv is close to tivvah, hebrew word, meaning "to sketch" & it's also close to tov, meaning "good" in Hebrew. Jukuns & Igalas are Hebrews too.

Important rabbinical institutions have recognized the Igbos as Lost Israelites. Even the Israeli main Israeli Sephardi rabbi has recognized the Hebrew origin of the Ibos. The State of Israel has made official visits to the Ibos living in the southeast of Nigeria filming  the people utensils & even texts found in paleo-Hebrew, but they haven't recognized their Hebrew origin. The reason Is Ibos are counted in the millions & if they are accepted as Israelites under the Law of return the rest of Jews living in Israel would become a Jewish minority within the Jewish society. Something similar happens with the Pashtuns & other ethnic groups. In a Greater Israel (from the Nile to the Euphrates) all or many Lost Israelites would fit though. 1967 was remarkable year for the Jews & other Israelites. It was the year in which several nations of the Arabophony waged war against the tiny State of Israel. Israel didn't start the war but overcame her enemies & recovered her ancient & beloved Jerusalem. That eventful year of 1967 Spain proclaimed the Law of Religious Freedom putting an end to the infamous Edict of Expulsion for which the Jews weren't allowed to practice their religion. This was also the year Biafra (populated by the proven Israelite people named Igbo) declared independence from Nigeria. The State of Israel tried to help her fellow black Israelites to no avail. They had a war at home after all. The Igbos were massacred suffering another holocaust against another Israelite people, this time by the Nigerian government with the collaboration of different tribal groups & powerful non-African nations.

One shouldn’t expect to encounter the majority of Igbos practicing rabbinical Judaism. Most belong to a variety of Christian churches and know relatively little or nothing about the difference between Judaism and Christianity. Nevertheless, there is a deep resentment against the Christian missions to the Igbos, and the Igbo hunger for information on Judaism and Israel is what every Jewish community in the Diaspora dreams of.


From Abuja we left for three Igbo states (Enugu, Anambra and Abia) in the Southeast of the country. We went to Awka, Nnewi, and Okigwi and visited the priests of NRI as a first stop. Being the only white for a week was a special experience at first, but I never had an unfriendly encounter and I almost forgot about it in time. I felt especially welcome as a Jew and Israeli. I particularly remember a driver of the famous okada bikes in the city of Enugu asking me which tribe I was from. Replying that I came from Israel, he responded that he was Jewish too and that we are all one.

A highlight of my visit was my meeting with NRI elders, said to parallel the priestly clan of the Levites, near the town of Awka. The NRI are often described as the most important keepers of Igbo traditions, responsible for performing rituals of purification in other Igbo clans. The meeting was accompanied by the traditional breaking of the cola nut, the palm wine offering, and prayers to Chukwu.

A popular saying in Nigeria is that a place is not fit for human habitation if no Igbo man can be found there. In most of Nigeria’s cities a considerable proportion of the population is Igbo. Thus many Igbo people up north may have witnessed the recent introduction of Islamic Sharia law and fear the repetition of ethnic persecution under the pretext of religion. The memories of Biafra are still an open wound, and every family has a story to tell.

Speaking also to non-Igbo resembles talk about the Jews in Europe. Their economic power is feared and they are said to control positions of power. Does this sound familiar to you? Many Igbo are traders and “overrepresented” in Nigeria’s growing “Nollywood” film industry.

There I had some last interviews with leaders of the congregations I had visited the week before plus another visit to an “ultra-Orthodox” community. My argument then that Western Jewry is probably not too eager to proselytize seemed to be out of place when encountering so many people waiting for more information on Judaism and emphasizing that they are already Jews and wouldn’t need to convert. Considering the economic power of the Christian churches in Nigeria (it is a whole industry where big money can be made) and the reluctance that parts of Western Jewry may show towards accepting the Igbo as brothers and sisters, the struggle of Judaizing Igbo will be a long one. But those people I encountered were very dedicated to a Jewish (re)naissance, and we know of other people who have dedicated their lives to dreams that became reality.

Parallel histories of the Jews and Igbos/Hebrews of Nigeria

Culturally it also must be noted the parallel histories of the Jews and Igbos/Hebrews of Nigeria how they have been scattered worldwide and whereever they go they are considered strangers and are persecuted by the indigenouspeoples they find themselves around.We have already discussed a great length how the Babylonian and AssyrianCaptivities mirror the slave trade of the Igbos and how this fulfills Deuteronomy 28, but to recap; Israel was taken into slavery by Egypt and the Igbos one of thefirst of the African peoples to be taken into slavery by the white men of the west. An old slave trading advertisement read, “To be sold…. Fine Heeboes.” There weresome Igbo slaves so tenacious and uncontrollable that they were put ontoseparate boats to Haiti and Jamaica to be exiled. Haiti still has a proverb that says,“The Igbo has hung Himself,” meaning one would rather die than to be forced intodoing something. They have the folklore song called “Ibu Lele.” And anything of value is referred to as, “Ibu.” They have a place called Ibo Beach. In Jamaica theyhave a place called Ibu Town. Ebo Landing is located in St. Simons Georgia (1850’s) is known for a slave ship landing on its shores and the Igbo slaves refused to disembark, but rather fell overboard in their chains and drown. They wouldrather die than to be slaves. They believed their souls would fly back to Igbolandto rest. Some accounts say they actually made it to shore and conspired a suicidepact and ran into the water and drown. Why would they do this? Maybe becausethey knew of the slavery of their ancestors in Egypt and refused to allow history torepeat itself? And is this not reminiscent of the Jews who committed suicide atthe wilderness fortress of Masada rather than be conquered by the Romans?Also it is necessary for me to bring to the readers attention how Israelite Judaismafter the Babylonian Captivity became Rabbinic Judaism we know today and how this is very much like how Igbo culture transitioned from the way it was before thewhite man came and what it turned into after the Colonials left.Jews underwent the infamous persecution of the Jews during the many pogromsand holocaust of World War II. Igbo underwent a type of holocaust during theNigerian Biafran War (6th of July 1967–15th of January 1970) where many Igboswere slaughtered by the surrounding peoples of Nigeria.The Igbos history uncannily parallels much of Jewish history in so many ways. Coincidence? I don’t think so.In Nigeria’s North, the Islamic Extremists dwell and are usually made up of theHausa tribe. They habitually use terrorist tactics, mostly aimed at Igbo Christianand Jews and send suicide bombers to anywhere a mass of Igbo can be found.This creates a fury of anger and desire for retaliation from MASSOB (TheMovement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra). This is just mirror image of the tension in Israel between Zionist Jews and Palestinians, this is just one more way Igbos are like Jews.The late, great General Emeka Ojukwu himself compared the Biafrans (Igbos), toIsraelites. “The Israelites are hardworking people. So are we. They suffered frompogroms. So have we. In many ways, we share the same promises and the sameproblems.”At this time I wish to compare Moses the leader of the Israelites in the Wildernessand General Emeka Ojukwu, the Biafran leader. The parallels are most striking.


MosesOjukwu
Egyptian Royal Prince Nigerian Royalty/Prince
Killed and Egyptian - Defended Igbo woman’s honor at King’s College
Royal EducationRoyal Education Oxford
Refused RoyaltyWent into Civil Service
Consulting PharaohAburi Summit
Exodus/NationDeclaration of Biafra
First Leader of the Nation of Israel First and only leader of Biafra
Was a Law GiverWas a Law Giver
Was a General Was a General exiled prior to the ExodusExiled after the War
Died outside of Promised LandDied outside of Igboland (Biafra)
Had 2 WivesHad 3 Wives

Failed Meetings with PharaohOjukwu and Gowon’s failed talksI would also like to compare other events regarding Israel and the Igbo. The first and second coup of the Biafran war is comparable to pogromssuffered by Jews in the Diaspora. As mentioned before the Biafra war is in many ways like WWII and the Naziregime against the Jews. 1 million Igbos were murdered in the Biafra war and 6 million Jews died inthe Holocaust.


The Israelites had the Promised Land of Canaan and Biafra was like theIgbo’s Promised Land.It is a curious and interesting thing to acknowledge that the arms used by Biafrawere supplied by Israel from arms confiscated from Israel’s enemies during the1967 Israeli 6 Day War.Also the following African countries that recognized and supported Biafra has/hada Jewish population as well as African peoples who believed they were Hebrewsfrom the Lost Tribes. These countries were: Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Gabon and Zambia Countries of the world to recognize and support and or gave aide to Biafra arecountries believed to contain Lost Israeli Tribes, some of which were believed tobe of Gad: Scandinavia (Gad, Asher, Dan, Benjamin) West Germany (Gad), Israel(Judah, Levi), France (Reuben, Gad), Switzerland (Gad, Issachar), Haiti (Gad).One must also keep in mind that Igbos have been blamed by their enemies forsocio-political and social-economic problems, as well as things such as plaugesand natural disasters in much the same way the Jews in Europe and Russia wereduring the black and bubonic plague, the pogroms and blood libals. They arevillanized by the people of the surrounding nations and tribes and their religionand culture.I am sure we can compare other finer points of History; that is likely another bookin and of itself, but these big main events solidifies a shared parallel history of Israel and the Igbo.

Igbos have the Cohen gene as well.


IGBOS OF NIGERIA AND ANCIENT KEMITIANS OF (KEMIT) EGYPT

It has been pointed out that during the Exodus, which marked the beginning of the mass movement of the tribes of Israel, the tribe of Eri was amongst the tribe that left Egypt following the injunction from Jehova to his devotees, the Israelites (Deuteronomy 28:58–68).

The main Eri group continued until the confluence of Rivers Niger and Anambara known as “Ezu-na-Omambala” and where it settled and founded the Agulu-Eri community.

Indeed, due to the calibre of its earliest founders and the sciences they set up, the network of nationalities that make up the country Nigeria, is a veritable invisible Muurish Empire about to manifest on the face of the earth.

Due to the influence of Eri and his civilization, many distinct aspects of Kemitian culture and science are found among the Igbos of Nigeria. For example, the Igbos were famous giant mound builders, constructing many structures similar to the Kemitian and Kushitic pyramids, like those that used to be at Nsude.

The religious pantheon of the Igbos and the ancient Kemitians share many similar ancestors and ancestresses many of them bearing identical names.

They shared the sun-god worship of Ra, Chukwu Ra; Kemitians were similarly fetishistic about circumcision, and menstrual periods like the Igbos. Similar hair styles, similar martial arts and self defense schools, similar social structures.

But for now, we will focus on some observed ligusitic similarities that exist between ancient Kemitian language and present day Igbo language, for many Kemitic Egyptian words yet survive in the Igbo la+nguage today. This is a current topical area of research in linguistics and history. If they sojourned Egypt they should have Egyptian words.

A small list of Ancient Egyptian words which survive in the Igbo language are as follows:

THE BIAFRANS 

   The name Biafra like that of Africa can be traced back to the North African Moorish tribe of Banu-Ifran. Banu Ifran is a tribal name meaning the Children of Ephraim and refers to descent from the Israelite Tribe of Ephraim and the House of Joseph. Over 2,000 years ago the Banu Ifran established an Ephraimite Kingdom in what is now known as Oufrane, Morocco. There they were led by an Ephraimite King named Abraham Ephrati. The Ephrati and Afriat families found among present day Moroccan Jews claim descent from within the Ephraimite Kingdom.

     Those among the Banu-Ifran who settled in Mauritania became known as the Moorish Bafur tribes. In present day Mauritania they are more specifically referred to as the Haratin and the Imraugen. The Bafur tribes were also among the founders of the ancient Moorish Kingdoms of Mali, Ghana and Songhai. In this regard the designation Bafur was inclusive of all the Mande tribes of which the most prominent were the Mandingo. In Mali the founding Bafur were Malinke, while in Ghana they were called the Soninke. The Soninke were also influential in the great expansion of the Songhai Empire. The name Mande is Aramaic in origin and means knowledge or wisdom. 

     The Bafur Moors were also known by the variant Biafar. To this day there exists a tribe living in Guinea-Bissau who are called by the tribal names of Biafar and Biafada. The Biafar are almost exclusively Muslim and live side by side with their neighbors the Mandingo. 

During the 10th Century  Banu-Ifran refugees fleeing North Africa under the leadership of Abu Yazid arrived in the areas of present day Nigeria and founded the 7 Hausa States. In the late 15th and early 16th centuries the Bafur or Biafran Moors of the Songhai Empire moved eastward and reinforced Moorish ruling authority among the Hausa. They also established authority in Northern Benin. To this day 25% of the population of Benin is Muslim and its a fact that the Islamic presence in Benin is largely due to the expansion and influence of Songhai and its Moorish Bafur(Biafran) tribes. 

    There can be no question that a significant amount of affluent Bafur (Biafran) tribesmen reached Igboland via Benin during the years in which the Songhai Empire was actively impacting upon the people of Benin. However Moorish Bafur(Biafran) influence in Southeastern Nigeria must have first begun around the time the Banu-Ifran refugees first reached Northern Nigeria and founded the Hausa States during the 10th century and continued through the influence and expansions of the Malian Empire.
    
       In 1930, Dr. Allen Godbey documented the presence of Moorish Ephraimites in Yorubaland. The Bene-Ephraim(Banu-Ifran) as they called themselves maintained memories of an ancient migration that took them from Morocco and Mali(Timbuktu) and into Southern Nigeria.  

Rudolph Windsor in his book:From Babylon to Timbuktu (pp.131) discusses the Bene-Ephraim who lived among the Yoruba in the Ondo District of Yorubaland.  

  There are Black Jews in Southern Nigeria who are called the "EMO YO QUAIM" or  "Strange People" by the native Africans but these Black Jews call themselves by the Hebrew name "B'nai Ephraim" or "Sons of Ephraim". These Jews claim that their ancestors immigrated from Morocco,a fact which Godbey says is supported by their language, a mixture of Maghrebi Arabic and local Negro speech....Nevertheless, most of their language is similar to the Black Yorubas around them...'

   Among the Igbo, the Biafrans became an influential and respected class of nobles whose authority was demonstrated by the wearing of the Red Fez. The Red Fez was a status ad cultural symbol reflecting their earlier Moorish origins in Morocco and Mali. The Moorish Biafrans also developed and initiated the respected Kolanut Ceremonies. Upon returning to Mali they introduced the sacredness of the Kolanut which is to this day highly valued and revered. 

  The Kolanut practices  of the Igbo were developed by the original Biafrans who came from Mali the same people who ruled by the authority of the Red Fez.

Many of the original Biafrans (Ephraimites) settled in what is now known as the Imo State. In 1993, Chima Onyeulo of the Imo State became the first Igbo to petition the Israeli Government for recognition of the Israelite origins of the Igbo as a means of accessing entry under the Law of Return. Chima's petition was presented with evidences of the Ephraimite origins of the Igbo and the history of their migration through Morocco and Mali. Interestingly Chima married an Israeli Jew of North African origins from Libya. 

Chief Rabbi Confirm Ebos Jews and Hebrews as lost Tribe of Ephraim

www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsHYdL0UTR4

Cultural Evidences Linking the Igbo to Gad

A good detective in stiffing out the truth must pay close attention to body language and culture of a people; this also may give away a person’s origins. For example, Germans often uncovered American spies by the way they counted on their fingers, where the use of the thumb comes in.

By the way people act you can usually guess with fair accuracy where they may come from for example:

“Yes Ma’am, Thank you Miss.” Cultural protocol of the Southern U.S.

People of Oriental and Asian cultures often bow to greet one another.

Some cultures like some Middle Easter and European cultures will kiss the cheek and embrace. These same cultures may spit when disgusted at someone or something.

Some cultures in the Orient and in Canada require people remove their shoes at the door upon entering their home.

In 1789 Olauda Equiano, an Igbo and former slave who lived in London said in his autobiography that the Igbos were one of the lost tribes of Israel and cited the many identical cultural similarities between them and the Jews.

Missionaries when they came to Nigeria were dumbfounded to discover when they came to evangelize the Igbo People that the Igbo’s practiced many Hebraic/Jewish customs which they could not have learned from anyone else, it had to come from ancient practice of their people from antiquity; for they had no Bibles and met no one with a Bible until the missionaries came along.

They found that the Igbo’s practiced:

·        Eating of animals that meet the Biblically clean requirements as well as the complete draining of blood from the animal as well as other laws concerning Kashrut

·        The use of ritual washings like unto the mikvah
·        Washing of Hand before and after meals
·        Has a concept of clean and unclean, acceptable and abominable or taboo
·        Animal sacrifice like unto the Levitical sacrificial system
·        Believe in a Supreme, All-Powerful Deity (Chukwu) above all other deities
·        Circumcision on the 8th day as well as had the naming ceremony of the 8 day old child
·        Giving names that bear the name or title of G-d within it
·        Separation of menstruating women
·        Adah or Ada the name of the second woman mentioned in the Bible after Eve/Chavah (Gen. 4:19-20) and is also the title used to address the first born daughters of Igbo families
·        The keeping a lunar calendar
·        Shemita and Jubilee years: The annulment of debt and servitude every seven and fifty years
·        Burying their dead facing East, the direction of Jerusalem and the Promised Land
·        Burying their dead as quickly as possible
·        Sitting Shiva (seven day mourning period where one sits on low stools, remains unkempt and shave their head in grief)
·        Belief in a resurrection
·        Send the body’s home of Igbos who die outside of Igboland to be buried, like Joseph and Jacob desiring not to be buried in a pagan or foreign land
·        Lengthy funeral ceremonies such as found in Gen. 50:1-3
·        Preference of Inheritance and leadership was given to the first born and passed down through the fathers
·        Sung prior too and carried a type of Ark into battle when they went to war
·        Hospitality like unto the traditions and legends know of Abraham Offering water, meal and lodging to travelers
·        Converse and deliberate among men and leaders like that of Rabbi’s and students in a Yeshiva
·        Levirate type marriages, brothers marrying deceased brothers wives to carry on the brothers name
·        Marriage negotiations (Onye-aka-ebe) between families, like unto the story of Isaac and Rebecca
·        Polygamy
·        A type of, “Cities of Refuge,” where an Igbo who has committed a crime can seek refuge in his mother’s natal home, known in Igbo as, “Ikunne”
·        The concept of Sanctuary, similar to the Igbo Osu caste concept where a victim of violence may flee to the altar (alusi) for divine protection (I Kings 2:28-30)
·        Shunning of those who willingly break Igbo laws
·        Shunning of those who marry outside of the Igbo people
·        Laws against sexual perversion, incest and the like, they had to marry among their people but outside their immediate tribal clan
·        Justice and punishment for certain crimes followed the lines of,  “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”
·        A rule of Torah (Law) was developed and was passed down by Eri
·        No jails or penal system
·        Rite of passage into adulthood
·        Governance of the people by a conglomerate of tribal elders and judges prior to the institution of kingship dynasties
·        The coronation of the Kings have rituals and customs that closely remember that of the coronation of Kings of Judah and Israel
·        Symbolic attire and accessories of the Kings and Elders closely resembled that of Kings and Tribal leaders of Judah and Israel

These among many other Jewish laws and customs were found to be kept by the Igbo people and sadly, the Christian missionaries forced them to abandon many of these Hebraic practices because though they resembled Biblical worship of G-d, they believed many have been done away with due to the advent of Messiah and they believed they practiced these customs unto pagan gods and as such should be abandoned. The Igbo’s are slowly beginning to return to the pre-missionary practices, desiring to return to their Hebraic roots.

One Igbo man named Avraham , a Cantor of the Natsari Jewish community in Nigeria said,

“In a nutshell, every law as stated in the Torah was being practiced by our forefathers before the advent of Christianity. Except that our fathers went into idol worship, but they still kept the tradition as was handed over to them by their forefathers.”

And should not the idolatry too be seen as possible evidence of their connection to Gad and Israel because did not all Israel have a problem with Idolatry when one reads the Tanak!?

Another unique cultural fact is that the 7th day Sabbath was not observed by the Igbos until the 1940’s promoted by a revelation given to an Igbo man named De Okeke from Akwa-ete presently known as Abia State in Southeast Nigeria. Prior to this the Igbos observed a 4 of 8 day rest believed to have been adopted from the apostasy of Jeroboam. But such a Sabbath was nonetheless observed by an abstaining from work and commerce.

The Igbo also have always believed that they came to Nigeria from someplace else and are not indigenous to Nigeria. They have been often seen by other tribes in Nigeria as strangers in the land and outsiders because though they looked like them, their customs and cultural practices were strange and foreign to the ways of people that were indigenous to Nigeria.

“The idiosyncary that distinguish the other Hebrews in the Diaspora are also boldly visible on the character of the Igbo, their brethren in Nigeria. These apply to their culture, work ethic, value system, vocabularies, social institutions and traditional religion.” 

Culturally world wide Jews are known as enterprisers and business minded, so much so that many anti-Semitic conspiracy theories claim Jews run Hollywood and the Banking system. Gani Fawehinmi, Senior Advocate of Nigeria and human rights activist said, “The Igbos, by their contribution to the economic development of this country are otherwise called the JEWS of this country.”

Many Jews are famous personalities and entertainers of all sorts in Hollywood and Nigeria is considered the Hollywood of Africa. Many African American Entertainers and Personalities are of Igbo descent; Rev. TD Jakes, Sammy Davis Jr., Ice Cube, Kobe Bryant, Vivica A. Fox, Blair Underwood, Gabrielle Union, Nia Long, Brandy Norwood, Johnny Gill, Whitney Huston, Keisha Night-Pulliam (Rudy from Cosby show), Tempest Bledso (Vanessa from Cosby show), Anita Baker, Missy Elliot, Forest Whitaker, Queen Latifah, American Idol contestant Chikezi, NFL’s Nnamdi Asomugha, NBA’s Emeka Okafo, author Nnedi Okorafor, among many, many others.

Parts of Nigeria such as Nnewi are known for its automotive and computer savvy-ness and is called the “Japan of Nigeria.” And it is an Igbo American man, Philip Emeagwalu who is credited to have created the internet.

Another culturally consideration is the Igbo predisposition to Abrahamic religions. The Igbos have been called, The Gospel Tribe of Nigeria” because the Igbo attraction to G-d and religion moreso then any other tribe in Africa. They are considered the easiest people evangelized by missionaries. The majority of religious institutions in Nigeria are mostly made up of Igbos. Atheism is regarded as a strange philosophy or worldview among the Igbo.

Culturally it also must be noted the parallel histories of the Jews and Igbos/Hebrews of Nigeria how they have been scattered world wide and where ever they go they are considered strangers and are persecuted by the indigenous peoples they find themselves around.

Israel was taken into slavery by Egypt and the Igbos one of the first of the African peoples to be taken into slavery by the white men of the west. An old slave trading advertisement read, “To be sold…. Fine Heeboes.” There were some Igbo slaves so tenacious and uncontrollable that they were put onto separate boats to Haiti and Jamaica to be exiled. Haiti still has a proverb that says, “The Igbo has hung Himself,” meaning one would rather die than to be forced into doing something. They have the folklore song called “Ibu Lele.” And anything of value is referred to as, “Ibu.” They have a place called Ibo Beach. In Jamaica they have a place called Ibu Town.  Ebo Landing is located in St. Simons Georgia (1850’s) is known for a slave ship landing on its shores and the Igbo slaves refused to disembark, but rather fell over board in their chains and drown. They would rather die than to be slaves. They believed their souls would fly back to Igboland to rest. Some accounts say they actually made it to shore and conspired a suicide pact and ran into the water and drown. Why would they do this? Maybe because they knew of the slavery of their ancestors in Egypt and refused to allow history to repeat itself?

Jews underwent the infamous persecution of the Jews during the many pogroms and holocaust of World War II. Igbo underwent a type of holocaust during the Nigerian Biafran War (6th of July 1967–15th of January 1970) where many Igbos were slaughtered by the surrounding peoples of Nigeria.

The Igbos history uncannily parallels much of Jewish history in so many ways. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

Archeological Evidence Linking the Igbo to Gad

For example, a picture or drawing of a snake in one culture may be a symbol of wisdom or eternal life and in another culture it may mean evil, danger or death.

Paleo-Hebrew Script has been found in various places in the Igbo Territories of Nigeria.

Drawings like unto the Mogen David, Star of David have been found in various places of Igboland prior to missionary arrival to Nigeria.

“One scholar who visited Iboland, saw a swastika there and questioned how the Ebos/Hebrews could have this symbol and be Jewish. Sar Amariel answered the question stating, ‘This is an ancient Hebrew symbol that represents the sun…’” – Document: Tabernacle Congregation Prayer Yeshiva to HRM A.E. Chukwuemeka-Eri (Ezerora 34th and KAK Ji Ofor Igbo) King of the Igbos

And indeed swastikas have been found on the relieves of ancient synagogues in Israel. No wonder the Nazis adopted this symbol to imply they were like the sun and greater that the Star of David.

It has already been mentioned earlier regarding the Stone Throne at Obu-Gad with the Paleo-Hebrew Inscription at the foot of the throne as well as the onyx stone.

In 1917 the British discovered, about 500 ft below the soil on the palace grounds a solid bronze Star of David indicating the Igbo people may have migrated from the ancient city of David. To commemorate this event, Nigerian kobo coins were minted with a Star of David on it.

Between 1938-1959 Archeologists led by Thurston Shaw at an Igbo-Ukwu excavation near Oaeri town unearthed what is believed to be a mask portraying an Igbo face. Also unearthed were bronze items, pots, bowls, etc.,  including a pot believed to be used in the coronation of Igbo Kings. Also found were bronze intricate beads that reflected wealth and artistic skill as well as attests to international trade by ancient Igbos. Some archeological dating tests suggest Igbos have occupied Nigeria as early as 3,000 BCE. Radio carbon dating of the objects suggests that Igbos occupied Nigeria before 800 CE.

Finding Gad

The Tribe of Gad. Gad was the 7th son of Jacob, the 1st son of Jacob and Zilpah the handmaid of Leah (Gen. 30:9-11) and was considered Leah’s 5th son . Wow, pretty significant and meaningful biblical numbers; 1, 5, 7. One = Unity/YHWH, Five = Torah and Grace, and Seven = Completion and Perfection. Gad means. An army or a troop and also implies good fortune, for there is a pagan deity named Gad, pronounced, “Gawd"

The following are verses which mention Gad and the sons and descendants of Gad. Could these give us a clue to who now comprises the Tribe of Gad? I do believe so.

Gen. 30:11 And Leah said, A troop cometh: and she called his name Gad.

Gen. 35:26 And the sons of Zilpah, Leah's handmaid; Gad, and Asher: these [are] the sons of Jacob, which were born to him in Padanaram.

Gen. 46:16 And the sons of Gad; Ziphion, and Haggi, Shuni, and Ezbon, Eri, and Arodi, and Areli.

The meanings of the names of the Sons of Gad

Ziphion: Watchtower
Haggi: Holiday, Celebration, Feast Day
Shuni: Seashore or Harbor
Ezbon: Wild Rosebush
Eri: My Guardian
Arodi: Bronz
Areli: Messenger and or Lion of God

Gen. 49:19 Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last.

Num. 2:14 Then the tribe of Gad: and the captain of the sons of Gad [shall be] Eliasaph the son of Reuel. (Also rendered Eliasaph the son of Deuel in Numbers 1:14, 7:42, 10:20; a possible scribal error as a Resh and Dalet in Hebrew could easily be mistaken if not written correctly)

Num. 13:15 Of the tribe of Gad, Geuel the son of Machi.

Num. 26:15 The children of Gad after their families: of Zephon, the family of the Zephonites: of Haggi, the family of the Haggites: of Shuni, the family of the Shunites:

Num. 32:34 And the children of Gad built Dibon, and Ataroth, and Aroer,

Rev. 7:5 … Of the tribe of Gad [were] sealed twelve thousand.

Ya’akov (Jacob) prophetically blessed the children of Gad

Gen. 49:19 Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last.

Moshe (Moses) prophetically blessed the children of Gad

Deut. 33:20 And of Gad he said, Blessed [be] he that enlargeth Gad: he dwelleth as a lion, and teareth the arm with the crown of the head.

GAD’S SONS ERI AND ARELI

In Genesis 46:16 we read that two of the sons of Gad are named Eri and Areli.

The Ibu (also rendered: Ibo, Igbo, Ebo, Ebu, Obu etc.) tribe of Nigeria has staked claim to be the descendants of the Israeli tribal patriarch Gad. But some Spaniards, Arabs among other peoples claim to be of Gad as well. So who is right? Who is of Gad? Can all, if any of them be of Gad? Remember Gad had sons who became the head of the clans of Gad and these clan heads could have scattered all over the world after the Assyrian captivity instead of sticking together.

Gen. 46:16 And the sons of Gad; Ziphion, and Haggi, Shuni, and Ezbon, Eri, and Arodi, and Areli.

The Ibu’s ancestors and the related tribe of the Idoma of Benue State in Nigeria are said to come from Eri and Areli. So it is very possible other peoples around the world who claim to be from Gad are Gad also.

Ibu (and its various renderings) is said to be derived from Shem’s descendant Eber, where we get the word “Hebrew” from.

“The Igbo Jews are said to have migrated from Syrian, Portuguese and Libyan Israelites into West Africa. Historical records shows that this migration started around 740 C.E. According to UCLA trained amateur Jewish Historian and Rio Hondo Police Academy trained Forensic investigator Chinedu Nwabunwanne of Aguleri, who resides in Los Angeles and has researched this subject for more than 15 years at the UCLA libraries in Los Angeles, "the migration started when the forces of Caliph Mohammed -the last leader of the Umayyads- and his Qaysi-Arab supportes defeated the Yamani-Arab Umayyads of Syria in 744 C.E; sacked the Yamanis and their Jewish supporters from Syria. The Syrian-Jewish migrant tribes Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher resettled in Nigeria where they became known as Sambatyon Jews. In 1484 and 1667 Judeans and Zebulonians from Portugal and Libya respectively joined Sambatyon Jews of Nigeria. Thus, Nigerian Jews originated from the following six Israelite tribes: Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher and Zebulon. It is interesting to note that these six tribes are the same tribes Moses repeated their names twice when he blessed the Children Of Israel. These six tribes mentioned above are The House Of Judah and the children of Israel his companions (Ezekiel 37:16. Those remaining six tribes not mentioned above are The House Of Ephraim and the children of Israel his companion (Ezekiel 37:16)."”

 They interpret their name “Ibo” as a mispronounced “Hebrew” and till today, the members pray to “Chuku Abiama” - Abraham’s God. The Ibos, well known for their struggle for independence in the Biafra war, are now considered the “Jews of Nigeria” and have contributed greatly to the intellectual and economic development in that country.”

“Outreach to Nigerian Jews by the wider Jewish world community gained official status in 1995 – 1997, when Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin sent a team to Nigeria in search of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. Western rabbis and educators such as Rabbi Gorin have visited the community at times and Jewish communities in the West support those in Nigeria by sending books, computers, and religious articles. However, the State of Israel has, to date, not officially recognized the Igbo as one of the Lost Tribes.

Israel Today originally reported in 2006 how Chief Rabbinate recognized the Ebos as sons of Israel descended from Gad. And indeed, there is an Ebo-Gad community in Tel Aviv Israel who have their own synagogue. There has been great debates in the Israeli courts, secular and religious regarding the identity of the Ebo’s; many immigration and deportation legal battles. The argument is not necessarily are they truly of Gad, but should they be considered returnees or new converts and it was eventually decided to allow them to make Aliyah as a returning tribe.

Har Ararets magazine in Oct, 12, 2005 article declared the Ebos to be sons of Israel through Gad. Dr. G.T. Basden, an Anglican missionary and anthropologist, along with Prof. Elisabeth Isichei an Australian historian and Melville Merrskovits, an American writer all strongly believe there is enough evidences to link the Ebo’s of Nigeria to the Israeli tribe of Gad. Among Ebo authorities, Prof. O. Alezi and ex-slave Olaudah (Ikwuano) Equiano also strongly believed that the Ebos were descendants of Gad.

In several editions of the Encyclopedia Britannica in 1929 connects the Ebo people to Gad. A Torah commentary on Sh’mot in 1922 makes the Ebo-Gad connection also.

Ohafia warriors from Abia state in Nigeria when they first came to Nigeria, the locals asked them who they were and they responded, “We are Hebrews.”

Eri is listed in Gen. 46:16, Num. 26:16-18 as a descendant of Gad and this name is still in the official title of the King of the Ebo people today in Nigeria; His Royal Majesty Eze (King) A.E. Chukwuemeka-Eri.

In Aguleri, Anambra State, Eastern Nigeria is where the King resides and it is officially called Obu-Gad, meaning, “The Palace of Gad.” It has been frequented by Rabbi’s and Jewish scholars and archeologists alike. Found next to the palace is the ancient stone throne of the Ebos which at the foot of it is a Paleo-Hebrew inscription made from a specific seas shell used as ancient currency which reads, “Give” or “Gift.” I have been there myself and can personally verify this to be true. Also on the palace grounds are three trees joined above ground by the roots to form a concave fence under which is said to lie the second Ebo-King who died during a time when the people were off working in the fields and when the rivers overflowed their banks during the rainy season it prevented their return home. When they finally made it they discovered their King had been dead a few days and so they buried him quickly very close to the palace and shortly thereafter these three trees miraculously sprang up to for a memorial like headstone. I too have seen this and can verify this as well.

A Messianic Rabbi from Nigeria who now resides in Florida wrote:

“I was doing my morning devotion, the Lord led me to read from the book of Genesis: “The sons of Gad were Ziphion, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli” (Genesis 46:16). As I read this verse, the name Eri literally jumped out of the book and hit me in the face!

I thought, what if this whole dream, and the accompanied Torah verse of Genesis 46:16, which confirmed it, were all a figment of my imagination? Who will believe my report since there is no so called “empirical evidence?” Could any other human being still alive evercorroborate this finding? These questions, and many others, ran through my mind even as I felt a tingling of excitement in my heart. When I arrived at my office that morning, I telephoned two Nigerian friends of mine. First, I called Attorney Innocent Chinweze (from Aguleri) and inquired of him if the name Eri meant anything to him and his town folks. He informed me that Eri was the first Hebrew man to settle in Nigeria. Eri was the father of Aguleri and other sons who together became great ancestors of the Ibos. The compound where Eri settled in Aguleri is called Obu Gad and has become a historic site in Aguleri. Obu Gad when translated from Ibo language means, “The Compound of Gad.”Attorney Innocent Chinweze shared a great multitude of facts with me concerning His Royal Majesty, Eze A.E Chukwuemeka-Eri, Ezeora 34th & Aka Ji Ofor Igbo the Traditional Ruler of Ifite Aguleri who was ordained king at 21 years of age. To my amazement, he informed me that in 1995, a number of Jewish Rabbis came to Nigeria in search of their lost brother, Eri. Their search took them to Aguleri where there was a very emotional ceremony and reunion of kindred.

Secondly, I contacted my other friend born in Umueri, a neighboring town of Aguleri in Nigeria. Felix Eziagulu confirmed much of what Attorney Innocent Chinweze narrated to me.“Out of the mouth of two or three witnesses, the Counsel of the Lord is established.” I wondered why no one ever told me about Eri while I lived in Nigeria. In fact, I wondered why throughout my entire educational career in Nigeria, achieving to the master’s level, I never came across any literature or individual who knew about this and why the information was never shared with me from the time of my birth to the writing of my testimony. Also, I pondered whether my father (Late) Gabriel Udeorah Ogugua (O-goo-gwa) knew about this, and why he never shared the information with his son. Astonished by the account of Eri and the Ancestral Hebrew Heritage of the Ibos, I decided to visit my Dad and the people of Aguleri in December of 2003. Sadly, on October 2, 2003, just a few days after I received the revelation and made plans, I was devastated when I received a call from Nigeria. My father had moved on to be with God on October 1, 2003!! Grieved by the loss of my father because of who he was in my life, and the lost opportunity to explore the one question that meant everything – Eri. I asked the Lord why he chose to take my father home at the time He did. To my greatest astonishment, the Lord impressed upon my heart that the business concerningEri and the Heritage of the Ibos is between Him and me and not between me and my earthly father. I “sucked it up” and went home on November 23, 2003 to bury my father. On the night of November 24, 2003, my first night in Nigeria, the Lord spoke to me in the following words,

“Reveal My name to My people according to the Tabernacle of David and you shall declare the Year of Jubilee in the land.”

The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob wanted to reveal Himself to the Ibos afresh as‘Chukwu Abiama’ (God of Abraham) through a renewed revelation of Yeshua ben David (Jesus, son of David).” – Rabbi Gavriel Ogugua

The British found in 1917, about 500 ft below the soil on the palace grounds a solid bronze Star of David indicating the Ebo people may have migrated from the ancient city of David. Also, in a booklet given to be by the King of Obu-Gad, it says,

“One scholar who visited Iboland, saw a swastika there and questioned how the Ebos/Hebrews could have this symbol and be Jewish. Sar Amariel answered the question stating, ‘This is an ancient Hebrew symbol that represents the sun…’”

And indeed swastikas have been found on the relief’s of ancient synagogues in Israel. No wonder the Nazis adopted this symbol to imply they were like the sun and greater that the Star of David.

It should come as no surprise that the Ebo people of Nigeria are of Gad. Other African tribes such as the Lemba of Ethiopia claimed to be of Levi and DNA tests confirm the presence of the Cohen gene in their DNA, proving them to be the descendants of Levi and Aaron.

Among such archeological evidence, Ebo cultural evidence also points to them being Hebrews. For missionaries were dumbfounded to discover when they came to evangelize the Ebo’s that they practiced circumcision on the 8th day, naming ceremony, separation of menstruating women. They kept a lunar calendar and had an annulment if debt and servitude every seven years as well as buried their dead facing East and believed in a resurrection. Preference of Inheritance and leadership was given to the first born and passed down through the fathers, this among many other Jewish laws and customs were found to be kept by the Ebo people and the Christian missionaries forced them to abandon many of these Hebraic practices.

One Ebo, Avraham, a canter of the Natsari Jewish community in Nigeria said,

“In a nutshell, every law as stated in the Torah was being practiced by our forefathers before the advent of Christianity. Except that our fathers went into idol worship, but they still kept the tradition as was handed over to them by their forefathers.”

And should not the idolatry too be seen as possible evidence of their connection to Gad and Israel because did not all Israel have a problem with Idolatry when one reads the Tanak!?

Another unique cultural fact is that the 7th day Sabbath was not observed by the Ebos until the 1940’s promoted by a revelation given to an Ebo man named De Okeke from Akwa-ete presently known as Abia State in Southeast Nigeria. Prior to this the Ebos observed a 4 of 8 day rest believed to have been adopted from the apostasy of Jeroboam. But such a Sabbath was nonetheless observed by an abstaining from work and commerce.

So you see the Ebo people’s claim of being Gad is not a fly by night claim based on fiction but archeological, historical and cultural evidences in which new facts are uncovered year after year.

As I said earlier, Gad did have sons who became the head of the clans of Gad and these clan heads could have scattered all over the world after the Assyrian captivity instead of sticking together. So it is very possible other peoples around the world who claim to be from Gad are from Gad, but these claims need to be heavily scrutinized and investigated in order to find ample solid evidence to substantiate such claims. The culture, customs, tradition, legends, literature, genealogies and archeological artifacts must be investigated and scoured tediously if any such the claims are ever to be substantiated.

The Tribe of Reuben and the Igbo

Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch. – Gen. 49:3-4

Let Reuben live, and not die; and let not his men be few. – Deut. 33:6

Some speculate that even a portion of Reuben may have traveled with Eri son of Gad to Nigeria, seeing as Gad camped under Reuben’s banner while in the wilderness. 

Reuben is the tribe that occupied the other side of the Jordan with Gad and Manasseh, so it is possible that with such a close tribal affiliation of these tribes that what remained of Gad, Reuben and Manasseh when the Assyrians attacked to take them off into exile, that Reuben and Manasseh may have traveled with the next wave of Gadites to join their brothers already in Nigeria, therefore it is very possible Reubenites may be among the Igbo. 

Reuben, given his Biblical history and character was known for pride, rebellion and romance both of which fit France and Quebec to a “T”. France has had more coups and rebellions against monarchs and governments than any other country in the world. They truly have been “unstable as water.” France is also known for its romance and sexual appetite which got Reuben in trouble with his father for lying with his concubine Bilhah. The French, like Reuben is known as a very prideful people.


It also should be of great interest that France was one of the few countries that stood in solidarity with Biafra during the war and that this camaraderie influenced many Biafrans to learn and speak French! If Biafra would have won and carved out a homeland in Nigeria, the official languages would likely have been Igbo, English and French.


The Tribe of Manasseh and Ephraim and the Igbo

And she called his name Joseph; and said, The LORD shall add to me another son. – Gen. 30:24

And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house. – Gen. 41:51

And unto Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him. –Gen 46:20

And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine. – Gen. 48:5

And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh. – Gen. 48:20

Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)  Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren. - Gen. 49:22-26 – italics mine  

And of Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) he said, Blessed of the LORD [be] his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath, And for the precious fruits [brought forth] by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon, And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills, And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren. His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh. -Deut. 33:13-17 – italics mine  

Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand…. tribe of Joseph (Ephraim) were sealed twelve thousand. – Rev. 7:6, 8 – italics mine 

Manasseh is the son of Joseph, and he and his brother Ephraim were adopted as sons of Jacob/Israel in order to make the tribes 12, because, Levi, although a son of Jacob/Israel, had no inheritance in the Land of Promise, but the service of the priesthood unto GOD was to be their inheritance. 

Jacob blessed Josephs sons breaking somewhat with tradition and putting the younger above the elder, but clearly indicating both sons would become two massive tribes that would prosper and be scattered abroad. 

Ephraim, being made greater, was sometimes used to indicate all of 10 tribes of Israel’s Northern Kingdom. So, could Manasseh, being Ephraim’s brother also be used to indicate the 10 tribes or is the name Manasseh strictly used to only refer to the tribe. This has been a cause for much speculation and debate. Even the Book of Revelation seems to indicate Joseph is Ephraim and Manasseh is a separate tribe. Although I have heard that some argue that Manasseh in this passage was really Dan as they are mysteriously missing from the list of sealed tribes.

The Igbo’s of the West African country of Nigeria have claimed to be remnants of the lost tribes of dominantly of Gad, Zebulon, and Manasseh:

It has also been suggested that the Jewish Ibo people originated from a migration of Israelites who fled to West Africa. They claim to be descended from three tribes; Zebulon, Gad and Manasseh.

The Igbo Jews traditionally claim descent from three particular Israelite tribes: Gad, Zevulun, and Menashe. The Jews of Manipur and Mizoram, the Bnei Menashe, also claim descent from the tribe of Menashe. It is thought that these Jews fled to Africa after the destruction of the biblical Temples in Jerusalem and established communities all across the African continent. 

Yet evidence, either hard or circumstantial to firmly establish this belief is hard to come by. I have no problem believing Manasseh to be among the Igbo, but if so, they have likely been swallowed up by Gad, the dominate Hebraic tribe among the Igbo. I can understand the possibility that Manasseh may be used as the name Ephraim sometimes has been, in a generic term to denote Israelites from all 10 tribes that have migrated to be with their brethren in Nigeria. Or it could literally mean the tribe of Manasseh, because Manasseh, being black, or at least darker than some of his Semitic Hebrew brethren, finding himself in Assyrian exile and captivity and escaping, would find themselves migrating to countries that more closely resemble their visual ethnos so as to blend in to the peoples around them, skirting certain types of persecution, while at the same being able to practice their faith without trouble. 

However, there is a linguistic connection the Igbo clans have to Manasseh. Igbo clans who have the word “Ichi” or “chi” in their names believe they are from Manasseh. In Nnewi there is the Ichi-da and Ichi sub clan.  In Anambra State there is the Ichi clan. In Enugu State we have the Ame-chi Awkunanan clan, all of which have traces of Manasseh’s name within them. 

Manasseh in India?

The Israeli authorities have officially recognized and gave allowance of aliyah (immigration) status (with the understanding that they have to officially convert) to the Kuki-Chin-Mizo people of Northeast India, also known as Bnei Menashe, in 2005 by the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel.

The Indian connection to Manasseh has also been confirmed by the Jewish Canadian Archeologist Simcha Jacaobovici in his A&E documentary “Quest for the Lost Tribes” This documentary also reveals that a portion of all 12 tribes the Afghan Pathan’s who are now Muslim, carry the names and some of the traditional traits and practices of the 12 tribes of Israel.  This documentary also tells of the Jews of Kaifeng China who believe they are from Manasseh.

Manasseh and Ephraim who were prophesied to become very large, and like Simeon and Levi were to be scattered among all the tribes. So I think it is a likely possibility that Manasseh and even Ephraim could be among the Igbos. But just the same, I am sure we can find them among many other people groups of the world. 

Manasseh in Europe?

British Israelite Scholars such as Steven M. Collins and Yair Davidiy have written extensive volumes on the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh alone that is too complex to get into here, but suffice it to say the main gist of their research and belief point to Britain having absorbed much of the Ephraimites and the United States absorbing much of Manasseh.  I am not here neither support nor debunk such claims, but leave it to the reader to research and decide this for themselves. I have even ran across those who believe that Cubans are Manasseh and Puerto Ricans are Ephraim, but have never seen any convincing evidence, circumstantial or otherwise to verify this, though it is never out of the realm of possibility. 

The Tribe of Zebulon and the Igbo

The following is a brief Scriptural synopsis of Zebulon, his birth, what was prophesied about him and his end as a patriarch and as a tribe in the future. 

And Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons: and she called his name Zebulun. – Gen. 30:20

The sons of Leah; Reuben, Jacob's firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun. – Gen. 35:23 

Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon. – Gen. 49:13

Now these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt; every man and his household came with Jacob… Zebulun Exd. 1:1, 3

 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you. (Exd. 13:19/Jasher 80:62) The children of Israel also brought up, each man his father's coffin with him, and each man the coffins of his tribe. Jasher 80:63

The Tomb of Zebulun is located in Sidon, Lebanon. In the past, towards the end of Iyyar, Jews from the most distant parts of Palestine would make a pilgrimage to this tomb.

And these shall stand upon mount Ebal to curse; Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali. – Deut. 27:13 

And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents. They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand. – Deut. 33:18-19

Out of Ephraim was there a root of them against Amalek; after thee, Benjamin, among thy people; out of Machir came down governors, and out of Zebulun they that handle the pen of the writer. – Jud. 5:14

Zebulun and Naphtali were a people that jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high places of the field. – Jud. 5:18 

Of Zebulun, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, with all instruments of war, fifty thousand, which could keep rank: [they were] not of double heart. – I Chron. 12:33

And the sons of Zebulun; Sered, and Elon, and Jahleel. – Gen. 46:14

Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. – Rev. 7:8a

Zebulun was the 10th son of Jacob and the 6th son of Jacob and Leah, brother of Reuben, Simon, Levi, Judah, Issachar , Dan, Naftali, Gad, Asher, Joseph, Benjamin and Dinah; and father of Sered, Elon, and Jahleel (Genesis 35:23-26; Genesis 25:26-34).

The number 6 represents man, or just shy of perfection and we were made in G-d’s image, yet a little lower than the angels as the Bible tells us. 6 is also the letter Vav in Hebrew which is symbolic of a stake or tent peg, symbolizing groundedness and security. 10 is the number of law and order. Ten is represented by the letter Yod, which is symbolized by the hand. Could this mean Zebulun was a hard worker with his hands with farming, shipbuilding, warfare and business? Could this numerology collectively also hint of his military naval prowess by ordering men at sea or in battle?  The tribal symbol and banner for Zebulon after all is a fleet of ships.

The name Zebulon means, or carries the meaning of, Dwelling, Habitation, and Exaltation. 

Zebulon is spelled: Zayin-Beit-Vav-Lamed-Vav-final Nun. Each Hebrew letter has a symbolic meaning and a pictorial meaning.  

·      Zayin (Z) Sickle, Weapon = Food, Cut, Nourish, #7: The blood of Messiah overcomes the powers of Hell (cancels sin).  

·      Bet (B) Tent, Floorplan = Home, Family, #2: The Messiah is the habitation of his people.  

·      Vav (V/W) Tent Peg, Nail = To Hang, To Secure, To Fasten, To Add, #6: The Messiah grips and tears the evil of the flesh.  

·      Lamed (L) Shepherd staff = Teach, Yoke, Bind, #30: The Messiah is the Great Teacher of discipline through twelve Tribes and Apostles.  

·      Nun (N) Seed, Son, Heir, #50: The Messiah is the steadfastness of His people. The Heavenly Yehoshua (Joshua) the son of Nun.  

So we can say that Zebulon is the Protector and Provider of the House/Family and Secures such with Teaching and Secures the future with Seed and or Sons.  Zebulon were navel warriors, tradesmen and fishermen. The Book of Judges speaks of them handling the pen which could mean they were as seamen they were traders and made treaties which kept them prosperous and safe for generations to come. Handling the pen also could indicate they could have been great teachers and scholars or that they were very good at passing down knowledge to their children or others.  This fits well with the prophecies given them my Jacob (Israel) and Moses. 

The general meaning of their name means that they exalt, lift up, praise or improve the places where they dwell and inhabit, which again hints of their being skilled explorer, tradesmen and possibly agriculturists. Because they dwelt by water they knew how to harness it through irrigation and or the use of it to generate power.  This does fit the people I will talk about in this study.

Rabbinic legends tell that Zebulon were successful seamen that brought in income to Issachar in order for them to stay home and study Torah and be great teachers, lawyers and diplomats (Genesis Rabbah 72:5). 

There is a pseudopigraphal book called, “The Testament of Zebulun” which is supposedly what Zebulun said to his children and grandchildren before he died. The main theme was being compassionate and charitable towards others, that what goes around comes around. In this book also tells how he was became a sailor and was a fisherman by summer and a shepherd by winter. So far fits with what we know of Zebulon from other documents, legends and accounts.

Zebulon’s tribal stone in the Levitical Breastplate is the Amethyst – Hebrew – ahlama.  The Amethyst symbolizes power, protection and healing.  The Greek meaning means “Not Drunk.” The Hebrew means, “Dream stone.”  The Hebraic meaning of the letters of this word means, “Strong fence and yoke upon the watery home.”  Could all this hint of Zebulon’s hard sailor attitude and hence the Testament of Zebulun’s focus on the need for compassion? However, Exodus Rabbah 38:5 says the stone representing Zebulon was a diamond. Diamonds are the hardest precious gem known to man. Sailors are known for being hardened men, Zebulon were hardened sailors and warriors, again reason for the Testament of Zebulun’s focus on the need for compassion?

Mystically speaking, Zebulun in Jewish mysticism is represented by the Hebrew Month of Sivan and is symbolic of Movement. Zebulon, a quiet tribe is all about action, movement through hard work. The Hebraic month of Sivan falls within the Counting of the Omer, representing agricultural abundance and growth.  Shavuot, the harvest festival and the festival celebrating the given of the Torah at Sinai are both celebrated in this month. This would tie in with how Zebulon participates in the spreading of Torah by quietly assisting the scholars in working to fund their studies. 

And the sons of Zebulun; Sered, and Elon, and Jahleel. – Gen. 46:14

We already know what the Name Zebulun means, but what of that of His sons?

·      Sered – To tremble. Obviously a name of ferocity to strike fear into the heart of his enemies.

·      Elon/Ilon – Some argument to the exact meaning, but my sources say, God most High, Or Oak Grove, either way it is a name of strength and security of immovableness. 

·      Jahleel/Yahleel – Expectant of God. A name that gives hope to its bearer to expect God to do mighty things for him.  

As a sailor, merchant, warrior or farmer, you need all these traits to stand immovable in the face of the enemy and expect God to fight with and for you, or to not take no for an answer in business, or to expect God for a good harvest, even in the most adverse conditions. 

Other than what we just uncovered, not a lot is known about Zebulon. He is a mysterious patriarch.  He seems to be a quiet fellow in Scripture, maybe because he was a way at war or on the sea or busy in his fields most of the time.

The Scattering of the 10 Tribes

There is an imbalanced view fueled by racial prejudice and supremacy that says the Lost Tribes either have to be black or white. They have to be found either in Africa or the Northern Hemisphere of Europe and the Americas. You have the two opposing camps of Black Hebrewism and British Israelitism. Both have their extremists and bias embellished propaganda, and both equally have their grains of researchable and verifiable truth. I have no problem accepting that a portion of both camps are true. Why? Because the 10 tribes which made up the Northern Kingdom of Israel that went off into Assyrian captivity has never returned and these peoples were transported, sold, traded, migrated, scattered and settled everywhere; having mingled through marriage and assimilation into virtually every people group on the planet and thus Hebrews have become a part of virtually every nationality, and ethnicity. 

Though portions of Judah and Levi has been scattered with the other 10 tribes, who we recognize as Jews today come from Judah and Levi who went off into Babylonian captivity and eventually returned and this is who we recognize as Jews today.

I think it is undeniably clear that the first Hebrews were of brown to black in complexion and many of Shem’s line married into the dark complexion of the Hammitic line, genetically producing dark skinned Hebrews. But through the two captivities and scattering in the diaspora, Hebrews (Israelites) and Jews, as I said earlier, have mingled with many peoples of the world and have migrated to unfamiliar climates and through the centuries some Jews and Hebrews/Israelites have lost much of the darker skin tone and so we have descendants of Jacob (Israel) of every color, shape and size. I believe HaShem has allowed this to happen to break down racial barriers and the dividing wall between Jew/Hebrew/Israelite and Gentile and as a way of reversing the effects of the Tower of Babel. Instead we have perverted this purpose to fortify disgusting racist diatribes. Therefore, it would be prejudice and foolhardy of us to dismiss either side of the debate because of issues of bias or race. Let us glean the truth that inherently resides in both sides of the issue. 

Where in the World is Zebulon?

We know according to Revelation that in the End of Days Zebulun will be found and accounted for.

Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. – Rev. 7:8a

So where will they be found?

Some speculate that he is in Nigeria among the Igbos and Ijaws. Others say he ended up in Holland, also known as the Netherlands as well as South Africa. Are any of these claims true? Granted, hard evidence is difficult to come by, but the circumstantial evidence is incredibly striking and compelling, so much so that it makes claiming sheer coincidence sound as if one is grasping desperately at straws to deny the plain and clear truth and succor their own religiously prejudice views.

Zebulon in West Africa; Nigeria:

It is said that Ijaw (Ujo) was a traveling companion of Eri, Areli and Adodi as they fled Egypt. Oral tradition states that Ijaw is a son or some descendant of Zebulon. Others say he came from Egypt, which is where Eri and his traveling companions set out from! However, Ijaw is not listed in any Canonical Biblical genealogies that I could find. But this should come as no surprise as one person could go by different names and it may be that Ijaw was known by another name in Biblical Writ. Or it could be Ijaw was a son of one of Zebulun's sons, and there for not recorded in any Biblical genealogy. He was said to be the water scout and river navigator of the group, and even today the Ijaw (Ijo, Izon) tribe and land can be found near water and many are fishermen.

Ijaw (Ijo, Ojo, Ejo, Ujo, Izon) means, “Real, Good or Palm tree;” could this relate to Zebuon’s son Elon, meaning, “Oak Grove”? Could this Ijaw be Elon or Ilon or at least a descendant of his? 

We know from history that the Ijaw and Igbo are fierce warriors as well as the people in general have a positive or “expectant” attitude toward the work of the divine in their life, no matter how bad things get around them.

Could it be that Elon/Ilon, Sered and Jahleel or at least their descendants traveled with Gad’s sons Eri, Areli and Arodi to Nigeria?

Some Ubulu in Igboland Nigeria claim that they know they came from Zebulon.  Ubulu in Igbo is the name of and means a “huge tree,” could this relate to Zebuon’s son Elon, meaning, “Oak Grove”? I ask, could Ubulu be named after Elon or Ilon of Zebulun or at least a descendant of his?  The word in Igbo zebulu means to protect, hide or save oneself.  This sort of relates to the Hebraic meaning of Zebulon, dwelling and habitation, because both carry the connotation of a hidden and protective place. 

Ubulu oral tradition states categorically that the grand-parents of Ezemu (a famous Hunter, Marksman and Herbalist) migrated from Israel and settled at Ife hence Ezemu was often referred to as the king with long hairs – “Ezi Isi Iyomiyo”. From Ife Ezemu and his relations migrated to Afor a village in present day Ndokwa Local Government Area of Delta State.

“Legend that one of the descendants of Eri (from Gad) who first settled in Onitsha, at the bank of River Niger, near the domain of his relatives from the descendants of Zebulun (Ozubulu in Anambra State) had to travel across the River Niger to the ancient city of Benin or kingdom to prepare war medicine, talisman or charm for a prospective contender to the stool of Oba of Benin.” -  Prof. O. Alaezi, Ibo Exodus, pg.  25 – italics mine 

“The Igbo Jews are said to have migrated from Syrian, Portuguese and Libyan Israelites into West Africa. Historical records shows that this migration started around 740 C.E. According to UCLA trained amateur Jewish Historian and Rio Hondo Police Academy trained Forensic investigator Chinedu Nwabunwanne of Aguleri, who resides in Los Angeles and has researched this subject for more than 15 years at the UCLA libraries in Los Angeles, "the migration started when the forces of Caliph Mohammed -the last leader of the Umayyads- and his Qaysi-Arab supportes defeated the Yamani-Arab Umayyads of Syria in 744 C.E; sacked the Yamanis and their Jewish supporters from Syria. The Syrian-Jewish migrant tribes Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher resettled in Nigeria where they became known as Sambatyon Jews. In 1484 and 1667 Judeans and Zebulonians from Portugal and Libya respectively joined Sambatyon Jews of Nigeria. Thus, Nigerian Jews originated from the following six Israelite tribes: Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher and Zebulon. It is interesting to note that these six tribes are the same tribes Moses repeated their names twice when he blessed the Children of Israel. These six tribes mentioned above are The House of Judah and the children of Israel his companions (Ezekiel 37:16. Those remaining six tribes not mentioned above are The House of Ephraim and the children of Israel his companion (Ezekiel 37:16)."”

The tribe of Zevulun ben-Ya`aqov (Zebulun), who was the sixth son of Ya`aqov (Jacob). These groups comprise the Ubulu Okiti and Ubulu Ukwu clans in Delta State who settled in Ubulu Ihejiofor. According to oral tradition, it is said that a descendant of the Tribe of Zevulun named Zevulunu, on the advice of a certain Levite, married a woman from Oji, who was descended from the Tribe of Judah, and from this union was born Ozubulu ben-Zebulunu. Ozubulu then went on to have four sons of his own who settled in other regions. These sons were: Amakwa, from whom a clan in Neni, Anambra State is descended, and Egbema, from whom the Egbema Ugwuta clan in Imo State and the Ohaji Egbema clan in Rivers State are descended. 

It has also been suggested that the Jewish Ibo people originated from a migration of Israelites who fled to West Africa. They claim to be descended from three tribes; Zebulon, Gad and Manasseh (Hebrew Qaraim Community). 

The Igbo Jews traditionally claim descent from three particular Israelite tribes: Gad, Zevulun, and Menashe. The Jews of Manipur and Mizoram, the Bnei Menashe, also claim descent from the tribe of Menashe. It is thought that these Jews fled to Africa after the destruction of the biblical Temples in Jerusalem and established communities all across the African continent. 

It should be noted that the majority of Ndi Igbo can be traced back to Gad through his sons Eri, Areli and Arodi, or Levi who became the Nri priests.  A small percentage stake claim to Judah, Zebulon, and some even believe they are from Manasseh, Asher, Dan and even Naphtali. But we see in ancient Israel that at times Benjamin and Simeon were a small remnant living among Judah and were thus absorbed into Judah. In similar fashion these other tribes which make up the Igbo have been absorbed into the majority of Gad.  Prof. O. Alaezi in his book “Ibo Exodus” also recognizes this custom. “Other exiled Hebrews descendants (e.g. Judah and Zebulun) are not as many and have been swallowed up by the Eris.” 

Zebulun in Holland and South Africa and their connection to the Igbo’s and Ijaws:

There are those who prescribe to the British Israelite theory that the 10 Lost Tribes scattered north and spread throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas. 

Steven M. Collins and Yair Davidiy are the two main proponents of British Israelitism, though not agreeing 100% with their views, as well as not agreeing with 100% of Black Hebrewism views, I have stuck to the uncanny connections that ties Zebulon to both camps and allow the reader to decide for themselves where Zebulon is.

To get a clue why some feel Zebulon made it to Holland (Netherlands); we must first look at the prophecies given about them by Jacob and Moses.  These prophecies will give us clues to their whereabouts in the last days.

Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon. – Gen. 49:13

And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents. They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand. – Deut. 33:18-19

Because the prophecies connect Zebulon to the coast and the sea and one should look to famous and heavily trafficked sea ports one of which is the port of Rotterdam in Holland. It handles the largest freight in the world and is considered the gateway of Europe.  It should also be noted that Ijaws and Igbos who claim Zebulonic descendancy also live close to and on the coast. In fact Ijaws pagan expression of worship is tied to water and water spirits. Ijaws are known as fishermen and tradesmen in Nigeria. Many live in the Delta and River states that are close to the sea.

The phrase in Gen. 49:13, “haven of the sea” can mean shelter and or refuge and Holland, via its system of dikes is quite literally “sheltered” from the sea. This same phrase also lends to the fact as mentioned before of Holland’s great and world renowned sea ports.

Moses’ prophecy (Deut. 33:18-19) speaks of the “sucking of the abundance of the sea” and “treasures hidden in sand.” It is of interest to note that the Dutch of Holland literally “sucked out” the sea with their system of dikes and windmills which made the land “abundantly” fertile. The treasure in the sand is believed to be the black gold, the oil that the Royal Dutch Shell company has “sucked” from its “hiding” place in the sand.  It also should be noted that Nigeria is also an oil rich country, especially in the places where the Zebulonite Igbo’s and Ijaws live! And Ducth oil companies have set up shop in oil rich Nigerai too. 

Some even feel that the description of Zebulun’s “borders” being “Zidon” is also a clue, because the word for border also means thigh which includes the pubic region. Many feel this hints of the Holland being the “red light district” of the world with its abundance of pornography, prostitution and tolerance of sexual promiscuity. Zebulon’s territory in the Promised Land was previously occupied by the ancient S(Z)idonian fertility cults of Baal and Ashtaroth.  The Wicked Queen Jezebel, known as a sexual temptress was a S(Z)idonian.

It should also be brought to the reader’s attention that the tribal symbol for Zebulon is the Ship which fits well with the Dutch, the Ijaw and a portion of the Igbo who claim Zebulon is their forefather.  

The Dutch Coat of arms of the original seven provinces of the Netherlands (1579) is a ship with a Bible on its prow.

Their Levitical breastplate stone some say was the diamond and many Dutch relocated and colonized South Africa and are in the diamond mine and trade business; so would say is an  amazing coincidence.  I am one who does not believe in mere coincidence.  And though diamonds are not known to be found in Nigeria, Amethysts are and are mined! Recall that this is the other gem supposedly in the Levitical breastplate that represents Zebulun.

Linguistically speaking it is said that Middle East and Turkish people who may have possibly been related to the Sidonians of Phoenicia settled around Holland and Belgium and are believed by some to be the ancestors of the Dutch which would include Hebraic ancestors from Zebulon because of the mingling of the Zebulonites and Sidonians in the Promised Land. And it is obvious that the Zebulonites were influenced they the pagan ways of the Sidonians and hence why the L-RD took them away into captivity. 

The Sabalingoi of ancient Frisia which is north of Holland is said to mean Zebulon’s People or the Nation of Zebulon; Sabalin = Zebulon and Goi = from the Hebrew, meaning people or nation.

Davidiy explains through linguistics that he believes that the Chali which were the people north of the Sabalingoi were descendants of Jahleel and that the Suardeni were the descendants of Sered and the Alans the children of Elon. 

The Amish culture and religion, though “Christian” is very Jewish in its dress, traditions and customs and way of life. Many Dutch Amish have Jewish last names and or married Jewish women; this would never happen if the Jewish communities of the Holland did not see the Amish as “brethren” i.e. blood relation. 

With what has been presented, I do believe it is very likely that Zebulon and his sons ended up both in Africa and in Northern Europe. The linguistics, region and character traits of the peoples mention do fit the Jacobic and Mosaic prophecies concerning them.  I personally would like to see more hard, archeological evidence or become more familiar with the oral traditions of said lpeoples so as to better tie these people to Zebulon or totally rule them out. 

All I know and believe is that there are people roaming the earth to day who are Hebrews and don’t even know it, after all the 10 tribes had to go somewhere, they just didn’t die off of disappear!  That would mean G-D is unable to keep His promises and it would mean the Scriptures are a lie and we know G-D and His Word is TRUTH manifest!  So why not the Ijaw, the Igbo and the Dutch? Anyone have any better candidates?


IGBO-ISRAEL: ORIGINS, HISTORY AND CULTURE. 

This brief survey introduces the Igbo people, traces the origin of the Igbo people, and talks about why the Igbos must invest all their energy, strength and resources to know who they are, and reconnect to their source.

Presently the Igbos are a sub-Saharan African people numbering up to 40 millions that are autochthonous/indigenous in the territory that is currently called the South East of Nigeria. The term ‘South East’ is a political designation. The South East in Nigeria means the area called the ‘core’ Igbo states. These are Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo. These states are also regarded, and referred to as the Igbo heartland.

There are also Igbos that are autochthonous/ indigenous in Edo, Delta, and Rivers states of Nigeria.
The Igbos are Igbos today, but what were they before they became Igbos? The word ‘Igbo’ is helpful in the quest to answer the question.

The tribal/national name of the people in discussion ‘Ibo; or ‘Igbo’ is derived from Ibri. Interestingly a foreigner dropped the hint which helped me to unravel the puzzle, in my opinion.

According to the foreigner; one of the missionaries who worked in Igboland: ‘All my attempts to trace the origin of the name Ibo have been unsuccessful. My most reliable informants have been able to offer no other alternative than that it is most probably an abbreviation of a longer name connected with an ancestor long since forgotten.’

Abraham is the ancestor of Israel. And Abraham was specifically referred to as ‘Abram the Hebrew’ (Gen.14:13). Many Igbos have suggested that the word ‘Ibo’ which virtually all non Igbos use to address the Igbos is a corruption of ‘Hebrew.’ I know that they mean Ibri or Ivri which are the Hebrew language equivalents of Hebrew which itself is a Greek-Latin-English translation of Ibri or Ivri.

If as Genesis 14:13 posited, Abram is the Ibri. And his descendants from Isaac and Jacob went on to retain the name ha-Ibri (the Hebrews), we do not have to go far to know where the name/word ‘Igbo’ came from. The people known as the Jews today were known as the Israelites, and also as ha Ibri (the Hebrews), after their ancestors Israel and Abraham. All that we have seen in Igbo culture indicate that the Igbos emanated from the twelve tribes of Israel. Logic tells the rest of the story. It is a tradition for the Igbos to bear the names of their ancestors. All Igbos are from one clan or the other, and all the clans or most of them bear the names of their ancestors/founders, or at least names formed from those of the founding fathers or in a few cases mothers. One could ask; why won’t the Igbo people as a whole assume the name of their ancestor- ha Ibri? Listening to a modern Jew pronounce Ibri, you would conclude that he/she is saying Igbo. With all the aforesaid we can say that the Igbos simply retained the earliest name of/designation for the people of Israel, and the name that all the tribes would feel comfortable with. Perceptive modern Jews have observed that Igbos may feel more comfortable if identified as Hebrews rather than as Jews, because they didn’t all descend from the Jews (from the tribe of Judah). This deserves more talk though. The term ‘Jew’ is also used to represent the Israelites and the Hebrews presently, just as England stands for Great Britain, and the United Kingdom. And the U.S.A., and Russia respectively stand and stood for the American continent, and the defunct U.S.S.R.

So the above having been said and done with I repeat that the Igbos are of Hebraic descent. 99.9% of the Igbos know that the Igbos came from Israel. One would be right to wonder about why 0.1 % of the Igbos would not know about their origins. The explanations would be multifaceted. One could say that all the Igbos know that the Igbos were Hebrews a few years ago, because the knowledge of who the Igbos are was more in previous years, and in fact it recedes year by year. Knowledgeable Igbo elders who did not have the benefit of the European type education that became fashionable after the British conquest and colonization of the Igbos knew that the Igbo people are ha Ibri (Hebrews), because their fathers told them. I talked with some of them at Nri clan, and preserved their testimonies for posterity in the Igbo Israel Video Interview series. Today the knowledge is receding because Igbo history as a subject of instruction has been absent from the curricula of all the educational and religious institutions that have ‘catered’ to the ‘needs’ of the Igbos, since the Igbos were defeated and colonized. A close reading of the earlier works of Chinua Achebe, John Munonye, Chukwuemeka Ike, and Remy Chukwukaodinaka Ilona will reveal that the Igbo people began to develop feelings of inferiority, and self-hate, after the colonial authorities had intervened, and branded Igbo culture pagan.

The event or process that I described above led to severe losses. The same can be said about most of the mass media that have sold their products to the Igbo people. Save the National Times newspaper, no newspaper in Nigeria talks about Igbo history and culture. And Nollywood! The film industry which was built up with Igbo sweat and money but which the Igbo builders have virtually handed over to people from the competing peoples of Nigeria, because the Igbo film marketers/producers as they are called want to make money. Nollywood has excelled! It has excelled in distorting Igbo history, and ridiculing the Igbos! Even though Omenana has room for egalitarianism and republicanism only, Igbo film-makers specialize in making ’Igbo films’, which portray this Igbos as corrupt feudalists with still more corrupt monarchies. And interestingly as the film producers stray they get more destructive. Presently they use non Igbo film actors to play the roles of Igbo ‘kings’. So would anybody be surprised if a few Igbos do not know that the Igbos are Israelites. And a great majority of those that know that the Igbos are Israelites do not know that Omenana (Igbo culture) is Israelite culture, i.e, their knowledge of their origins is not really meaningful, because they do not know what Omenana is, and that the Hebrew Bible is extracted from Omenana. However there is a minority that retain the knowledge that the Igbos are Jews, as the modern Hebrew is more regularly addressed, in a meaningful way, i.e, they know that the Igbos are Jewish, and that that sets them apart as people of God, and gives them the responsibility to live differently from their neighbours; i.e, demands that they live according to the dictates of the Written and Oral Laws of God (the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud, the Mishna and the Gemarah). This minority is the Igbo-Israel.

This minority is working to heal the Igbo people, and rebuild Igbo intellectual, spiritual, and material heritage.

I have been privileged to work with this section of the Igbos. That the Igbo people are in trouble is the best kept secret in the world. In Nigeria the catch-phrases for the Igbos today is ‘Igbo problem’, and ‘marginalization’. Where the Igbos live in exile the story is not different. The situation is bad to the extent that it prompted an Igbo intellectual, one of the most productive minds of the Igbos; who lives in the United States to write the following missive:

“Anybody who sees the Igbo situation in simple linear perspective either is ignorant of the profound realities or dishonest. The Igbo has entered an emergency phase, and it requires good old political and social organizing to restore it. One of the most critical problems in Ala-Igbo today is the nature of its human and ecological environment:social instability - that is, difficulties in the prospects of settling has made it impossible for Igbo young men and women now to marry at the natural age - between 25-35. Young men now marry at the average age of 40 years. Many Igbo women are without prospects of marriage, having crossed certain thresholds. The implication is that 45% of Igbo people are not reproducing a new generation. Those who get married are suffering from curious stages of infertility as a result of environmental degradation and chemical pollution- through oil exploration activities and groundwater toxification. An epidemiological survey carried out in the whole of Igbo land today will reveal a most deadly truth: a huge number of the Igbo are dying from AIDS, new forms of Cancer, and Diabetes - from poor nutrition.These are issues that we must address holistically because they flow from the nature of the relationship between the PEOPLE and their government. The Igbo themselves have not sat down to confront their elected representatives with an action plan, and with suggestions of the means to carry it out, and a timeline and oversight. The problem of insecurity occasioned by new waves of kidnapping only complicatesthis: but to put this simply, our greatest problem is not the problem of this new wave of selective and directed terrorism. It is that the Igbo as a people have learnt to be DEPENDENT on some external factor orfigure whom they expect to solve their problems. I have said this before, WE ARE ALL GUILTY - either by silence, inaction, or directcomplicity. All those who wish to participate in the restoration and rebuilding of Igbo land must begin to re-think our relationships with that land.Anaghi ano uti agba ntele ukwu. We must get active”.

The situation is as bad, or even worse than as portrayed in the missive above, but only some elements among the Igbo-Israel have really seen the handwriting on the wall. That there is danger! That there is no time to waste! The generality of the Igbos feel helpless, because they are helpless. Disarmed by ignorance, and illiteracy in Igbo studies, Igbos with even post-graduate degrees do not know what to say or do to stem the decline of the Igbo nation. Fortunately Igbo-Israel is growing!

In recognition of the above problems, and inspired by the action plan and road map laid out in books: The Igbos: Jews In Africa-With Solutions To The Most Critical Igbo Problems and Introduction To The Chronicles Of Igbo Israel-And The Connections Between The Afro Americans and the Jews, a group of Igbo scholars, professionals, businessmen, artistes, and bureaucrats have come together as The Igbo Origin and Culture Research Society to contribute to the positive growth and development of the Igbo people, and Igboland. The Society will very likely present its programmes to the Igbo people in the month of October, in 2010. It will use the opportunity to present some of the afore-mentioned books and premiere the Igbo-Israel Video Interview to the Igbo, Jewish and general public. It is also organizing an Igbo summit where solutions would be found to many of the ills that plague ndi Igbo today; such as brother kidnapping of brother which is alien to Igbo culture. In addition it will also appraise ndi Igbo about some programmes that it is working on; such as the preservation of the Igbo migration story in film. And the Igbo-Israel International Music Festival, an initiative of Moore Black Chi Mmadike, an Igbo reggae artiste, and Vice President (International) Igbo-Israel Union (Society), who is based in Australia.

Igbo Jews – Fascinating!

Members of the Jewish community mostly come from the Igbo tribe, which is the third largest ethnic group in the country. Members of the Igbo believe that they are descendants of Jews who had migrated to western Africa over many centuries via migrations south into sub-Saharan Africa, as well as west across North Africa, possibly following the path of the Arab conquests. Some Nigerian Jews hold that families amongst the community are descendants of Kohanim and Levites, the Jewish priests and their assistants who functioned in the Temple of Jerusalem. Descendants could also have arisen from migrants from Djerba, Tunisia who had fled to North Africa after the destruction of the 1st and 2nd Temples in Jerusalem. The Jewish community is said to be comprised almost entirely by descendants of Kohens.
                                       The Igbos are the most westernized ethnicity in Africa. 

Several Israelite/Jewish tribes settled in Western Africa during the glorious days of the Songhai, Mali and Ghana empires. As the early Jews were mainly traders, it is quite likely that Jewish traders made the treck across the African continent and eventually settled in various places of West Africa, just as Jewish traders had settled in Kaifeng, China due to their activity in trade along the Silk Route. Some sources have explained that a Jewish presence was present in Nigeria as early as 638 BCE. The Igbos are not the only group that claims such a heritage; the Sefwi people of Ghana too believe they are descendants of Jews that made their way to West Africa.

In Mali, there had been a documented community for quite some time until all Jewish families were forced to convert to Islam and till today there remains a Jewish Culture Society in Mali where those descendants of Jews seek to explore their culture and heritage.

Perhaps the Jews of Nigeria suffered the same fate and with the arrival of Islam were either forced to leave the territory or submit to the Islamic domination. It is believed that Judaism first came to the region many centuries ago, as many as 1500 years by traders, a profession that Jews during that time were prolific at. The Igbo Jews traditionally claim descent from three particular Israelite tribes: Gad, Zevulun, and Menashe. The Jews of Manipur and Mizoram, the Bnei Menashe, also claim descent from the tribe of Menashe. It is thought that these Jews fled to Africa after the destruction of the biblical Temples in Jerusalem and established communities all across the African continent.

Israel has, to date, not recognized the Igbo as one of the Lost Tribes of Israel. It took many years before the Chief Rabbinate recognized the Bnei Menashe as Jews, and it is thought that in due time the Igbo will also be recognized as descendants of Israel. One of the theories as to why Israel is reluctant to recognize the Igbo is because it has enjoyed good relations with Nigeria, and as the Igbo are a secessionist tribe, recognizing them as part of Israel may injure political and economic ties between the two countries.

Lineages

According to the Igbo lore of the Eri, Nri, and Ozubulu families, Igbo ethnic groups with Israelite descent comprise the following 3 lineage types:

Benei Gath: Igbo people said to have descended from the Tribe of Gath ben-Ya`aqov ( Gad), who was the 8th son of the Israelite patriarch Ya`aqov (Jacob). This group traces its lineage through Gath’s son Eri ben-Gath. The groups from this lineage comprise the Aguleri, Umuleri, Oreri, Enugwu Ikwu, Ogbunike, Awkuzu, Nteje, and Igbariam clans.

Benei Zevulun: Igbo people said to have descended from the tribe of Zevulun ben-Ya`aqov (Zebulun), who was the 5th son of Ya`aqov (Jacob). These groups comprise the Ubulu Okiti and Ubulu Ukwu clans in Delta State who settled in Ubulu Ihejiofor. According to oral tradition, it is said that a descendant of the Tribe of Zevulun named Zevulunu, on the advice of a certain Levite, married a woman from Oji, who was descended from the Tribe of Judah, and from this union was born Ozubulu ben-Zebulunu. It is said that Ozubulu then went on to have 4 sons of his own who settled in other regions. These sons were: Amakwa, from whom a clan in Neni, Anambra State is descended, and Egbema, from whom the Egbema Ugwuta clan in Imo State and the Ohaji Egbema clan in Rivers State are descended.

Benei Menashe: Peoples whom Igbos theorize may be descendants of the Tribe of Menasheh ben-Yoseph (Manasseh). Menasheh who was one of the grandsons of Ya`aqov (Jacob) through his 11th son Yoseph ( Joseph). According to the Torah, Jacob claimed both Menasheh and his brother Ephrayim as his own sons. It is theorized that the Igbos of the Amichi, Ichi and Nnewi-Ichi clans are descended from this lineage.

Argument for the Historical Migration of the Igbo Jews

The Igbo Jews are said to have migrated from Syrian, Portuguese and Libyan Israelites into West Africa. Historical records shows that this migration started around 740 C.E. According to UCLA Jewish Historian Chinedu Nwabunwanne of Aguleri, “the migration started when the forces of Caliph Mohammed—the last leader of the Umayyads—and his Qaysi-Arab supportes defeated the Yamani-Arab Umayyads of Syria in 744 C.E; sacked the Yamanis and their Jewish supporters from Syria. The Syrian-Jewish migrant tribes Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher resettled in Nigeria where they became known as Sambation Jews. In 1484 and 1667 Judeans and Zebulonians from Portugal and Libya respectively joined Sambatyon Jews of Nigeria. Thus, Nigerian Jews originated from the following six Israelite tribes: Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher and Zebulon.

It is interesting to note that these six tribes are the same tribes Moses repeated their names twice when he blessed the Children Of Israel. These six tribes mentioned above are The House Of Judah and the children of Israel his companions (Ezekiel 37:16). Those remaining six tribes not mentioned above are The House Of Ephraim and the children of Israel his companion (Ezekiel 37:16).”

Historical Scrutiny

Stories affirming relationships between peoples now widely separated in spatial, historical, and cultural terms persist today, not only in Igboland but throughout Nigeria, in other parts of Africa, and in Europe, the United States, and beyond. Their roots in the example under consideration here lie in the assumption of a Judeo-Christian (and Islamic) Biblical framework as applicable to all of human history. In reference to West Africa this has taken the form of the “Hamitic hypothesis” (originally so-called for the putative descent of Africans from Noah’s son Ham), a model which firmly centered the beginning of West African history in the Near East rather than in West Africa itself.

Remarkably, for the Igbo, a very early (and widely influential) statement of this point of view came from an Igbo man, Olaudah Equiano, a Christian-educated freed slave who remarked in his autobiography of 1789 on “the strong analogy which… appears to prevail in the manners and customs of my countrymen and those of the Jews, before they reached the Land of Promise, and particularly the patriarchs while they were yet in that pastoral state which is described in Genesis — an analogy, which alone would induce me to think that the one people had sprung from the other.” For authoritative support, he gives reference to “Dr. Gill, who, in his commentary on Genesis, very ably deduces the pedigree of the Africans from Afer and Afra, the descendants of Abraham….

Contemporary Outreach

Outreach to Nigerian Jews by the wider Jewish world community gained official status in 1995–1997, when Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin sent a team to Nigeria in search of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. Western rabbis and educators such as Rabbi Gorin have visited the community at times and Jewish communities in the West support those in Nigeria by sending books, computers, and religious articles. However, the State of Israel has, to date, not officially recognized the Igbo as one of the Lost Tribes.




Religious Practices

Many Igbo practices pose striking similarities with Jewish customs mentioned in the Torah and even in the present day. Such customs include: circumcision 8 days after the birth of a male child, a ban on eating un-kosher animals, separating men from women during the female cycle of menstruation, donning of the Tallit and Kippah, and the celebration of holidays such as Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah. In recent times, the communities have adopted holidays such as Hannukah and Purim, holidays that only were beginning to be observed after many of the tribes of Israel had already dispersed. For example, the Ethiopian Jews and the Benei Menashe had no knowledge of such holidays.

Judaism in Nigeria Today

There are currently several Jewish communities across Nigeria and the structure is getting stronger. There are 26 synagogues across the country and the community is estimated as many as 40,000 individuals. Some of the larger and significant communities include the Gihon Institute in Abuja, as well as communities in the south such as Port Harcourt. Western rabbis and educators have visited the community at times and Jewish communities in the west support those in Nigeria by sending books, computers, religious articles and many more periodically. Western Jewish communities have been instrumental in establishing Jewish libraries in Nigeria and there is hope that some members of the Jewish community in Nigeria will be granted visas to go study Judaism in the United States, just as Rabbi Gershom Sizomu, leader of the Abayudaya in Uganda has done. By doing this, the leadership and knowledge of Judaism in Nigeria will continue to increase and the stability of the community with be strengthened as well. The Nigerian Jews are particularly interested in maintaining an Orthodox Jewish lifestyle and, as a result, western communities have refrained from sending ritual objects that have come from Reform congregations. However there is a dearth of religious books and many are photocopied or stapled together.

Similarly, as of yet, women have not taken an active, or have taken a minimal role in the leadership of the community, although this may change as has been the case amongst the Ugandan Jews. One of the individuals at the forefront of reclaiming the heritage of the Igbo people has been working on a second volume that details the Hebraic origins of the Igbo peoples and answers questions that may not have been answered in the first volume titled “The Igbo: Jews in Africa?”

Additional Information

Evidence of such communities includes the oral traditions of Hebraic lineage ranging from tribes in Sudan, all the way to Ghana, to the west. It is known that in the region of the Niger river, there is a group of people who, although they practice Islam today, are also believed to be of Jewish origin. These people are referred to as Iddao Ishaak. Some Igbo Jews claim they are descendants of the Temple priests and in accordance, wear similar garments of turbans and white robes, just as the priests of biblical times did. Although tests to determine the claims to Cohen priesthood have not been done, such as the tests that have been done amongst the Lemba in South Africa, there is strong evidence that such claims have validity and should be accepted as such. Perhaps additional convincing evidence that Jewish tribes arrived in Nigeria is the fact that there are a people amongst the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria referred to as “Strange People” or Bnei Ephraim who have retained certain portions of the Torah and Judaic practices. This evidence only confirms the Jewish origin of the Igbo Jews. Learned elders of the community serve as rabbis and western rabbis and other members of the worldwide Jewish community periodically visit Nigeria to teach and instruct the community in the ways of mainstream Judaism. However, the liturgy of the Igbo Jews has blended African music with Jewish prayers to produce a distinct Jewish-Nigerian melody during Shabbat services and other Jewish observances.

In addition to Jewish communities, Messianic Jewish communities have sprung up in Nigeria and although they believe in Jesus, they claim to be full Jews. This makes any census counting Jews residing in Nigeria more problematic. However, trends indicate such communities over time often abandon their belief in Jesus and accept mainstream Judaism. This has been the case with several communities and appears to be occurring to several more. Such trends also appear to be occurring in other communities around Africa including Rusape, Zimbabwe, and Kenya.

There are other communities in Nigeria that are not of the Igbo tribe that are practicing Judaism, such as those in Yorubaland. Thus, Jewish practice is not restricted to one ethnic group or location. The Igbo are Nigeria’s third largest ethnic group and many reside in many neighboring countries including Cameroon.


Over 60% of us African-americans are of Igbo descent. I have read that some Nigerian Igbo males have tested positive for the Cohen Modal Haplotype, which would confirm patrilinieal descent from Levite clans. Genetic testing can be used to verify haplotypes, and the CMH has found to have several variants, which would cover various clans of Levites and/or Cohanim. I am having my brothers DNA tested for this marker and I suspect that, if African-american and Afro-caribbean males tested for the CMH, there are most likely cluster populations found in various New World locations, including the Caribbean.

Biafrans - Who They Are

The name Biafra like the name Africa can be traced back to the Moorish Tribe of Bani Ifran, a name meaning the Children of Ephraim. In this setting Ephraim refers to their descent from the Israelite tribe of Ephraim being the House of Joseph.

The Bani Ifran or Biafrans were also known as the Bafar tribes and it is they who established the Black Moorish Kingdoms of Ghana, Mali and Songhai. From Mali many of the Biafrans migrated to the areas of present day Nigeria where they became the leaders of the Igbo Nation. 



In this regard the authority of the Biafrans was symbolized by the donning of the Moorish Red Fez which became the sign of an Igbo Chief. The Bani-Ifran also established the " Divination System " known to the Yoruba as IFA and to the Igbo as EFA or AFA. This Ephraimite Divination System was practiced by the Prophet Joseph in Egypt and was passed on to his son Ephraim being the progenitor of the Bani-Ifran or Biafran people.

The original Biafrans were members of a Moorish tribe in Morocco known as the Bani-Ifran. A name referring to their descent from the Israelite tribe of Ephraim. Those who settled in Mauritania and Mali became known as the BAFOUR or BAFAR (BIAFAR, BIAFRAN) tribes. They were at times referred to as Black Moors or Black Berbers. They were members of the Mande tribes from which the Mandingo the Soninke and Malinke belonged. In this regard they were amongst the founders of the Ancient Ghana,Mali and Songhai. 

To this day there is a tribe in Guinea-Bissau called the Biafada and they are alternatively known as the Biafara. They speak a Mande based language. Traveling from Mali many of the Biafrans settled in Southrern Nigeria. As recently as 1930 a remnant of the Bene-Ephraim (Bani-Ifran) who maintained the original identity were found to be living amongst the Yorubas in the Ondo District. Amongst the Igbo the Biafrans (Ephraimites) became a ruling class whose authority was symbolized by the wearing of the Moorish Red Fez which to this day is a sign of an Igbo Chieftain.

During the 1990's an Igbo man named Chima petitioned the Israeli Courts for recognition of the Igbo as Israelites. His petition was presented with evidences of Ephraimite (Biafran) origins. Hausa states were founded by Bani-Ifran (Biafran Refugees) during the 10th Century. In understanding the tribal origins of the BIAFRANS it can be further understood that not only are the Igbo counted amongst the Biafrans but the Yoruba and Hausa as well.

It is through the ancient origin or understanding of Biafra as Bani-Ifran meaning of the tribe of Ephraim that the Hausa and Yoruba are connected to Biafra. It was Bani-Ifran refugees who settled in what is now Northern Nigeria who founded the Hausa States:Bayajidda was a representation of the followers of ABU YAZID of the Bani-Ifran who were the founders of the Hausa states. The Bani-Ifran(Bene-Ephraim) also settled amongst the Yoruba.

The indigenous inhabitants of the Southwest were at one time known as the Igbo. A Yoruba tribe living in the Kwara (an Ethiopian town has this name & there live Cushi Jews) State is still known as IGBO-MINA. However there is a more ancient tribal origin which can be traced from the Bani-Ifran through the Bafour,Bafar and Biafar tribes. There is only one tribe who still uses Biafara as their tribal name. This is the BIAFADA of GUINEA-BISSAU WHO ARE ALTERNATIVELY KNOWN AS THE BIAFAR. 

According to the port areas found within the Bight of Biafra maybe not as the article suggests. However most of the " Non-Igbo " of South Southeast Nigeria such as the Efik, Kwa, Ibibio of whom the article identifies as being "Authentic Biafrans" were at one time part of the " Greater Igbo Nation". The modern Biafran Republic is solely remembered as an "Igbo movement" because of the fact that the Igbo happen to be the majority living in the Southeast. However it definitely included ALL OF THE BIAFRANS OF THE SOUTHEAST INCLUDING THOSE WHO DID NOT CONSIDER THEMSELVES IGBO.

THIS IS VERIFIED IN THE FACT THAT THE 2ND PRESIDENT OF THE BIAFRAN REPUBLIC WAS AN OBONG OF THE EFIK: PHILLIP EFFIONG 

IN THIS REGARD AND IN CONTRAST TO THE AIM OF THE ARTICLE,THE NAME BIAFRA MAY HAVE BEEN ADOPTED AS A NEUTRAL AND UNIFYING NAME FOR ALL OF THE VARIOUS TRIBAL ENTITIES FOUND IN THE SOUTHEAST. SINCE THE IGBO WERE THE MAJORITY IN THE SOUTHEAST THEY BORE THE BRUNT OF THE ANTI-BIAFRAN BACKLASH AFTER THE WAR.OUT OF THE INSTINCT TO SURVIVE SOME OF THE " NON-IGBO" BIAFRANS BEGAN TO DISTANCE THEMSELVES FROM THE IGBO. IN ADDITION OTHERS WHO EVEN IDENTIFIED THEMSELVES AS IGBO AT THE BEGINNING OF THE WAR NOW BEGAN TO DISAVOW ANY IGBO CONNECTION.

CONCLUSION of THAT THE IGBO NATION MAY RISE AGAIN

Remy Ilona

08065300351, remy.ilona@gmail.com

In the last edition of National Times I began to talk about the things that would be done before the Igbos would rise again. I dwelt so much on the importance of information, to the Igbos, because good information would give knowledge, and the knowledgeable person has a good chance to be wise. Without laying emphasis on it, any intelligent person would know that the Igbos have not performed well in nation-building, because we have not been united, nor well organized. Infightings have taken much of our time, energy and resources. And this has happened because the information we have assimilated, have been subtly given to us with the sole motivation to divide us, so that we would be more easily subdued dominated, and pocketed. The British used this tactics against us, by planting a knife in our middle, demonizing what held us together (our culture) after which we fell apart, and have continued falling since then. Since then we have been apart, and every year our divisions increase in degree, and severity. At times I have wondered if the Igbo of today who can hardly gather together for Igbo causes would have lasted three months if faced with the travails that the Igbos faced from ’66 to ‘70. Of course the Igbo of today wouldn’t have survived the shock, because the rallying institution; the culture; is almost gone; disrespected completely by we the Igbos! And without the culture, what is the people? Nothing! We are Igbos because we speak Igbo, and practice[d] Igbo culture.

However as the Igbo condition has deteriorated to the stage that we can say that Igboland is fighting the Igbos (many communities are under threat of extinction because of erosion, and other environmental problems), and the Igbos are almost lapsing into a civil war (well to do, and not so well-to-do Igbos are fleeing from Igboland because of the abnormally high rate of kidnappings and other violent crimes in Igboland), one can expect the Igbos to begin to ask hard questions, and to be ready to receive hard answers which will help us to analyze our problems so that we can begin to rebuild the Igbo society.

To rebuild successfully; mainly Igbo resources would be in the new foundations. This is where information, knowledge, and wisdom would help the Igbos. At this stage it is pertinent for the Igbos to ask: where would we have been if the British had not disrupted our society by instigating, and participating in our commercial enslavement, colonizing us, demolishing our institutions, and replacing them with the present models which have not only not given the greatest happiness to the greatest number of Igbos, but have bequeathed us with institutions that have institutionalized divisions among us. Who would have been our leaders? A pertinent question in an era when an Igbo could get up and say anything on behalf of the Igbos, or do anything, no matter how inimical his actions or words would be to the Igbos. Would we have been an independent nation, happy, proud, and free? And as we are a part of a state called Nigeria, what do the laws of Nigeria permit us to do to improve the welfare of our people?

My soon to be published essay; A Brief Survey Of Ancient Israel: From The Igbo Perspective and Experience answered some of the questions. The answers, and the ones that I will proffer here would serve as the building blocks for the rebuilding of the Igbo people.

I would say that we would have been among the first ten most successful countries in the world if we had not been subverted by colonialism. I would say so because my research informs me that we were guided by laws, rules, and regulations before the British advent. The same laws, rules and regulations that the Europeans borrowed and used to inspire the creation of the almost eldoradoic societies known as the Western world or developed societies that they have today, if we are looking at just their administration of justice and governance. I am referring to the legal and ethical provisions of the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament to the Gentiles) Possibly we would have been the second nation after the Republic of Israel, the state which is the primary representative of the people who received those laws, rules and regulations because those very laws, rules, and regulations which secure Israel, and which have among other things made it the most innovative country in the world would have been our grundnorm. The Newsweek of November 23, 2009, on page 45, observed; ‘how does Israel-with fewer people than the state of New Jersey, no natural resources, and hostile nations all around-produce more tech companies listed on the NASDAQ than all of Europe, Japan, South Korea, India and China combined?’ I would say that had we not come under colonialism that we would not have become the disorderly people that we are today,- a nation where everyman behaves as he likes. I will illustrate what I am trying to say with the following example, and in order to highlight what I want to say I will compare the Igbo and the Hausa funeral/burial experiences. The above-mentioned communities have some things in common. Both were colonized by imperial Britain, and were amalgamated, alongside hundreds of other nations to form Nigeria. Today both co-exist in Nigeria.

The Igbos funeral/burial customs are called akwa m ozu, or ikwa ozu. These mean- to mourn the dead. The most important part of the ceremony is the mourning. In Igbo traditions the pretence that death could be good, or not painful does not exist. As Igbos, guided by Igbo culture Igbos believe that everything possible should be done to preserve life. This gave rise to the Igbo saying; mpempe ndu ka mpempe onwu mma (a bit of life is better than a bit of death). Igbos would spend everything they have to ward off the evil, but when it comes eventually, the Igbos would mourn! They would mourn! Mourning would be manifest in every aspect of their lives for one year. This dread of death led to the Igbo advancement in medicine which saw them handling difficult cases like igbakwa okpukpu, (mending fractured bones), igwo otoro na kitikpa (curing two diseases that may be akin to HIV/AIDS), etc, before colonialism. Today the dread of death, and accompanying mourning is no longer so manifest when some Igbos are bereaved. Imitating mainly the Yoruba; the powerful people to their west who are exercising considerable influence over the Igbos presently, and who are most likely to assimilate them, the Igbos routinely describe funerals/burials as ‘celebrations of life’, ‘gone to glory’, dress in aso ebi and aso oke during funerals, and display huge billboards of the dead with their pictures, as if they were film-stars receiving advertisement. To put it succinctly the Igbo funeral/burial customs have been replaced with borrowings, which have turned the Igbo funeral into a carnival. And the consequence? Among the Igbos, anarchy as far as funerals and burials are concerned. Some Igbos who are intelligent and perceptive enough know that something very horrible and wrong had crept in, but many do not know what to say, or do, because they have no idea that Igbo culture contains funeral/burial traditions.

And what do the Hausa do? They have a standard set for them by Islam, their adopted religion. The state president, the billionaire, and the pauper go the same way when they depart. Among them the tension which is in the Igbo society, and which could be evinced from the agonizing cries of the mentioned Igbos would hardly manifest, because they have rules which they respect.

The Igbos have burial and funeral rules, but they are mostly forgotten. My forthcoming book; ‘From the Ibri to Igbo: Forty Million More Jews In Africa’ which will be published in the U.S, by Derusha Publishing LLC, has an entire section dedicated to ‘akwa m ozu’ (the Igbo burial and funeral). Interestingly akwa m ozu is incidentally close to the Islamic burial in a few respects because Islam is to a great extent an off-shoot of the culture of Israel, which is Igbo culture.

What I have just illustrated with funeral/burial traditions manifests in almost every aspect of Igbo life. Total disrespect for the only Authority that could and would save the Igbos. Disrespect for the elders; the only fairly identifiable body among the bodies that were appointed to be His representatives among the Igbos! Dereliction as far as observance of the laws, rules and regulations that would improve Igbo life, and the Igbo society is concerned! And what are we reaping today? Anarchy! Today the Igbos who are not fighting any visible war, who are not suffering drought, are nevertheless going into exile, and heir destination is the ghettoes of the cities in the non Igbo cities of Nigeria. So the Igbos would have to go back to being a nation guided by laws, rules and regulations. I would still hark back and give information that would prove what I have asserted, which were that the Igbos do not respect the Authority today, and that the elders, and their other natural/indigenous leaders who lost their positions by being opportunistic, which made them to connive with the groups that subverted and corrupted the Igbo society in expectation of benefits that have turned out to be Greek gifts, no longer lead them today.

A clinical study of the following texts will help the reader to understand why I made the assertion above.

The Igbos: Jews In Africa series. Introduction To The Chronicles of Igbo Israel, The soon to be published ‘From the Ibri to Igbo: Forty Million More Jews In Africa’, A Brief Survey of Ancient Israel-From The Igbo Perspective and Experiences. Uri’s Travels, Reincarnation-And What the world’s Major Religions Say About It,

Things Fall Apart, The Arrow Of God, The Only Son, The Potter’s Wheel, The Only Son, The Slave Ship, Torah For Gentiles, The Ropes Of Sands, The Purple Hibiscus, and many others which I will be listing in subsequent editions of the National Times.

All these texts need to be studied by the Igbos with the intention to get the messages which their divinely inspired writers wanted to pass to them.

And the Igbo who would be wise would always have a copy of J. H. Hertz’ Pentateuch and Haftorahs, and the National Times on his breakfast table. And playing softly to him should be music from intelligent Igbos like Show Promoter, Ozoemena Nsugbe, Moore Black, etc.

And because there is no time to waste; as we are studying we have to begin to apply what we get from studying by starting to rebuild, and intensify rebuilding where we have started. As I have striven to point out; we can only build what will last if we rebuild our own institutions, and indigenize the foreign ones that we must keep. The foreign ones that have caused us only divisions and problems we must ostracize, or ban. We can borrow a leaf from other Nigerians such as the Hausa and Fulani, and the Kanuri who realized that the Nigerian State would not try to obstruct them, either legally, or on grounds of equity, if they try to combat crime, and improve the morals of their people, and the resident aliens among them, by extending the applicability of the Sharia Laws to criminal matters.

The Yoruba who spawned the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) as a militia to defend the Yoruba, have turned the organization into a crime-fighting machine, which works with the Nigeria Police, and promoter and defender of Yoruba culture and interests. Recently the Bini monarch Omo no oba Eradiuwa and the Bini chief priest Nosakhare Isekhure led the Bini people, and from inside the Bini religion and culture they activated forces that would reduce violent crime in Edo State. Lately because things have reached breaking point for the Igbos, some voices have been rising, and have been making suggestions that could be helpful if they are sifted and purified with knowledge and wisdom, and applied. Recently an Igbo who deserves to be honored for citing a games, and recreation centre in Igboland called on the Igbos to honour their Nigeria/Biafra war dead, so that the departed ones who actually paid the supreme price and sacrifice for them would go to their rest (or reincarnate). He postulated that the restless spirits of our brethren may be behind our current travails.

He also made a call on the Igbos to respect their gods. I know he means Chukwu Abiama (the God of Abraham), as the notion that the Igbos have gods is a new one which was introduced by the colonialists who gave the Igbos modern education/mis-education, and indoctrinated the people to begin to see many things that were non existent. The Igbos know of only the one indivisible Deity, and in fact there is no attribute, words, phrases for gods in the Igbo language. We should sift such calls, and take the good, and drop the incorrect.

Also, very importantly some Igbo state governors have began to respect the Igbo clans, and their clan unions. Mazi Peter Obi, the governor of Anambra State deserves special mention for this feat. The Igbo culture begot the clan, and the clan begot the clan union (town unions); which is the basic unit of authority which is indigenous to the Igbo people. With the clan unions as just caricature of what they should be, on what would the Igbos begin to build?

In addition some have began to identify with the Igbo people practically. I was thrilled when I saw Chief Ikedi Ohakim, and the chairman of the Igbo traditional rulers Eze Cletus Ilomuanya discussing Igbo welfare with some Hausa and Fulani leaders in Gombe.

We need more of such, and we can only begin to see more when our people get more and more immersed in Igbo Studies. To see Ohakim and Ilomuanya showing concern for the Igbo trader is very touching. Every Igbo needs to be concerned about the welfare of the Igbo trader for that is likely to be the Igbo species in Gombe, and the Igbo common man generally. I have always wondered where the Igbos would have been without the Igbo trader; and the unsophisticated Igbo; those persons that used an Igbo customary practice; igba odibo; to speed up Igbo economic revival and growth after Biafra. Those persons that travels all over Nigeria, and the world seeking for sustenance which in the years of yore when we were more focused, and Igboland was more secure for Igbos, he brought back to Igboland, and of whom Chinua Achebe crafted the following in ‘No Longer At Ease; ‘Those ……who leave their home town[s] to find work in towns all over Nigeria regard themselves as sojourners. 

They return to…….every two years or so to spend their leave. When they have saved up enough money they ask their relations at home to find them a wife, or they build a ‘zinc’ house on their family land. No matter where they are in Nigeria, they start a local branch of the …….Progressive Union’. These ndi Igbo who did so much for the Igbos are endangered today. They face numerous threats today. The threats range from: instinctive imitation of the Igbo elite who has not only not done enough for the Igbo, but leads in desecration of Igbo culture and importation of abominations. Denigration from fellow Igbos who did not appreciate their efforts, and described them as illiterate traders. And external threats from innocuous sources such as fraudsters operating as religious masters who weaken him by relieving him of his hard-earned money, and brainwashing him with noxious divisive notions; and lack of knowledge about Nigerian financial, and economic policies; this noble species of the Igbo is dying off. I will also spare a word for the elites who care. Those that have tried to help by bringing some of their investments and institutions to Igboland so that they can give jobs to Igbos. And those that have been philanthropic. The Igbo Israel Union which I founded, and which lead will encourage Igbos in these categories to do more by honouring them in an annual award ceremony. It will collaborate on this with the National Times.

To provide a school where Igbos should begin to study, the Igbo Israel Union and the National Times newspaper which is a national newspaper with an Igbo background, have began an Igbo Studies Institute. More information about it will be available to the Igbo public very soon.

In my efforts to unravel Igbo history in order to give relevant information to the Igbos, so that the Igbos would become knowledgeable and wise, and take back their life from their oppressors, I have
seen prophetically that the Igbos will begin to recover and rise when the Igbos begin to study about themselves. We, the Igbos should begin to study ourselves and make the teaching and preaching of Igbo unity our Torah (Teachings), Gospel, and Quran truths. Daily Igbo prayers should include a call on Chukwu Abiama to turn the hearts of all the Igbos so that they will begin to see each other as brothers and sisters again. People give out what they take in. If from infancy all Igbos had been receiving the indoctrination that they are nwanne (brethren), in all the schools, synagogues, obis and churches that they attend and congregate in, we would not be who we are today- a people who could neglect their poorer brethren, destroy their land, drive their brethren into exile, to suffer endlessly.

To provide a school where Igbos should begin to study, the Igbo Israel Union and the National Times newspaper which is a national newspaper with an Igbo background, have began an Igbo Studies Institute. More information about it will be available to the Igbo public very soon.

Hebrew Priesthood & Hebrew Toponyms in Nigeria?

Hebrew names like Gad or Edom evolved into Ga & Edo in west Africa. Sometimes instead of losing the last consonant an extra vowel is added to the original last consonant: Ifa>Ephod, Ijebu> Jebus, Moshe>Moses, Ishekiri/Itsekiri>Issachar, Ajọsẹ/Jọsẹ>Joseph, Imọlẹ/Imalẹ/Umalẹ>mal’akh (plural malakaim; angels), Ajaka/Jaca>Isaac, Adimu>Adam, etc., and applying same to Lehab, that is, striking out the letter-b, the result is Leha. Surely, Leha is a cognate of Luhya.

Idah, a town in Nigeria, could be a Hebrew name coming from Judah. Idah, a town in Benin, is shown in older maps as Juda. Ketu is a toponym repeted in Benin & Nigeria.

This name could be a form of Kemet, the first name with which Egypt was known even before than Misr or Mizrahim. This is the country were the Israelites became a people. It's said that some of the Israelites that didn't go with Moses stayed in Egypt & moved into subsaharan Africa. The m of Kemet could have been lost, as many consonants do in the area. Adding a vowel at the end is also common in the area & could be the origin of the last u.

Ajose is a Yoruba form of Joseph. It's also a common first & last name in Yorubaland, Nigeria. All those names that might be derived from the Hebrew ones are Yorubas.

Although the Igbos are considered as the Nigerian Israelites, it's said that there are Israelite pockets among the Yorubas, hence the Hebrew names found among them, as seen before.

In Igboland, Ifá is known as Afá. Ifa or Afá is a system of divination & priesthood. Their faithful believe that with ifa it's revealed the will of the ancestors & the divinity. It's said to have come from Zado, Ketu, eastern Nigeria, then spread to other parts of west Africa & then to the Canary Islands & the Americas. It's remarkable that this type of priesthood comes from a place called Zado, because that name is very similar to the Hebrew olden high priest's name Zadok.

Ifa is considered to be part of Voodoo & related pagan religions of west African origin. It's remarkable that Ifa or Afá are very close phonetically to Ephod, the ornamental part of the dress worn by the Hebrew priests. The Ephod is related to the Hebrew priesthood & Ifa is the Igbo priesthood. Voodoo is obviously a deviated form of priesthood. In the Tanakh we learn that the wicked Israelites were constantly deviating into paganism.

The most celebrated Voodoo practitioners are the Haitians. The Haitians have an important Igbo element in their ancestry. Some Black Hebrew Israelites afirm that the Haitians descend from Israelite priests, the Levites. God punishes the people of Israel because they had their law, unlike the gentiles. Haiti is full of Voodoo everywhere. Perhaps this is why Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas & one of the poorest, in the world. The earthquake that happened there was one of the most devastating in history. Haitians have to get rid of Voodoo in order to become a thriving society. This has to be acompanied with keeping the Commandments & following the only true God.

Ifa religion is based in sixteen principles. One would wonder if that number would come from the sum of the twelve tribes plus the for corners in which the were around the tabernacle & the for corners of the earth to which Israel wast to be scattered. The number sixteen is recurrent in symbology & in the Bible. To name just two biblical examples in which this number is mentioned In the Old Testament, 16 is a symbol of love & therefore one of the various names and titles for God specially signify His constant, never-ending love for the children of Israel. In secular history the "Sixteen Petaled Flower" is symbol used in Middle Eastern monarchies, including the Israelite. This symbol is found in one of the gates of the Jerusalem's walls.

                                                       Specifically the Herod's Gate.

Related to Voodoo is a also snake worship in certain areas. In Nigeria the most attached to snake worship is Imo state in Igboland. Mama Wata is considered by some Snake worshippers in vast areas of west Africa as a goddess & she's always in company of snakes. Again we can recur to the Bible for a possible origin of this tradition. The Egyptian pharaoes had snakes as part of their attire close to their forehead. Moses' cane turned into a snake that devoured the ones made by the Egyptian magicians. In the desert fiery snakes killed the Israelites that wouldn’t look at the brass snake that Moses gave them, as commamded by God, to heal the Israelites. Eventually this God given brass snake was used by the Israelites as an idol that had to be broken by the prophet at the time. Perhaps this the origin of snake worship which is in Nigeria is interestingly found in Igboland.

WHO IS IGBO?

CHUKWUKAODINAKA REMY ILONA
When I ponder over this question what comes to my mind is principally; what is the origin of the Igbos? For certain reasons which I will mention later I have always tried to solve puzzles by first of all looking at the history of the puzzles.

An Igbo as understood presently is someone from the following Nigerian states: Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Abia, Ebonyi. And some indigenes of Delta State. I would also say that the Igbos also include some people that are indigenous in Edo and Rivers states. The Igbos in all the mentioned states inhabit a contiguous territory. I do not think that some people in the Rivers, Edo, Delta States, and even a tiny minority from Anambra State will view my submission agreeably. This is because huge numbers of people who bear Igbo names, speak the Igbo language, and practice Igbo culture in the afore-mentioned states have openly declared that though ‘we speak Igbo, bear Igbo names, we are not Igbos’. These people actually speak Igbo. Close examination of their cultural practices reveal that Omenana; the Igbo culture, is also their culture. And clearly culture, and language which is an aspect of culture determines what or who one is; i.e, one's origins. So why do we have people who are Igbos disowning their identity?

I would need a book to answer the question, but because this is a newspaper I’ll try to compress my answer. I will get back to the question later, but for now I will try to work on what the tribal origin of the Igbos is, with the objective of trying to discover why there is so much complications with the issue of the Igbo identity.

The Igbos have generally not taken their tribal identity serious.

Igbo laxity has created room for certain people who do not know the importance of history, to introduce dangerous and mischievous distortions, and even fabrications into Igbo history.

Presently we have Igbo “historians” who have without a shred of evidence “proven” that the Igbos existed before the biblical Adam did. And they were scholarly, and bold enough to admit that they got this information from Ile Ife. And that they were motivated by Afro-centrism, and black-color pride. We also have some who say that the biblical Melchizedek was Igbo, and that it was he who taught Abraham, the Hebrew patriarch the importance of monotheism. Even though some of these scholars lack the basic skills (knowledge of the Hebrew language, Hebrew culture and history); that one requires to understand Hebrew sources, among which is the principal book (the Tanakh), that talked about Adam, Melchizedek, and Abraham; they have rushed to the press with their ‘great discoveries’. Some Igbos have also claimed that they originated from Bini. A cursory comparison of the claimants’, and the Bini cultures reveals that the claimants were motivated to make the false claim purely by the desire to make mischief, and inferiority complex.

Distortions and fabrications should be kept out of history. Many of the conflicts that have shocked the world, and cost humanity dearly; especially the religious ones, wouldn’t have arisen if recorders had written exactly what happened. Many chroniclers have written what did not happen, as what happened, and have led many gullible people into basing their faith on empty lies, and emotions.

So, if the Igbo people have not treated their history as something that is sacrosanct, should it be surprising that some of the Igbos from Edo, Delta, and Rivers, deny that they are Igbos today?
It shouldn’t be surprising for many reasons, among which is the one that the groups that deny, do so because they are confused. And the second one which is that they learnt the fine art of self-denial from their kinsmen-those that admit that they are Igbos today. I will throw more light on what I’m getting at with the following illustration by talking about two episodes that were narrated in Things Fall Apart, and No Longer At Ease; two seminal works by that most clever Igbo; Chinua Achebe.

Okonkwo; that great Igbo freedom fighter who stood against desecration of the Igbos through desecration of Omenana, and seizure of the Igbos’ freedom by the invading British, died in the struggle. And his first son, Nwoye who had joined the enemies, refused to attend his funeral. And when Nwoye’s wife died, the son, Obi, repeated what Nwoye did, by not attending the funeral of his mother, Nwoye’s wife.

The Igbos from Edo, Delta, and Rivers, are simply repeating what the Igbos as a people have been doing. The Igbos generally act as if they feel that where they came from is not important. The self-denying Igbos from the afore-mentioned states say that they are not Igbos. In other words; just as the Igbos generally do not attach much importance to their Israelitishness, so do some of the Igbos of Edo, Delta, and Rivers, whom I regard as self-denying Igbos feel that they are not Igbo, and say so.

So at last who are the Igbos? Two Igbos; Peter Opara and Gavriel Ogugua, had after attending a meeting of the World Igbo Congress, visited the officials of the American Jewish Committee, and had told them that: ‘…. Igbos feel a spiritual bond with Jews because, Igbos have not been able to trace their origin back to anywhere else other than Israel”. If sharing of a similar culture is indicative of a common origin, I would agree with Opara, and Ogugua, and I agree with them. Credible and authentic research about Igbo origins have pointed only at Israel, as the place of origins of the Igbos.

If this is an established fact, and I say that it is; because studies and comparison of Igbo culture (Omenana), and Judaism (the culture of Israel), asusu Igbo (the Igbo language), and Ibrit (Hebrew language), the Igbo and the Jewish DNA’s, and Igbo history, have all indicated that the Igbos and the Jews were originally one people, and that the Hebrew culture which is the basis of their culture evolved in ancient Israel, why haven’t the Igbos done the proper thing? The proper thing should be to introduce into the curricula of the schools and other institutions that impart knowledge to the Igbos the information about the Igbos' origins. But in the curricula of all the schools, and the programmes of all the other institutions that cater to the Igbos educational needs such as the churches, which have existed for decades, and the synagogues which have started growing among the Igbos, information about the Igbos' origins is totally absent. This is also what obtains in most of the print and electronic mass media. Save the National Times newspaper which has been impressive, and the Sun which reports on the subject occasionally, a follower of news is not likely to get enough information about where the Igbos originated from. And the Igbo organizations! Only the Igbo Israel Union (Society), and the Igbo Origin and Culture Research Society have prioritized the very important subject of the Igbos' origins.

So in the final analysis I say that the Igbos are the descendants of Israel that migrated from the Holy Land, through North Africa, the Sahara desert, and resettled in the rain forests of what became the South-East of Nigeria.

Four things every sane Igbo man should be doing now

Dear Ndi Igbo, If you are sane and you are Igbo I would say you should or in fact must be doing these four things. It does not matter your age, your occupation or your level of education. In fact if you are not doing them yet, then there is a big problem.

1. You must pray every day: This one is a no-brainer. Haba. You are from a race that survived ethnic cleansing, many Pogroms, and the machetes of religious zealots. There is just no way you should miss this one. You must pray. Your fathers, fore-fathers and grandfathers all prayed. People may have divergent religious views, while others may be wondering why everyday. The reason is simple. Na prayer save us from extinction. Like it or not, being the breed that you are you will continue to be the subject of animosity, jealousy and unprovoked (or sometimes provoked) aggression. You may have physical, material and “connection” powers but you need supernatural powers to thrive. Survival of the Igbo is a given. Biko ensure daily prayer by all means. Read this piece by Remy Ilona, one of our prominent Igbo-Jewish scholars and understand the significance of the Igbo tribe and our creator.

2. You must get enough sleep: Let me deflate your ego a bit. You are very smart and intelligent, but you can do better when you get enough sleep. If you do not get enough sleep, your performance will disappoint you and you will remain ordinary not extra-ordinary. Just remember not to seek out a devil to blame when you make silly mistakes after depriving yourself of God-given sleep. Human beings sleep on average 8 hours a day. Some people need 7 hours a day while others need 9 hours a day. Either way, to be on top of your game always in your business and your job, do not deprive yourself of sleep. There are myriads of health problems also related to sleep deprivation including obesity, heart disease and drowsiness when driving. Igbos are wise, so sleep enough everyday.

3. You must plan your day, everyday: Efulefu literally means a useless or anything goes person. A popular saying went thus: He who fails to plan, plans to fail. As an Igbo man, your family all look up to you and are banking on your willpower and hardwork. They do not see you as an “efulefu”. Results results results. You must prove yourself. Not once or twice but always. This has always been the Igbo way, the Igbo culture. The Igbo are known to be result-oriented. In fact one of my favorite Igbo titles is “Ome Nke Afulu Anya“. For every 10 minutes we spend planning our day, we save as much as 1 hour, increasing our efficiency and productivity that day. Igbo Race From Borno State

4. You must work towards independent enterprise in the East NOW: That you have a job really means very little. That you have earned a promotion also is not very relevant. Being an Igbo man, we are proud to achieve. Igbo men do not have things handed out to them, no. They are go-getters. they go and they get. Look at Nigeria in 1970 after the “Starvation-won-war” and virtually all Igbo properties outside Igboland were confiscated and claimed by “Nigerians”. Families were given twenty pounds each irrespective of how much they had in the bank prior to the war. Then as we were finding our feet in this new dispensation, public enterprises were sold to the private sector, but Igbos had no money. may could barely feed their families. Despite that, Igbos have risen to many top positions in the world. Real Estate in Nigeria is largely owned by Igbos across the country. Igbo enterprises are evident nationwide but the East would benefit immensely from a deepened Igbo investments. As we continue to Think East, Think Ala-Igbo, every Igbo man must realize that the world is always changed by those who create things or make existing things better. ABC Transport, ZINOX Computers, Ekene Dili Chukwu Transports and many others. Enterprise. And when you do create, do it in Ala-Igbo to benefit Ala Igbo since the safety of Igbo lives and properties can hardly be guaranteed for Igbo man living in other parts of Nigeria. These are just four. Of course there are many more that every Igbo do. I will like to hear from you what it is that you think every sane Igbo man should be doing now. Add your comment below.

TITHE

PROJECT: IBU IHU NA IKE IHU

The Igbos of Nigeria who number up to thirty five millions have a customary practice called ibu ihu. This practice requires every Igbo to set aside a percentage of his annual income, and to send it to his family where all the funds/commodities that have been collected will be shared by all the members of the family.

In former times when the Igbos were less influenced by other cultures ibu ihu was generally practiced. Then the Igbos paid this due with food. This contribution helped to ensure that the Igbos did not have much food hunger, destitution and a high crime rate, because the practice was an effective way of distributing wealth. Indirectly the wealthy gave to the poorer, who received without loosing face because they contributed as well.

Presently ibu ihu is almost extinct. Now due to this and many other factors the Igbo people are poorer and their society is becoming dysfunctional. Poverty and some other factors have led to an upsurge in crimes like narcotics peddling, violent crimes, and the other social vices. Also many Igbos are struggling to emigrate.

PROJECT IBU IHU NA IKE IHU is about a revival of this practice which would empower many Igbos, strengthen family ties, and reduce social tensions. If the project gains ground the Igbo people will be the better for it because many more Igbos, will become empowered, and thus poverty will be alleviated, and crime will be reduced.

Igbo-Israel should lead by enacting this practice as it prepares to celebrate rosh hashana, and observe the yom kippur with the rest of am Yisrael!

Harry if I am to say, the 'tithe' should still be applied in spite of whatever we still give, to charity, as tzedakah, etc. Perhaps I feel this way because I witnessed what trying faithfully to apply Torah principles achieved in a society that hadn't much wealth. We (the Igbo society) generates billions of $, not naira now, but because most don't follow the Torah principles, we have hungry and destitute Igbos at last. When I was growing up I did not see a beggar in Igboland. Now we have them. I stand to be corrected. The Torah is too perfect. The best that can be done is to follow its dictates as closely as possible wherever one finds himself or herself.

How Ndi Igbo came from Israel

Actually people should look at the whole of Africa when Ethiopia was mentioned in early times. There were no steel barriers confining the Israelites that moved into Ethiopia to Ethiopia. Naturally they continued downwards-and the biggest concentration of those that continued downwards settled in the south of the area that became Southern Nigeria.

There are no maps, books detailing the movements-similar to what I read about the Jews of Russia-that nobody really knows when or how they got there-but as they practiced Judaism it was clear that they were/are of Israelite stock.

This is not to say that I think that the Igbos are made up only of those that the Assyrians dispersed, i.e, the Israelites of the Northern Kingdom. My theory, supported by many sources is that Hebrews had started trickling into the African continent well before the great dispersions. [The nail that yielded the enzyme that gave us the blue in our tallits in ancient times were obtainable only in the waters of West Africa]. And that a very great majority of those that moved 'down' settled in the Niger area because of abundant water, fertile land, etc. And that when the dispersions occurred, a huge number of the dispersed also joined those that had settled in the Niger area. This would include some exiles from Samaria, and Judah. My theory is that these streams-from the entire nation of Israel built up the nation that became known as the Hebrews--------Ibri------------Ibo--------------Igbo. Retain the tribal name to provide room for everybody. An Igbo instinctively prefers to be identified as a Hebrew or an Israelite, more than as a Jew, because in my thinking, only some Igbos descended from Judah.
And can I prove all these? I can. We have the Leviim, and the Aaronides, and the acronym of their chief clan is derived from the prophesy about Levi by Jacob in Genesis.

If anybody's claim to Israelitishness is strong it's that of the Igbos, because everywhere there are tell-tale signs, symbols, etc, telling us about who the Igbos are. And it must be mentioned that today, not many people, including Igbos, know about all these-because these are things that have not received attention-popular or scholarly, for a long time. And in the Igbo case colonialism damaged us almost irreparably. It made Igbos to begin to chase after things that didn't concern them, while neglecting even themselves.

Now I ask myself why did I even think that the Igbos needed DNA tests, when the phrase Omenana; the Igbo religion can be found in the Torah. When every Igbo practice is parallelized by a Jewish one. When even the Igbo experience is parallelized by the Israelite experience. And I conclude that what the Igbos need is Jewish information to counter the toxic effects of European colonialism.
Ndeewo.

Remy talks about Igbo land tenure laws and customs...

Jenny, in Igbo culture women own land the following ways: lets begin with the family/ancestral land...which is shared among all the sons of the family...and this includes the females who chose to remain unmarried....each son owns his share with his wife/wives and children. I hope you know that in the traditional Igbo society, every nearly adult was married...so there was almost no chance for anybody not to benefit from the family estate......the sons directly, and their sisters through their husbands who are sons in other families.....and should an Igbo girl remain unmarried and decide never to marry, she gets a share of the family land....but should she eventually marry, she relinquishes what she got to her brothers....because she acquires a portion of the land through her marriage... husband... reading carefully one would notice that some other customs, traditions, etc, are intertwined with the land laws of the Igbos.

Setting the records straight!

You'll observe at the end of the 2nd paragraph that the writers observed that the Igbos leave wherever they go to, for home, like the Israelites. A communique released at the end of the South East economic summit noted that the Igbos were referred to as the Jews of Africa because of their hardwork, intelligence and godliness. A reason why we do all the work we do is to help the contemporary Igbo to understand his history. The Igbos do not resemble the Jews. The Igbos are Jews. The Igbo family is like the Sephardic, the Ashkenazi, the Mizrahi families. The Igbos may have been weaned away from the Torah, due to various reasons; such as colonialism, which tried to replace Igbo history with European history, but the facts and reality aren't alterable. So much still remains.

The wasted years can be recovered. The Igbos can still become like the other Israelite families that I mentioned. The Igbos can still visit Igboland, and visit Israel, i.e, they could replace wherever the tales of the colonialists led many to be going now, with Israel. Re-education is the secret.

To see some of the things we are doing educationally feel free to visit IgboIsrael.com, and please say da'alu (toda) to Gil and Elana; the jolly good fellows that are helping us to do the good work.
E-x-o-d-u-s! 5 million Igbo go home By OLUWATOYIN AKINOLA, BOLATITO ADEBAYO & IKENNA OTISI Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas is here and the rush back to the home steads is again at its peak. For many Nigerians, especially those from the South East eking out a living in Asia, Europe, America and various parts of Nigeria, there is no place like home. Thus it is not surprising that the airports and bus terminals are overflowing with passengers. Exodus Travelling home at this time is a yearly ritual, especially for the Igbo, no matter their location in any part of the globe. But this year, an estimated five million Igbo are said to be in the frenetic rush out of the places where they reside, like the Israelites in exodus.
Reports say close to one million of them are on their way home to Nigeria from the Americas and Europe due to the biting effects of the global meltdown on the economies of countries in those continents. Most of them have vowed never to return. Like the proverbial prodigal son, they are prepared to face the shame back home than remain in a foreign land where they could barely make ends meet.

For those traveling home from other parts of the country, their reasons range from family reunion, wedding ceremonies, cultural festivals to even memorial services. It could also be ‘settlement’ time for ‘boys’ who had served their masters for some years.

Interestingly, passengers appear not to be deterred by the high transport fares or the bad state of the roads. Unlike last year when the former Minister of Transportation, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke, wept during a visit to the Ore-Benin highway and got the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to fix the terribly bad portions, there is no such green light this time around. Passengers should be ready again for longer hours and stressful journey and be prepared to sleep on the road. The federal highways to the east are simply impassable.

Origin Of Various Igbo Clans - Nairaland

NRI KINGDOM is the oldest Kingdom in Nigeria. It was founded around 900AD by the progenitor, Eri, the son of Gad. According to biblical accounts, Jacob had Leah as his wife who begot four sons for him. When  Leah noticed she had passed child-bearing age, she gave her maid – servant, Zilpah to Jacob to wife, and through Zilpah he had a son named Gad. Gad then bigot Eri, who later formed a clan known as Erites vide Genesis Chapter 30 verse 9; 46 verse 16 and Numbers chapter 26 verses 15-19. Eri was therefore amongst  the twelve tribes of Israel via Gad.

During their stay in Egypt Eri became the high priest and spiritual adviser to Pharaoh Teti, the fifth dynastic king of Egypt around 2400 BC.

During the Exodus, which marked the beginning of the mass movement of the tribes of Israel, the tribe of Eri was amongst the tribe that left Egypt following the injunction from God to the Israelites (see Deuteronomy chapter 28 verses 58 – 68). Some of these tribes founded settlements in the southern part of Sudan, where they established the “Nok” culture, which is similar to that of other (sun Cult) culture, like Nri, Fiji, Samoa, and Jukun in the Northern part of Nigeria and elsewhere. But others who could not remain in the Southern Sudan traveled further South, some branched off to Jukun, in Northern part of Nigeria, others continued and arrived at the confluence of Rivers Niger and Anambara known as “Ezu-na-Ọmambala” and settled there while some veered off to the Island of Fiji in the South Pacific Ocean. An intelligence report notes that the Fijians have the same sun culture with the people of Nri.

When Eri arrived at the confluence of “Ezu-na-Ọmambala” he had two wives, namely Nneamakụ and Oboli, Nneamakụ begot five children, namely (a) Nrifikwuanịm-Menri being the first son (b) Agụlụ (c) Ogbodudu (d) Onogu and (e) Iguedo the only daughter. Oboli begot Ọnọja, the only son who founded the Ịgala Kingdom in Kogi State. Meanwhile, Nri-Ifikwuanịm begot Agụkwu Nri, Enugwu-Ukwu, Enugwu-Agidi, Nọfịa, and Amọbia, while his brother Ogbodudu who later became Nrinaoke N’Ogbodudu had founded the Diodo Dynasty, while his brother Ezikannebo founded Akamkpịsị and Amanuke. Onogu Begot Ịgbariam, while Iguedo, the only daughter, begot Ogbunike, Ọkuzu, Nando, Ụmụleri, and Nteje, Known today as Ụmụ-Iguedo clan, while the former are better known as Ụmụ-Nri clan. According to Nri Oral tradition recently substantiated by archaeological findings of Ọraeri/Igbo-Ukwu objects, the unification of Agukwu, Diodo, and Akamkpịsị was enacted constitutionally during the beginning of reign of Nribụife (AD 1159 – 1252) who was the first Eze Nri to observe the Ịgụ-Arọ Festival as a pan – Igbo affair in 1160AD (Prof. M.A. Ọnwụejeọgwu 2003).

Nri-Ifikwuanịm took after his progenitor Eri, and became a high priest among his people. He left Agụleri in search of a better living place, according to Mr. M.D.W. Jeffreys report, and settled at present Nri site. He started performing what Eri did at Egypt, cleansing of abominations, giving titles such as prestigious Ọzọ title, to his people, proclaiming the New Year (Ịgụ-Arọ) etc. 

ỊGỤ-ARỌ: Ịgụ-Arọ is an annual festival of the Nri people. It is during this festival that Eze Nri proclaims the New Year to all the Igbo communities under his jurisdiction, and he then announces the Nri calendar to the people. The Nri calendar is made up of thirteen (13) Lunar months .

What many historians seem to skip is the influence of Nri on Benin's Igu'Oba.

Origin of Afikpo (Ehugbo)

The geographical entity known as Ehugbo (Afikpo) is situated in the southern part of Ebonyi State, Nigeria. It is bounded to the north by the town of Akpoha in Amoha Local Government Area, to the south by Unwana and Edda in Ubeyi and Afikpo South Local Government Areas respectively, to the East by the Cross River and to the West by Amasiri in Amaoha Local Government Area. Afikpo spans an area approximately 164 square kilometers in size.

The first settlers in Afikpo, according to oral tradition, were the Egu and Nkalu. Let’s take them one after the other.

The Egu

It is officially known that the first human settlement in Afikpo dated from 5000 – 3000 BC (Later Stone Age) – Official Radio Carbon date of the first human settlement in Afikpo). This date came from the excavation carried out at Ezi Ukwu rock shelter by Professor D.D. Hattle in 1966. Unfortunately, this information did not indicate the race that settled in Afikpo then.

However, oral tradition establishes that Egu were the first settlers in Ehugbo, followed by the Nkalu. So whatever be the case, it is now known that the Egu inhabited Afikpo a very long time ago.

The Egu were very wonderful people. Their mode of life, their skill in handicraft and their creative ingenuity in every human endeavour ranked them the most talented among their contemporaries of the time. In fact, all the intricate artistry seen in the articles they produced (such as pots, masquerade faces and decorations associated with Ogo Cult, including Isiji Cult initiation) which form part of Afikpo Culture today, were fabricated and introduced to Afikpo by the Egu. As a matter of fact, typical Afikpo culture and tradition owe their origin to the Egu.

The people of Egu were hard working. They were also fearless, daring and adventurous. Whatever they made were very durable. Their daring and adventurous nature often induced them to surmount all odds in order to attain their desired goal. This probably accounts for their successful movement towards the northern part of Ehugbo to inhabit Orie Elu, Ogbugbu Ugwuegu up to Akpu-eba, in spite of the barrier posed by natural phenomena like rocky hills and forests infested with wild creatures.

The areas formerly inhabited by the Egu are now part of present day Ugwuegu arable lands.

Traceable Features of the Egu Areas

1. Ebor Egu (Egu palm tree plantation). It is now Ugwuegu Elu Community Palm Tree Plantation.

2. Ulo Ubi Orie Elu: (former Obi Ogo or Ulo Ogo Egu). Now modern farm hut which serves as shelters for farmers.
3. Ogbugbu Umuruma (land where children were massacred). Now a farm land.
4. Nsusu Ede Egu at Akpu-eba (holes carved on a ground stone along Akpu-eba farm land road used by the Egu for playing native draft, “ede”)

Nkalu

While the Egu inhabited the northern part of Ehugbo, another formidable group called Nkalu settled at the south. As there are not available records to determine the time of their settlement, it is not possible to say much about their origin and their way of life. However, it is believed that the Nkalu migrated from Akoi, including probably Ekuri, Erei, Agwugwuna (Akunakuna), etc. on the eastern part of Cross River State. They wandered around for some time until they crossed the Cross River and settled at the basin of the Cross River around present day Ehoma Lake (near Otu Eke) hundreds of years ago. From here they spread northwards and occupied the geographical areas of the present Enohia Nkalu, Nkpoghoro and Amaozara.

Numerically, Nkalu was greater than Egu but not as ingenious. The Nkalus were skilled farmers and Spartan warriors. It is said that Nkalu brought yam to Ehugbo. It is because of the notion that Nkalu brought yam to Ehugbo and the fact that their population was greater than that of Ehugbo (Igbo people) that there is a saying in Afikpo dialect: “Ji diri Igbo diri Nkalu ma nke Nkalu karia.”

Apart from farming, the Nkalus also undertook fishing and canoe building. Although they were great warriors, the Nkalu people were hospitable and easy going. Their mode of life included merry-making, particularly at New Yam Festivals. Their boisterous celebrations often attracted the attention and excitement of their neighbours (the Egu) who settled north-wards at the present Ugwuegu. There appeared to be mutual interaction between the two peoples that made it possible for the Nkalu to imbibe the Ogo Culture of “Isubu” initiation of Egu people. This was the state of affairs before the emergence of what we know geographically as Afikpo.

Igbo Etiti

One of the engaging topics in the book is the gallant attempt made by contributors to trace the origin of the various communities in Igbo-Etiti: Ikolo, Onyohor and Ukehe trace their origin from communities in present Udi area. Onyohor and Ikolo are said to be descended from Ugwunye and therefore blood relations of Affa, Egede and Nike, while Ukehe is one of the seven children of Ojebe Ogene (Ebe, Abor, Ukana, Awhum, Okpatu, Umulumgbe and Ukehe). Udueme claims Igalla paternity while Aku and Ekwegbe claim to be a mixed race of Igbo and Igalla.  A majority of Aku are said to be of Nshi (Nri in Awka) origin while some Ohemje people are said to be of Igalla.  In the case of Ekwegbe, part came from Akpugo, Ikem, Agulu (Awka) and Igalla. It is instructive that the black-smiting village in Ekwegbe answers Agulu (Eguru) while all black smiths are called Umu Eguru (Agulu).  Diogbe and Umunko claim to come from Eha-Amufu and Ikem (Isi-Uzo) respectively.  Ohodo claims to be blood relations of Obimo and Ogbodu Abba while parts of Ozala claim to come from Nkitiba Udueme. Ochima claims to be the father of all Igbo people so that Ochima is the central locus of dispersal of all Igbos.  Very interesting! Belief and acceptance of blood relationships among communities can be exploited fruitfully for political, social and economic ends. The very influential Nwodo family of Ukehe exploited the Ojebe Ogene identity to win overwhelming votes in the area during the governorship elections of 1990.

The relationship between Aku and Ekwegbe needs to be further explored.  It is claimed that Ekwegbe formed part of the Igalla descendants of Aku from where they moved to their present position through Umunna.  In fact there is a special relationship between Aku and Ekwegbe in which it is believed that all people who die in Aku pass through a special road in Ekwegbe on their way to the land of the spirits. While Ekwegbe people use the road, no Aku person has ever walked on the road.  By listening to the conversation and instructions from such dead people using the road, Ekwegbe people are able to inform and warn Aku people to observe or desist from certain behaviours or songs.  Twice in the life of the writer, Ekwegbe had sent word to Aku to stop certain popular songs and dances.  Within a few days of the recept of the news, the songs and dances were discontinued throughout the length and breadth of Aku.

The Odo masquerade cult is a dominant cultural feature of Igbo Etiti area. With regard to the origin of the Odo, there is a puzzling unanimity.  All the contributors on this topic claim that Odo appeared first to a woman with a male child on her back.  If so, why are women not eligible for initiation into the cult? Another question is why the ten Odo towns represented in the book point to a woman as the first to see the Odo on its first apparition? It is worth investigating whether other Odo towns outside Igbo Etiti such as Neke, Ikem, Eha-Amufu and Ojebe Ogene Zone have the same story of origin of the cult.

Abiriba

TRADITION OF ORIGIN AND MIGRATION OF THE ABIRIBAS:

The Abiribas are part of the Agunaguna sub-tribe of the main Ekoi group. They are part of the larger Yakurr group that can also be traced up to Ikom and other parts of the upper Cross River basin. The present Yakor (Yakurr) Local Government Area of the Cross River State includes Ugep, Agunaguna, Nko, Usukpam (Urukpam), Ubaghara and others. In these areas are such other settlements as Ebiribara, Ebom-Ebiriba et cetera. As a matter of fact, the Ebom-Ebiribas in Yakor simply changed their name to Ebom because the present Abiriba (Ebiriba) was virtually eclipsing them such that even mails meant for them found their way into Abiriba of Abia State. The Abiribas are said to have lived in that part of Enna clan where there were plenty of Uda trees (xylopia aethiopica) hence the name Ena-Uda. The shrine of the Abiriba royalty is still standing at Usukpam-Ena. From events and available data, the Abiribas were said to have crossed the river at Usukpam, hence they are often referred to as Usukpam-Etete, a nostalgic name for that ancient home. Usukpam (Urukpam) as called by the natives there now is part of Akpaa-Erei clan of the larger Ena clan. The Abiribas lived here for long when they left mainland Ena-Uda under the leadership of Nnachi-Oken, hence the nomenclature, Ebiriba Enachi-Oken. From here they travelled through Okon-Ohafia and settled at Udara-Ebuo, a stretch of land between Amekpu-Ohafia and Okagwe-Ohafia. This long sojourn in the present day Ohafia area explains the numerous relationships between this area of Ohafia and Abiriba.

Equally the Abiriba-Ena royalty have affinity with Akanu Ohafia. Nnachi Oken died at Udara Ebuo and Ntagha continued the journey to Uranta where much later he too died. After the demise of Ntagha, Igbokwu became the leader. From here, Udara-Ebuo, the Abiribas now led by Igbokwu passed by Nkwu-ebu (Nkwebi) Ohafia to Uranta near Oboro en-route OzuAbam. Nkwu-ebu is the Palmyra palm, botanically/scientifically known as Borassus aethiopum which grew abundantly here. From here they moved right (north) and found their way into Ihe and Agboha about 1700. These two communities are near the present Binyom village of Abiriba. Agboha up till today is referred to as Agboha-Igbokwu, after the leader Igbokwu. This date of arrival is well estimated from later recorded events of early European visitors and estimating backwards from the number of Abiriba Kings remembered in our history. It is interesting to note the name Binyom which sounds Ekoi and has no Igbo meaning. The Abiribas brought their gods from Ekoi, the main god being the Otisi, (Otusi, Otosi). The Otisi is the royal symbol of authority over the Abiriba people. Otisi, Otosi is Ekoi name and many other Igbo Cross Riverine communities equally have this name and as gods too. The name is common in Afikpo areas, Edda, Ohafia, Aro, Abam, Item and others. In these areas, the royal families are referred to as Ndi-Otisi, that is, the people of Otisi. It is so too in Item and some other places. It is also equally noteworthy that one of the feared juju gods is Otisi Binyom of Abiriba. Apart from this god, we have Kalu, the god of war or thunder. One of these gods is at Ozua-elu (Kalu Ozua Elu) after Amamba village on the road that takes and brings back men who have made journeys, be it war or trade on that route.

The other is at Ndi Ebe, Kalu Ndi Ebe of Umu e'Chuku Amogudu. These Kalu gods are sacrificed to with cocks and rams.The Abiribas lived for long at ihe and Agboha from where they fanned out to establish modern day Abiriba villages and city. The Abiribas developed Agboha and built up a big market here. Because of their mercantilism, blacksmithing, weaving, crafts manship in ivory et cetera, Abiriba attracted marketers from neighbouring communities that stretched all the way to Ozuitem, Ozuakoli, Ahaba-Imenyi, Item and others. When the current and new market (Afia-nkwo) was founded people still referred to the portion on the western flank of Binyom, namely Agboha, as Afiankwo-ochie that is, the old market place. After several years of sojourn at Agboha, the royal group moved to the part of Umueso village called Amelunta today. The compounds that make up Amelunta are Ndi Ekpe, the main royal compound, Ndi Ezema and Ndi e'Mbaeku. The kings that ruled Abiriba and from Ndi Ekpe, Amelunta, were Ekpe, Itu, Uduka Oko (Uduka uku) Egbara uku and others. One of the sons of the royalty, Oko Uduka, alias Okonta Ogba-enwo (Oko the monkey shooter) in later years in his hunting expeditions located the valley after Isi-Olara and thought it was a natural fortress and also attracted by the water moved the royal compound there while retaining the majority of the royalty at Ndi-Ekpe.

This new compound is known as Ndi Oko-ogo, that is, the people of the home of Oko. The new royal compound not only accommodated the royalty but other sojourners that sought refuge in Abiriba for protection by the Abiriba King. From Ndi Okogo and Ndi Ekpe, the royalty developed Ameke Echichi and the other Ameke villages. The royalty installed the first Nkwa in Mgbala Ekpe at Ameke Echichi. Nkwa is a wooden carving in a compound hall of the royalty or in the Ekpe cult hall of the royalty. Nkwa is an arm of the Otisi god. In the olden days a replica of this carving formed part of the equipment given to a princess as a wedding gift and placed in the small hall, Obu, of the compound where she is married to. There are among others recently two such compounds where replicas of the nkwa small effigies, child bearing goddesses, were given to daughters married at Ndi Okoronkwo and Umuaga compounds both of Udanta Amogudu. The whole idea of these human-looking replicas, large dolls, is that the daughter may by the grace of the goddesses produce children. Umuaga compound at the end of the civil war sought permit from Ndi EkpeAmelunta to replace this wooden replica at their Obu compound, having been destroyed by the recently ended civil war. This was granted and the accompanying traditional ceremonies and rites accomplished. The expansions of the Abiriba people from Agboha to Amelunta and the new king's fortress compound, Ndi Oko-ogo as well as the other Ameke villages were not smooth ones. In their expansions into the current city, the Abiribas encountered other settlers, Umuhu, who were at Ihebu and Amamba, Nkporo At Kirii of Umueso and part of Item were near Ogbu, each group moving towards more fertile terrains.

The Abiribas expanded to found the villages of Ameke, Amogudu, particularly Umu -e’Chukwu, and Agboji under Ebiri. In later years when parts of Amelunta needed expansion, the then Enachioken, Oko Uduka -requested Egboji, now under Nwagu Efa to provide present day Amaukughukughu, (the place of the owls) for that purpose. Because of this gesture, the king rewarded Egboji with Nkwa-Otisi and that is why the Mgbala Ekpe of Ama-Ebia of Egboji has Nkwa. Ama-Ebia is the home of the Egboji village head.

Ohafia

The ancestors of the Ohafia people must have had a beginning somewhere. Obviously, they must also have had some connection with other groups that are not identified as Ohafia people. Since, Ohafia is Igbo, it goes without saying that Ohafia has a common origin with other Igbo Ethnic groups. In their quest to finding a permanent home of abode, they sojourned through many lands, namely Benin Empire, Ndoni, Ibeku, Bende etc. A prominent happening at their Ndoni home (Ndoni is in present Rivers State) was the demise of their ancestral leader, Akpo Uku. This bequeathed the responsibility of leading the Ohafia people to his son Atita Akpo Uku. From Ndoni the journey continued to Isieke Ibeku.

At Isieke Ibeku, some Ohafia persons soon resorted to acts of mischief. Deprived of the influence of their dead leader, minor disagreement with their Ibeku and Leru neighbours easily got out of hand. The laying of sharpened knives across footpaths for offensive rather than defensive reason became very rampant. The ringleader in this overture was a man called ‘Ukoha". Both the Leru and the Ibeku people were getting uncomfortable living with their Ohafia neighbours because of this mischievous propensities. During this period, there was fighting between sections of Umuahia ad Ossa Ibeku people. He Ossa people sought refuge with the Ohafia people of Umuajiji in Isieke Ibeku. An attack was being planned against the Ohafia people by the Ibeku people. The son-in-law of Ukoha (the trouble-maker) who was present at the meeting of the Ibeku people revealed the conspiracy to Ukoha. Ukoha took immediate action, alerting the Ohafia people about the planned attack against them. Although the Ohafia people beefed up security, an ominous event occurred that ended their stay in Ibeku.

Several accounts exist as to the reason for this exodus. One account said that it was the barking of a dog caught in a trap that frightened an Ohafia woman called Mgbo to raise an alarm. This alarm led to a stampede that evacuated Ohafia people from Isieke Ibeku. Another version of the story was that a string of calabashes (food containers made from the

dried skin of gourds) suddenly collapsed making shattering noise. This later version seems to be more correct. This is because the idiomatic tongue twister coined by the fleeing Ohafia made reference to the incident of the collapsed string of calabashes.

IKWERRE

From the foregoing it will be seen that except for the general classification of the Akpor communities as one of the seven major groups in Ikwerreland and the linguistic evidence the people stand out distinct in the present state of our knowledge of lkwerre origins and migrations. For the Obio people. however. without any specific reference to the Benin tradition it is acknowledged that Obio is one of the descendants of Iwhuruoha (Ikwerre). Some traditions mention Ochichi as the great ancestor of the people; others lack the Ochichi element. All, at any rate. regard Obio as the common ancestor of the Evo and Apara communities. Evo being the senior partner and made up of the present day Oro-Evo. Oropotoma and Oroesara. The Apara themselves whose founding father is variously named Apara or Worlu or Ekwubudike include Rumuigbo. Rumuepirikom. Eneka. Rumuadaolu. Rumuorosi. Rukpokwu.Rumuola. Rumuokwuta. Rebisi and Rumueme.26The traditions suggest that Ikwerre is a nickname given to the Iwhuruoha people by the 1gbo. Except for the OzuzuElele-Obio movement discussed under the Etche theory of Ikwerre origin. the traditions are not specific about the routes of migrations. names of places. incidents on the way and relative length of stops in the course of migrations of the ancestor of Obio as well as Obio himself. But it is agreed that from Obio's alicestral home a combination of factors including fratricidal dissension. local wars and population pressure led the Evo and Apara to establish and painfully consolidate their present-day settlements. The traditions throw some light on the early history of the people in other ways. Reference is made to neighbouring groups. probably pre-existing communities. known as Rumuopara. Akeleke. Rumuchikwee and Rumuezo against whom the ancestors fought long wars which ultimately led to the extermination of some of these earlier inhabitants. their absorption into the new settlements and their forceful movements elsewhere across the creeks. This issue calls for further research in spite of the reluctance of the traditional historians to supply detailed information on such an interesting aspect of the peopling of the area. Taken together with the traditions from Ogbakiri and43 Isiokpo. the traditions in the Obio-Akpor area clearly show evidence of internal migrations within Ikwerre in pre-colonial times. The Rumuoro and Rumuokani communities today in Ogbakiri trace their origin to migrations ftom the Obio area. The former were led by Echichimo. an enterprising hunter, from Rumuigbo whose "knowledge of the gun attracted the others to come and live close to him for protection against invaders and wild animals." The latter regard their ancestor as a man by name Okani. also a hunter and friend of Echichimo from Rumuokwuta.

Internal migrations within the Obio - Akpor axis include the movement of the Rumuolumeni people as a result of internal friction in Rumuoparali to their present abode where fierce wars were fought with the pre-existing people of Rumuokwuta. There is also the case of sections of Eneka people who moved into Ogbogoro thus forming a group in the area which recently fought for recognition as a separate entity vis-a-vis the wider Ogbogoro community. The coming of the Rumueme people from Isiokpo to Apara territory is another landmark in the early history of the Obio area. The traditions agree that their ancestors were invited as allies in the war between Ozuruha, a descendant of Epirikom and kinsman of the Isiokpo, and his uncle, Inenta, one of the sons of Apara. In the ensuing conflict the Rumueme warriors showed remarkable valour and succeeded in saving the Rumuepirikom group from imminent doom. The common enemy was eliminated. And it is said that the remnants of the Inenta-group were scattered and today have been integrated in other communities such as Rumuolumeni (Mgbuakara), Bukuma in Kalabari and Isaka in Okrika.28 Rumueme in recognition of its role in times of war and peace eventually emerged as a distinct community in Apara. This is the background to the claim to autonomy within the group which has become a serious ground for controversy in recent times.It is of historical interest to mention the evidence obtained from Chief John Ogbondah which states that Obio actually had three sons, namely Evo, Apara and Ngwa. Ngwa was forced to leave their father's domain owing to the persistent quarrel and misunderstanding between his half-brothers, Evo and Apara. over the traditional burial of their father and the sharing of the common patrimony. Feeling increasingly insecure he moved northwards and finally settled across the lmo River where he established. his own entity known in the traditions as Ngwa Owhuhu and Ngwa Gbaka. This suggestion of a close relationship between the lkwerre of Obio and the Ngwa people also invites further investigation.

It is of historical interest to mention the evidence obtained from Chief John Ogbondah which states that Obio actually had three sons, namely Evo, Apara and Ngwa. Ngwa was forced to leave their father's domain owing to the persistent quarrel and misunderstanding between his half-brothers, Evo and Apara. over the traditional burial of their father and the sharing of the common patrimony. Feeling increasingly insecure he moved northwards and finally settled across the lmo River where he established. his own entity known in the traditions as Ngwa Owhuhu and Ngwa Gbaka. This suggestion of a close relationship between the lkwerre of Obio and the Ngwa people also invites further investigation.

The cradle of Igbo civilization is most probably Nri/Awka.But in the coming years,there were three more pulls that formed the present Igbo culture as we know it.The rise of Benin empire and also slave trade caused movement of people from Benin,Cross river and coastal areas into Igboland.So our culture is quite diverse in the four angles of the pull.

The riverine Igbos are a result of Coastal upward migration of a people once referred to as the Orus who moved deep in to Isu and moved back southwards to found Ndoki and Bonny.These Oru are found in Eastern end of Delta as well as the western end of Imo and Rivers States.

The western Igbos were a mix of Nri/Awka/Isu and a massive migration of people out of the ancient Benin and Igala owing to the various crisis in the then empire which also had Igbos. 

Some of the eastern Igbos were once non-Igbos but over the centuries fell to the numerical strength of Igbos who most probably came from Nri/Awka/Isu.Many of them belonged to some of the now extinct groups that once existed around the Cross River and Cameroun mountains.

The Northern Nri/Awka/Isu Igbos are the probable father of the proto Igbo culture.Their major influence is Idoma and Igala who by the way are of the same root with Nri according to traditions.

The Southern Igbo is the most difficult to define because their influence came from all angles and they also hosted slave markets.

Taking the Ikwerres for example,there is an element of all other Igbo dialects in their language but none is exactly thesame.This I believe has a lot to do with slave trade.

History of Otolo Nnewi by Onwutalobi Anthony Claret

Nnewi was founded in the fourteenth century, and consists of four Quarters (large villages) and these four Quarters of Nnewi are Otolo, Uruagu, Umudim, and Nnewichi. Otolo, a premiere quarter of the four quarters in Nnewi has been outstanding in all aspect of human endeavors. In it seated the mantle of leadership that governs the other quarters for the past decades. Its central success is figured in commercial trade but not limited to it, as its cultural heritage has always been the beacon of light to other neighboring village.

Digbo, one of the sons of Nnewi, had two sons – Otolo and Ikwuabo. It is a custom in Nnewi that a married woman who has no child belongs theoretically to the woman – husband but practically to the man – the husband of that woman husband. One of the wives of Digbo had no child and she therefore married another woman who gave birth to a male child known as Ukwabo.

Otolo the first son of Digbo had many sons – Enem the first son followed by Nnofo, Eziogwugwu alias Eziegbelu, Diaba whose descendants are generally known Umuzu and Nnangana alias Nganaga. Before Otolo begot these, he himself was one. By Otolo originally is meant the descendants of Otolo. Later as consequent upon the success of Eze Agha, Ezekwuabos came under the umbrella of the name. Later still, Amilibas followed suit and so did the rest at appropriate times. It was in this way that Otolo as a quarter was made up

Otolo is the premier quarter in Nnewi. This is true in terms of population, seat of political power and, apparently even, concentration of wealth. There are facts recognized by the other three quarters of Nnewi. These factors have perhaps influenced it in its attitude. In Nnewi affairs, Otolo conduct is one of a leader and a bully. Otolo people have in them a belief that every Otolo man is infallible. Because of this belief, an Otolo man defends his fellow Otolo men in the face of obvious culpability.

Igbuzo (Ibusa) people

Igbuzo is a city in Delta State, south-south, Nigeria with an estimated population of 452,300 people in 2007. The Ianguage of the people is referred to as Enuani. The community forming the process of Igbuzo can be linked to the first wave of the movement of Igbo migrants into the West Bank of River Niger, this adventure which took place in the 15th century resulted in the settlement of Ibusa people led by Edini from Nshi (Nri) The second of the two waves of the migrations that resulted in the formation of Ibusa was led by Umejei from Isu.

Pre-colonial history

Pre-colonial history of Ibusa indicates that the name Ibuzor is more precisely accurate as regards to the location of the town 6 kilometers west of the Niger River than the view which holds that the pre-colonial name of Ibusa originated from the whimsical view that the initial settlers are Igbos who live by the road side.

Igbo historians such as Emeka Esogbue (of Ibusa origin) and C. N. Ugochukwu (Nnewi origin) share the opinion that groups who left Benin with Ezechima and journeyed Eastward might have settled in Ibusa considering the geographical location of the town. The implication of this therefore is that this new set of settlers could have been sick or generally lacking in interest in furthering their journey, this could also have resulted in their final settlement in not too distant Onitsha. This new group of settlers in Ibusa might have become assimilated by the Umejei and Edini groups.

Oral history

Ibusa is a federation of two units known as “the Umejei and Ogboli Factors. According to the oral history of the town, Umejei Nwa Eze Isu (Prince Umejei of Isu) at Isu in the South-Eastern region of Nigeria killed his opponent in a traditional wrestling bout, an act considered “Alu” (Abomination) in the land and punishable by death. However, his death was commuted by his father who was also Eze Isu) the king of Isu and he was encouraged to go on exile with a gourd prepared and given to him by his father. Umejei was emphatically instructed to settle wherever the pot dropped, he thus set-off with friends, relations and symapathizers who accompanied him. The gourd however dropped at the present site of Ani-Oshe in Omeze (Umueze) where he founded Ibusa.

The Ogboli factor has it that at Nshi (Nri) Odaigbo slept with one of his father’s wives but rather than face the mandatory death sentence Eze Nshi commuted the death sentence to exile. His father, mother and younger brother, Edini voluntarily opted to accompany him. Odaigbo and Edini were given one pot each and charms by Eze Nshi with the instruction to settle wherever the pot fell and on crossing the River Niger, Edini’s pot fell at Ani-Oshe (Umueze) the present site of Ibusa while he founded Ibusa. Odaigbo’s pot was to fall at the present site of Ogwashi-Uku where he also settled. The groups (Umejei and Edini later became one and known as Ibusa) The Ogboli of Ibusa are thus regarded as part of the larger Nri (Nshi) community.

The Igbo and Anioma people of Delta state, regard and praise Ibusa as group of people who often refuse food in other to prosecute wars (Isu (Igbuzo) fu ogu ju nni). This statement authenticates the bravery of these people in wars. Igbuzo historians are currently conducting researches on the history of wars fought by the Igbuzo people especially in the homes of their Isu kiths and kin in Nnewi, present Anambra State.

"Ibusa" is an Anglicisation of "Igbuzo" and/or Ibuzo by the early British missionaries and visitors to the town as a result of difficulty in pronunciation. The Anglicization of the name of the town may have been effected in the 19th century following the Ekwumekwu Wars that the community led. The "Ibusa" was considered more distinctive by the British thus adopted as the official name of the town and made to appear in all the official documents of the colonial government. The name "Igbuzo" (Igbo bi na uzor) meaning the Igbo living along the way or road is however the native name of the town as used today.

The nickname of the town is however "Isu Na Mba Ogu" (Warriors from Isu) or colloqually Igbuzo-Isu (The Igbo-uzo(r) from Isu). Ibusa is uniquely addressed with different names and even made noticeable with different spellings such as Ibusa, Igbuzo, Igbouzo, Igbuzor, Ibuzor, Ibuza and Ibuzo. This is believed to have been necessitated by the strategic location of the town along the busy roads and the history of the settlement of the people.

The Color Wheel of a Son of Israel Has Become Diverse

The color wheel of a son of Israel has become diverse, spanning one end of the melanin color scale to the other. Because of early intermarriages with Canaanites, and intermarriage within the Babylonian and Assyrian captivities, the color of a Jew, Hebrew and Israelite varies. 

Also recall the Torah law of taking a captive as a wife (Deut. 21) the marrying of converts, the influx of Gentile converts in the 1st century, the rapes during pogroms, holocausts and wars as well as the various migrations of Jewish communities all must be factored in for us to correctly conclude that Israel is black and white and every color in between. So does it matter? No, after all it is just melanin and nothing more.


So let us all refuse to argue and abandon the tug of war some of us have been caught in and have been cornered and forced to choose sides between Black Hebraism and British Israelitism and admit, confess, acknowledge and proclaim the evidences that has been presented, that Jews, Hebrews and Israelites, sons of Abraham, whatever you want to label it, is and spans the color of the human rainbow.

I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven

images. – Isa. 42:8 It first must be stated, unlike the African tribes surrounding the Igbo, that the
Igbos believe in one, all-powerful, all-knowing, pre-existing, indescribable, unseen, invisible God and Creator who is called Chukwu (The Great God) or Chineke (The God Who Creates). 

A compound name of Chukwu is Chukwu Abiama which means, “The God of Abraham.” Is this not also the description of YHWH God of the Jews and Christians? There are images missionaries found in Igboland which have been mistaken for idols, when in actuality they were images of ancestors, such as Eri, etc. But there were no images found designated as Chukwu or Chineke. Igbo Nri preists have confirmed this by first deeming there is no God but Chukwu Abiama and that the images represent the Igbo ancestors because before the white man, there was no photography and the carved image was the way the Igbo preserved the image and memory of their ancestors.

Some claim that Eri was a minor deity of the Igbo. We see that it is mostly foreigners commenting on the Igbo who misinterpreted Eri as being a god and mostly not the Igbo themselves. I am not denying that paganism was never a part of the Igbo people. Just like Israel when they entered the Promised Land and failed to expel all the Canaanite nations before them who eventually became their downfall and divine reason for expulsion from the Land through the Assyrian and Babylonian Captivities.

Likewise, the further the Igbo, who were descendants of Gad, Judah, Levi and various other Israelite tribes, got from Israel through time and distance the easier it was for some Igbo to fall into forms of paganism. Outsiders who witnessed this, as well as misunderstood the various image of Igbo ancestors that they had seen erroneously wrote and taught that the Igbo had many gods and the Afro-centric pseudo scholars have monopolized on these facts to perpetuate their falsehoods and agenda.

Today in Igbo culture, images are rarely used, because of the advent of photography; photos have now taken the place of carved images in obi’s (Igbo shrines). This is similar to the board of names with a light bulb beside each name found in Jewish synagogues today. It is believed that Chukwu heeds those who honor and respect their ancestors who have gone on before to be with Him.

Sadly, this has been mistaken by missionaries and anthropologists as idol worship or at best ancestral worship. Some have mistook the word “Chi,” equivalent to the Hebrew word “El” meaning “God,” to be one’s “personal deity” instead of recognizing that “Chi” means that Chi/Chukwu is personable to them. It literally means “My God.” So in other words, Chi means that each Igbo person has a personal relationship with Chukwu.

Chi also brings the connotation of “life” or “life force” and is very much like the Hebrew word for life which is Chai. True, paganism and false gods have been found among the Igbo but only as a result of being influenced by other tribes which were their neighbors. Even this should cause us to connect the Igbo to Israel because why was Israel exiled out of the Land in the first place? Because of their inclination toward idolatry.

True, paganism and false gods have been found among the Igbo but only as a result of being influenced by other tribes which were their neighbors. Even this should cause us to connect the Igbo to Israel because why was Israel exiled out of the Land in the first place? Because of their inclination toward idolatry.

I should also mention here what is in Igboland is called the Ikenga which is likened unto the angels on the Ark of the Covenant or one’s own guardian angel. In Judaism, as in Igbo culture, one’s home (obi) is considered a temple, modelled after the Tabernacle or Temple in Jerusalem; it is not uncommon to see replicas of what is found in the Tabernacle/Temple such as Menorahs or even images of angels. Angels were in the Temple, In the Igbo obi there is an image called the Ikenga and it is a type of guardian angel mistaken by outsiders as one’s personal household deity.

The angels in the Jerusalem Temple were made of aromatic cedar overlaid with gold. The Ikenga is usually made from the ogirisi tree, sacred to the Igbo, which is an aromatic evergreen tree. The Ogirisi are also used as grave markers.

First and Second Wave of Gadites to Nigeria

As we have discussed earlier, there appears to be a pre-exodus, exodus excursion to Nigeria by Gad’s son Eri and his traveling companions. There is evidence to suggest that there was a second wave of Hebrew and Gadites to Nigeria after the destruction of the First Temple to join the first Gadites of Eri, Arodi and Areli that were already there. As it says in the Brit Chadasha (New Testament) letter of Ya’akov (James):

James 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

Again, this means that during the first century, prior to the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE (AD) it was generally known where the 10 tribes taken into Assyrian Captivity were. So it is reasonable to believe that Gadites in the Jerusalem and surrounding areas knew where their brother Gadites were in Africa and stayed in contact with them and decided to join their brothers after the Temple was destroyed.

Prof. O. Alazei in his book “Ibo Exodus” page 74-75 that this second wave of Gadite and possibly other Hebrew and Jews first passed through Egypt, Libya and Sudan and eventually camped at Chad Basin in North Eastern Nigeria. From there some settled around Zaria, Benue, Ingala, Idoma, Uburu and the Delta regions. Some went as far as Cameroon to settle. But what is consistent in every account is that many made it to Aguleri, where the first wave settled and fanned out from there.

Linguistic Evidence Linking the Igbo to Gad

Jud. 12:6 Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand.

Speech can betray a person. When I travel I like to listen to travelers speech and try and determine where they come from, what part of the world, or what part of North America they come from just by listening to their accent and pronunciation of words.

A good detective will take note of the written and verbal language of a victim and or suspect, paying close attention to enunciation, dialect and slang in order to determine their origins in an attempt to better trace and tract such persons of interest. For instance, In the Northern U.S., people call a carbonated beverage “pop,” in the Southern U.S. all carbonated beverages, no matter what brand is called “coke.” In the some parts of the Eastern U.S. a carbonated beverage is called a “soda.” Knowing the slang may help give away a where a person comes from.

As stated earlier in the above, we explored where the word Igbo came from and how it is related to the word Hebrew. Even Jewish historian Josephus a contemporary of the Rav Sha’ul (Apostle Paul) wrote in Antiquities of the Jews that, from Eber (Gen. 11:16-22, 14:13, I Chron. 1:25-27) came the word Hebrew which what Jews were first called.

It is said that when the warrior clan of the Igbo, the Ohafia warriors came to Nigeria, the locals asked them who they were and they responded, “We are Hebrews.” According to Eze Chukwuemeka-Eri (the present King who rules over all the Igbo), his Cabinet member Chief Ikenga, said the Ohafia warriors has a war song they sing prior to going to war which tells there they came from. The song basically says that they are “Ibrou (An obvious corruption of Hebrew)” who strikes fear into the enemy and scatters them. It tells how they journeyed over water and desert and reached Benien, Andoni, Ebeku and finally Aguleri and as a people branched out from there.

We know that regardless if Gad’s sons left before or after the Exodus or both, and regardless of how Paleo-Hebrew differs from Biblical and Modern Hebrew, you would think if these people really are connected to Israel, that some linguistic remnants would remain in the Igbo language.

It has been noted that the name “Igbo” in the Igbo Language also may have its origins in the word, “Ipugbo” and the phrase, “I pulu Gboo tupu ndi ozo,” meaning, “Those who left earlier.” Hinting that Gad’s son Eri, the father of the Igbo people and his companions left Egypt prior to the enslavement of the Hebrew People and the Exodus.

Eri, one of the sons of Gad is said to have built an altar in honor of the G-d of his father and that night Eri had a dream in which he was given a new name, “Igbo.” He adopted this new name and also named his fourth son Igbo in honor of this event and new name.

Igbo, in English had been give an interpretation; I-GO-Before-Others.

The etymological root of the name “Igbo” was rediscovered by an Anglican missionary and Archdeacon who worked among the Igbo in the 1900’s; Rev. G.T. Basden who also was a respected historian and ethnographer. He too asserted and agreed that the word “Igbo” was a corruption of the word “Hebrew.” 

Examples of Hebrew words surviving in the Igbo Language

The author noted that this is not an exhaustive list, that some words have more than one meaning and that some words have changed so much in meaning and pronunciation that this is the reason some words have not Biblical reference.

Names/Titles of G-d:

YHWH, Yah, El, Elohim
·        ELiYAHhu (Elijah) = Yah is my G-d

·        YEHoshua (Joshua) = Yehovah Saves
·        Sh’muEL (Samuel) = G-d Hears.
·        AriEL = Lion of G-d

Igbo:

Names/Titles of G-d:

Chi, Chukwu, Chineke

·        Chidi/Chuwudi = There is a G-d, G-d Exists.

·        Chizoba = G-d Saves
·        Chidinma = G-d is Good
·        Chibueze = G-d is King
·        Chukwuemeka = G-d has done Great things

There are some phrases that linguistically link the Igbo to Israel/Gad/Eri.

The Igbo’s kept a historical based, oral history that one can trace back to Gad’s son Eri; unlike the other peoples around them who used legend and myth to establish the origins of their people, claiming their progenitor fell from heaven to establish their people. A phrase heard in Igboland is, “Eri fell from heaven (Igwe).” It seems that the Igbo adopted the mythos phraseology of the peoples around them and is a perversion of, “Eri came from Israel (Jacob) and migrated from Egypt.”

“Mgbe Eri” or “Eri Mgbe” meaning “Since/at the time of Eri” to signify something a long time ago.

Nigeria has 374 ethnic groups, 500 spoken languages and most have some connection to the Igbo tongue.

According to the EBS (Edo Broadcasting Service) Fact File in Nigeria said that at least 250 identifiable tribes have distinct dialect yet share many commonalities with the Igbo Language.

Oduduwa a companion of Eri as he journeyed from Egypt to Nigeria, father of the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria proves a close Igbo-Yoruba connection and lends credence to the stories because of the close relationship in language that they share.

“The Jewish origin of the Igbos of Nigeria is as real as Oduduwa (of ancient Babylon) origin of the Yorubas or the Saudi Arabian origin of the Hausa-Fulah’s, without of course any prejudice to their (the Ibo’s) full Nigerian citizenship.” – Pof. O. Alazi

Please note that some words may appear as duplicates, but though spelled the same some words when pronounced or inflected differently carries a different meaning.

“It is significant to note that while the Ika can communicate with other Igbo people with some of whom they are separated by as much as two hundred and fifty miles, the Ika can never communicate with Ishan, their nearest neighbors – a few miles apart – except through Ishan. While the Ika does not have to learn the other dialect of Igbo to communicate with the Igbo man. All he does – and this is usually mutual – is adjust. No amount of adjustments short of learning Ishan, can make an Ika communicate with the Ishan, without using Ishan.” 

“On realizing the Ibo people’s Jewishness, the British Colonial masters began to refer to the Ibo, the Ifites, the Ivites, as Hebrew (English version of Ibrit, Ivrite or Ifite) – a name that was corrupted as Heebo, Eboe and finally Ibo. The name “Hebrew” from where Ibo is derived is simply the English version of the Jewish word “Ibrit” (pronounced Ivrit). In Hebrew, “b” is often pronounced as “v.” For instance, Tel Aviv is written as Tel Abib (see Ezekiel 3:15), but pronounced and now also written as Tel Aviv. In the same way, the name Gavriel in Hebrew is written as Gabriel in English. Interestingly, “b” is also pronounced as “v,” in some parts of Ibo nation – for example, ibu (load) or ivu (load); edule (ram) or evule (ram); abu (song) or avu (song), and so on.”

Absorption of the Tribes


Regardless of what other Tribes of Israel are blended into the Igbo people, one thing is abundantly and irrefutably clear, and that is the Igbo’s are a portion of the Lost Tribe of Gad through his son’s Eri, Areli and Arodi. Just as in other times throughout Hebraic History, where a Tribe swallows another such as in the times were Benjamin and Simeon were absorbed into Judah; so too whatever Danites, Judeans, Zebulonites, Reubenites or those from any other of the 12 Tribes  may be among the Igbo, for the most part they have been absorbed and may at this point be indistinguishable from Gadite Igbos.

On the Igbo, Teshuvah, and the Resiliency of the Jewish Spirit

By Rabbi Brant Rosen

This past summer, I received a profound lesson in the resilience of the Jewish spirit — and how it invariably manages to take root even in the most unexpected of places.

After participating in a congregational delegation to Africa this past spring, I had a profound desire to spend a longer period of time there on my summer sabbatical. As I searched for the best possible way to serve as a volunteer rabbi, I found my way to Kulanu, who informed that they had long been interested in sending a volunteer rabbi to Nigeria. Upon further conversation, I received an extensive education on the Igbo tribe — a large Nigerian tribe of 40 million whose clans trace their lineage to the lost tribes of Israel. For many years both Igbo and Western scholars have noted the striking similarities between native Igbo customs and Israelite tradition. Today, the Igbo are almost entirely Christian, having been thoroughly missionized, by the British — but they nonetheless retain a strong sense of kinship with the Jewish People.

Over the last decade or so, an astonishing phenomenon has developed: a Jewish “rebirth” of sorts occurring throughout the Igbo community. Synagogues have been forming spontaneously throughout Nigeria, along with the tentative growth of Hebrew and Torah study. Kulanu explained to me that they had developed a relationship with the Igbo Judaic communities, who were especially eager for a visit from a rabbi for an extended period of time.

After I said I would consider a visit to Nigeria, Kulanu put me in touch with their field representative there, an Igbo lawyer and scholar named Remy Ilona who would quickly become my dear friend and my new Igbo brother. Remy has done extensive research on the Israelite heritage of the Igbo and over the past few years he has become an important resource person for their new Judaic communities. As I corresponded with Remy, I was immediately taken by his intense passion and commitment to his heritage, to his people and to what he called the Igbo teshuvah — their “return” to reclaim their original birthright.

It is not an exaggeration to say that after just a few initial e-mail conversations, his passion and excitement won me over. And so, with Remy as my host, I spent an amazing month of July in Nigeria with the Igbo. I spent two weeks in the capital city of Abuja, and traveled for ten days throughout the Igbo state of Anambra, one of the many states in the south of Nigeria known as Igboland. During my stay, I met and dialogued with Igbo leaders, taught Torah study classes in Judaic Igbo communities, led Shabbat services in Igbo synagogues, joined in their communal meetings and celebrations, and was made an honorary member of various Igbo clans.

My first undeniable impression of the Igbo’s Judaic communities was their deep and palpable thirst for Jewish study and Jewish life. In truth, I cannot recall ever teaching students with such a profound yearning for Jewish learning and knowledge. Over the course of my visit, I came to realize that their thirst was a manifestation of a deeply felt desire to reconnect. To reclaim a heritage that has been denied them for so long.

We do not yet know enough about how many of these new Judaic Igbo communities exist in Nigeria. While much more research needs to be done, I think it is safe to say that the number of Igbo seeking to create a Jewish life in Nigeria is significant and growing. As I traveled throughout this country so far removed from my own home, I was repeatedly received as a brother, as a member of the tribe, as it were. Even among the larger population of Igbo that does not practice Judaism, I sensed an almost universal feeling of affinity to the Jewish people.

During the period I spent in Igboland, I had the opportunity to meet and address large gatherings of various Igbo clans. Invariably, I would receive the strongest, loudest and most emotional reaction whenever I mentioned that meeting them was like discovering long lost family members that I didn’t know I had. I was truly unprepared for the depth of their reaction to me, and I realized in large part they were reacting to what I represented to them: an authentic relationship to the outside Jewish world. I have no doubt that their feelings of connection to the Jewish people are real and heartfelt — and that it has been kept alive and nurtured by the Igbo people for centuries.

Are the Igbo, in fact, descended from the Lost Tribes of Israel? I don’t know that there will ever be any way to prove this conclusively one way or the other. My good friend Remy has been researching this issue extensively, and I do believe there is a compelling case to be made in this regard. But as I see it, whether or not they are actually lost Israelites is relatively moot in the face of the fact that the Igbo absolutely believe it to be true. And at the end of the day, can any Jew directly trace his/her lineage back to Biblical Israel? It seems to me that the true power of Jewish identity and survival lies not in the veracity of our historical claims, but in the survival of our spirit — in the unique staying power of our collective neshamah.

In the end, I returned from my sojourn in Nigeria with a renewed Jewish optimism. I use the word “renewed,” because it is impossible in the Western Jewish community these days to avoid the profound angst about the future of our people. The official Jewish community commissions study after study invariably informing us that our numbers are shrinking, that assimilation is on the rise, that Jewish affiliation is on the decline. Doom and gloom prognosticating has become such a hallmark of our communal life that it is a major Jewish industry in its own right. But my experiences with the Igbo of Nigeria have helped me to understand that perhaps the rumors of our demise have been greatly exaggerated. Perhaps the resilience of the Jewish spirit is greater than we generally give it credit. Maybe we’re just looking in the wrong places.

In the end, I believe our attitudes about our Jewish future are intimately tied up with our vision of who we are. As I am coming to realize, much of the traditional Jewish self-image has been marked by a decidedly white, Euro-centric bias. In truth, however, from the very beginning of our existence, we Jews have always been an ethnically diverse people. In the book of Exodus, we are told that an erev rav — a mixed multitude of Israelites — went up out of Egypt. Since that time, Jews have lived amidst widely ranging cultures and nationalities, and our communities have always reflected this diversity.

The reality of these dispersed Jewish communities, however, sheds a profound new light on our status as a global people. As important organizations such as Kulanu help to demonstrate, it may well be that our global diversity transcends boundaries to a greater extent than we have ever imagined.

What should we make of this? Perhaps it means we should spend less time and money prognosticating our decline and refocus our energies and resources creatively toward new areas of Jewish potential. This might well include globally dispersed communities such as the Igbo: passionate, committed neshamas who seek greater connection with Jewish life and the Jewish world.

I have every expectation that embracing our diversity will present its own set of challenges. Among other things, diversity challenges our very notion of who is a Jew, of our communal boundaries, of what kinds of Jewish behaviors and beliefs are considered “acceptable” and what are “beyond the pale.” I realize, for instance, that the Igbo would not be considered Jewish according to traditional halachic standards, but on the other hand, I can personally attest to their Jewish passion, their sense of Jewish belonging, their innate Jewish spirit.

While I realize these categories are not exactly quantifiable, I do believe we dismiss them at our peril. A community that chronically bemoans its shrinking numbers should, at the very least, take note of a tribe of 40 million individuals that feels such a powerful sense of affinity with the Jewish People and Jewish life. It would also behoove us to forge greater connections with the numerous other lost Jewish communities around the world who crave a greater connection with their Jewish brothers and sisters. We have only to challenge our biases and rethink our assumptions to see that there may well be potential for Jewish rebirth in the most unexpected of places.

This is not only a global issue — it has ramifications for us right here in America as well. Currently, the number of Jews of color in our country is growing considerably, due to increasing intermarriage, conversion and adoption in the Jewish community. This is certainly the case in our own congregation as well. I am proud indeed that my congregation, JRC, increasingly includes members who are African-American, Hispanic, Asian, and mixed race.

But I would also suggest we could and should be doing more to encourage diversity in our community. According to the Institute for Jewish and Community Research, at least 20 percent of the American Jewish population is racially and ethnically diverse. Their research also shows, however, while Jews of color often feel a strong affinity for Judaism and the Jewish people, they generally feel alienated from Jewish institutions.

Given the conventional Jewish community wisdom that Jewish = White, I have little difficulty understanding why this is so. But if to be American ultimately means to embrace diversity as a source of strength, and if we truly believe that Jewish life has always been enriched by the cultures in which Jews happen to live, then encouraging the diversity of our Jewish community may well be the key to our Jewish future.

Being Jewish has always defied easy definitions. The experience of being Jewish transcends ethnicity, race, nationality, behavior and belief. As complicated as all that sounds, the reality is rather straightforward: we are, quite simply, a people. As I often like to put it, to be Jewish means to be part of an extended family — a diverse, often cantankerous family, but family nonetheless. To be a family does not mean that we look alike, behave the same way, or believe the same things — but it does mean that we are bound together by the common experience of belonging to the group.

My experiences in Africa gave me a new faith in the power of belonging. In a rural Ugandan village, so far away from home, we discovered a home after all. During my sojourn in Nigeria, I rediscovered long lost family members I didn’t even know I had. It is, perhaps, the most quintessential of Jewish experiences. To quote from one of my favorite movies: “No matter where you go, there you are.”


And so I return to my original lesson: the profound resilience of the neshama — and how it invariably manages to take root even in the most unexpected of places. This is, in the end, a profoundly Jewish lesson. Though we Jews tend to have chronic angst about the prospects of our survival, we would do well to remind ourselves that our spirit is often much deeper and stronger than we realize. We would do well to remind ourselves that despite the myriad of challenges we have faced from time immemorial, we continue to affirm Am Yisrael Chai — the People Israel yet live.


A Growing Community Of Jews In Nigeria

Nigeria is about half Muslim and half Christian. Animism is practiced as well. But now, thousand of Igbos – an ethnic group of southeastern Nigeria – have adopted Judaism.

In his book, “Jews of Nigeria: An Afro-Judaic Odyssey,” Miles shares life stories from the community, as well as his own experiences, as he celebrates Hanukkah and a Bar Mitzvah with “Jubos” in Abuja.

Interview Highlights

How large is Nigeria’s Jewish community?



“The definition of what is a Jew is a very complex one. It’s complex in Israel, it’s complex in the diaspora, and it’s complex in the Nigerian diaspora as well. So depending on how rigorous a definition one wants to use, one is either in the lower thousands, or if you want to follow the more expansive Nigerian newspaper number, you can see figures up to 50,000. I’m actually more conservative and I tend to stay with the smaller thousands, in terms of a good number, although numbers are hard to come by.”

How did this group of Nigerians become Jewish?

“Through a history of colonialism and proselytisation through Christian missionaries. Most Igbos became Christian. Some of them in the 1970s, 1980s, were proselytized – from the United States, actually – by what in the American setting would be often called Jews for Jesus, what in Nigeria they still call Messianic. Now, having practiced Messianic Judaism for many years, which is all of the customs and the practices of Judaism – Sabbath, prayer on Saturdays, wearing of the tallit, the prayer shawl – but they also believed in Jesus, which for normative Judaism, regular Judaism, just doesn’t fit. And after some years of questioning – because Nigerians are really religious people, they take religion seriously, they go to bed thinking about it – some of them started to say, ‘this doesn’t compute. If we’re supposed to believe in one God, then this theology of a son of God in addition to God doesn’t make sense.’ And then the Internet arose and they were exposed for the first time to world global Judaism.”

The world’s first “Internet Jews”

“They had exposure to Hebrew language, to how Jewish ritual is practiced throughout the world. The Internet arrived in Nigeria at the same time that many of these Igbos were breaking away from Messianic Judaism, as they thought of it, and were able to learn and had this great access to whatever is out on the Internet. And everything is out on the Internet! Including Rabbinic Judaism.”

A very close observance of Judaism

“Most Jews in America were born into it, didn’t have much of a choice. And they practice in very varying degrees of religiosity and observance and worship. But the Jews of Nigeria have chosen not only to believe something that other Nigerians don’t believe, but to live their lives in a Jewish way. They want to be – and they are – as authentic as they can be. So that whereas for even observant Jews in the United States, much of it is confined to what they do in the home or on Saturday on the Shabbat, there they try to live the entire day and the entire week by calling each other on the cell phone with ‘shalom,’ with prayers throughout the day, with constant reminders of this special – for the Nigerian context – religion that they have chosen.”

African Hebraism

All throughout Africa the Children of Israel have been scattered. 

Any serious student of Biblical History will know about Babylonian and Assyrian Captivities respectively and they will tell you that after King Solomon, Israel split into two kingdoms; the Northern Kingdom called Israel, made up of what are now known as the Lost Ten Tribes and the Southern Kingdom of Judah, comprised of mainly three tribes; Judah, Levi and Benjamin. The Southern Kingdom of Judah was carted off into Babylonian captivity in three waves 597, 587 and 581 B.C. The Biblical Book of Daniel was partially about the Babylonian captivity and Nehemiah and Ezra was written about Judah returning to Jerusalem from Babylonian captivity (538 B.C.) 70 years after they were first carted off into exile.

The Northern Kingdom of Israel sometime referred to as the House of Ephraim, went into Assyrian captivity under Tiglath-Pileser 732 B.C. (II Kings 17) Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh were taken away into Mesopotamia and in 722 B.C. (I Chron. 5:25-26) the remaining tribes were taken captive and exiled by the hands of the Assyrians but unlike Judah, Israel’s captivity never ended and as a result, until this day, the 10 Tribes of Israel have been scattered worldwide and have faded into the landscape and peoples of the nations of the world, lost their Hebraic identity and for all intents and purposes are  living as Gentiles. And so the 10 Israeli Tribes have been lost to the eyes of man, but not the eyes of GOD.

Actually time relative to creation 2000 years is not that great amount of time and it has only been 2000 years since we lost track of where the 10 Tribes ended up. Because Ya’akov (James), the Jewish leader of the Messianic/Natsari Movement in the 1st century and half-brother of Messiah Yeshua addressed his letter found in the Brit Chadasha (New Testament) “to the twelve tribes scattered abroad… (James 1:1b)”

Seeing as we know that the people we recognize worldwide as Jews today, whether they live in Israel, North America or elsewhere are descendants of those taken into the Babylonian captivity and choose to return. Meaning some of Judah, Benjamin and Levi stayed behind and living in Babylon (Ezra 1:5, 2:1) the reason for the census’ in Ezra and Nehemiah to show who left Babylon to return to Jerusalem. Those who stayed behind in Babylon created a great center of Jewish learning which produced the Babylonian Talmud. It is safe to say some Jews/Judeans wound up in both captivities, were scattered and lost as the 10 Tribes were due to the Assyrian captivity.

The Prophets tell us that an end time Exodus will occur for the 10 Tribes lost to the Assyrian captivity.

Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall no more be said, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers. Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks. - Jer. 16:14-16

And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. – Isa. 11:11

This will be done with great pomp and circumstance with help from the Gentiles.

Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders. And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me. – Isa. 49:22-23

Some of these 10 Tribes eventually ended up in Africa.

From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering. – Zeph. 3:10 

And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. – Isa. 11:11

Cush is an ancient name for Africa, specifically Ethiopia.

And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. – Gen. 2:13 (KJV)

The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. – Gen. 2:13 (NIV)

Jeremiah 16:14-15 and Zephaniah 3:10 coupled together speak of Assyrian captives taken to all four corners of the globe, “North” (Jer. 16:14-15) and “South” (Cush/Ethiopia) Zeph. 3:10 and all over the world, “and from all the lands whither he had driven them (Jer. 16:14-16).”

Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks. – Jer. 16:16 

This prophecies’ that the LORD YHWH Himself will call His people to hunt and “FISH” for the Lost Tribes. What was one of the objectives of Yeshua (Jesus) and His Talmidim (Disciples)? 

And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. – Matt. 4:18-20

And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. – Mark 1:17

These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. – Matt. 10:5-7

Clearly Yeshua wanted His Disciples to hunt for sheep and fish for men. Specifically hunt for the lost sheep of the House of Israel and fish for the 10 Tribes of Israel. And when Yeshua sent His Talmidim out to hunt and fish for these Israelite Tribes, they knew where to find them because Yeshua’s half-brother Ya’akov (James) knew where they were (James 1:1b).

Finding the Lost Tribe of Gad

Eri son of Gad

The following are verses which mention Gad and the sons and descendants of Gad.

Gen. 46:16 And the sons of Gad; Ziphion, and Haggi, Shuni, and Ezbon, Eri, and Arodi, and Areli.

Jasher 59:14 And the sons of Gad were Ziphion, Chaggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi and Areli.

Here are the meanings of the names of the seven sons of Gad in order of their birth:

1 (G-d/Unity). Ziphion: Watchtower   

2 (House/Couple). Haggi: Holiday, Celebration, Feast Day
3 (Family/Tri-unity of G-d). Shuni: Seashore or Harbor
4 (Four Directions). Ezbon: Wild Rosebush
5 (Law and Grace). Eri: My Guardian
6 (Man power). Arodi: Bronze
7 (Perfection/Completion). Areli: Messenger and or Lion of God

Gen. 49:19 Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last.

Num. 2:14 Then the tribe of Gad: and the captain of the sons of Gad [shall be] Eliasaph the son of Reuel. (Also rendered Eliasaph the son of Deuel in Numbers 1:14, 7:42, 10:20; a possible scribal error as a Resh and Dalet in Hebrew could easily be mistaken if not written correctly)

Num. 13:15 Of the tribe of Gad, Geuel the son of Machi.

Num. 26:15-18 The children of Gad after their families: of Zephon, the family of the Zephonites: of Haggi, the family of the Haggites: of Shuni, the family of the Shunites: Of Ozni (Ezbon), the family of the Oznites: of Eri, the family of the Erites: Of Arod (Arodi), the family of the Arodites: of Areli, the family of the Arelites. These are the families of the children of Gad according to those that were numbered of them, forty thousand and five hundred. 

Num. 32:34-36 And the children of Gad built Dibon, and Ataroth, and Aroer, And Atroth, Shophan, and Jaazer, and Jogbehah, And Bethnimrah, and Bethharan, fenced cities: and folds for sheep. 

Rev. 7:5 … Of the tribe of Gad [were] sealed twelve thousand.

Ya’akov (Jacob) prophetically blessed the children of Gad.

GAD’S SONS ERI, ARELI AND ARODI

In Genesis 46:16 we read that three of the sons of Gad are named Eri, Areli and Arodi.

As stated earlier…

Num. 26:1-4, 15-18 And it came to pass after the plague, that the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, saying, Take the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, from twenty years old and upward, throughout their fathers' house, all that are able to go to war in Israel. And Moses and Eleazar the priest spake with them in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying, Take the sum of the people, from twenty years old and upward; as the LORD commanded Moses and the children of Israel, which went forth out of the land of Egypt… The children of Gad after their families: of Zephon, the family of the Zephonites: of Haggi, the family of the Haggites: of Shuni, the family of the Shunites: Of Ozni (Ezbon), the family of the Oznites (Ezbonites): of Eri, the family of the Erites: Of Arod, the family of the Arodites: of Areli, the family of the Arelites. These are the families of the children of Gad according to those that were numbered of them, forty thousand and five hundred. 

These verses tells us that at least a portion of all of Gad’s sons left with Moses and the rest of the children of Israel during the Exodus, despite the legend of a pre-exodus-exodus from Egypt by Gad’s son Eri, Areli and Arodi.

The legend and oral tradition goes that while in Egypt living among many other nations who also resided there to escape the famine that a portion of Gad’s son Eri, his younger brothers Areli and Arodi, along with Eri’s wife, Ishamal and other relatives Ijaw (believed possibly to be an offspring of Zebulun), Edo, Igala, Idoma (Possibly and likely descendants of Esau/Edom) saw the coming persecution of the future Egyptian bondage and left with an Arab man named Oduduwa (a Babylonian and said father of the Yoruba tribe of Nigeria) and his relatives and journeyed further down into Africa crossing the Nile River into Sudan (Old Ethiopia) to Chad and eventually Lokojia which is now the present day Nigeria by way of River Benue and then through the River Niger where they eventually landed in Aguleri in what is known today as Nigeria around 1305 BCE.

Ogbuefi Madubueze Enemmou said on Radio Nigeria Enugu National Station on July 13, 1996 that in Nri, there is a long standing tradition of a man called Eri who fell from heaven, and this Eri was a contemporary of Moses and lived during the reign of the 5th Pharaoh but left with an entourage before the Exodus and went across the Nile into the Sudan and eventually made their way south and settled where the Anambra and Niger rivers meet.

“The Igbo Jews are said to have migrated from Syrian, Portuguese and Libyan Israelites into West Africa. Historical records shows that this migration started around 740 C.E. According to UCLA trained amateur Jewish Historian and Rio Hondo Police Academy trained Forensic investigator Chinedu Nwabunwanne of Aguleri, who resides in Los Angeles and has researched this subject for more than 15 years at the UCLA libraries in Los Angeles, "the migration started when the forces of Caliph Mohammed -the last leader of the Umayyads- and his Qaysi-Arab supporters defeated the Yamani-Arab Umayyads of Syria in 744 C.E; sacked the Yamanis and their Jewish supporters from Syria. The Syrian-Jewish migrant tribes Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher resettled in Nigeria where they became known as Sambatyon Jews. In 1484 and 1667 Judeans and Zebulonians from Portugal and Libya respectively joined Sambatyon Jews of Nigeria. Thus, Nigerian Jews originated from the following six Israelite tribes: Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher and Zebulon. It is interesting to note that these six tribes are the same tribes Moses repeated their names twice when he blessed the Children of Israel. These six tribes mentioned above are The House of Judah and the children of Israel his companions (Ezekiel 37:16. Those remaining six tribes not mentioned above are The House of Ephraim and the children of Israel his companion (Ezekiel 37:16)."”

The Igbo (also rendered: Ibo, Ibu, Ebo, Ebu, Obu etc.) tribe of Nigeria has staked claim to be the descendants of the Israelite tribal patriarch Gad. But some Swedes, Spaniards and Arabs among other peoples claim to be of Gad as well. So who is right? Who is of Gad? Can all, if any of them be of Gad? Remember Gad had sons who became the head of the clans of Gad and these clan heads could have scattered all over the world after the Assyrian captivity instead of sticking together.

Gen. 35:26 And the sons of Zilpah, Leah's handmaid; Gad, and Asher: these [are] the sons of Jacob, which were born to him in Padanaram.

From this verse we may also be able to determine some of the possible genetic features of a child of Gad. We know that Noah had three sons; Ham, Shem and Japheth.

We know that Jacob and Leah were of the descendants of Shem, but we do not know for certain the identity of Zilpah the handmaid, and thus she could very when have been black, a Hammite. If so, this means Gad and Asher would have been darker than their other brothers.

Also, it is interesting to note that the stone representing Gad in the Priestly breastplate was an onyx stone, which is black (Ex. 39:6-14). And in December 1997 an onyx stone found at the palace of Obu-Gad, the traditional site where Gad’s son Eri settled was found an onyx stone that bore the Paleo-Hebrew inscription “GAD” upon it which the King Solomon Sephardic Federation confirmed the authenticity of the inscription. 

And if Gad was black, it would stand to reason that when they left they would have naturally gravitated to a place with people that shared similar genetic features as they so they would blend in and not appear to be strangers of the land.

Also, even if Gad was originally lighter, after generations living in Nigeria they would have turned a darker skin tone so as to adapt to their environment, as well as it could be expected that some would have intermarried with the dark people who were indigenous to that area of the African continent.

“(Israel) include those whose skins range from the lightest to the darkest in colors and within it a broad range of cultural diversity is represented.”

It should come as no surprise that the Igbo people of Nigeria are of Gad. Other African tribes such as the Lemba of Ethiopia claimed to be of Levi and DNA tests confirm the presence of the Cohen gene in their DNA, proving them to be the descendants of Levi and Aaron.

Gen. 46:16 And the sons of Gad; Ziphion, and Haggi, Shuni, and Ezbon, Eri, and Arodi, and Areli.

The Igbo’s in Nigeria are said to come from Eri, Arodi, Areli and possibly Ezbon (Because Ezbon is a common Igbo name). So it is very possible other peoples around the world who claim to be from Gad are of Gad also.

Gen. 10:21 Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were [children] born.

Igbo (and its various renderings) is said to be derived from Shem’s descendant Eber, where we get the word “Hebrew” from. Interestingly enough The Igbo’s were once known as, and called by white slave traders as, “Heeboos.” Now with linguistics and the evolution language we know that things tend to get shortened over time, rather than lengthened, it is sort of like the 2nd law of thermodynamics as it applies to the spoken word.  Just like “What’s up,” has become, “Whad’up” or “Wassup,” in American English, so too “Eber” or “Heber” became know as “Hebrew” and from there in Nigeria it became “Heeboo” which was eventually was shortened to “Igbo” (the “g” is at times silent).

According to Igbo Scholars and Authorities, Eri is said to have had six children; Agulu, Atta, Oba, Igbo, Meneri and his only daughter, Adamgbo. Eri. He blessed and then settled each of his children in different places and left his firstborn at Obu-Gad (Compound/Camp of Gad) where Eri ended up settling and building a throne and altar in honor of his father Gad unto YHWH, the G-d of His father.

Agulu inherited Eri’s Ofo (scepter) to rule over his brothers. Adamgbo also stayed at Obu-Gad in Aguleri to help her brother. Agulu had three wives; Ada, Omali and Eke. He ended up having four sons from these three wives; Ivite (which by the way closely resembles the word Ivrite which is Hebrew word for the Hebrew Language), Igboezunu, Enugu and Ezaim which are today components of the modern day town of Aguleri. Agulu is said to have lived 140 years.

Atta was settled to the north in what is known today as Umekete in Aguleri, later Atta made his way to Igala in Kogi State. Atta’s kingdom was raided by the Agala where Igala takes its name, but the Agala agreed to leave Atta’s throne to Atta’s descendants.

Oba’s settlement was south of Eri called Ugwu Ogodo (Ogodo hill), Edom ended up taking over Oba’s kingdom. The territories of the modern day Edo and Benin tribes of Nigeria is said to originally belong to Oba.

Igbo resided in a place which use to be known as Mbito and is known today as Aguleri. Igbo was said to have developed the art of herbal medicines. Such places as Igboetti, Igbooda, and Igboeze were formed by Igbo’s descendants.

Menri occupied a place east of Eri (Obu-Gad) called Okpu. Menri is said to have founded Nri, Enugu, Ukwu, Amanuke Nawfia and Enugu-Agodi, and Igboukwu.

Agulu before he died took the Ofo given to him by his father Eri to his third son Enugu and that Enugu’s descendants should hold and pass down the Ofo and have the rights of kingship and to be able to appoint other kings. But neither Eri, Agulu or Enugu made them selves kings during their life, but  were content to be the elder, cultural and spiritual leader of their people.

The Aguleri dynasty can be traced back to Engugu’s son and hence from there all the way back to Eri, the son of Gad.

Eri is listed in Gen. 46:16, Num. 26:16-18 as a descendant of Gad and this name is still in the official title of the King of the Ebo people today in Nigeria; His Royal Majesty Eze (King) A.E. Chukwuemeka-Eri.

In Aguleri, Anambra State, Eastern Nigeria is where the King resides and it is officially called Obu-Gad, meaning, “The Palace/Compound/Camp of Gad.” It has been frequented by Rabbi’s and Jewish scholars and archeologists alike. Found next to the palace is the ancient stone throne of the Igbos which at the foot of it is a Paleo-Hebrew inscription made from a specific seas shell used as ancient currency which reads, “Give” or “Gift.” Eri built it in honor and as gift to his father Gad and to YHWH the God of Gad. I have been there myself and can personally verify this to be true.

Also on the palace grounds are three trees joined above ground by the roots to form a concave fence under which is said to lie the second Igbo-King who died during a time when the people were off working in the fields and when the rivers overflowed their banks during the rainy season it prevented their return home. When they finally made it they discovered their King had been dead a few days and so they buried him quickly very close to the palace and shortly thereafter these three trees miraculously sprang up to for a memorial like headstone. I too have seen this and can verify this as well.

Arodi

When Eri trekked from Egypt to Nigeria he took his younger brothers Arodi and Areli (Gen. 46:16) along with him. When they arrived and settled in Nigeria they lived in harmony with each other and worked together to develop one language, tradition and culture. Eventually Arodi and Areli left their older brother Eri to branch out on their own. Arodi is the father of the Arochukwu kingdom and was developed industrious pursuits in the land, such crafts and manufacturing. This tradition still carries on today through the Igbo people who live in Aba Ngwa which has the nickname, “the Taiwan of Nigeria.”

Arodi is also said to have developed the Nsibidi writing system made of glyphs which aided in developing trade among all the peoples of Nigeria and the surrounding areas. The further development of this unique indigenous language was stunted and died when the British came to colonize Igboland.

The descendants of Arodi are the peoples and tribes of; Ibibios, Anang, Ogoni, Afikpo, Abakariki, Umon, Yako, Nembe and Arochukwu.

Areli

Areli when he departed from Eri and the Obu-Gad kingdom went on to become the father of the Owerri. Other descendants of Areli include the people and tribes in Umuahai, Diobu, Okigwe, Orlu, Ohoada, Mbiaeri, Eleele and Port Harcourt.

Eri’s Son: Menri

Nnamoko Ogbodudu, one of Menri’s descendants is said to have been consecrated priest during the first year of Eze Anyiamigbo Ezeora I. He was then sent away with bronze family heirlooms inherited from Eri, Gad and Jacob (Israel) in order to find a safe place for these items so they wouldn’t be taken by raiders or invaders. He found a secure place know today as Agulu Lake.

Nnamoko married Mgbankwo and had a son he called, Agulu and is the founder of the town named after him.

Nnamoko’s second son was Diani and is the ancestor of the Umudiani, the first to settle in Aguukwu land.

Nnamoko’s third son was Nwankwo ancestor of the ones who settled in Umunwankwo known today as Enuguukwu land.

Eze Anyiamigbo Ezeora I crowned Nnamoko a Nri (King) around 1090 BCE. After, Nri Nnamoko relocated from Agulu Lake to what is today known as Oraeri in Aguata Local Government Area in Anambra State of Nigeria. This is where he gave his first son Agulu a Bronze Mogen David (Star of David) which was unearthed in Agulu 500 feet underground in 1917. This event was commemorated by the Star of David being minted on Nigerian kobo coins.

Nri also was a town Kingdom in Agu-ukwu land founded by Obuka, son of Ifikwanim who was a son of Menri. Obuka was said to be like Eri in many ways, was blessed by Eri and made a priest. He married two women; Agbomma and Adaora and had seven sons and  a daughter. The people desired to have a king and chose Obuka son of Ifikwanim and he took on the Nri title of king. His kingship was consecrated and approved by Eze Agwuve Ezeora II in Aguleri where Obuka went to be blessed and take an oath of office. A unique tradition is that the last male born child becomes the next Eze Nri.

Nri Ifikwanim (Obuka) fought for justice and human rights and against superstition. He did away with the Osu caste system and forbid the killing of twins and dwarves and made dwarves the messengers of the Kings. He also was seen as a cleanser of the land and he and his descendants still are called to towns in Igboland to clear them of abominations (Ikpu aru).

Ijaw of Zebulon

Ijaw was a traveling companion of Eri, Areli and Arodi as they fled Egypt. Oral tradition states that Ijaw is a son of Zebulon who was the 10th son of Israel (Jacob). However, Ijaw is not listed in any Cannonical Biblical genealogies. But this should come as no surprise as one person could go by different names and it may be that Ijaw was know by another name in Biblical Writ. Or it could be Ijaw was a son of one of Zebulun’s sons, and therefore not recorded in any Biblical genealogy. He was said to be the water scout and river navigator of the group, and even today the Ijaw tribe and land can be found near water.

DISCOVERING THE JEWS OF NIGERIA

How did I discover that up to 30% of the Nigerian population are of Jewish descent?

In 2002 I began to seriously investigate the origins of the Igbo people of Nigeria who have also been known as “Ibos”, and during the Nigerian Civil War as the “Biafrans”. I began by studying the lore of the Igbo people. Their lore is intriguing. Most of their lore mention droughts, famines, hunger, and relief when the rains began to fall, in ancient times. This is abnormal and unusual for a people who have 'always lived in the rain forests of Nigeria', where the real worry is about flooding and erosion. Most parts of Igbo-land have heavy rainfall for up to ten months every year, and irregular rainfall for the remaining two months. So for draughts and famines to become ingrained in the collective memory certainly raises questions. The people must have passed through experiences that were remarkable and compelling enough to make them to save stories of draughts, and famines in their lore. And definitely those experiences were not undergone in the Igbos present location, but in a place where draughts and famines occur. After making this observation I decided to take a closer look at the lore of the Igbos.

I saw what could be seen as an Igbo version of the “had gadya”, a rhyme sung by Jews on the Passover Night. At this stage I began to think that perhaps the Igbo claim of an Israelite origin might have some substance.

A large section of the Igbo population that live in the western part of the Nigerian Igbo state of Anambra believe that they are descendants of Eri, one of the sons of Gad, who was a son of the Biblical Jacob. Interestingly the names of some of the families/clans of the claimants have the prefix eri. Prominent examples are Umuleri, and Aguleri (Umu-eri, and Agu- Eri). There is talk that the later were their names, and that the l's were added by the colonizing British who could not pronounce the Igbo names. Unlike most other Igbos who just believe that they are 'Jews', the Igbos that dwell in this section assert that they are descendants of a particular Hebrew patriarch. Reflecting on these actually spurred me to begin a systematic study of the Igbo people.

With American Jewish and Ethiopian Jewish support I began to compare the Igbo, and the Jewish cultures. I can recall a great Ashkenazi Jew saying that the research is worthwhile, and that the 'differences' between the Igbo and the Jewish cultures will disappear if the Igbos actually came from Israel, because according to him; 'the Beta Israel culture which was not influenced by Rabbinic Judaism has been found to be incredibly similar to Rabbinic Jewish culture'. What he was saying in effect was that if Igbo culture was Israelite, even though the Igbos were not influenced by Rabbinic Judaism, that the similarities to Israelite culture would still be manifest.

While one of the Ethiopian Jews recommended that we look seriously at the agricultural, food storage, and religious practices of the Igbos, because they would yield evidence of Judaism if the Igbos actually came from Israel. And one of my associates, an Afro-American Israeli suggested that we should look at everything, and explore every cultural practice, because for the Igbos to be believed to be descendants of Israel, the cultural similarities have to be found to be so many that they could not be said to be merely coincidental. I like to think that what he meant was that the Igbo culture should be proved to be more similar to Judaism than Arab culture. Arabs, Edomites and some other peoples are believed to be ethnically close to Jews, and thus that their cultures are similar to Jewish culture.

We began to work in earnest. The first fruit of our labor was entitled “Uri's Travels”. The book is a compilation of many Igbo legends centered around a legendary Israelite soldier called Uri who migrated to what is now Igbo-land, and produced the Igbo people. This book will be published soon, and a screen play of it is been written by an American Igbo- Israel activist. We then began to look at the cultural similarities. The results came out, and are still coming out in stages. While working on my second book “The Igbos: Jews in Africa”, I visited a clan of the Igbos called Nri. The Igbos generally agree that the Nri priests take precedence over priests from other Igbo clans in performance of certain rituals. I interviewed many of the priests and elders. I asked them questions about the origins, history and culture of the Igbos. Their answers were very enlightening.


All the interviewees said that the Igbos were Hebrews. I recorded some of the sessions with the priests and elders on DVD. I published the book in 2004, and updated and revised it two years later. In 2007 I revised it again. The revisions were primers for what I like to see as my most definitive work so far: my latest book; “The Igbos And Israel: An Inter-cultural Study of The Oldest And Largest Jewish Diaspora” which was released as an eBook on the 1st of June 2012. This book was reviewed by many authorities on Afro-Jewish studies including a professor emeritus of the Harvard University, a don of the University of Basel who earned his doctorate with his work on the contemporary relationship between the Igbos and the Jews. In this book I looked at and compared Igbo culture and Jewish culture comprehensively.

As the Anthropologist put it in his review of the book; 'In his book, Ilona focuses on Igbo rituals during life cycle events (chapter one). Those include the rituals surrounding the birth of children, eight-day circumcision of males, seclusion of newly delivered mother, marriage, levirate marriage and so on. Remy also enters the long debate about the Igbo conception of a supreme God, (chapter two); Igbo rituals surrounding death (chapter three); feast and festivals (chapter four); Igbo social organization (chapter five); Igbo understanding of clean/unclean (chapter six); Igbo sacrifices and offerings (chapter seven); Igbo classes (chapter eight); socio-religious customs (chapter nine); Code of moral behavior (chapter ten); Igbo code for crime and other offenses (chapter eleven); sexual behavior (chapter twelve); the Igbo connection to the land (thirteen); the importance of ritual cleanliness (chapter fourteen); the distinction between clean and unclean food and ritual slaughter (chapter fifteen); similarities between Igbo and Semitic manners of dress, (chapter sixteen); parallels between the Igbo and the Hebrew reckoning of time (chapter seventeen); joining the Igbo and Jewish peoples and leaving them (chapter eighteen), a detailed study of the organization of the Igbo society (chapter nineteen), and concludes (chapter twenty) with an Igbo rhyme that actually resembles the Jewish had gadya sung during the Passover; the section that relates what the Igbos and non Igbos have said and written about the Igbos Israelite origins; and finally using Igbo agricultural practices and lores he makes a case that the Igbos actually migrated into what is called Igbo-land presently, from somewhere drier'.

The quest to discover the Jews of Nigeria has led me to the modern synagogues of the Igbos, in Igbo-land, and in other parts of Nigeria. I have also traveled extensively in Igbo-land while looking for the Igbos who are still practicing Omenana. The Igbo culture is Ome na ana, pronounced Omenana; (things that will be done in the land/country). In 2008/9 I visited some communities in the west of Anambra State, close to the eri clans. There the elders who are mainly those still at home as the rural-urban migration trends affect the Igbos more than proportionately, are still adherents of Omenana, i.e, they did not become Christians. Their territory has not been materially developed. The houses are primitive. The roads are unpaved. There are no satellite TV channels, and no state of the art cars. But the area is crime free. 

They are spared the scourge of kidnappings and assassinations plaguing the rest of Igbo-land. It is not clear if they would know that the religion that they are practicing is akin to the religion of the ancient Israelites. With passage of time they might have forgotten, but I will recommend the area as a good location to anthropologists, historians, rabbinic students, and other scholars who are interested in studying how ancient Israelite communities lived. In addition to the Social Anthropologist, some other Jews have joined the effort to discover the Jews of Nigeria.


I'm Sure, Igbo Are Descendants of the Jews

He may not be a genealogist, but Noam Katz, Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, strongly believes that there are some common cultures and customs that bond the Igbo with Israel. He also identified with the belief that Igbo are descendants of the Jews. 

Katz told Sunday Sun in Abuja:“I’m aware and sure that we have unique traditions, culture and strong bonds that link us to the Igbo people. It has been proved that these unique bonds are helping in creating ties between us. There are some traditions that the two peoples have in common. I was told by some Igbo friends about common cultures and customs that we have together, some linguistic connections between Hebrew and Igbo.”

Katz started his education in Jerusalem after his military services as required in Israel for every citizen to serve in the Army.

He rose to the rank of Major, went to the university and became a teacher in a high school. He later joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and started as a cadet. So far he has been to Nigeria twice.

Forty-year-old envoy who is in Nigeria for the second time can hardly hide his love for the country: "I love Nigeria. I am very happy to be here in Nigeria. Nigeria was the first country that I served abroad. It’s like first love, you know you never forget your first love. I found the people of Nigeria very warm, cordial and friendly with a great sense of humour.” 

Reflecting on his first time in Nigeria, Katz said a lot has changed: "The political atmosphere is different. There is no longer military dictatorship. This has brought Nigeria back to the family of democratic nations. It has brought Nigeria back to its right position in the international arena and specifically, Africa.”

While advising Nigerians to take full advantage of of the new order, the envoy said: “Nigerians should work hard for the success of democracy and for the success of the Nigerian economy, for the welfare of the Nigerian people and also for the integration of Nigeria as a leading country in the world."

On his country’s relation with Nigeria, Katz observes: "We started diplomatic relations in 1992 and since then we can see a lot of progress which are beneficial to both sides.

We have sent thousands of Nigeria to be trained in Israel in specific areas where we have advantages. We do programmes here in Nigeria in agriculture, medicine, human enterprises, human development, education and many others. There are more than 50 Israeli companies in Nigeria, in constructions, communications, agriculture and many other fields. 

“We recently had a very intensive programme in Minna, where we did dairy cattle course and seminar for people. The idea was to train Nigerians on the most sophisticated updated technologies and methods. We are also considering medical project in some states. We have just concluded a working visit in Abia State which was to explore areas of possible corporation. And it has some very positive results which I hope we will be able to promote later in the year.”

Genesis chapter 46 Vs. 16 state clearly the origin of the Igbo nation. Jacob was the father of Gad who was his eleventh son. And Eri the fifth son of Gad founded the Igbo nation. Gad had the following seven children, Zephon, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi and Areli.

In Anambra State, Aguata Local Government Area to be precise, a town called Ora-Eri was said to have hosted Eri and his group. On arrival, they came with the Hebrew symbol an artifact which was discovered by Professor Shaw in Igbo-Ukwu about 26 years ago. The age of that Hebrew symbol was put at 1800 years both in the surface and on the ground from the date of its discovery.


From what I understand, only Ethiopians and people from Northwest Cameroon share any type of history with the Jews. 

The Tribe of Judah and the Igbo

Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk. – Gen. 49:8-12

And this is the blessing of Judah: and he said, Hear, Lord, the voice of Judah, and bring him unto his people: let his hands be sufficient for him; and be thou an help to him from his enemies. – Deut. 33:7

Just as Jews have made their home in exile in virtually every country of the world so too will you find the Igbo. Because of this trait and phenomena the Igbo have often been called, “The Jews of Africa” or “The Jews of Nigeria.”

Jews are made up of the Ancient Southern Kingdom of Israel which was comprised of the Tribes of Judah, Levi and a small portion of Benjamin. They were taken off into Babylonian captivity which eventually ended and some of them decided to stay in Babylon but the majority of them returned to the Land of Israel to rebuild Jerusalem, its walls and the Temple. The descendants of these Jews are who we recognize as the Jewish People today, who now reside on vitually every continent of the world.

Judah and Levi are one of these Tribes that traveled far and wide and can be found wherever Hebrews and or Israelites can be found. It is almost certain Judah can be found among the Igbo People. They likely traveled with Gad’s sons Eri, Areli and Arodi with Levi and Zebulon and others such as the Egyptians and Babylonians who made their way to Nigeria.

Even when the Northern Kingdom of Israel was steeped deep in paganism and idolatry Judah faired not much better, but were nonetheless known as the keepers of custom, culture and traditions of the Hebrew People and even today the Jewish Faith is named after their Tribe.

Because the traditions and customs (Omeana) of the Igbo People parallel that of Judaism in most every way, testifies to the fact that Judah is most certainly among and a part of the Igbo. The Uda clan of Enugu state say they are from the Tribe of Judah.

Another way that Judah ended up in Nigeria is that the student of Babylonian Jewish Rabbi, Abba ben Ibo due to persecution fled to Africa via the Sahara, Nuba and eventually settled in Nigeria. 

Some who claim the Ebonites were a faction or splinter group of the Essenes (some being students of descendants of the students of Rabbi Ibo) fled to Africa after the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 A.D.

Furthermore it is believed by some that Rabbi Ibo and even the Ebonites were black and that the word Ebony comes from the Ebo in Ebonite; Ebo meaning poor in monetarily and implied in a spiritual sense of being wealthy. Many ancient cultures revere the color black and the black man as a symbol of great wisdom and prophetic insight. But were some Jews Black?

It is believed that the handmaids Zilpah and Bilah were Canaanite or half Canaanite, thus from Noah’s son Ham and therefore black women. Thus the tribes of Israel they bore would have been darker than the Tribes Rachel and Leah birthed. Rachel and Leah, like Jacob came from Noah’s son Shem, the father of the Hebrew and Arab peoples and is believed to be dark, but lighter than Ham.

Also not that Judah had children by Tamar (Gen. 38) who was a Canaanite woman and therefore, black. King Solomon of Judah whose mother was from Sheba was a black woman and Solomon is rumored to have had a son by the Queen of Sheba. Song of Solomon reveals that Solomon definitely had at least one (albeit more) black wife. Also recall that Moses married a Cushite woman. Cush coming from Ham and his son Canaan, therefore black and thus establishing black Levites such as is found among the Mozambican Lemba Tribe whose DNA tests prove them to be descendants of Levi, possibly sent back with Queen Sheba and the son her and Solomon was said to have with her.

Finally recall Abraham who married Hagar also believed to be a black Egyptian woman. All Egyptians were black people prior to the Hyksos. Thus the door is blown open wide for there to be plenty of black Jews and Hebrews. In fact, the White Jews and Hebrews may very well be in the minority considering all the Lost Tribes. Not to mention the exiles of Judah and Israel and them having children by peoples of the lands where they had been exiled, some of which were black. The Jews and Hebrews who found themselves in Nigeria intermarried with the indigenous people already occupying Nigeria when Gad’s son Eri and the others from Israel came. And so it is entirely plausible and almost certain that there are Jews of Judah among the Igbo.

“The Ibo towns and villages are Jewish Item, to start with, is from the Jewish name “Etam” (pronounced as it is written in Hebrew) from the family of Zorathites of the tribe of Judah (see I Chronicles 4:3). There is a counterpart Item town, Itam near Utyo in Akwa Ibom, also pronounced as the original Etam. Our immediate neighbors are also of the same tribe of Judah. Examples. Alayi (see “Alayi” of the tribe of Judah I Chron. 2:31); Ugwueke (of “Eker” of the tribe of Judah – I Chron. 2:27); Edda of “Eldad” (See Numbers 11:27). Akaeze (“Eker Ezer”), and so on. Jewish family names that are still prevalent in Tem include Amaeke (of “Eker), Amukabi (or Umuakabia as written in other parts of Iboland) – of “Abia” I Chron. 3:10); Abieye from ‘Prohet Abieye’, one of the minor Prophets of Israel, Ete from “Ether” – Joshua 15:34), Amabo Okoko (“Akan” I Chron. 1:34). Eleke (“Helek”, - Numbers 6:30); Erinma (of “Eri” – Gen. 46:16); Eke (“Eker”, I Chron. 2:27) Eze (“Ezer”, Neh, 3:19); Offia (“Ophra”, I Chron. 4:13); Ubani (“Uban”, Ezra 2:10) Alaezi (“Eliezer”, Exd. 18:14). Onam or Unam (“Onam” I Chrn. 1:40) Iheaka (“El Iheaka”, one of the attributed names of God); Usa (name of person in Okoko Item) from the Hebrew name, Joshua pronounced as Yoshua. ‘J’ is pronounced ‘y’ in Hebrew. We also have Isi or Isi (See “Ishi”, I Chron. 4:20). Examples. Isiosu, Amabo, Okok Item, Umuisi in Igbere, Ishiagu, Isiokpo, Ishi Nnewi, Amichi, Umuichi, etc…”

The Tribe of Issachar and the Igbo

Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens: And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute. – Gen. 49:14-15

And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents. – Deut. 33:18

If Talmudic legends tell us Zebulun financed Issachar’s studies, could we then say wherever Zebulon went, Issachar would follow or at least not be too far behind? If this has any truth to it at all we can say Issachar may be among the Igbo.

And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment. – I Chron. 12:32

Finland is said to be the remnants of the people of Issachar caught between the “burden” of two great powers; Russian and Sweden and at times paying tribute to both, have taken a very politically neutral stance, but knew the times and they lived in and what they had to do to survive.

Seeing as one of Issachar’s sons was Igal (Num. 13:7). There is a tribe related to the Yoruba (who traveled with Eri son of Gad and made it to Nigeria) called Igala. It is also worth noting that Eri is said to have had a son named Atta who had a son named Igala. So the Igala may be of Gad or Issachar or purely Yoruba. More research must be done to determine the facts.

The Tribe of Simeon and the Igbo

Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel. – Gen. 49:5-7

Due to the combined efforts of Levi and Simeon to avenge the dishonor of their sister Dinah, Jacob (Israel) links their people together and said that they would be scattered among the Tribes of Israel.

Because of the Igbo priests (Nri and Arochukwu) who operate in the same function as the Levitical priests, we are assured Levi can be found among the Igbo. Thus it stands to reason that since Simeon like Levi was destine to be scattered among Israel and Simeon had a reputation of being warriors or mercenaries for hire, the possibility exists that Simeon can be found among the Igbo, especially seeing as there were many waves of Israelites made their way to Nigeria prior to the Exodus, after the Exodus, after Babylon and during the Assyrian captivity and before and after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

Some of Simeon who were not scattered along with Levi and other various Israeli tribes actually became the Spartans who the Levitical Maccabean warriors called BROTHERS, and they did not just throw that intimate family term around lightly and they never called Gentiles, Non-Hebraic nations their “Brothers.”

And this is the copy of the letters which Jonathan wrote to the Lacedemonians (Spartans):  Jonathan the high priest, and the elders of the nation, and the priests, and the other of the Jews, unto the Lacedemonians their brethren send greeting:  There were letters sent in times past unto Onias the high priest from Darius, who reigned then among you, to signify that ye are our brethren, as the copy here underwritten doth specify.  At which time Onias entreated the ambassador that was sent honourably, and received the letters, wherein declaration was made of the league and friendship. Therefore we also, albeit we need none of these things, that we have the holy books of scripture in our hands to comfort us,  Have nevertheless attempted to send unto you for the renewing of brotherhood and friendship, lest we should become strangers unto you altogether: for there is a long time passed since ye sent unto us.  We therefore at all times without ceasing, both in our feasts, and other convenient days, do remember you in the sacrifices which we offer, and in our prayers, as reason is, and as it becometh us to think upon our brethren:  And we are right glad of your honour.  As for ourselves, we have had great troubles and wars on every side, forsomuch as the kings that are round about us have fought against us.  Howbeit we would not be troublesome unto you, nor to others of our confederates and friends, in these wars:  For we have help from heaven that succoureth us, so as we are delivered from our enemies, and our enemies are brought under foot.  For this cause we chose Numenius the son of Antiochus, and Antipater he son of Jason, and sent them unto the Romans, to renew the amity that we had with them, and the former league.  We commanded them also to go unto you, and to salute and to deliver you our letters concerning the renewing of our brotherhood.  Wherefore now ye shall do well to give us an answer thereto.  And this is the copy of the letters which Oniares sent.  Areus king of the Lacedemonians to Onias the high priest, greeting:  It is found in writing, that the Lacedemonians and Jews are brethren, and that they are of the stock of Abraham:  Now therefore, since this is come to our knowledge, ye shall do well to write unto us of your prosperity.  We do write back again to you, that your cattle and goods are our's, and our's are your's We do command therefore our ambassadors to make report unto you on this wise. – I Mac. 12:5-23 

The Tribe of Levi and the Igbo

Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honor  be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their self will they digged down a wall. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel. – Gen. 49:5-7

And of Levi he said, Let thy Thummim and thy Urim be with thy holy one, whom thou didst prove at Massah, and with whom thou didst strive at the waters of Meribah; Who said unto his father and to his mother, I have not seen him; neither did he acknowledge his brethren, nor knew his own children: for they have observed thy word, and kept thy covenant. They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law: they shall put incense before thee, and whole burnt sacrifice upon thine altar. Bless, Lord, his substance, and accept the work of his hands; smite through the loins of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not again. – Deut. 33:8-11

Knowing that the Tribe of Levi has been dispersed and scattered amongst all the 12 tribes during the Babylonian and Assyrian Captivities one may wonder, “Are there Levites amongst the Igbos or Gad?” That is a very good and valid question; one we can only speculate on because if Gad did leave prior to the Exodus of Moses, the Levites may not have known or operated in their priestly capacity prior to Adonai’s revelation to them at Sinai, therefore a portion of Levi may not have left with Gad’s son Eri, his brothers and their other companions. If Eri and the others left after the Exodus of Moses it is likely some from Levi did go with them. Either way it is speculated that some of Levi did travel with Gad’s sons because there is a priestly cast among the Igbo that preformed sacrifices and ministered among the people. But this question will remain unresolved until officials come and test for the Cohen Gene in the DNA of the priestly caste of the Igbo. To date I am unaware of any test such as this being performed. But it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Cohen Gene is found among the Igbos.

Levites not having an inheritance in the Land (Num. 18:21, Deut. 10:8, 18:1, Josh. 13:14, 33) was a Tribe without home except in the Tabernacle/Temple. Thus Levi lived amidst every Tribe of Israel and we see were coveted as personal and household priests (Judges 17). So it is entirely possible for Levites to have traveled with Eri or other Gadites during other Gadite and Israelite migrations throughout history to be found in Nigeria among the Igbo. Perhaps some felt their journey would be blessed if they have a son of Levi with them.

The Nri Priesthood functions in much the same way as the Levitical Priesthood but it is questionable whether the Nri are Levites, seeing as the Nri come from Eri’s son (a Gadite) Menri, that is unless his mother was a Levite, but then again this would not show up in a DNA test because the Cohen Gene is passed down by the father. Perhaps it was Levites that Instructed Mneri and the Nri clan in the Levitical ways. Regardless of Nri being Gadites or Levites, for them to function as Levites it would not surprise me to find Levitical blood somewhere among the Igbo. 

Israelites from Eboland

It’s noteworthy that the Ohuhu Clan of the Eboes is said that went in the past to a “promised land”.

Three categories of Ibos are preparing for the Pesach: The Hebrewists, whose only reason for doing it is, “our fathers did it”; the Sabbatherians, who number over 2 million, practice Judaism, but infuse 5% Christianity in it, I guess to guard against persecution from the Christian majority; lastly those in Rabbinical Judaism.

It's interesting that the Igbo are considered to be similar to the Japanese & the Cherokee Indians, two peoples identified by many scholars as Israelites. nSuKa, in Igboland, bears the consonants of iSaaK & SuKkot. eSsaKa, also in Igboland bears the same ancestor's name. The making of pyramids by the Igbos reminds one of the Israelites living in egypt & the great influence that they received from Egypt. It's noteworthy that Chukwu, the only Igbo god, translates as the Great Spirit as in the case of the Amerindians.

Igbos, who are highly respected as entrepreneurial merchants, have often been called "the Jews of Africa" for their business acumen.

In Nigeria it is said that there are Igbos everywhere & that if you don't find one Igbo in one place, then that place is inhabitable.

An obi is an Igbo synagogue & the perpetual burning wood inside is like the light of the synaogue & the burning bush that Moses encountered. The Igbos, like other Israelites worship in groves (almost as the Qiang worship trees), as Abraham their ancestor did. nSuKa, town in Igboland bears the name of Isaac or the Sukkot.


Igbo Jews (Nigeria)

Rabbi Brant Rosen visited the Igbo with the help of the Kulanu organization and posted his thoughts and reactions here. “Are the Igbo, in fact, descended from the Lost Tribes of Israel?” he asks. “I don’t know that there will ever be any way to prove this conclusively one way or the other…but as I see it, whether or not they are actually lost Israelites is relatively moot in the face of the fact that the Igbo absolutely believe it to be true.”

The Times of Israel recently published a good piece on the community, as did the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, which reviewed the book “Jews of Nigeria: An Afro-Judaic Odyssey” by William F.S. Miles.

                                       Modern Igbo outside Siyahh Yisrael Synagogue

The Igbo Jews of Nigeria, who call themselves the “Benei-Yisrael,” are part of the larger Igbo ethnic group. Most of the Igbo Jews live in an area which straddles the River Niger, near the Anambra states.The Igbo Jews are said to have migrated from Syria, Portugal and Libya into West Africa around 740 C.E. It is claimed that the initial immigrants were from the biblical tribes of Gad, Asher, Dan, and Naphtali. Later, they were joined by more Jewish immigrants from Portugal and Libya in 1484 and 1667 respectively.Some of the Igbo Jews claim that the river Sambation (beyond which the ten lost tribes were dispersed by the Assyrians) is in Africa.In a paper distributed by the “Igbo Benei-Yisrael Association of Nigeria,” three possible migration routes of Jews into Africa are proposed: Through migrations west from the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, and the Sudan. Through trade and travel of North African Jews within the West African Kingdoms of Mali, Songhai, and Kanem-Bornu. According to accounts from explorers of the region, several of the rulers of the Songhai Empire were said to be of Jewish origin. Through Jews traveling with Kel Tamasheq (Tuareg) trade caravans from various parts of Northeast Africa into West Africa.

     
Another possibility described by a 9th century Jewish traveler named Eldad ben-Mahli (also known as Eldad the Danite) is that his tribe, Dan, migrated from the land of Israel so as not to take part in the civil war at the time of Yeroboam’s secession, and were residing in the land of Havilah beyond the rivers of Ethiopia. According to Eldad, three other tribes in addition to Dan – Naphtali, Gad and Asher, as mentioned above – were with them; these had joined in the times of Sennacherib.


Eldad wrote that the Igbo Jews in Africa had an entire body of scriptures except for the books of Esther and Lamentations. They knew nothing of the Mishna nor the Talmud; but they had a “Talmud” of their own in which all the laws were cited in the name of the biblical Joshua. Eldad described a specific law dealing with the rules pertaining to the killing of animals for food.

Jewish communities throughout Muslim controlled lands suffered greatly and in many cases were destroyed. The Igbo Benei-Yisrael lost whatever written documents and other written traditions that may have existed. The communities strived to maintain at the least a knowledge of their Israeli origin and to practice certain traditions in secret.

An early statement on the history of the Igbo Jews was published in the autobiography of an Igbo man, Olaudah Equiano, a Christian-educated freed slave who remarked in 1789 on “the strong analogy which… appears to prevail in the manners and customs of my countrymen and those of the Jews, before they reached the Land of Promise, and particularly the patriarchs while they were yet in that pastoral state which is described in Genesis — an analogy, which alone would induce me to think that the one people had sprung from the other.”

Even with the loss of written records, many religious practices of the Igbo Jews correspond with mainstream Jewish practices. These include:

                                                             Igbo Benei-Yisrael clan

Circumcision eight days after the birth of a male child. Observance of some kosher dietary laws. Separation of men and women during menstruation. The celebration of holidays such as Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, Sukkot and Passover.In recent times, the communities have also adopted holidays such as Hanukkah and Purim, which were instituted only after the tribes of Israel had already dispersed. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin sent a team to Nigeria between in 1995 to search for the “Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. 

Western rabbis and educators have since sent books, computers, and religious articles to Nigeria. However, the State of Israel has, to date, not officially recognized the Igbo as one of the Lost Tribes.Jews from outside Nigeria founded two synagogues in Nigeria, which are attended and maintained by Igbo Jews.Because no formal census has been taken in the region, the number of Igbos in Nigeria who identify as either Israelites or Jews is not known. There are currently 26 synagogues of various sizes. Some researchers estimate there may be as many as 30,000 Igbos practicing some form of Judaism.However most of these “Jews” are probably Messianic; only some 1,500 – 2,000 of them no longer believe in Christian doctrine, according Rabbi Howard Gorin, a rabbi affiliated with the Conservative Jewish movement, who has visited the community. Gorin adds that he would only count a handful of the community as Jewish according to halacha (Jewish law).Because no formal census has been taken in the region, the number of Igbos in Nigeria who identify as either Israelites or Jews is not known. There are currently 26 synagogues of various sizes. Some researchers estimate there may be as many as 30,000 Igbos practicing some form of Judaism.However most of these “Jews” are probably Messianic; only some 1,500 – 2,000 of them no longer believe in Christian doctrine, according Rabbi Howard Gorin, a rabbi affiliated with the Conservative Jewish movement, who has visited the community. Gorin adds that he would only count a handful of the community as Jewish according to halacha (Jewish law).Daniel Lis, a Swiss-Israel “social anthropologist” also writes about his trip to visit the Igbo. He refers to Remy Ilona, an Igbo lawyer in Nigeria who has written a book with the title The Igbos: Jews in Africa? and accompanied Lis during his visit.

The Pair of Consonants GB & KP in the iGBo Language

The pair of consonants GB & KP are often interchangeable sounds & in the iGBo language are pretty common: eKPeye, oKPu, afiKPo, aKPati, UkPuru, oGBa, aGBa, uGBua, eleGBde, uGBo, aGBani, aGBo, oGBo, aKPabuyo, oduKPani, oGBete, oKPoro, mGBoko, mGBo, leGBo, ugwanaGBo, iGBojiakuru, nKPoro, oGBU, oGBUru, aGBoji, mGBala, aKPor,  mGBuakara, oGBonda, esoGBue, iGBuzo. oGBoli, oGBogoro, isioKPo, eKPe, eGBara, aGBoha, ameKPu, aKPaa, uruKPan, usuKPan, aKPugo, ekweGBE, umulumGBe, aKPu, oKPatu, nKPoghoro, aKPoha, ehuGBo, akamKPisi, oGBuGBu, oGBunike, oGBodudu , eGBema, akamKPa, afiKPo, iGBanke, atoGBuo, mGBe, GBara, eGBe... I wonder if the very word Igbo turned into iGBo because of the large extension of the "GB KP" ibo sounds.

Igbo Nationalism and Biafra

It is common in northern Nigeria to see the Igbo as representatives of Western civilisation and to involve them in wars by proxy. No other people have so fervently striven to acquire Western education and lifestyle, and when judging global events, the Igbo are generally more supportive of Western policies than are their fellow-Nigerians.

Although the Igbo still tend to side with governments in North America and Europe when global conflicts are concerned, they are more inclined to identify with the Jews who seem to have suffered a similar fate since they were also abandoned, without protection, in the face of genocide. It has become common to assume that Jews and Igbo share basic historical experiences and that their traditional cultures bear many striking similarities, as can be seen from Biblical descriptions of purity taboos, circumcision rites and animal sacrifices.

The terms Ibo, Eboe, Heebo or Hackbous were first used by outsiders. The earliest known reference dates from 1627 when a Spanish priest in Cartagena listed the names of nineteen places in Africa from which slaves originated from.

Communities that are today called Igbo, Ibibio, Ekoi or Efik shared many cultural practices. The main distinction between the Igbo and neighbouring groups was their language.

Although language is most important for nation building, it does not reliably delineate the boundaries of belonging. The Ikwerre communities around Port Harcourt, although speaking an Igbo dialect, were divided about their ethnic affiliation and maintained an ambiguous position. When Biafra was founded, most Ikwerre emphasised their common origin with the Igbo; after the defeat of Biafra, they opted for a separate identity.

In 1968, Biafra was "the most important foreign issue in public opinion surveys throughout Western Europe, and it was regarded as second only to Vietnam among the majority of Americans". Public opinion in the West was largely on the side of Biafra, but Western governments, though under strong pressure, tenaciously refused to give in to popular demands.

Ojukwu had not participated in the coup that had toppled Nigeria’s conservative, pro-British leadership in January 1966. The young coup plotters, though mostly Igbo, had not trusted him because he did not share their radical pan-Africanist views. He looked like an exponent of the new African bourgeoisie, with strong links to pro-British circles. His father, Sir Louis Philippe Odumegwu-Ojukwu, one of Nigeria’s richest businessmen, had sent him to exclusive schools: King’s College in Lagos, Epsom College in Surrey and Oxford University. Since his childhood, he had been in close contact with the colonial establishment, and he had cultivated these links when he returned from England.

The historian Ekwe-Ekwe accused the former colonial masters of having planned the genocide of the Igbo, [152] and he warned that British authorities have not given up their hostile attitude (like toward the Jews).

After Biafra's declaration of independence, Britain adopted a wait-and-see attitude. Anxious not to antagonise the Biafran side which controlled two-thirds of the oil resources, the British government did not interfere when Shell-BP agreed to pay the secessionist republic £ 250,000 as a first instalment of oil revenues, thereby giving a tacit recognition to Ojukwu's government as the de facto owner of the oil fields. The Nigerian side, however, reacted strongly in defence of its sovereignty. Its navy sealed off the Biafran coastline to stop tankers from loading oil. The British High Commission protested the blockade which threatened to have dramatic consequences for Britain's oil supplies. Just a week after the Biafran declaration of independence, the Six-Day War (June 5–10, 1967) between Israel and its Arab neighbours had constricted the flow of oil. The Suez Canal had been closed, and some Arab countries had placed an oil embargo on Britain. In this tense situation, British officials warned the Gowon regime that they would stop the delivery of weapons, which they had been supplying since independence, if the Nigerians did not lift the oil blockade. But Gowon did not give in. His government had already begun negotiations with the Soviet Union over arms supplies, and in August 1967 it received its first consignment of MiG fighter jets. The threat that their most loyal ally in Africa might establish closer links with communist countries raised serious concern in British government circles. The most pressing need, however, was to secure the flow of Nigerian oil which was ten per cent of British oil use.



Public protests calling for a ceasefire and an arms embargo placed England's Labour government in an embarrassing situation. It had played down the role of oil interests and justified its support for the Gowon regime as a matter of principle, arguing that it was in the best interest of Africans to crush separatist rebellions: If Nigeria fractured along ethnic lines, this would encourage secessionist movements elsewhere in Africa and contribute to the Balkanisation of the entire continent. Given this principled stance which coincided with the position taken by the Organisation of African Union, the British government found it difficult to reverse its policy. It even increased its arms sales

 In Jos as in other Northern towns it is obviously not in the interest of the Igbo diaspora to be seen as representatives of American and European ‘crusaders’. Their role as stooges of the West has been imposed on them by their adversaries, in an attempt to discredit them. Muslim newspapers cast them in the role of traitors who allowed themselves to be used as instruments of the erstwhile colonial masters and their American successors: "Nigerian Christians are doing their own part of work as stipulated by the American New World Order". The Igbo are indeed more Western-oriented than other peoples in Nigeria, but their relationship with the West is fraught with bitter experiences. During the war, Biafrans presented themselves as "the most ‘westernised’ of all Africans, indeed, perhaps, of all Third World peoples".

Today, after a long history of persecution, there may be no other people in Africa as keen as the Igbo on joining the fight against Muslim ‘fanatics’. The American president, who – in a reaction to 9/11 – appealed to all nations to join the US-led ‘coalition of the willing’ to eliminate terrorism, could have found a close ally in the Igbo. Yet such an alliance never materialised.

While conflicts in Nigeria have increasingly assumed a religious colouring, Western states have become even more reluctant than in the 1960s to choose African allies on the basis of common religious bonds. Thus it is strange for observers in Europe to be told by Muslim critics that Western policies are guided by a religious strategy that aims at destroying Islam. Of course, President Bush fuelled suspicions, when in an early reaction to 9/11 he announced a ‘crusade’ against terrorism. But allegations that Western statesmen are bent on effecting the downfall of Islam predate the presidency of George W. Bush. When his predecessor Bill Clinton visited Nigeria and met its democratically elected president (the first after 15 years of military rule), the Supreme Council for Sharia claimed that he had come on a religious mission: invited by President Obasanjo, a reborn Christian, "to complete the Christianisation of Nigeria".

Many Igbo are inclined to adopt alien identities that set them apart from their African neighbours. As a member of Ohanaeze explained, the Igbo seem to have a natural affinity for modern Western culture: "We are rabidly republican. When a Yoruba is greeting a superior he is kneeling down. And among the Hausa, they are crawling on the ground. Not we. We don’t even respect seniority and old age. We fit well into America and Europe, because you are also republican".

A study of religious violence by Freedom House, which sought to generate sympathy for the Christian minorities, pointed out that in their protest marches in north Nigerian cities, Muslims carried posters of Osama bin Laden, while Christian demonstrators waved American flags. A few weeks after 9/11, when American forces conquered Afghanistan, members of an Igbo youth organisation took to the streets with placards proclaiming: "We are in total solidarity with USA", "Ohanaeze Youth Council celebrates the fall of the Taliban Government", "Religious fanatics must stop".  The Igbo may feel some affinity for ‘Western’ attitudes such as individualism and achievement orientation, but they have learnt to distrust Western powers.

The Biafran national anthem was set to the moanful tune of ‘Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side.’ The radio propaganda maintained a high level of religious consciousness as if Biafrans were the Israelites and others Gentiles". While there was a strong "identification of Biafra with Biblical Israel", Britain was perceived as a godless nation, sunk into "spiritually bankruptcy". "Thus a Biafran leader could confidently speak, as early as 1968, of post-war Biafra sending missionaries for the re-evangelisation of Britain. To the Igbo, a Christianity which does not take seriously the matter of social justice is false. Britain’s refusal to take sides with justice – with Biafra – was evidence of her failure as a Christian nation".

While the Europeans have ‘betrayed’ their Christian heritage, many Igbo nationalists speak with pride about the religious enthusiasm of the Biafrans who were "butchered for Christ by hordes of fanatical Northern Nigerian Moslem Fundamentalists". During my research on Nigeria’s Sharia conflicts, Igbo often asked me why Westerners do not care when Christians, who are defending religious liberty, are killed by the thousands.

Their unique suffering can be understood as a sign of being chosen. It indicates that they are closer to God than other Christians in Nigeria who sided with the ‘jihadists’ and participated in the genocide.

The future of the Igbo is largely determined by people with whom they cannot communicate directly. This may be one of the reasons why they have taken such passionate interest in the West’s reaction to the threat of Muslim terrorism. While citizens in Jos were moved by the scenes in New York, Westerners did not care about the massacres in Nigeria. What can the Igbo do to get the attention of policy makers in the US and draw them to their side? The crucial problem is access to the media, and here the Israeli experience is again a source of inspiration: "At the end of the Second World War in 1945, the [J]ews found themselves surrounded by a very hostile world. The Jewish caucus met and agreed to do something to change world perception of their race. Part of that resolution was to seek to own and use ownership of the media to mould world opinion in their favour (At the end of the Second World War in 1945, the Jews found themselves surrounded by a very hostile world. The Jewish caucus (in the USA) met and agreed to do something to change world perception of their race. Part of that resolution was to seek to own and use ownership of the media to mould world opinion in their favor (Jewish votes, Jewish media...lobby for Israel & Christians join in. Since a large amount of African Americans have Igbo ancestry they could form a huge pro-Igbo lobby of voters. African American media could join too & given the Christian (& Jewish) afiliation of Igbos, the same Jewish Christian voters & media could support the Igbo cause. In this way we could be creating a huge lobby that no major political party or president could dismiss. An independent Biafra could be an African leading country alternative to the often anti-western & anti-Israel South African Republic. Under the entrepeneurial leadership of the Igbos, Africa as whole could get rid of poverty & their fellow Israelis could help in agriculture & against desertification. This alliance could expand spanning the defense of other Christian & Jewish minorities throughout the world. To achieve this Igbos have to be very publicized in the African American media & in the Jewish & Christian media. Igbos need a worldwide net of Igbo collaborators & representatives... They also need to explain their culture, onidani, language, music...).

A Northern magazine put it: "You can kill them easier than send them home. They are essentially parasites. They only serve as middle men, buying from A to sell to B. 'So if they all go home who will buy from whom?'" (like the Jews).

A born-again Biafra "will have no majority and minority tribes. We embrace ourselves as brothers and sisters. We are committed in this new Biafra project to carry everybody along, be he Ibibio, Ogoni, Ijaw, Igbo, Efik".

When 620.000 Montenegrins demanded their own state, Western politicians allowed them a referendum; at the same time they have forced 25 million Igbo to live in a multi-ethnic federation where they are resented nearly everywhere. To some extent, the Igbo see themselves as a beleaguered outpost of Western civilisation, defending religious freedom in the face of rising Islamism, but – as a MASSOB functionary explained – the West does not appreciate that: "When some Palestinians are killed, it makes headlines in the Western media, but when 700 Igbo are executed, as happened in Onitsha last September and October [2006], the West looks the other way. The Whites do not help, when you are friendly to them. You have to attack them, like the Arabs do, before they send aid and seek to solve your conflicts".

Other Nigerians would admit that Igbo are talented people, and thanks to their talents they are sometimes compared to Jews: "The Igbo have the Jewish blood. They are enterprising and intelligent". More often, however, their success is associated with sharp practices and ruthless competition. The Igbo are, of course, aware of their bad reputation: "To a Yoruba and a Hausa man, an Igbo man is a fraudster", "a thief", "a gambler". In a title story on Biafra, the magazine Tell summed up the usual stereotypes: "The general perception of the Igbo by other people is that they are arrogant, aggressive, greedy and ungrateful. It is believed that the Igbo will do everything and anything to make money".

"We survived three years of blockade. We were able to build our own rockets hitting their targets with precision. We had our means of getting things done. We refined petrol and brake fluids from coconut". "Since then, no other Black race has done it. During the time, our own airport was the busiest night airport on the continent of Africa. We did it. The range of our broadcast was fabulous. Practically, the whole continent of Africa was hearing the Voice of Biafra. And it came from the back of a lorry. the great thing about Biafra was that everybody was working for everybody else. That was a great thing. There was no stealing".

Some participants of the 12th World Igbo Congress in Boston aptly explained this creation of permanent bonds. They approached representatives of the Jewish community in Boston and suggested "to forge a unique friendship" since they felt "a spiritual bond with the Jewish population": "We want to join and walk together with the Jews. Whenever Israel suffers in any possible way, the Igbos feel it".

When discussing religious aspects of Igbo nationalism, it is important to bear in mind that their interest in Jewish history emerged long before the genocidal experiences of the Biafran war. When Olaudah Equiano, a liberated slave living in late eighteenth-century England, wrote an autobiography with descriptions of his 'Eboe' childhood, he already described parallels between his African home and ancient Israel:

We practiced circumcision like the Jews and made offerings and feasts on that occasion in the same manner as they did. Like them also, our children were named from some event, some circumstance, or fancied foreboding at the time of their birth. We had many purifications and washings; indeed almost as many and used on the same occasion, if my recollection does not fail me, as the Jews. Those that touched the dead at any time were obliged to wash and purify themselves before they could enter a dwelling-house. Every woman too, at certain times, was forbidden to come into a dwelling-house or touch any person or anything we ate.

More than a hundred years later, an Anglican missionary who became one of the first Igbo ethnographers also reflected on Igbo-Jewish similarities. Government anthropologists assumed that the royal lineage of the Jukun kingdom, north of Igboland, had immigrated from Pharaonic Egypt, and that the Aro, a prominent Igbo 'clan' that had established an extensive trade network, were "an offshoot of Jews expelled from Spain in 1492, or were of Portuguese extraction or were some of the lost tribes of Israel".

As keen readers of the Bible who have compared Jewish history with their own, Igbo Christians have found it fascinating to detect "striking similarities in cultural practices [and] in character traits". In 1951 the first locally produced book appeared which traced the origins of the Igbo to the patriarchs of the Old Testament. During the civil war, "the identification of Biafra with Biblical Israel [became] commonplace", although the details of how both nations were historically connected have not attracted much scholarly interest. After the war a few books about the relationship between Igbos and Jews were published locally, two of them written by university professors. Igbo nationalists have occasionally referred to the paradigm of Igbo Judaism and used it to explain past and present events. An Igbo journal claimed that there is a "widely held view of common ancestry of the Israelites and Ndigbo", and the historian Harneit-Sievers observed that today "the idea of a Middle Eastern origin of the Igbo pervades oral historical accounts".

"The Ibos far more than any other group in Nigeria were carried away into slavery" and that perhaps "one quarter of all black Americans and all African ex-slaves in North and South America are all of Ibo descent". Some commentators have placed this suffering in a religious context. It was interpreted, for instance, as the fulfilment of a Biblical curse that seemed to anticipate the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. The verse (in Deuteronomy 28:68) is quoted thus: "The LORD will send you back in ships to Egypt (this time, Hebrews (Ibos) in Nigeria, to America) on a journey I said you should never make again. There you will offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves". The Old Testament tells many stories about the misery of slavery, remembering the time when the Jews were captives in Egypt and Babylon. However, when picking up these stories, Igbo nationalists would not normally use them to reflect their own period of slavery and slave trade. They rather interpret Biblical passages that speak of slavery in a metaphorical sense, applying them to Igbo captivity in present-day Nigeria. Ojukwu is cast in the role of Moses who started the exodus towards independence. Like Moses he may not live to see the land God promised him, but he has already handed over the baton to MASSOB leader Uwaruzuike, the new "Joshua who will lead the Biafran Jews to the promised land of the Rising Sun".

In order to get rid of ‘pagan’ strongholds that tie them to the spirits of the past, a Biafran Council of Christian Pastors demanded "that the entire [I]gbo land should be cleansed of idols" by "physically destroying" them. In Anambra State, MASSOB allegedly compiled a list of 200 shrines "with a view to praying for their destruction". [399] Ancient shrines have sometimes been attacked and demolished, but it is doubtful whether the MASSOB leadership has lent official support to acts of iconoclasm. For an organisation that seeks to unite all Igbo, it would be unwise to take sides in the controversy between Christians and ‘traditionalists’. Most Igbo nationalists see the future Biafra as a Christian state, there are others who defend the ancestral heritage: "the destruction of sacred groves must stop.

Some Christians have argued that the Igbo should look inwards and accept that they bear part of the blame: "The biggest problem facing the Igbo people in Nigeria is idolatry. Our relationship with these gods was why we are decimated, scattered and divided among other Nigerians. Unless the Igbos repent of this sin and turn to God with a broken heart and contrite spirit, they will never rule Nigeria".

Secular discourses find it difficult to tell tales that link the agonies of the past to future redemption. Moreover, they find it difficult to make sense of the premodern history and integrate it into their narratives of social development. Biblical texts, by contrast, talk a lot about the 'traditional' world of patriarchal authority, when people were guided by purity taboos and paid respect to their elders. It is a world still close to many Igbo, not separated from their daily life but in constant interaction with it: changing, adapting and conflicting with 'modern' elements of their social environment.

Igbo patriots marvel at the way Jewish settlers (or returnees) turned an arid piece of land into a lush and prosperous country. And they are fascinated by the military might of Israel, which is attractive because it gives its citizens security in a hostile environment:

The Jews who neglected political power and central leadership prior to 1945 have sworn that they will never be humiliated again. […] if a hostile nation humiliates a Jew, the government of Israel does not go to sleep. In fact the title of their national anthem is NEVER AGAIN, and the idea behind this is that it is unacceptable for any Jew to be insulted any where in the world again. It is a doctrine no Jew plays with. Every Israelite is a soldier. He knows the attitude of his hostile neighbours. He is ever prepared to defend himself.

Texts about the Biblical origin of the Igbo and their divine mission seem to reinforce the ideological, doctrinaire aspects of nationalist discourses, but even here we find a wide variety of opinion. Reconstructions of a Hebrew past can be used by the Igbo to reject their African heritage or to affirm an afrocentric identity. The Old Testament refers repeatedly to the ten tribes of the northern kingdom whose members were partly carried away into exile after the Assyrian conquests in 732 and 721 B.C.

Remnants of the Lost Tribes that had preserved much of their ancient Hebrew customs were allegedly discovered in such distant places as China, Japan and the Americas. Among the "myriad peoples identified as Israelites" by European travellers, missionaries and later by colonial officers were also numerous Africans: the Ashanti in today’s Ghana, the Songhay in Mali, the Maasai in Kenya, the Tutsis in Rwanda-Burundi, the Baluba in the Congo and many others. In the case of the Zulu in South Africa, their culture seemed so close to that of the ancient Hebrews, that an Anglican Bishop of Natal, who lived among them in the nineteenth century, "suggested that anyone who wanted to really understand the Bible had best study Zulu customs".

Although the idea that the Zulu and other Africans are scattered groups of Israelites was spread by colonial authors, it has often been internalised by members of the groups concerned. "the myth of the Lost Tribes has penetrated every corner of the African continent". Bible readers in Igboland had the impression of "a unique cultural sameness with the Jews". Prof. Ogbukagu listed 45 common features, from rules of land tenure and inheritance to burial rites and purity taboos. In addition he claimed that more than half of the Igbo vocabulary derives from Hebrew. A more direct piece of evidence allegedly came to light in 1997, when a "fact-finding team of Israelites" from the King Solomon Shepherd Federation, an African American Jewish association in New Jersey, visited Igboland and made a spectacular discovery. Near the town of Aguleri, which had once belonged to the famous kingdom of Nri, they unearthed an onyx stone with a message written in Hebrew. The inscription consists of a single syllable: Gad, the name of the seventh son of Jacob and progenitor of one of the ten tribes that got lost. In the Book of Exodus, 12 onyx stones are mentioned, "each stone bearing the name of one of the twelve tribes". The discovery of one of these stones was taken as proof of an ancient migration. Prof. Alaezi holds that an "estimated number of 400,000 Hebrews arrived the apparent[ly] safe territory of Nigeria in about 638 BC". Fleeing religious persecution by the Assyrians, they were looking for a home where they could practice their strict form of monotheism. After travelling for 80 years, they came to the area of today’s Nigeria which looked like a hospitable place because it was not populated by "Arabs" yet, only by Kwas and Pygmies.

An early account of "The Origin of the Ibos", published in 1951, depicts the arrival of the Jewish ancestors as an invasion. The "original inhabitants" were so weak that they were "beaten and chased away". This recalls the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites, as described in the Bible. Narratives that were written after the Biafra War emphasise that the immigrants peacefully interacted with the indigenous population and adopted much of their way of life. By marrying Africans and by being exposed to the tropical climate, the children of Israel turned into blacks. Their assimilation to the new environment also changed their religious beliefs and practices. They preserved, of course, the idea of a creator god, but they also venerated "gods of wood and stone". Although many of their customs remained unmistakably Hebrew, they forgot many details of the Mosaic laws and practiced Judaism only in an "adulterated form".

God had warned them "to desist from marrying non-Jewish ethnic groups", but they did not "resist the temptation". They turned away from him and "degenerated into the Nigerian Gentile demigodism", reverting to witchcraft, sorcery, "fetishism", human sacrifices and other "abominations".  Furthermore they lost God’s favour and were punished for disobeying him. Their suffering in Nigeria, where they have been at the mercy of foreign people, has been imposed on them by God’s wrath, as foretold in the Bible: "You have not served the LORD your God; therefore in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and extreme want, you will have to serve the enemies whom the LORD will send against you. He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until you are subdued". In a way, their whole existence in African exile is nothing but a "curse", brought upon them by their Biblical forebears who had digressed from God: "The Heebo (Ibo) nation in Nigeria exists because God made a promise of scattering the Jewish people to all corners of the earth to suffer for their sin of idolatry".

God’s favour has not been lost forever. His punishment is just a means to correct the people he has chosen and to lead them to future greatness: "I shall gather them from all the lands to which I banished them in my furious anger and great wrath; I shall bring them back to this place and let them dwell there undisturbed. So shall I bring them all the prosperity which I now promise them". In order to regain his favour they have to break with paganism by destroying the idols they have tolerated in their midst. Such "cleansing" of every town and village "releases whole communities from demonic stranglehold and unleashes Jehova’s favours on the land so that the blessing of the Messiah will come". By shedding all the "heinous characteristics acquired in diaspora", they will be able to reintegrate "into the noble world Jewry". If God’s promise is taken literally, redemption would mean that they will return to their ancestral home. But is it possible for 25 million Igbo (and other scattered Hebrews) to settle in the Near East? "Can small Israel contain all the Jews?". Alaezi gives an apocalyptic answer. Before the Igbo are redeemed, the world has to go through another war that will separate the "righteous" ones from those unworthy to enter the holy land: "Those Jewish people irrespective of where they reside who will survive the 3rd World War will be gathered back in Israel for good after the sinful ones amongst them shall have received their punishment".

There are many ways of finding the Promised Land. A "Jewish cultural rebirth" of the Igbo does not depend on a physical reunion of all Jews; it may take place in Igboland, in a future Biafra whose mission would be to bring about a "Hebrew Renaissance". The Igbo paper Body & Soul presented a "vision" of Biafra as a state which is "committed to political as well as spiritual Zionism". Although an independent state, it would be firmly aligned to "the Commonwealth of Israel". The political and spiritual primacy of the ancestral homeland would be recognised in various ways: "The cities of Biafra will be named after Israeli cities, just as Australian cities are named after English cities". The currency will be the "Biafran Shekel",  and the national flag will display the Star of David. Administratively, Biafra will be subdivided into 12 states, and "the legislature shall be a 120-member single chamber house to be known as the Biafran Knesset". This commitment to Zionism, however, does not rule out a commitment to Christianity. The new Biafra, with its Knesset and Israeli flag, is at the same time a "Pure Christian state, an evangelical republic. Therefore all systems and other instruments of worship will not be allowed". "The president of Israel automatically becomes the president of the Christian Democratic Republic of Biafra". A common bond uniting the states of the Commonwealth of Israel would be their commitment to a strict form of monotheism. Eradicating idol-worship is a central theme in the Old Testament, whose God speaks to both Jews and Christians: "I will get rid of every trace of idol worship throughout the land, so that even the names of the idols will be forgotten". In the case of the Igbo, the fight against gods of wood and stone would be carried far beyond Biafra because "10% of the nation[al] revenue will be devoted to zealous evangelization of the world".

The internal structure and the geographical extension of a Jewish Biafra are of course disputed. Both depend on how one defines the identity and composition of the Hebrew migrants that came to settle in today’s Nigeria. A study by Ezeala, published in 1992, suggests that the ancestors of the Igbo are descended from Shechenigbo, a clan of the tribe of Judah living in the province of Judea. Prof. Alaezi, however, considers this to be a legend. There must have been several waves of migration to West Africa involving various tribes. The first settlers may already have come with the Exodus from Egypt, when the Israelites fled Pharaonic oppression. Only a part of them probably followed Moses across the Red Sea into the Sinai desert; others headed southwards through Sudan and the Chad basin. The following waves of migration were triggered by the Assyrian persecution, the Babylonian captivity, and the destruction of the Second Temple in A.D. 70 under Roman rule. Since the groups of refugees came independently, they must have settled in various places: in today’s Igboland as in neighbouring areas. The names of some ethnic groups surrounding the Igbo still betray their Jewish origins. The Idoma, living to the north, derive from the Biblical Edomites, while the people of Calabar at the south coast stem from Caleb Arba, and the Igala from Igal.

The paradigm of a "multi-tribal origin" of the Jewish immigrants makes it easier to embrace other Nigerians as fellow Jews. The Ijaw, Ibibio and Igbo, although distinct nations, share a common destiny as descendants of the 12 tribes that once formed Israel. From an Igbo perspective, this could be the basis for a political cooperation, as envisaged by MASSOB. Its Director for Information appealed to Igbo and Niger Deltans to overcome the enmity which Nigeria’s "divide and rule" policy has created between them, and retrieve their former unity: "we’ve understood that we are the same, that it is the Hausa man and Yoruba man that are our enemies". All groups in eastern Nigeria that had been marginalised for decades would gain if they set their petty jalousies aside and joined forces to fight for independence. The model of the scattered tribes that lost contact but have to recover their Jewish origins is well suited to express these common aspirations: "The new Biafra is supposed to comprise [the] lost but recovered Jews who settle on the coasts of the Niger Delta and in the hinterlands of Eastern Nigeria". An article in Body & Soul suggested that parts of the Jos Plateau and southern Cameroun may join the new republic and that its western boundary should extend westwards across the Niger: "The River Niger is not, and will never be the boundary of the Christian Democratic Republic of Biafra, lest as the River Jordan is not the boundary of Israel".  "if all the people from Benin to Calabar to Nsukka come together and if this state reached out to the Idoma, Tiv and Igala and incorporated them in the new state[, that] will be the most powerful and prosperous state in Black Africa". How would such a state be organised? Would it be a federation of autonomous Jewish nations, or would it be dominated by the Igbo, the most populous group in the region? According to Alaezi, the Igbo have preserved their "Jewish racial dignity" to a larger extent than some of their neighbours: "not all Igalas are of Hebrew (Ibo) descent. Many also come from the stock of Oduduwa [the ancestor of the Yoruba, J.H.]", while the "people of Onitsha are purely Hebrews or Heebos (Ibos) of Eri stock from the tribe of Gad".

Prof. Ogbukagu identified its original black inhabitants with the Essenes, a Jewish sect that was seen as heretic by members of the old priestly establishment. Biblical texts do not mention the Essenes, but some authors of the first century A.D. described their way of life and highlighted their religious zeal and asceticism. Ogbukagu calls them "the strictest and the most sincere religious practitioners ever known", and counts Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, King David, King Solomon, John the Baptist and Jesus Christ among them. When MASSOB invited foreign statesmen to attend the official proclamation of the Republic of Biafra on 27 May 2000, it sent an invitation letter to the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. In Alaezi’s account of Igbo-Jewish relations, both nations are tied by a genealogical bond that has persisted through the ages. Alaezi appreciates the "liberation of Jerusalem" by Israeli soldiers in June 1967 as fulfilment of a divine promise and integrates the event into a scheme of Christian salvation: "The restoration of Israel in 1948 after the World War II and the miraculous Jewish occupation of Jerusalem after the 1967 Six-Day Desert War are a guarantee of the return of Jesus Christ".

In June 1967, when Israeli soldiers ‘liberated’ Jerusalem, Biafra and Israel were in a similar situation, confronted by armies far superior in numbers and equipment. Barely a week after the Igbo declared their independence, the Six-Day War broke out and Israel destroyed the hostile forces. This victory proved to the beleaguered Biafrans that David could win against Goliath. 

The killings of Igbo from 1966 to 1970 can be called a 'genocide', following the definition adopted by the United Nations in 1948: "genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part" .

The very fact that they survived is taken as prove that picking up the fight was right. Although General Ojukwu fled to Cote d'Ivoire on 11 January 1970 and the few remaining troops capitulated two days later, it is said that the war was not lost: "the Igbo, as a people, did not disappear … They survived; they were, therefore, victorious". In a similar vein, Ojukwu argued that the Igbo survived by fighting tenaciously: "the Igbo were not defeated in the war". 

Few Hausa in Kano would concede that Igbo should have the same rights. Shehu Sani, leader of the Kaduna-based Civil Rights Congress, told me: "The Igbo are here to make business, not to meddle into politics". The Sharia campaign was, among others, a brutal reminder to the Igbo and other Christians from the South that they have to accept the political conditions set by the 'indigenous' population. 'Infidels' have no business telling Muslims how to organise public affairs.

The humiliation in the diaspora is hard to bear. On 26 December 1994, demonstrators marched to a prison in Kano, dragged out an Igbo who had been accused of having desecrated the holy Qur'an by tearing out one of its pages and using it as toilet paper, chopped off his head, put it on a spike and paraded it for hours around town. A group of Shiites, who later published a photo of the incident in their journal, claimed responsibility for the attack, but none of them was brought to court.

Notes

Statement of the Colonial Office, 1917, in Crampton 1979:60. – British as well as French colonisers in West Africa gave Muslims the chance to spread their faith: "in half a century of European colonization Islam progressed more widely and more profoundly than in ten centuries of precolonial history". Today, these aspects of the Islamic encounter with the West seem to have been forgotten and confrontations between Muslims and Christians have been projected into colonial times: "the British imperialists were infidels and grandsons of the crusaders whose aims and objectives were to wipe out Islam from the face of the earth.

Western support for a referendum in southern Sudan that will probably lead to the creation of a new state may indicate a paradigm shift. With regard to Nigeria, Herbst (1996) has hinted at a similar solution: As Nigeria is not a viable state it should be split into smaller, more workable units.

"Ndigbo indeed have the tradition for open discussions, inclusiveness, transparent democracy and a hunger for private business and rapid modernization. Ndigbo [could] lead the nation in the search for democracy and industrial development. What should Ndigbo do to place themselves in the vacant position of progressive leadership in our greatly troubled nation?"

After Equiano, another famous author of Igbo parentage identified Igbo-Jewish similarities: James Africanus Horton in his book West African Countries and Peoples, 1868. 

 At a conference on Igbo culture, held in Owerri, Igbo scholars from USA claimed that "most of the African Americans are of Igbo origin". The New Republican assumed that the Igbo nation lost two million men and women to the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

The Lemba, a Bantu-speaking group in Zimbabwe and South Africa, seem to be an exception. Genetic tests suggest that some of their ancestors came from the Middle East, perhaps from ancient Israel. Another exceptional case has been studied in Mali, in the area of Timbuktu, among a few Islamic families that claim Jewish roots. Historical evidence indicates that some of their ancestors migrated hundreds of years ago with the trans-Saharan trade from Morocco, Algeria and Spain. 

Ilona suggests that the waves of migrants, crossing the Sahara, consisted not only of Jews but also of ancient Greeks and other Mediterranean peoples. At least one of them were Canaanites, as their name Yoruba indicates: 'Yerubbaal' – 'people of Baal'.

In his ‘Origin of the Ibos’, written in an early period of Igbo nationalism, Ike argued that the Aro subgroup, to whom he belonged, had been "the first to come". They had been privileged to serve as priests of the supreme deity, and their hometown Arochukwu had functioned as "capital" for the whole of Igboland.

Ogbukagu differs from Abasika in yet another respect. He shows a more ambivalent attitude towards blackness, pointing out that the black Jews, among them the Igbo, were lighter in complexion while still living in Israel: "they were dark skinned or moderately white skinned, very tall and good looking". Their present appearance is a result of changed climatic conditions and intermarriage with black Africans.

THE IGBO DIDN'T LEARN HEBRAIC CULTURE FROM THE MISSIONARIES

This is absurd, for it has already been clearly established that the missionaries and white men on their first encounters with the Igbo have clearly seen and described a Hebraic culture as depicted in the Bible like unto the Children of Israel in the Wilderness. And why or how could they have learned it from the missionaries when the missionaries purposefully hid and taught against a Hebraic culture by introducing Western Christian thought that such Hebraic practices such as dietary laws have been done away with by the advent of the Christ!?

In 1789 Olaudah Equiano, an Igbo and former slave who lived in London said in his autobiography that the Igbos were one of the lost tribes of Israel and cited the many identical cultural similarities between them and the Jews.

Missionaries when they came to Nigeria were dumbfounded to discover when they came to evangelize the Igbo People that the Igbo’s practiced many Hebraic/Jewish customs which they could not have learned from anyone else, it had to come from ancient practice of their people from antiquity; for they had no Bibles and met no one with a Bible until the missionaries came along. 




They found that the Igbo’s practiced:

Eating of animals that meet the Biblically clean requirements as well as the complete draining of blood from the animal as well as other laws concerning Kashrut

The use of ritual washings like unto the mikvah
Washing of Hand before and after meals
Has a concept of clean and unclean, acceptable and abominable or taboo
Animal sacrifice like unto the Levitical sacrificial system
Believe in a Supreme, All-Powerful Deity (Chukwu) above all other deities
Circumcision on the 8th day as well as had the naming ceremony of the 8 day old child
Giving names that bear the name or title of G-d within it
Separation of menstruating women 
Adah or Ada the name of the second woman mentioned in the Bible after Eve/Chavah (Gen. 4:19-20) and is also the title used to address the first born daughters of Igbo families
The keeping a lunar calendar
Shemita and Jubilee years: The annulment of debt and servitude every seven and fifty years
The concept of a lifetime servant (Odibo) – Deut. 15:12-14, Ex. 21:2-6
Burying their dead facing East, the direction of Jerusalem and the Promised Land
Burying their dead as quickly as possible 
Sitting Shiva (seven day mourning period where one sits on low stools, remains unkempt and shave their head in grief) 
Belief in a resurrection
Send the body’s home of Igbos who die outside of Igboland to be buried, like Joseph and Jacob desiring not to be buried in a pagan or foreign land 
Lengthy funeral ceremonies such as found in Gen. 50:1-3
Preference of Inheritance and leadership was given to the first born and passed down through the fathers
Sung prior to and carried a type of Ark into battle when they went to war
Hospitality like unto the traditions and legends know of Abraham Offering water, meal and lodging to travelers
The Yam Festival is like unto Shavuot (Feast of Weeks) and the Ovala Festival in the fall is like unto Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles)
Conversation and deliberate among men and leaders like that of Rabbi’s and students in a Yeshiva
Levirate type marriages, brothers marrying deceased brothers wives to carry on the brother's name
Marriage negotiations (Onye-aka-ebe) between families, like unto the story of Isaac and Rebecca
Polygamy 
A type of, “Cities of Refuge,” where an Igbo who has committed a crime can seek refuge in his mother’s natal home, known in Igbo as, “Ikunne”
The concept of Sanctuary, similar to the Igbo Osu caste concept where a victim of violence may flee to the altar (alusi) for divine protection (I Kings 2:28-30)
Shunning of those who willingly break Igbo laws
Shunning of those who marry outside of the Igbo people
Laws against sexual perversion, incest and the like, they had to marry among their people but outside their immediate tribal clan
Justice and punishment for certain crimes followed the lines of,  “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” 
A rule of Torah (Law) was developed and was passed down by Eri
No jails or penal system
Rite of passage into adulthood
Governance of the people by a conglomerate of tribal elders and judges prior to the institution of kingship dynasties
The coronation of the Kings have rituals and customs that closely remember that of the coronation of Kings of Judah and Israel 
Symbolic attire and accessories of the Kings and Elders closely resembled that of Kings and Tribal leaders of Judah and Israel
Igbo idioms are very much like, and carry similar meanings as Solomon’s book of Proverbs

These among many other Jewish laws and customs that we will get into great depth here shortly were found to be kept by the Igbo people and sadly, the Christian missionaries forced them to abandon many of these Hebraic practices because though they resembled Biblical worship of G-d, they believed many have been done away with due to the advent of Messiah and they believed they practiced these customs unto pagan gods and as such should be abandoned. The Igbo’s are slowly beginning to return to the pre-missionary practices, desiring to return to their Hebraic roots.

One Igbo man named Avraham, a Cantor of the Natsari Jewish community in Nigeria said, 

“In a nutshell, every law as stated in the Torah was being practiced by our forefathers before the advent of Christianity. Except that our fathers went into idol worship, but they still kept the tradition as was handed over to them by their forefathers.”ç

Israel as documented in the “Old Testament” was known for being a stubborn and stiff necked people (Ex. 32:9, 33:3,5, 34:9), rebellious, hard to govern and control by their many conquerors (Ezra 4:11-19). Igbos are known also for this trait and such a parallel has been observed and voiced by their former British occupiers, who were amazed at their native organizational and governmental structure and how well they resisted the British advance and attempt at control. This was also noted by the slave traders who could not control some of them and exiled them to Haiti or Jamaica.

Archeological Evidence Linking the Igbo to Gad

A picture or drawing of a snake in one culture may be a symbol of wisdom or eternal life and in another culture it may mean evil, danger or death.

Paleo-Hebrew Script has been found in various places in the Igbo Territories of Nigeria.

Drawings like unto the Mogen David, Star of David have been found in various places of Igboland prior to missionary arrival to Nigeria.


                                            Depiction of Jewish Lions with Davidic Star

“One scholar who visited Iboland, saw a swastika there and questioned how the Ebos/Hebrews could have this symbol and be Jewish. Sar Amariel answered the question stating, ‘This is an ancient Hebrew symbol that represents the sun…’” – Document: Tabernacle Congregation Prayer Yeshiva to HRM A.E. Chukwuemeka-Eri (Ezerora 34th and KAK Ji Ofor Igbo) King of the Igbos.

And indeed swastikas have been found on the relieves of ancient synagogues in Israel. No wonder the Nazis adopted this symbol to imply they were like the sun and greater that the Star of David.


In 1917 the British discovered, about 500 ft below the soil on the palace grounds a solid bronze Star of David indicating the Igbo people may have migrated from the ancient city of David. To commemorate this event, Nigerian kobo coins were minted with a Star of David on it.

The Maasai boy is circumcised. His mom shaves his head. It resembles the Igbo tradition.

Tribe of Dan and the Igbo 

Danites Among the Igbo?

It is fairly clear and conclusive that the Igbos are predominately from Gad, but also from Levi (Nri Priests), Zebulun and Judah, because Judah one of the largest tribes, like Levi mingled and traveled and could be found throughout virtually all the tribes.  However, some have speculated that some Igbo may be of the tribe of Dan. From my research among Igbo scholars and Black Hebrew scholars, it is in the opinion of the minority that the Igbo are from Dan or have Danites among them. There is simply not enough evidence to substantiate a Danite presence among the Igbo, although we should not rule this idea out completely.

Students of the Scriptures know that Israel was taken into captivity and exile and therefore dispersed throughout the world to this day as a result of sin, which is disobedience to Torah (Deut. 27-28, I John 3:4). Idolatry as well as a lack of brother love was the main reason the GOD of Israel scattered His people to the four winds.

My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto him: and they shall be wanderers among the nations. – Hosea 9:17

This I have found to be the major premise why some feel Igbos have Danites among them. Allow me to elaborate:

And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name Dan. – Gen. 30:6

And the sons of Bilhah, Rachel's handmaid; Dan, and Naphtali: - Gen. 35:25

Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. – Gen. 49:16-17

And of Dan he said, Dan is a lion's whelp: he shall leap from Bashan. Deut. 33:22

According to those who accept the premise that Dan is among the Igbo, the Danites as well as other waves of Gadites, Judeans, Zebulunites and Levites made their way to be with their Gadites brothers who settled in Nigeria to escape the Assyrian exile and persecution.  In this wave of Israelites to Nigera is believed to be brought the Shalmanezer influenced Idol worship of those who replaced the Jews and Hebrews in Samaria.

For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them; Until the Lord removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day.  And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof. – II Kings 17:22-24

Evidence for those who are proponents of the Danites being among the Igbo is taken from the prophecy of Jacob (Israel) concerning the tribe of Dan.

Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. – Gen. 49:16-17

In reading between the lines of this Jacobic prophecy concerning the Dan, some believe that because some Igbo of Uga in Aguata in Anambra State do not kill snakes and that idolatrous python worship cults can be found among the Igbos in Nigeria who treat the python with great respect and buries them as human and must make atoning sacrifices if they kill one, that such is, “proof” Danites reside among the Igbo; a very weak premise indeed in my humble opinion.  Snake worship is prevalent among the tribes that surround the Igbo in Nigeria, could the pagan religious influence of such tribes have rubbed off on such Igbo, seeing as how Idolatry was a major problem for Israel in general, which essentially caused the scattering of the tribes?

If they base the Danite presence among the Igbo on that prophetic verse, what of Moses prophecy in Deut. 33:22, how does that fit with the Danites of Ndi Igbo? What about the principle of confirmation by two or three witnesses? One biblical witness is a very shaky foundation indeed on which to claim Dan is among the Igbo.

I do not dismiss the possibility that the remnants of the tribe of Dan can be found among the Igbo, for who knows what tribes of Israel came in the various waves of migration into Igboland. If they did, they were likely a small remnant and were eventually absorbed into the Gadite Igbo communities that settled and spread out from Aguleri in Anambra State.

To be sure much more inquiries and research into the oral history and linguistics of Igbo communities claiming Danite origins must be made in order to better flesh out the truth, if Danites reside among the Igbo.

Ethiopia and Sudan; a Better African Candidate?

Could a better Candidate for Dan be as some have suggested in the Sudan, Liberia, Ghana, Benin Republic, Togo, The Ivory Coast and Ethiopia?

Due to the Assyrian captivity and exile of the 10 Northern Tribes of Israel, as well as the scattering of Israel after the revolt at Masada, as well as the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. it is believed many Danites ventured into Africa, settling in what is now known as the Sudan (SuDAN) and Ghana, also call GaDangme, meaning “People of Gad and Dan.” Ancient Ghana was referred to as Wagandu. Dan is also believed to have settled in Dahomey or Dan Homey, which being translated means, “Belly of Dan” and is now known as the Benin Republic and Togo. As a result of such scattering it is believes some of Dan possibly mingled or merged with the Igbo’s of Gad and become the sect of Igbo who reveres and later began to worship pythons. Some scholars links this to the prophesied paganization of exiled Israel as recorded in Deut. 28 as well as Jacobs prophetic blessing linking Dan to a serpent (Gen. 49:17).

“The Dan Tribe and sub Tribes Guere and Yacouba live in Western Ivory coast (Côte d'Ivoire) and Liberia.  They are people from the rainforest.  Their traditional masks and masquerades are some of the best known in Western countries.

Dan masquerades are usually performed by male associations for rituals, education, social control and entertainment. Masks were thought to embody the most powerful of spirit forces called gle.  Each gle has its own character. These bush spirits and masquerades brought control and order to village life.” -  http://www.kinyago.com/DANTRIBE.htm

Notice the sub tribe, “Yacouba” a corruption of the Hebrew “Yacob” in English known as “Jacob”?

                                                                Eldad ben Mahli ha-Dan

Louise Ginzberg in “Legends of the Jews” speaks of Eldad ben Mahli ha-Dan of the 9th century, better known as Eldad the Danite. Ginzberg speaks of the division of Israel through Eldad’s account of Jeroboam after his return from Egypt and how Jeroboam and the elders wanted to have the warrior tribe of Dan to attack the other 10 tribes and Dan refuses and actually threatens to attack Jeroboam. Eldad says instead they left the Promised Land by way of Egypt. Eldad speaks of three ways Jews and Israelites made their way to Ethiopia and the Sudan.

Other sources tell of Ptolemy the First bringing Jewish prisoners to the Sudan, known then as Nubia by way of Ethiopia.

“In the 9th century CE, there was a man named Eldad ha-Dani who was a Jewish merchant and traveler and came and went to the Jewish communities of Babylonia, North Africa, and Spain. He left a record of his travels which constitute more legend than fact, but this stirred many people's interest. Eldad claimed that he was a merchant and scholar from an independent Jewish state that was situated in East Africa. He declared categorically that his country was the home of the Lost Tribes of Asher, Gad, Naphtali, and Dan, and that he himself was from the Tribe of Dan. His name ha-Dani means the Tribe of Dan in Hebrew.

Eldad mentions that in "Kush" of East Africa which is today's Ethiopia live a lot of descendants of the tribe of Dan and other tribes of Israel.

It is interesting to note that still in the 20th century CE there live a Jewish group called Falashas of Ethiopia. Their skin is black and they call themselves "Beta Israel" which means the House of Israel in Hebrew. They have been following the precepts of the Bible since ancient times in a loose fashion. The Falashas in Ethiopia speak Hebrew and keep the Sabbath. Tragically enough many of them were killed by a recent insurgence in Ethiopia, but the remnants immigrated to Israel. They were transported to Israel by the airplanes chartered by the government of Israel in 1983 and 1991. Over 90% of Beta Israel now live in Israel, accepted as Jews.”

“As part of the Kingdom of Israel, the territory of Dan was conquered by the Assyrians, and exiled; the manner of their exile led to their further history being lost.

Ethiopian Jews, also known as Beta Israel, claim descent from the Tribe of Dan, whose members migrated south along with members of the Tribes of Gad, Asher, and Naphtali, into the Kingdom of Kush, now Ethiopia and Sudan, during the destruction of the First Temple. This position is supported by former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. They are said to have fought with the natives.  Religious writers have tried to attach the serpent voodoo God Danbhala to this group, as the practice they suggest was a heterodox form of Ethiopian Judaism.”

“In the latter part of the twelfth century, a legend appeared which persisted for several centuries and reached Egypt, Palestine and Europe. According to this legend, a Christian priest named Prester John ruled as monarch over a vast and wealthy Christian Empire.

According to many traditions, Ethiopia was the land of the powerful Prester John's kingdom, as well as the home of the ten lost tribes. Persistent rumor had it that these African Israelite kingdoms were at constant war with Prester John, and that their armies were advancing on Rome.

Who are these African-Jewish tribesmen so central to the Prester John legend? These are the Ethiopian Jews known both as Falashas, the Amharic word for landless, wandering Jews, and as Beta Israel, the house of Israel. In Ethiopia, they engaged primarily in agriculture, but were known also for their exquisite crafts and jewelry.

Today, most of the Beta Israel live in the state of Israel. In the 1970's and 80's, the Israeli government airlifted thousands of Ethiopian Jews to Israel, rescuing them from political and economic distress.

According to one tradition, the Ethiopian Jews are the descendants of one of the ten tribes, as their religion is an ancient form of biblical Judaism. Their religious practices are prescribed by the Orit, the Torah translated into their Gez dialect. They possess none of the post-biblical laws. Over the centuries, the Beta Israel have been connected with the tribe of Dan. This association has eased the process of their return to the state of Israel in recent times.”

On March 14, 1977 Israel decided that Beta Israel of Ethiopia and Sudan were a part of the Lost Tribe of Dan and were permitted to make “aliyah” meaning a lawful return to Israel as Danites. More Danites came from the Sudan back to Israel under “Operation Brother” devised by the Israeli and American government from 1979-1990, this according to Wikipedia’s post on Beta Israel. And it takes a lot of evidence to convince the government and religious community of Israel that a certain group is indeed a lost tribe of Israel. For them to accept Beta Israel and Falasha’s as Danites speaks volumes!

“Some 65,000 Ethiopian Jews from different groups have moved to Israel since 1974. Israel's chief rabbis believe they are descended from the lost tribe of Dan.”

“The Beta Israel, meaning House of Israel, are a sect of Ethiopians who practice Judaism. They have also long been referred to as the Falasha, an Amharic word for exile, which has fallen out of favor because of its derogatory connotation. Located in the Northern region of contemporary Ethiopia since their origin, the number of Beta Israel continuing to live in Ethiopia has declined as Israel welcomed them in the 1980s and encouraged them to migrate there.

The rise of Beta Israel dates back to the reign of King Solomon in the late Tenth Century B.C. According to Beta Israel accounts, Queen Sheba of Ethiopia heard about the legendary wisdom of Solomon, the King of Israel, and decided to visit him. Her visit resulted in her being lured into sleeping with the King, which resulted in the birth of their son, Menelik I. Upon reaching his manhood Prince Menelik I embarked on a journey to Israel to see his father. When he departed, Menelik I took with him the Ark of the Covenant which he had stolen from his father.

The Ark of the Covenant, one of the holiest objects of the Bible, was, according to the Bible, built under God’s instruction through Moses. The Ark carried inside of it two stones upon which were inscribed the Ten Commandments as well as Aaron’s rod and the Golden Pot of “Hidden” Manna. Upon its arrival in Axum, according to Beta Israel accounts, the Covenant was quickly concealed and to this day remains in Axum.

With Queen Sheba’s death, Menelik I became Emperor and Judaism became the official religion of the Empire. Judaism remained the religion of Ethiopia until King Ezana of Axum was converted to Christianity in 327 A.D. As Christianity swept across Ethiopia, its own rulers adopted the faith. Despite their conversion they continued to claim descent from the Solomonic dynasty created by King Menelik. The Beta Israel became a sometimes revered but more often persecuted religious minority in Ethiopia.

The peak of the oppression of the Beta Israel came in the early 1600s. The Portuguese, who during that time became the first Europeans to reach Ethiopia, advised its rulers that Judaism represented a threat to the Ethiopian Empire. By 1624 the Beta Israel were stripped of their lands and forced to convert to Christianity. Those who disobeyed were persecuted and many were enslaved. They also became isolated from other Jewish communities around the world.

Over time the harshest measures were eased but the Beta Israel were essentially internal exiles in Ethiopia. Nonetheless they secretly maintained many of their religious traditions and continued to survive state and societal persecution.

In the early 1980s the Israeli government and religious leaders recognized the Beta Israel as Jews. Beginning on November 21, 1984, the Israel government organized military airlifts to transfer the Beta Israel from Ethiopia to Israel. From 1984 to 1991 Operations Moses, Joshua, and Solomon, as the three airlifts were called, relocated over 20,000 Ethiopian Jews. Despite this highly publicized rescue effort an estimated 25,000 Beta Israel currently live in Ethiopia.”

“Once they were kings. A half million strong, they matched their faith with fervor and out-matched the Moslem and Christian tribesmen around them to rule the mountain highlands around Lake Tana. They called themselves Beta Israel—the house of Israel—and used the Torah to guide their prayers and memories of the heights of Jerusalem as they lived in their thatched huts in Ethiopia.

But their neighbors called them Falashas—the alien ones, the invaders. And even three hundred years of rule, even the black features that matched those of all the people around them did not make the Jews of Ethiopia secure governors of their destiny in Africa” (“Falashas: The Forgotten Jews,” Baltimore Jewish Times, 9 November 1979).

For centuries, the world Jewish community was not even aware of the existence of the Jewish community of Ethiopia in the northern province of Gondar. The miracle of Operation Solomon is only now being fully understood; an ancient Jewish community has been brought back from the edge of government-imposed exile and starvation.

But once they were kings. . .

Christianity spread through the Axum dynasty of Ethiopia in the 4th century CE. By the 7th century, however, Islam had surpassed Christianity and had separated Ethiopia from its Christian African neighbors.

Prior to this, the Beta Israel had enjoyed relative independence through the Middle Ages. Their reign was threatened in the 13th century CE under the Solomonic Empire, and intermittent fighting continuing for the next three centuries with other tribes.

In 1624, the Beta Israel fought what would be their last battle for independent autonomy against Portuguese-backed Ethiopians. A graphic eyewitness account described the battle:

“Falasha men and women fought to the death from the steep heights of their fortress... they threw themselves over the precipice or cut each other's throats rather than be taken prisoner—it was a Falasha Masada. [The rebel leaders] burned all of the Falasha's written history and all of their religious books, it was an attempt to eradicate forever the Judaic memory of Ethiopia” (Righteous Jews Honored by Falasha Supporters, AAEJ Press Release, 1981).

Those Jews captured alive were sold into slavery, forced to be baptized, and denied the right to own land. The independence of the Beta Israel was torn from them just as it was from their Israeli brethren at Masada centuries before.”

It is also worth mentioning that in the 1400’s Rabbi Ovadia Yare of Bertinora attested to the possibility of Danites living in the Sudan.

When Egypt is mentioned in Scripture it actually is referring to a large portion of Africa, not just the State we recognize as modern Egypt today.

“The Greek historian Herodotus reveals that some of the ancient Greeks actually came from Egypt, and that the ancestor of the Dorian princes in southern Greece was a certain "Danae, the daughter of Acrisus" (Herodotus, VI, 1, iii). The term "Dorian" apparently comes from the name of a city of Manasseh, in northern Israel, called "Dor," near the Mediterranean coast. The Dorians were apparently Danites, of the tribe of Dan, perhaps mixed with some of the descendants of Manasseh.

The Irish word "tuath" means literally "a tribe" or "people." These people were the tribe of DAN of Biblical fame! They came from the Greek "Danaans," and were the same people as the tribe of Dan. Hecateus of Abdera says that the Egyptians, troubled by calamities, in order that the divine wrath might be averted, expelled the foreigners -- all aliens gathered together in Egypt. Of these, some, under their leaders DANUS and CADMUS, migrated to Greece, others to other regions, but the greatest number to "Syria," that is, Palestine, their leader said to have been Moses.

Says Diodorus of Sicily:

"They say also that those who set forth with Danaus, likewise from Egypt, settled what is practically the oldest city of Greece, Argos, and that the nations of the Colchi in Pontus and that of the Jews, which lies between Arabia and Syria, were founded as colonies by certain emigrants from their country . . ."”

Danites in the Northern Hemisphere

My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto him: and they shall be wanderers among the nations. – Hos. 9:17

Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. – Gen. 49:16-17

Because of the above blessing and prophecy Dan’s tribal banner is the snake, and just as a snake can be easily tracked in sand by the path that it leaves, so to Dan left a trail behind him.  It has been the tradition of the Tribes of Israel to name dwelling places and settlements after their Patriarch and ancestors. Dan is the epitome of this trait.  From Egypt to Israel to the scattering abroad Dan has left behind its namesake, like footprints for a sleuth to trace and follow.

“Is Ephraim (Ten Tribes, which includes Dan) my dear son? Is he a pleasant child? For since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord. Set thee up waymarks, make thee high heaps: set thine heart toward the highway, even the way which thou wentest: turn again, O virgin of Israel, turn again to these thy cities. How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter? For the Lord hath created a new thing in the earth, a woman shall compass a man.” – Jer. 31:20-22 – italics mine

Yair Davidiy, Steven M. Collins as well as John D. Keyser of Hope of Israel Ministries believe Dan also traveled North through Europe and Scandinavia.

“In Hebrew there are no vowels, so the name Dan is written DN, or its Hebrew equivalent. Thus words like Dan, Din, Don, Dun, Den, or Dn, correspond to the name of Dan.

Just west of the Black Sea, ancient geographers designated a region by the name of Moesia, which means the land of the "Moses-ites." These people revered a person whom they called Zal-moxis. "Zal" significes "chief," so this person, "chief Moxis" or "leader Moxis" was actually "chief MOSES," the man of YEHOVAH God who led Israel to the promised land, and whom these people remembered as their original leader. The tribe of Dan also passed through this region, and the surrounding territory, leaving its name in Mace-DON-ia, and the Dar-DAN-elles, and to the north by the river DAN-ube. In the territory of Sarmatia (or Samaria, meaning the Israelites), were located the rivers DN-iper, DN-ister, and the DON.

Denmark, the name of the modern country in Europe north of Germany, means, literally, "Dan's mark." Its people are called "Danes." In fact, because at one time Denmark ruled all the surrounding region, the whole region took its name from them -- the ScanDINavian peninsula! Clearly, here are remnants of the people of DAN, who migrated westward overland from the Caucasus to their present location in northern Europe!

However, other Danites, who dwelt or abode in ships, and who associated themselves with the sea peoples of Tyre and Sidon, fled westward through the Mediterranean when northern Israel fell. Early Danites fled Egypt at the time of the Exodus, and migrated through SarDINia, and left their trail along the sea-coasts of the Mediterranean. Thus Dan, who was a "lion's whelp" who would "leap from Bashan," leaped all the way to Ireland, where historians explain that the early settlers were known as the "Tuatha de Danaan" -- literally, the "tribe of Dan." The Greeks called them the Danoi, the Romans called them Danaus.

In Ireland, today, we find their customary evidence -- their place names -- in abundance. Such names as Dans-Lough, Dan-Sower, Dan-Monism, Dun-dalke, Dun-drum, Don-egal Bay, Don-egal City, Dun-glow and Lon-don-derry, as well as Din-gle, Dun-garven and Duns-more, which means "MORE DANS." Of course, the most famous Irish ballad of all time is the song, "Danny Boy." It should be plain that the country of Ireland is replete, filled with names which derive from the ancient patriarch of the Hebrews -- DAN, the son of Jacob! It should be plain that the ancient Danites settled in Ireland, and most of them dwell in that land, today.

There is also a river Don in Scotland, and another in England. These countries, also, show the evidence of the presence or passing of the tribe of Dan, who migrated with the other tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel, especially the tribe of Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh). Here we find such names markers, or "guide posts" as YEHOVAH God called them in Jeremiah -- as Dun-dee, Dun-kirk, Dunbar, Dunraven, E-din-burgh, and Lon-don.”

The Tuatha De Danaan came to Ireland in and around 721 B.C. which corresponds to the time when many Israelites fled Assyrian captivity.  With Dan especially know as seamen, it is no surprise they sailed and settled and wandered through many places. Many Irish people today believe they are remnants of the lost tribe of Dan.

“In Biblical Times the Tribe of Dan had been divided into  three (or more) different sections. One section had been in the northern Galilee (Joshua 19; 42) and neighbored Gad. Later part of this section moved with other Israelites to Scythia. The Damnae in Serica (east of Scythia), were also called "Dingling" and were linked to the "DANGALAI" whose name means "DAN-OF-GALILEE". They had been neighbors of the Goths (from Gad) of Gadrosia in Ancient Eastern Iran. The DAMNAE of Scythian Serica were named similarly to the DAMNONII of Scotland (who lived besides the northern River DON of Scotland) and the DAMNONES of DANNONIA which was the name given to Devon and Cornwall. DANNONIA in Britain was named after the Tribe of DAN. The Tribe of Dan was recalled in the Children of DON in Welsh legend and the Tribe of DANA ("Tuatha de Danaan:) who came to the British Isles (according to Irish tradition) from the Land of Israel via Greece and Scandinavia. The area Damnonia in southern Britain as well as being alternatively called Dannonia was also known as "Defenia". The name "DEFENIA" is similar to that of DAPHNIA which was the former place of DAN in the Galilee in the Land of Northern Israel.  "Daphne" (i.e. "Defenia") is also a name associated by the Talmud with the Lost Ten Tribes.

In Scotland the Damnonii (of Dan) adjoined the Gadeni probably of Gad.  Somewhat to the south (in Northern England) according to Ptolemy was the city of Danum which area was later to be occupied by Danes from Denmark. In this case we see the possibility of a group of Celtic culture descended from Dan who gave their name to the city of Danum being followed by Scandinavians who were also descended from Dan and settling in the same area. We have come across similar phenomenon several times in this study.”

Gilead abode beyond Jordan: and why did Dan remain in ships? Asher continued on the sea shore, and abode in his breaches. – Jud. 5:17

Danite territory in the Promised Land was in the North by the coast and so from this we gather that Dan were fierce seafaring warriors, lion striking serpents and leap or pounce as young lions and claiming new territory in their travels (Gen. 49:16-19, Deut. 33:22).

The Encyclopedia Britannica tells us of these Danite seafaring warriors; “in the Levant, between 1230-1190 B.C.,” This is the Eastern Mediterranean which is encompasses the Israeli seacoast where Dan settled when the tribes were allotted their inheritance. Egypt called then “Danuana… (and) Tzakari,” Greeks simply called them the “Danaans.”

We have already discussed the name Dan and how it and its variants are found where Dan has trod. But notice the “Tzak” in “Tzakari”, the Tzak comes from the Hebrew “Yitzak” or as we know the word in English, “Isaac.” Meaning the Israelites and their tribes were also known as Isaac’s sons.

In Modern Turkey and the ancient city of Troy used to be called Dardania and the straits between the Aegean and Black Seas still carried the name, the Dardanelles.

I think predominately the greatest concentration of Danites is in the Scandinavian country of Denmark. As seafaring warriors it is not a stretch to believe they became what are known today as Vikings who came from that region. Even Viking lore has traces of Hebraism in it. For example, the Hebrew word for Lord is Adonai and the god of the Vikings is Oden; same consonants, but different vowels. Recall Hebrew originally had no vowels. One legend tells how Oden sacrificed himself on the Life Tree and was pierced in his side in order to give the Viking people the alphabet of the Ruins, which can actually be traced to ancient Hebrew ("Scandinavian Secrets: The Hebrew Code of the Runes" by Orjan Svensson). This legend sounds uncannily like Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah dying on the tree to give us Life through His Word. Note as well that the Vikings were bearded as the Israelites were. Could their side braids have sprang from the tradition of peyot, the side locks Israelites grew in keeping with the commandment not to shave off the corners or the temples of one’s head (Lev. 21:5, Deut. 14:1?

Even the symbolic icons that represent Dan is found in the nations which is suspected to be Dan:   “The Tribe of Dan was represented by a snake or by a lion (Gen. 49:16-17, Deut. 33:22). Other accepted symbols of Dan were a pair of scales (because Dan means, “to judge”), an eagle, and a dragon (Related to the snake). Many members of Dan settled in Denmark, in Ireland, in Wales, England, and the U.S.A. where 40-50 million people have Irish ancestry. The symbol of a snake was once worshipped in Ireland; a lion represents Denmark and England, Wales has a dragon on its flag, and the U.S.A. has an eagle.”

The Tribe of Naphtali and the Igbo

Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words. – Gen. 49:21

And of Naphtali he said, O Naphtali, satisfied with favour, and full with the blessing of the LORD: possess thou the west and the south. – Deut. 33:23

Shavei.org is one of many who claim the Igbo also have affiliation with the Tribe of Naphtali, along with Gad, Dan and Asher.

Naphtali is prophesied to produce the most beautiful women in all of Israel and the Igbo claim their women are the most beautiful in all of Africa and I dare say they may be right. So many Igbo women enter and win beauty pagents and find success as actresses and models in Nollywood and Hollywood.

Naphtali was born of Zilpah the handmaid and children of the handmaids Zilpah and Bilhah tend to gravitate to one another because they were not physically born of Rachel or Leah. The handmaids were said by some to be Egyptian women and or half-sisters of Rachel and Leah. So it stands to reason that Naphtali may have traveled with Eri’s entourage and made their way to Nigeria to be with their relatives who more closely resembled them ethnically during one of the many waves of Israelites who came to Africa.

Naphtali, if you read Collins and Davidiy’s books explain that a portion of Naphtali became the White Huns. “…Ephthalite,” or “Nephthalies” Huns. They were also called “White Huns,” as they were a fair-skinned, Caucasian or Semitic race. The striking similarity between the Israelite “Naphtalites” and the Asian “Ephthalites” is obvious.” Another part of Naphtali became the Norwegins and Swedes.Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words. – Gen. 49:21

“Wind let loose” speaks of a female deer in heat and the Scandinavian societies are known for its loose and “liberated” attitude toward sex and sexuality. Also, many Scandinavian women have become models and actresses and their Nordic blonde hair, blue eyes and long legs have become the Hollywood standard for sex appeal.

“Goodly words” may hint of Beautiful speeches which are declared from Sweden during the annual Nobel Prizes. 

The Tribe of Benjamin and the Igbo

Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil. – Gen. 49:27

And of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by him; and the LORD shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders. –Deut. 33:12

Benjamin, the baby of all the Tribes held tight to two tribes; full brother Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) and big half-brother Judah. The Southern Kingdom of Judah consisted of Judah, Levi and a smattering of Benjamin and their tribal territory in the allotment within the Promised Land under Joshua was smack dab between Judah, Dan, Ephraim, Manasseh as well as Gad and Reuben. So when Assyria took away the 10 tribes into captivity, part of Benjamin went with them while others were able to escape and take refuge into the Southern Kingdom of Judah, that is until the Babylonians came and took away Judah and Levi into captivity and the Benjamites who escaped the Assyrians were nabbed by the Babylonians.

Seeing as Judah likely resides among the Igbo as well as Manasseh and seeing as Benjamin had a close relationship with these tribes it is conceivable to find Benjamin among the Igbo.

In Scripture Benjamin was known as a small yet fiercely tenacious Tribe (Judges 19-21) of warriors. Their Tribal symbol is the Wolf who hunts in small packs. Based on the clues of the Jacobic and Mosaic prophetic blessings concerning Benjamin and the uncanny similarities in people and culture, some believe  many of Benjamin who were not scattered among other Israelite Tribes, ended up in Norway and became part of the Vikings. 

IGBO HEBREW ROOTS

HEBREW IGBO

1. ADAH Female name, the daughter of Elon: Gen. 36:2The name of a first daughter in Igbo

2.UDUTo certify or attest· · Fame or popularity· · Clay pot· · Pot-like musical instrument

3. ANI Everlasting or unending· land or ground, the earth

4. USII· Name of a town· Name of a male· Name of towns in Owerri and Ideato
· Name of a male

5. ADDAR A Town in Judah: Joshua 15:3 A town in northwest Arochukwu

6. ASA A Hebrew king. The son of Abijah and father of Jehoshaphat. The name of a beautiful female.The name of a town near Aba and Port Harcourt

7. EZER The chief leader of war generals who the Gadites sent to support King David at the battle of Ziklag against Saul which is the last record of the activities of the three Gadite brothers– ERI, ARODI and ARELI. (1 Chron 12: 8). Eze is the general Igbo word for kings and leaders.

8. EWE Goat but pronounced as Ewu or Eghu

9. AM The people of or a place of AMA refers to a place or square

10. OL Servitude or Slavery Olu means labor or work

11.MAAZ The name of a male in Israel Maazi is also a male name or title.

12. IKKAR Tiller of Ground Iko-ugbo means to till the ground or to farm

The Awakening & In-Gathering of the Ibos

Ibo landing - From a Hebrew Perspective!

On Friday and Saturday, August 30th and 31st of 2002 a historic event took place on the small island of St. Simons, Georgia which is located about seventy miles south of Savannah. A Chicago based group of Nigerians, who are from the Ibo tribe, called together Nigerians and all others from Canada to Haiti and all points in between, to come to the place on St. Simons

Island known as Ibo Landing.

The Chicago based group of Nigerian, Ibo have an organization called "Ekwe Nche", which is in the Ibo tongue "A Clarion Call" organized this historic event on St. Simons Island, the event was called to mark the sanctification of the place where thirteen Ibo men cast themselves into the sea rather than live as slaves. It is said that these thirteen men locked arms together and jumped into the sea, to the great surprise and dismay of their captors.

The Ibo Landing event was held to acknowledge the heroism of these thirteen brave men and to give their spirits a proper and fitting memorial through an ecumenical service that was attended by several religious groups. Among the groups represented were, Okpala Eze Nri Chukwuemeka I. Onyesoh, who represented the High Priest and ultimate spiritual leader in Ibo Land. Okechukwu Ikejiani, M.D., a retired physician and professor from Canada, Mr. Bruce Dan Carey from Gary, Indiana and his wife Chief Dele Jane Asawe, who is of the Ibo tribe, Moreh Elisha Israel from Cincinnati, Ohio and Rabbi Capers C. Funnye, Jr. spiritual leader of Beth Shalom B'nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation, in Chicago, Illinois. 

On Friday morning all guest attended an opening ceremony, which was the breaking of the Kola Nut, an event by which all Ibo functions are begun which represents the cultural unity of the Ibo people. A tribal elder offered prayer, and everyone present washed their hands, then partook in eating the Kola nut, which was dipped in a mixture of peanut butter, honey and red pepper grounded into a powder. Dr. Justine Akujieze, of Chicago gave the welcome address and explained the purpose of the event.

The speech by elder statesman, Okechukwu Ikejiani, M. D., who is 85 years old, was very moving and insightful. Dr. Ikejiani was moved to tears as he appealed to the Ibos and African Americans present to unite and develop the organizations necessary to work to better the lives of the Ibos who are still in Nigeria. Dr. Ikejiani has traveled extensively and he promotes Ibo culture, history and heritage in his lectures.

At 3:30 p.m. Mr. Bruce Dan Judah Carey, presented a paper on the history of the Ibo, Ndi Igbo and the Hebrew people. Bruce's paper was both insightful and scholarly as he showed the connection between the Ibo people and their ancient Hebrew ancestors. Bruce detailed the various customs of the Ibo that are strikingly similar to the customs of the ancient Hebrews. Which include circumcision of their males on the eighth day after birth, abstention from pork and shellfish, the concept of rest from labor on the seventh day and observance of a day called Yomora Kippura, which comes in early fall, among the Ibo people and Yomora Kippura has all of the customs attached to it that a Jew finds in the laws concerning Yom Kippur.

Okpala Eze Nri Chukwuemeka I. Onyesoh, who represented the High Priest of Ibo Land, gave a powerful lecture on the conditions of the Ibo people under the current government of Nigeria, and he also spoke on the significance of the Kola Nut, in Ibo culture. Eze Nri Onyesoh, wore a red kipah with an eagle feather and a tallith, with 613 fringes, which is the garment worn by all Ibo priest when they officiate at a cultural ceremony. I found the attire of Eze Nri striking, because, I was wearing a Kipah and I wore my tallith, the only difference was that the Eze Nri wore his tallith, vertically, while we Jews wear our tallith horizontally. 

Moreh Elisha Israel, spoke about the differences that he saw between the Hebrews and the customs of the Ibo people. Moreh Israel did not understand that the customs of the Ibo people were actually Hebraic in their content and structure.

I was invited to speak and I could only compare what I was witnessing to a true awakening of Ibo people to their Hebraic cultural roots. As I thought about why we were in St. Simons Island, Georgia, my mind returned to an episode in Jewish history concerning the Jews at Massadah, who in 73 a.c.e. cast themselves from the walls of their fortress rather come under the control of the Roman Empire. I was inspired by the history of the thirteen Ibo men, who were led by a chief of the Ibo nation, to revolt and become martyrs rather than slaves. My mind and spirit were led to the song by James Weldon Johnson "Lift Every Voice and Sing", in which the writer says in the last verse "Let us be true to our God, and true to our native land".

These thirteen men were in fact true to their God and true to their native land, and they followed one of their chiefs into martyrdom, when they refused to bow to their captors and become slaves.

Saturday August 31, 2002 was a momentous and awe stirring event, after the breaking of the Kola Nut and prayer, we all proceeded to the site of the IBO Landing. The owners of the property have maintained the actual site of the Ibo Landing for nearly 200 years. I was awe struck as the elderly white woman invited the group of 150 to come onto her property and conduct our services.

The "Ruach Kodesh" (holy spirit) overwhelmed me, as several of our group went out onto the actual landing site, and we prayed in the Ibo tongue and in the Hebrew tongue, for the spirits of those men that gave their lives for freedom. The pier has been preserved in its original condition; everything in that space was as it was nearly 200 years ago. It is a local legend that fishermen refuse to approach the site of the Ibo Landing, because it is said that you can hear the voices of those brave souls that became martyrs for freedom. The event was powerful, spiritual, awe inspiring and uplifting as we connected in a way that words cannot express with the souls of the departed.

The final part of our services was the sharing of the Kola Nut. An Ibo elder led us in prayer for the departed souls that engulfed the entire group with a singular thought. We became one people, with one God, one aim and one destiny. 

The Ibo group Ekwe Nche has made a commitment to find other Ibo Landing sites up and down the east coast and to reclaim and redeem the souls of our lost brothers and sisters. The Ibo people are connected to the Gullah speaking people of Haiti, the Caribbean and Florida. The Ibo people are also found among the Geeche speaking people of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Mississippi. I am from South Carolina, I am a Geeche, I am an Ibo, and I am a Jew. Kol Israel Haraybim! (All Israel is responsible for each other).

Musings in Nigeria

I read a write-up by some Igbo scholars that the Igbos should have a say in the resolution of the Middle East conflict. I wondered why? But people who are more knowledgeable than I am have said that Arabs bombed and strafed Igbos during the Biafran war, and I've read that Igbos were enslaved by Arabs during the trans-Saharan slave trade. Perhaps our historians should start researching into all this with the objective of including them among the oppressive acts that Arabs have meted out to Am Israel, so that the oppressors will stop pretending that they are victims. 


Remy C. Ilona Abuja, Nigeria 


Igbos Seek Jewish Link

An Eastern Nigerian tribe - with more than 40 million members scattered throughout the world - is seeking to forge a unique friendship with the Boston Jewish community.

After making a pilgrimage to the Hub for their 12th World Igbo Congress Annual Convention at the Copley Marriott, a handful of Igbo leaders also met with officials at the American Jewish Committee last Friday to discuss forming an alliance. Igbos are not recognized as Jews within the Jewish community.

Many Igbos, who dub themselves as the "Jews of Africa," feel a spiritual bond with the Jewish population, as legends passed down by their ancient ancestors claim that they are one of the lost tribes of Israel.

"The Igbos have not been able to trace their origin back to anywhere else other than Israel," said Peter Opara, a Boston Igbo and communications consultant. "We want to join and walk together with the Jews. Whenever Israel suffers in any possible way, the Igbos feel it."

Within Igbo lore is a prominent figure named Eri, a man with supernatural powers whose beginnings cannot be traced, said Plantation, Fla., Rabbi Gavriel Ogugua, who is Igbo and traveled to Boston for the conference. Eri was able to conquer and develop a lot of lands, one of which became the place where this Nigerian ethnic group still thrives today.

Chapter 46, verse 16 in Bereshit of the Torah states that Gad - the sixth child of Jacob and one of the leaders of the lost tribes of Israel - had a son named Eri, who Igbos have come to believe is the man mentioned in their legends, Ogugua said.

"Many Igbos know that we are related to Jews but have not come to accept the heritage for which they are," Ogugua added, noting that scores of the tribes' members are Christian because of colonialism.

Igbos believe that they not only share Biblical ties with Jews, but also feel they have also been prime targets of hate. More than a million Igbos were starved to death or killed by the Nigerian state authorities between 1966 and 1970 during a civil war, according to world reports and data from the Center for World Indigenous Studies in Washington.

Now, members from the African tribe from all over the world are looking to share their resources - such as oil, gas and fertile lands - and to also support each other in the face of danger, Opara added.

"The Jews have a lot to offer Igbos, and Igbos have a lot to offer Jews," he said. "I hope we can share resources, economics, political security and trade. The Igbo land is open to Israelis to come and invest."

Larry Lowenthal, executive director of the American Jewish Committee in Boston, said even though he "has never heard of (Igbo Jews) before," Israel needs "all of the friends it can get."

"This is amazing," Lowenthal said. "I am just beginning to explore this. The question is: how can we unite Israel and the Jewish community to help the well being of Igbos, who in turn wants to support Israel. This has to be a healthy relationship."

Lowenthal said he now plans to speak further with the executive director of the World Igbo Congress and to also reach out to Rabbi Mark Sokoll, the president and chief executive officer of the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston.

Sokoll, who spoke about the Jewish experience at the Igbos' conference, said he is excited about this new friendship endeavor.

"Part of our mission as Jews is to heal and help fix the world," Sokoll said. "I am open to kind or relationships that will develop in the future."

What Israel Says About the Igbo?

We know since at least 1789 CE that Jews have been interested in the possible Igbo-Israel connection when a former Igbo slave named Olauda Equiano, living in London first proposed the Igbo-Israel relationship in his autobiography. Some Igbos, including a Dr. Ikedife recalls Israelis visiting Igboland and investigating such claims during the Biafran War.

Prophecy states:

Jer. 16:14-16 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be said, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers. Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the LORD, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks. 

It basically says that a hunt would be on one day for the lost tribes scattered abroad. This prophecy has been and is still being fulfilled.

Under direction of Israeli Prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, in October of 1995 and in May 1997 under Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli government sent delegates, looking for a long lost brother Eri. They went to Nigeria, state to state, town to town, tribe to tribe, quietly observed to see if any recognizable Hebraic traits or customs will pop out. When they made it to Obu-Gad their search ended as they seen the Igbo there display Hebraic-ness in their culture. They even seen the ancient stone throne of Gad and immediately recognized the script at the foot of the throne as Paleo-Hebrew. They also visited many sites that have been connected to Eri and the Igbo people. This was documented on film and later shown on Israeli Television. I have been given a DVD copy of this documentary by Eze A.E. Chukuwuemeka-Eri.

On March 28th 1996 Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria visited Nri and cried acknowledging that the Igbo’s were among the Lost Tribes of Israel. Before he left he gave Eze Nri a gift of olives and oil stating that such gifts were only given to Kings of Israel.

In October 23rd 1997 Yitzhaq David an American Jew and Program Director of King Solomon Sephardic Federation was televised visiting the King in Nwewi (Also a King I have personally visited myself, pictured below), Igwe Kenneth Orizu III. It was said during that visit by Zagi David, another delegate which came with the K.S.S.F. “After much research work on the origin of the Igbos, the archaeological findings indicate that Israel is the true home and they should make a quick come back for historical reunion.” 

Today in Israel there is an Igbo synagogue in Tel Aviv. The problem is not necessarily are Igbo’s Hebrews, the issue is how the Israeli government recognize will recognize those Igbo who make Aliyah to Israel. For now they return as converts, but the Igbos want to return being officially recognized as Hebrews. Converts would imply they were never really of Gad, they want to officially be recognized as a Lost Tribe who has been found and is coming home.

What Others Have to Say about the Igbo Being of Israel

“Ibo Tribe of Nigeria”

The wild landscapes of Africa, its exotic rhythms and mask dances provide the picturesque background for this tribe, who believes itself to be the descendants of the Israelite tribe of Gad.
They have numerous legends which explain their origins, many of which don’t exactly fit in with the others.  But this doesn’t seem to bother the Ibo, whose powerful faith allows them the flexibility of accepting what is considered by Western man as a logical contradiction. They interpret their name “Ibo” as a mispronounced “Hebrew” and till today, the members pray to “Chuku Abiama” - Abraham’s God. The Ibos, well known for their struggle for independence in the Biafra war, are now considered the “Jews of Nigeria” and have contributed greatly to the intellectual and economic development in that country.”

Outreach to Nigerian Jews by the wider Jewish world community gained official status in 1995 – 1997, when Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin sent a team to Nigeria in search of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. Western rabbis and educators such as Rabbi Gorin have visited the community at times and Jewish communities in the West support those in Nigeria by sending books, computers, and religious articles. However, the State of Israel has, to date, not officially recognized the Igbo as one of the Lost Tribes.

In 2004-2008, Rabbi Yaacov Behrman made numerous trips to Nigeria to help the Israeli community with Jewish community development. During those visits Rabbi Behrman met with Igbo leaders and visited their community centers. Rabbi Behrman concluded that they lack evidence and refused to recognize them as Jews.”

Israel Today originally reported in 2006 how Chief Rabbinate recognized the Ebos as sons of Israel descended from Gad. And indeed, there is an Ebo-Gad community in Tel Aviv Israel who have their own synagogue. There has been great debates in the Israeli courts, secular and religious regarding the identity of the Igbo’s; many immigration and deportation legal battles. The argument is not necessarily are they truly of Gad, but should they be considered returnees or new converts and it was eventually decided to allow them to make Aliyah as a returning tribe.

Har Ararets magazine in Oct, 12, 2005 article declared the Igbos to be sons of Israel through Gad. Dr. G.T. Basden, an Anglican missionary and anthropologist, along with Prof. Elisabeth Isichei an Australian historian and Melville Merrskovits, an American writer all strongly believe there is enough evidences to link the Igbo’s of Nigeria to the Israeli tribe of Gad. Among Igbo authorities, Prof. O. Alezi and ex-slave Olaudah (Ikwuano) Equiano also believed without a doubt that the Igbos were descendants of Gad.

In several editions of the Encyclopedia Britannica in 1929 connects the Igbo people to Gad. A Torah commentary on Sh’mot in 1922 makes the Igbo-Gad connection also.


Ebonyi State

Ebonyi State is a state of Nigeria, in the south of the Eastern region. It is inhabited and populated primarily by Igbo. Its capital and largest city is Abakaliki. It is one of the six states created in 1996 by the Abacha government. Ebonyi was created from parts of both Enugu State and Abia State. It is the location of the Federal College of Agriculture, Ishiagu.

There are nine primary languages spoken in Ebonyi State: Afikpo, Mgbo, Izzi, Ezaa (Eza means raise in Hebrew), Ikwo, Kukele, Legbo, Mbembe, and Oring. These languages are all subgroups of the Igbo language and are commonly spoken throughout south eastern Nigeria.

Ebonyi is primarily an agricultural region. It is a leading producer of rice, yam, potatoes, maize, beans, and cassava in Nigeria. Rice and yams are predominantly cultivated in Edda, a region within the state. Ebonyi has several solid mineral resources, including lead, crude oil, and natural gas, but few large-scale commercial mines. The state government has, however, given several incentives to investors in the agro-allied sector to encourage production. Ebonyi is called "the salt of the nation" (as Israelites, the Igbos are the salt of the earth) for its huge salt deposit at the Okposi and Uburu Salt Lakes (Israelites are often close salt lakes). 

The Tribe of Asher and the Igbo

Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties. - Gen. 49:20

And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil. Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be. – Deut. 33:24-25

Asher is also said to be among the Igbos and this is a strong possibility because Gad and Asher were brothers, they had the same mother, the handmaid Zilpah.

The Jewish virtual library says that Eldad the Danite claims Asher to be one of the Tribes who made it to Africa along with Gad, Dan and Naphtali. The JVL also tells of a theory that Zebulun and Asher traveled from North Africa to West Africa either by Jewish trading caravans or by way of Carthage who some believe were descendants of Zebulun and Asher (http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/vjw/Nigeria.html)

Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties. - Gen. 49:20

Asher is spoken of as catering to the luxury of Kings in food and accessories. They are the miner or mining tribe. This could indicate the Igbos and other African and white South Africans who mine diamonds and precious metals and stones fit for royal diadems.

Other British Israelite theorists place a part of Asher in the British Isles.

The Scattering of the 10 Tribes

There is an imbalanced view fueled by racial prejudice and supremacy that says the Lost Tribes either have to be black or white. They have to be found either in Africa or the Northern Hemisphere of Europe and the Americas. You have the two opposing camps of Black Hebrewism and British Israelitism. Both have their extremists and bias embellished propaganda, and both equally have their grains of researchable and verifiable truth. I have no problem accepting that a portion of both camps are true. Why? Because the 10 tribes which made up the Northern Kingdom of Israel that went off into Assyrian captivity has never returned and these peoples were transported, sold, traded, migrated, scattered and settled everywhere; having mingled through marriage and assimilation into virtually every people group on the planet and thus Hebrews have become a part of virtually every nationality, and ethnicity. 

Though portions of Judah and Levi has been scattered with the other 10 tribes, who we recognize as Jews today come from Judah and Levi who went off into Babylonian captivity and eventually returned and this is who we recognize as Jews today.


Many of Shem’s line married into the dark complexion of the Hammitic line, genetically producing dark skinned Hebrews. But through the two captivities and scattering in the diaspora, Hebrews (Israelites) and Jews, as I said earlier, have mingled with many peoples of the world and have migrated to unfamiliar climates and through the centuries some Jews and Hebrews/Israelites have lost much of the darker skin tone and so we have descendants of Jacob (Israel) of every color, shape and size. I believe HaShem has allowed this to happen to break down racial barriers and the dividing wall between Jew/Hebrew/Israelite and Gentile and as a way of reversing the effects of the Tower of Babel. Instead we have perverted this purpose to fortify disgusting racist diatribes. Therefore, it would be prejudice and foolhardy of us to dismiss either side of the debate because of issues of bias or race. Let us glean the truth that inherently resides in both sides of the issue. 

Lies of the Elders?

It has been proposed by some that the Igbo Elders are either lying about Igbos being Hebrews or that they're hiding something, or they have been influenced by white men to say Igbos are Hebrews. 

First of all, what would the elders have to gain by perpetuating a lie in which they would never live to benefit from, and what would be such a benefit, from what I can tell because of such claims by the Igbo they have been shunned and persecuted by others. 

Second, this belief was held long before white men ever met the Igbo and those that did, observed how like ancient Israel they were and the missionaries would not voice this fact to them for fear of losing converts. And what benefit would white men gain by getting the Igbos to promote their Hebrew origins. 

To propose the elders have themselves conspired to perpetuate a lie to the Igbo people is preposterous and holds no water. 

Does this mean that the elders do not keep secrets, of course they do. They keep certain knowledge hidden as all elders in all cultures do until there are those worthy to be initiated into the eldership so as to pass such information along. 

Why is certain knowledge withheld? For safety sake, for certain knowledge in the wrong hands can be deadly. For example, fire has many benefits but can also be a destructive force. One would not allow an infant to play with matches, no; an elder withholds the knowledge of how to produce fire until the child is of a responsible age so as to handle such knowledge with great respect and care. Similarly, elders withhold certain information until there are those who come along that are worthy and responsible to receive it. This does not mean the elder lie and are responsible of perpetuating a conspiracy against their own people. 

Another example is in Judaism, the knowledge of esoteric matters, mysticism; kabbalah is withheld from one who has been raised in the Jewish tradition until 40 years of age. Because only a ripe and mature mind can handle such knowledge. A story goes that 4 men studied kabbalah and only one out of the four became a righteous man. The others either, went insane, became a blasphemer or an apostate. So one can see the reason that certain knowledge is kept under lock and key by the elders, but to say that knowledge is harmful and conspiratorial is ludicrous and offensive. 

It is also important to note that unlike the game of telephone, what the elders have said has for the most part been consistent from the beginning with little variation and such variation which may be found in regards to the overall picture of what the elders have said has no effect or contradiction. Bottom line, they have said from the beginning Igbos are Hebrews. 

GENETIC EVIDENCE TO LINK THE IGBO TO ISRAEL?

The E3b haplogroup is found in all Jewish groups all over the world. It is the second most prevalent haplogroup in Jewish populations. 

Genetic studies agree that E-M35 is the second highest in prevalence next to J, when establishing Jewish linages. This is found in moderate amounts among all Jewish populations that are from the Ashkenazi, Sephardic, Kurdish, Yemenite, Samaritan and Djerba Jewish groups.

Most Geneticists say that the haplogroup E3b (M35) seems to have come from East Africa but from there was carried to the Near East, then to North Africa and Europe. Today it is commonly found in such places as East and North Africa, and the Near East around the areas of the Mediteranian. 

The haplogroup J also known as HG9 or Eu9/Eu10 is a Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup. It is subdivided into two subclades: J2, defined by the M172 marker and J1 defined by the M267 marker.



Genetic mapping shows that the J haplogroup 1 and 2 are both common in Southern and Central Europe as well as in the Mediterranean and Africa. The J haplogroup is thought to be the telltale sign of Jewish ancestry, as well as what is known as the Cohen gene which the Lemba tribe of Zimbabwe has which make them Levites and permitted to make Aliyah (return) to Israel as Children of Levi.

J1 (M267) has the higher concentration in the Middle East, North Africa and Ethiopia. J2 is found in parts of Africa among Semitic speaking peoples of Tigriniya, Amhara and Oromiya.

The Nri clan among the Igbo function as the Levitical priests among Israel and plans are in the works to examine the DNA from the Igbo in an attempt to find the Genetic markers that would point to Jewish or Levitical origins, thus further solidifying the Igbo’s place among Israel.

In the article “Population Genetics Reveal Shared Ancestry: DNA Links Modern Europeans, Middle Easterners to Sub-Saharan Africans” on Science Daily May 14, 2011. This article springs from HMS Associate Professor of Genetics, David Reich and his paper entitled, “The History of African Gene Flow Into Southern European, Levantines and Jews,” published by PLoS Genetics. Genetic data from 40 populations across Africa, Asia and the Middle East assisted by doctoral student Prya Moorjani and Assistant Professor Alkes Prices used the genetic roll off method to find Sub-Saharan African ancestry with West Eurasian DNA approximately 1,600 years ago. In this online article it says, “A diverse array of Jewish populations can date their Sub-Saharan African ancestry back roughly 72 generations, on average, accounting for 3 to 5 percent of their genetic makeup today.” Also stated that African and Jewish populations mixed during the Jewish diaspora in the 6th to 8th century B.C. 

ARCHEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE TO INDICATE AN ISRAELITE ORIGIN 

A good researcher must also be able to read symbols which they may find and know where such symbols originated from. This aids the detective in discovering the truth about a victim or suspect. Sometimes they even have to analyze symbols in order to break a code in order to gain valuable information in their case.

For example, a picture or drawing a snake in one culture may be a symbol of wisdom or eternal life and in another culture it may mean evil, danger or death.

Paleo-Hebrew Script has been found in various places in the Igbo Territories of Nigeria.

Drawings like unto the Mogen David, Star of David have been found in various places of Igboland prior to missionary arrival to Nigeria.

“One scholar who visited Iboland, saw a swastika there and questioned how the Ebos/Hebrews could have this symbol and be Jewish. Sar Amariel answered the question stating, ‘This is an ancient Hebrew symbol that represents the sun…’” – Document: Tabernacle Congregation Prayer Yeshiva to HRM A.E. Chukwuemeka-Eri (Ezerora 34th and KAK Ji Ofor Igbo) King of the Igbos

And indeed swastikas have been found on the reliefs of ancient synagogues in Israel. No wonder the Nazis adopted this symbol to imply they were like the sun and greater that the Star of David.

Equally and obviously cold, hard, tangibly, physical evidence is required to come to solid conclusions in any case a detective may take on. 

It has already been mentioned earlier regarding the Stone Throne at Obu-Gad with the Paleo-Hebrew Inscription at the foot of the throne as well as the onyx stone. It is interesting to note that the stone representing Gad (as well as the other Tribes) in the Priestly shoulder stones was made of onyx, which is black (Ex. 39:6-7). In December 1997 a onyx stone found at the palace of Obu-Gad, the traditional site where Gad’s son Eri settled was found an onyx stone that bore the Paleo-Hebrew inscription “GAD” upon it which the King Solomon Sephardic Federation confirmed the authenticity of the inscription.  

This stone throne is reminiscent of Gad’s memorial altar in Joshua chapter 22 in which they did not sacrifice upon but …

In time to come your children might speak unto our children, saying, What have ye to do with the Lord God of Israel? For the Lord hath made Jordan a border between us and you, ye children of Reuben and children of Gad; ye have no part in the Lord: so shall your children make our children cease from fearing the Lord. Therefore we said, Let us now prepare to build us an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice: But that it may be a witness between us, and you, and our generations after us, that we might do the service of the Lord before him with our burnt offerings, and with our sacrifices, and with our peace offerings; that your children may not say to our children in time to come, Ye have no part in the Lord. Therefore said we, that it shall be, when they should so say to us or to our generations in time to come, that we may say again, Behold the pattern of the altar of the Lord, which our fathers made, not for burnt offerings, nor for sacrifices; but it is a witness between us and you. – Josh. 22:24b-28

In 1917 the British discovered, about 500 feet below the soil on the palace grounds a solid bronze Star of David indicating the Igbo people may have migrated from the ancient city of David. To commemorate this event, Nigerian kobo coins were minted with a Star of David on it. 

While attending the Ovala Festival at Obu-Gad in Aguleri at the River Niger where Eri was said to have crossed there is a 12 stone altar built by Eri in the middle of the river that can be seen during the dry seasons when the water is low. This too recalls us to a Biblical passage of striking similarities specifically involving the Tribe of Gad.

And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the Lord spake unto Joshua, saying, Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man, And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests' feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night. Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man: And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of Jordan, and take you up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel: That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever. And the children of Israel did so as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of Jordan, as the Lord spake unto Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them unto the place where they lodged, and laid them down there. And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood: and they are there unto this day. For the priests which bare the ark stood in the midst of Jordan, until everything was finished that the Lord commanded Joshua to speak unto the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua: and the people hasted and passed over. And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over, that the ark of the Lord passed over, and the priests, in the presence of the people. And the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, passed over armed before the children of Israel, as Moses spake unto them: About forty thousand prepared for war passed over before the Lord unto battle, to the plains of Jericho. On that day the Lord magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him, as they feared Moses, all the days of his life. – Joshua 4:1-14

Between 1938-1959 Archeologists led by Thurston Shaw at an Igbo-Ukwu excavation near Oaeri town unearthed what is believed to be a mask portraying an Igbo face. Also unearthed were bronze items, pots, bowls, etc., including a pot believed to be used in the coronation of Igbo Kings. Also found were bronze intricate beads that reflected wealth and artistic skill as well as attests to international trade by ancient Igbos. Some archeological dating tests suggest Igbos have occupied Nigeria as early as 3,000 BCE. Radio carbon dating of the objects suggests that Igbos occupied Nigeria before 800 CE. Much of the items found in this excavation seem to have a modified Egyptian design and or influence which would make since seeing as the first Igbo are said to have come from Egypt in the Pre-Exodus-Exodus.

To be sure there are new discoveries here of late that have yet to be studied and analyzed.  Also, we must ask, how much archeological evidence has been destroyed due to the Biafra War and Land Development? So further archeological evidences are bound to become more numerous in the near future.

Ohafia Igbos

Ohafia is a Clan and local government area in Abia State, Nigeria. It is an Igbo speaking region. The ancestral capital of Ohafia is the centrally located village of Elu (any relation with Eloha/Elohim?). But the Administrative Headquarters of the then Arochukwu/Ohafia and now Ohafia Local Government Area is EBEM OHAFIA. Other clans comprising the Ohafia LGA include Abiriba and Nkporo.

The ancestors of the Ohafia people were renowned as mighty warriors. This aspect of the Ohafia peoples history remains fundamental to the Ohafia people's sense of identity. The warrior's cap or "leopard cap" (Igbo: Okpu agu) is well known and is an associated product of Ohafia. The Ohafia warrior tradition is embodied in the performance of Iri agha.

Ohafia is home to the third largest military base in Nigeria, named Goodluck Jonathan Barracks. It houses the headquarters of the newly established 14 Brigade and 145 Battalion office complex.

The Tribe of Manasseh and Ephraim and the Igbo

And she called his name Joseph; and said, The LORD shall add to me another son. – Gen. 30:24

And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house. – Gen. 41:51

And unto Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him. –Gen 46:20

And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine. – Gen. 48:5

And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh. – Gen. 48:20

Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)  Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren. - Gen. 49:22-26 – italics mine  

And of Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) he said, Blessed of the LORD [be] his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath, And for the precious fruits [brought forth] by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon, And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills, And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren. His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh. -Deut. 33:13-17 – italics mine  

Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand…. tribe of Joseph (Ephraim) were sealed twelve thousand. – Rev. 7:6, 8 – italics mine 

Manasseh is the son of Joseph, and he and his brother Ephraim were adopted as sons of Jacob/Israel in order to make the tribes 12, because, Levi, although a son of Jacob/Israel, had no inheritance in the Land of Promise, but the service of the priesthood unto GOD was to be their inheritance.

Ephraim, being made greater, was sometimes used to indicate all of 10 tribes of Israel’s Northern Kingdom. So, could Manasseh, being Ephraim’s brother also be used to indicate the 10 tribes or is the name Manasseh strictly used to only refer to the tribe. This has been a cause for much speculation and debate. Even the Book of Revelation seems to indicate Joseph is Ephraim and Manasseh is a separate tribe. Although I have heard that some argue that Manasseh in this passage was really Dan as they are mysteriously missing from the list of sealed tribes.

The Igbo’s of the West African country of Nigeria have claimed to be remnants of the lost tribes of dominantly of Gad, Zebulon, and Manasseh:

It has also been suggested that the Jewish Ibo people originated from a migration of Israelites who fled to West Africa. 

The Igbo Jews traditionally claim descent from three particular Israelite tribes: Gad, Zevulun, and Menashe. The Jews of Manipur and Mizoram, the Bnei Menashe, also claim descent from the tribe of Menashe. It is thought that these Jews fled to Africa after the destruction of the biblical Temples in Jerusalem and established communities all across the African continent.

Yet evidence, either hard or circumstantial to firmly establish this belief is hard to come by. I have no problem believing Manasseh to be among the Igbo, but if so, they have likely been swallowed up by Gad, the dominate Hebraic tribe among the Igbo. I can understand the possibility that Manasseh may be used as the name Ephraim sometimes has been, in a generic term to denote Israelites from all 10 tribes that have migrated to be with their brethren in Nigeria. Or it could literally mean the tribe of Manasseh, because Manasseh, being black, or at least darker than some of his Semitic Hebrew brethren, finding himself in Assyrian exile and captivity and escaping, would find themselves migrating to countries that more closely resemble their visual ethnos so as to blend in to the peoples around them, skirting certain types of persecution, while at the same being able to practice their faith without trouble. 

However, there is a linguistic connection the Igbo clans have to Manasseh. Igbo clans who have the word “Ichi” or “chi” in their names believe they are from Manasseh. In Nnewi there is the Ichi-da and Ichi sub clan.  In Anambra State there is the Ichi clan. In Enugu State we have the Ame-chi Awkunanan clan, all of which have traces of Manasseh’s name within them. 

Manasseh in India?

The Israeli authorities have officially recognized and gave allowance of aliyah (immigration) status (with the understanding that they have to officially convert) to the Kuki-Chin-Mizo people of Northeast India, also known as Bnei Menashe, in 2005 by the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel.

The Indian connection to Manasseh has also been confirmed by the Jewish Canadian Archeologist Simcha Jacobovici in his A&E documentary “Quest for the Lost Tribes” This documentary also reveals that a portion of all 12 tribes the Afghan Pathan’s who are now Muslim, carry the names and some of the traditional traits and practices of the 12 tribes of Israel.  This documentary also tells of the Jews of Kaifeng China who believe they are from Manasseh.

Manasseh and Ephraim who were prophesied to become very large, and like Simeon and Levi were to be scattered among all the tribes. So I think it is a likely possibility that Manasseh and even Ephraim could be among the Igbos. But just the same, I am sure we can find them among many other people groups of the world. 

Manasseh in Europe?

British Israelite Scholars such as Steven M. Collins and Yair Davidiy have written extensive volumes on the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh alone that is too complex to get into here, but suffice it to say the main gist of their research and belief point to Britain having absorbed much of the Ephraimites and the United States absorbing much of Manasseh.

Igbo Worship and its Paraphernalia 

Ofo

The Ofo is a staff of authority carried by Heads of family and clans as well as elders, leaders and or ruling authorities in Igboland, which is likened to Moses’ staff which was used to render judgment upon the people or call down curses upon Israel’s enemies. 

Prayer

The formulation of Jewish prayer and the prayers of the Igbo are strikingly similar. In Judaism a standard opening for prayer, especially in the prayers called the “Amidah” is; “Blessed are you Oh Lord our God, God of our Forefathers, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob…” In Igboland it is common to open certain prayers with, “Chukwu, Chi nke nna nna anyi ha…” which translates to, “Great God, God of our forefathers…”

It should also be a note of interest that Igbos prayed with their heads covered as does the Jews, prior to the coming of the white man and the advent of Christianity. As in Israel, So in Igboland.

Special Times, Holy Days and Festivals

I will be brief and general in my description of these events as all Igbos have such festivals but they are called by slightly different names and have slightly differing traditions accompanying them in various parts of Igboland.

Leviticus 23 gives us a rundown of the High Holydays of Israel and as one shall see. The Igbos also have their version of these Holy Days and festivals.

                                                              Igbo ancestor, not an idol

Sabbath

Exd. 16:23, 23:12, 31:15-17, 35:2-3, Lev. 23:3

Igbo’s have an 8 day weekly cycle which “Eke Ukwu” is the rest day. Some have speculated that the 8 day cycle came from Jeroboam's decrees which would mean Igbo’s are more Israelite than Judean, seeing as Jeroboam rules the 10 Tribes of the Northern Kingdom. 

Before the white man came, the Igbo day as the Jewish day is from sunset to sunset.

As in Israel, so in Igboland. 

New Moon

Num. 10:10, 28:11, I Sam. 20:5, II Kings 4:22-23, Psalm 81:3, Ezek. 46:1, Isa. 66.23, Col. 2:16

Igbos have kept a Lunar Calendar much like that of Israel with set days for feasts and celebrations which mirror one another as the reader will soon see. However, due to the Influence of the Christian West observing the Lunar Calendar is not practiced as it once was.

Exd. 12:1, 16:1, 19:1  

Along with the New moon is the sanctification of the new month as well. Just as pre-Babylonian Jews had no names for the months, so too Igbos count and not name their months. This testifies to the fact that a wave of Israelites came to Nigeria prior to the Babylonian and Assyrian captivities.

As in Israel, so in Igboland. 

Passover

And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. – Exd. 12:8 

The Olite Festival in Igboland is very similar to Passover among the Jews. Animals are slaughtered and eaten with bitter leaves and yam. This too shows that despite there being a Pre-Exodus-Exodus of Gadites that settled Igboland, many Israelites came Post Egyptian Exodus to be with their brothers and carried the tradition of Passover with them. 

The Oriri Achicha festival in Igboland is celebrated by eating unleavened dried bread made from cocoyam and is the same as the Jewish Feast of Unleavened Bread. Like Passover this feast takes place in the evening, a long walk takes place in the bush with priests and elders taking the lead, this is like a re-enactment of the Exodus from Egypt.

As in Israel, so in Igboland. 

First Fruits

Deut. 18:4, 26:2, 10, Lev. 23:10-22

The New Yam Festival (Emume Iri Ji) is also much like the Festival of First Fruits (Exd. 23:16) which one is not to appear empty handed before the YHWH/Chukwu respectively. In Igboland the best of the first fruits is dug up and presented and after which a blood sacrifice is made (usually a chicken) and then the feasting can begin. 

Also no one is permitted to eat the first fruits in Igboland until after the Iwaji, ifejioku festival which is similar to the harvest festival and sacrificial rituals as seen in Leviticus 23. 

As in Israel, so in Igboland. 

Blowing the Ram’s Horn (Shofar)

Exd. 19:16, Lev. 23:24, 25:9, Num. 10:1-9, Josh. 6:4, Hos. 5:8-9, Isa. 27:13, Psa. 81:3-4, I Cor. 15:52

Igbos use a ram’s horn that the Jews call a Shofar, or even an elephant tusk (usually only Igbo Rulers) to call the village together for various kinds of meetings.

There is a festival in parts of Igboland known as Ilo Mmuo (Reconciling with God) is similar to the Biblical festival of Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets) more popularly known as Rosh HaShannah.

As in Israel, so in Igboland. 

Atonement

Lev. 16:6, 23:26-33, Deut. 21:6-8

As in Israel, so in Igboland; a blood sacrifice is required for atonement. 

Lev. 16:7-10, 21-22, 26

Israelites and Igbos also share the concept and custom of the scapegoat as seen in the passages above. In many parts of Igboland the sins of the clan are pronounced over a he-goat after which it is let loose.

In Igbo land the Festival of Iba Nzu, Isu Osisi and Ikwa Akuto is like Rosh HaShannah (New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonements). Iba Nzu is a six day dfestival, the first three days, elders cover themselves in white chalk and seclude themselves in their homes for three days with no contact with anyone and the last three days they come out and are seen about the community and on the seventh day is Isu Osisi and at the end of this day the elder men and women go to the home of the chief priest for a feast. Next comes Ikwa Akuto where the women of the community gather at dawn and call down death curses upon the evil doers of the community and petition Chukwu Abiama to forgive the community of their sins. After which broken vessels are thrown into the forest, the women go home and take a ritual bath, this constitutes the end of the Igbo year.

In Jewish practice there are ten days, five of which a person reconciles with God, the other five days a person reconciles with his fellow man. It is also traditional to wear garments of white during this time.  This corresponds to the three days of seclusion and the three days of being seen in public. The covering of white chalk is like the Jewish wearing of white clothes during this time.

In Judaism one last meal is eaten before the fast of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonements), the next day, one takes a mikvah (ritual bath) and is a day of confession of sins and a call for justice with the tearing of garments before the day ends, when it is considered that the books of judgement are closed for the year in heaven and everyone’s fate is sealed till next year. This is very much like the Igbos Ikwa Akuto ceremony. One can obviously see the striking parallels. 

Also pertinent to the concept of atonement is that of purification which in Igboland is called Ikpu Aru Na Ana Igbo. This takes place when odd happenings, great misfortunes and strange unexplained negative occurrences such as crop failures, untimely deaths, miscarriages, plagues, etc., happen that causes the Igbo elders to take notice and declare that some “Aru” (abomination) has brought such things about. The abomination is made known through consultation of Chukwu by the Nri priests and then a purification and or atoning ritual takes place. 

As in Israel, so in Igboland. 

Feast of Tabernacles – Sukkot

Lev. 23:33-39, Num. 29:12, Deut. 16:13

This festival is called in Igboland, “Ima ntu” or “Ima Igu” in Aguleri and it is called by other names in other parts of Igboland, but the festivals are all essentially the same. During this festival the Igbos reside in a tent or temporary shelter (usually of palm fronds, branches and other indigenous foliage) for 7-8 days, sometimes longer. 

The Ijele is a type of booth or shrine made in Igboland which to me resembles a Sukkah/Booth. It has “images” surrounding it which as stated earlier we know to be representory of ancestors and not idols. This is especially pertinent because during Sukkot it is traditional to invite the Patriarchs and one's deceased ancestors into the Sukkah to participate in the festivities. 

As in Israel, so in Igboland. 

7th Year

Exd. 23:10-11

The Sabbatical or Shmita year as it is known in Judaism the Igbos practice as well. They farm the land for six years and let it lay fallow the 7th year. Some places in Igboland cultivate for 4 years and allows the land to rest on the 5th year. 

As in Israel, so in Igboland. 

50th Year - Jubilee

Lev. 25:8-10

This 50 year celebration is still observed all over Igboland and is called by various names in different parts of Igboland, but the celebration is essentially the same everywhere you go. 

Closely tied with Jubilee is the redemption of land found in Lev. 25:23-28 and Igbos too do this as did the ancient Israelites. Igbos also practices the concept of land which is not redeemable as if found in Lev. 25:30. 

As in Israel, so in Igboland.

Priesthood and Sacrifices

High/Chief Priests and Priests

Leviticus 8:12-13; 21:1 

The Levites filled this role in Israel; the Nri priests do so in Igboland and are thought to have a Levitical linage.

As In Israel, so in Igboland.

Prophet

In Judaism Prophets are called Nevi’im and prophesying among the Igbo is called Ibu Amuma.  Like in Judaism a man or a woman can be a prophet in Igboland. Chukwu can speak to an Igbo in a vision or dream. A Prophet will go about the clan announcing that Chukwu has revealed something to him/her and in the evening the clan leaders go to the shrine of Chukwu in which the Prophet operates from and it is there that the Prophet reveals the prophecy to the people. Depending upon the nature of the prophecy, the leaders will decide on how to act upon what was said, such as if a communal sacrifice may be in order. This is why the Pentecostal and or Charismatic Christianity tend to thrive among the Igbos.
  
Earthen Altar

Exodus 20:24

In the Torah we read of the Patriarchs building altars of earth and natural stone to sacrifice unto YHWH. Such altars in Igboland are common and are called “Okwu Ani.” They are maintained by hand and no tool is permitted to be used on them. Most other altars in pagan religious use hew stone where as Jews and Igbos use natural uncut earth and stone to construct their altars. 

A 12 stone altar exists in the middle of the Niger River in Aguleri where Eri, son of Gad is said to have crossed and it can be seen during the dry season when the water levels are lowest. Recall in Joshua 4 where a 12 stone memorial altar was erected in the middle of the Jordan. 

Leviticus goes into great detail regarding various offerings, drink offerings, peace offerings, sin offerings, all of which are practiced to some degree among the Igbo. 

As In Israel, so in Igboland.

Removal of Morning Ashes

Leviticus 6:4

Though this deals with the responsibilities of the Levitical priesthood, Israel was considered a nation of priests and so common Israelites voluntarily took upon themselves priestly rituals in daily living. This is an example of but one of them that the Igbo practices as well.

Igbo’s consider it an obligation, mandatory to remove ashes from the previous days fire before one kindles a new one. If not, the holiness or purity of whatever is cooked on the old ashes is thrown into question.

As In Israel, so in Igboland.

Defilement

Leviticus 18:24-30  “Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;) That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you. For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people. Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the Lord your God.”

Such commands as stated above, the Igbo observe just as Israel held their land as holy and sacred and would not do anything considered an abomination to defile it, as In Israel, so in Igboland.

The Land to Israel and Igbo alike is so holy, it is said of both that upon death in a foreign land and in the resurrection, the body too will make its way back to the Land, even if it has to roll underground to get there!

Purification of the Land Exd. 20:24, Lev. 1-7. Num. 15:1-13, 28:3-8

Just as Israel has various offerings, sacrifices and libations, some of which are used in purification ceremonies of the Land, so too in Igboland for the Igbo. 

Holy Ground Exd. 3:5, Josh. 5:15

When I entered the Shrine at Obu-Gad in Aguleri which contains the stone throne with paleo-Hebrew inscription at the foot of it in cowry shells that reveals that the throne is dedicated to Eri’s father Gad. I had to remove my shoes before entering. There are many other places in Igboland such as this.                            
Tithe Lev. 27:30-32, Num. 18:24, Deut. 14:22-29

Caliben I.O. Michael in his book “Our Roots: Igbo Israel Heritage” p. 43 says, 

“This is an old Igbo practice that is seldom done now… When Igbos were practicing these in line with the commandment they had no beggars among them but with the neglect of this commandment there is now insurgence of beggars in Igboland…” 

Igbos tithe from their livestock and fields, and those who acted as priests take a portion of the tithe brought to Chukwu Abiama and distributed among the less fortunate in the community.

It has been noted that Igbos who follow and respect Omenana believe it so closely resembles Torah, Judaism that Igbos have one of the lowest rates of poverty and crime among the surrounding peoples in Nigeria. 

Castrated animals Lev. 22:24

It is an abomination to offer up such an animal in Igboland, for it will not be accepted by the priests for sacrifice, EVER!

Igbo of the Islands

It must be recognized that Igbo’s thus Gadites and other Israelites inhabit the U.S., West Indies and Caribbean Islands due to the slave trade.

It is believed that over 60% of Igbos has ended up in various parts of the world and that approximately 25% of all African Americans are Igbo as well as a good number who occupy the West Indies and Caribbean Islands such as and especially Jamaica and Haiti. This is because there were some Igbo slaves either too sick, on the verge of death, to rebellious and unruly to travel to the U.S. were dumped off on these Island and some Igbo were simply sold to Island plantations and thus the Igbo were spread throughout these Islands. 

Haiti still has a proverbs that says, “The Igbo has hung himself,” meaning one would rather die than to be forced to do something. They also have a folk song called, “Ibu Lele.” Anything in Haiti that has value is referred to as “Ibu.” They also have a place in Haiti called, Ibo Beach.

In Jamaica they have a place called “Ibu Town.” As well as a section of Belize City which carries this same name (Eboe Town). 

It is said that Jamacian Igbos are known for the reddish hue to their brown skin and are called “Red Ibos.” Interestingly enough, the soil of Nigeria where Igbos lives is red. Adam, the first man, his name means “red.”

“Red Ibos” are also a common phrase in Barbados. 

Ebo Landing in St. Simons Georgia (1850’s) is known as a slave ship landing area and on one occasion the Igbo slaves refused to disembark in order to be sold and instead jumped overboard and drown; believing their souls would return to Igboland. Could this event be spiritual DNA or spiritual residual memory come into play; recalling slavery in Egypt or Assyrian captivities or the Masada Revolt and Thus the Igbo would rather die than to allow history to repeat itself?

Some believe the Jamaican Maroons and the Jamaican Patois and Rastafarians are of Igbo descent because certain Igbo words still exist in their tongue as well as their draw, affinity and practice of Judaism or Black Hebrewism.


EGYPTIAN | IGBO (Onitsha and Uburu dialects used) KAKA(God) | Ka (greater, superior)

Khu (to kill, death) | Nwu/Gbu (die/to kill)
Em (smell) | Imi/Emi (nose, associated with smell)
Bi (to become) | Bu (to become)
un (living being) | Ndu (life)
Feh (to go away) | Feh (to fly away)
Budo (dwelling place) | Obodo/ubudo (country, dwelling place)
Dudu (black image of Osiris) | Mmadu (person)
Un (living person) | Ulo/Uno (living area, house)
Beka (pray/confess) | Biko/Beko (to plead, please)
Aru (mouth) | Onu (mouth) & kooh/Kwue (to speak)
Dor (settlement) | Dor-Nor (sit down, settle)
Ra -Shu (light after darkness) | La -Shu (sleep)
Aru (rise) | Anu/Kulie (up, rise)
Wu (rise) | KWu-ni/Kunie (rise)
In- n (negation) nh-n (negation)
Ma (to know) | Ma, Ma-li (to know)
Se (to create) | Ke (to create) & Se (to draw)
Hoo (rejoice) | Goo, ta-Goo (dance, rejoice)
Omijener (deep water) | Ime-me (deep inside)
Nen (the primeval water mother) | Nem (mother)
Ro (talk) | Kwo (to talk)
Penka (divide) Panje (break it)
Ala (Land of) | Ala (Land of, ground, boundary)
Amu (children) | Umu (children)
Ani (ground land below) | Ani (ground land below)
Ka (higher) | Ka (greater, higher, stronger, above)
Pa (open) | Meghee (open)
Isi (leader) | Isi (leader, head (body part), female name as in igbo: “Isioma”)
Oni (AE City) | Oni-tsha (Igbo City)
Ikhenaten (name of a Pharaoh) | Ikh-em (Igbo name for a male representing high power)
Au-nu (Crocodile) | Anu/Anu-Ma-nu (animal, beast)
Miri (water) | Miri (water)
Nahasu (other Blacks) | Ahasi/Ani-hasi (Evening, night)
Ak (man) | Ok-a (man)
Ehn/Hen (yes, nod head) | Eh (yes, nod head)
Paa/Faa (fly) | Feeh/Faa (fly)
Utcha (dawn) | Uchi-chi/Utchi-chi(night)
MM (among) | Imme (inside, among)
W (they) | Uwe (they, them)

Anambra State

Anambra State is a state in south-eastern Nigeria. Its name is an anglicized version of the original 'Oma Mbala', the native name of the Anambra River. The Capital and the Seat of Government is Awka. Onitsha and Nnewi are the biggest commercial and industrial cities, respectively. The state's theme is "Light Of The Nation". Boundaries are formed by Delta State to the west, Imo State and Rivers State to the south, Enugu State to the east and Kogi State to the north. The origin of the name is derived from the Anambra River (Omambala) which is a tributary of the famous River Niger.

The indigenous ethnic group in Anambra state are the Igbo (98% of population) and a small population of Igala (2% of the population) who live mainly in the north-western part of the state.

Anambra is the eighth most populated state in the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the second most densely populated state in Nigeria after Lagos State. The stretch of more than 45 km between Oba and Amorka contains a cluster of numerous thickly populated villages and small towns giving the area an estimated average density of 1,500–2,000 persons per square kilometre.

Anambra is rich in natural gas, crude oil, bauxite, ceramic and has an almost 100 percent arable soil.

In the year 2006, foundation laying ceremony for the first Nigerian private refinery Orient Petroleum Refinery (OPR) was made at Aguleri area. The Orient Petroleum Resource Ltd, (OPRL) owners of OPR, was licensed in June 2002, by the Federal Government to construct a private refinery with a 55,000 b/d capacity.

Furthermore, Anambra state is a state that has many other resources in terms of agro-based activities like fishery and farming, as well as land cultivated for pasturing and animal husbandry.

Currently, Anambra State has the lowest poverty rate in Nigeria (typical among this industrious people: Igbos).

With an annual population growth rate of 2.21 percent per annum, Anambra State has over 60% of its people living in urban areas making it one of the most urbanized places in Nigeria.

The major urban centres of Anambra state are Onitsha including Okpoko, Nnewi, and Awka. Awka and Onitsha developed as pre-colonial urban centres with Awka as the craft industrial centre of the Nri hegemony; and Onitsha the city state on the Niger and a river port and commercial centre.

Onitsha is a fast-growing commercial city, and has developed to become a huge conurbation extending to Idemili, Oyi and Anambra East LGAs with one of the largest markets in West Africa. Nnewi (the Taiwan of Nigeria) is a rapidly developing industrial and commercial centre; and Awka, by becoming the state capital is, as it were, regaining its precolonial administrative eminence.

Other main towns of Anambra state are: Aguleri, Awka-Etiti, Awgbu, Lilu, Azigbo, Igbariam, Enugwu Aguleri, Omor, Aguluzigbo, Umumbo, Nkwelle-Ezunaka, Abatete, Achina, Agulu, Amorka, Aguluezechukwu, Ogidi, Obosi, Ihiala, Amichi, Uga, Uli, Ubuluisiuzor, Abagana, Alor, Nsugbe, Atani, Nkpor, Eziowelle, Ezinifite, Oba, Ichi, Ojoto, Oraifite, Ozubulu, Umuawulu, Umunze, Umuoji, Umunachi, Umudioka, Unubi, Umunya, Umuleri, Awkuzu, Utuh, Ogbunike, Nteje, Ekwulobia, Igbo-Ukwu, Ichida, Ora-Eri, Ihembosi, Akwaukwu, Uke, Ukpo, Ifitedunu, Okija, Mbosi, Ajalli, Oko, Oraukwu, Osumenyi, Nnobi, Nnokwa, Ideani, Adazi-Nnukwu, Adazi-Enu, Umuanaga, Adazi Ani, Nanka, Nimo, Nneni, Mmiata Anam, Awkuzu, Ebenebe, Enugwu Ukwu, Enugwu-Agidi, Umueze Anam, Nawfia, Amawbia,Ikenga,<Ikenga> Agukwu, Nando, Nanka, Nnokwa, Amansea, Amanuke, Achalla, Mgbakwu, Ugbenu, Umunya, Ugbenne, Umuchu, Umuomaku, Isuaniocha, Azia, Utuh, Akwaeze, Omogho, Akpu, Amesi, Ebenator, Nibo, Mbaukwu, Nise, Achala, Ukpor, Akpo, Okpeze, Amaetiti, Iseke, Anaku, Isuofia, Oba-Ofemili, Okpeze, Nawfija, Isulo, Ufuma, Aguluzoigbo, Ogbunka, Orsumoghu, Ezinihite, Ezira, Obeledu, Ndiukwuenu, Nawgu, Awa, Nkpologwu, Amaokpala, Owellezukala, Ndi-okpaleke, Ndikelionwu, Abba, Ekwulumili, Anaku, Igbakwu, Umuerum, Umumbo, Ifite-Ogwari, Omasi, Umueje

Professor Chinua Achebe - a native of Ogidi (Anambra) and best known for the classic, Things Fall Apart was the first African writer whose books are standard curricula in schools and universities across the world.

Emeka Anyaoku - the first black Secretary-General of the Commonwealth and recipient of South Africa's Order of the Companions of Oliver Reginald Tambo for his role in initiating talks between the apartheid state and the African National Congress (ANC). He had things in common with both: he was black like the ANC people & he was an Israelite like the Boers.

What Does the Word 'Biafra' Mean?

Bia (come) fra (Efraim) - meaning "coming from the tribe of Efraim". "Biafra" is a shortened form of "Bani Ephraim" which I believe is saying "Biani Ifraim" expression calling together descendants of Ephraim (son of Jacob), one of the lost tribes of Israel.

Archeologists and facts prove that ancient Egyptians were Negros ("black people". Egypt = Land of Ham = Kem. Kemet (word for Egypt) means black land.

BIAFRA: BI = Bisection. AFRA = Africa. So. Biafra means equaliterally dividing Africa. Which implied the middle of Africa Or the heart of Africa. Though I am not quite sure, I am incline to believe this word was coined by the western navigators or explorers because this word equally means the EQUATOR. Which is the natural equilateral bisector of Africa. So this word must have been used by sailors to indicate the Equatorial latitude or regions of Africa.

Are The Igbos Of Nigeria Jewish?

The Igbo are one of the larger ethnic groups in modern Nigeria, a nation of 170 million people and over 250 such ethnic configurations. For much of the region’s history, they have been referred to as “the Jews of Nigeria,” a band of overachievers who are the source of much of the brainpower of the country and a subject of much persecution. When they attempted to form a separate nation, Biafra, in the late 1960s, the resulting civil war had dire consequences for the Igbo but, for a moment, they were on the world’s mind, if only as the victims of an attempted genocide.

There have long been rumors of a more direct connection between the Igbo and Judaism, and in a country currently torn apart by Christian-Muslim sectarian violence the idea that a third religious element could emerge is certainly intriguing. And there are many Igbo who believe that those historical rumors are rooted in fact. “I’ve always known the Igbo are Jews,” says Shmuel Tikvah.

And he has been acting on that belief for many years now, exploring Judaism through the Internet, teaching himself Hebrew and moving slowly from the Catholicism with which he was raised to Sabbatarianism, a hybrid apparently unique to Nigeria, and finally to Judaism itself. He is one of about 3,000 Igbos (out of a population of 25 million) who are practicing Jews.

These Nigerian Jews are a warm and welcoming group, eager for knowledge of and contact with the rest of the Jewish world, vocal supporters of Israel and spirited worshippers, a small but charming community. 

Shmuel is a wonderfully earnest young man, determined to get a bona fide Jewish education (he aspires to study for the rabbinate at Jewish Theological Seminary) and to become his nation’s first rabbi. His relationship with the elders of the tiny community is pleasing to watch, and the elders are nothing less than the Nigerian equivalent of the tough but tender Sisterhood ladies and Men’s Club old-timers that you admire in your own congregation.

The Tribe of Zebulon, the Igbo & the Dutchmen

The following is a brief Scriptural synopsis of Zebulon, his birth, what was prophesied about him and his end as a patriarch and as a tribe in the future.

And Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons: and she called his name Zebulun. – Gen. 30:20

The sons of Leah; Reuben, Jacob's firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun. – Gen. 35:23

Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon. – Gen. 49:13

Now these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt; every man and his household came with Jacob… Zebulun Exd. 1:1, 3

 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you. (Exd. 13:19/Jasher 80:62) The children of Israel also brought up, each man his father's coffin with him, and each man the coffins of his tribe. Jasher 80:63

The Tomb of Zebulun is located in Sidon, Lebanon. In the past, towards the end of Iyyar, Jews from the most distant parts of Palestine would make a pilgrimage to this tomb.

And these shall stand upon mount Ebal to curse; Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali. – Deut. 27:13

And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents. They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand. – Deut. 33:18-19

Out of Ephraim was there a root of them against Amalek; after thee, Benjamin, among thy people; out of Machir came down governors, and out of Zebulun they that handle the pen of the writer. – Jud. 5:14

Zebulun and Naphtali were a people that jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high places of the field. – Jud. 5:18

Of Zebulun, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, with all instruments of war, fifty thousand, which could keep rank: [they were] not of double heart. – I Chron. 12:33

And the sons of Zebulun; Sered, and Elon, and Jahleel. – Gen. 46:14

Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. – Rev. 7:8a

Zebulun was the 10th son of Jacob and the 6th son of Jacob and Leah, brother of Reuben, Simon, Levi, Judah, Issachar , Dan, Naftali, Gad, Asher, Joseph, Benjamin and Dinah; and father of Sered, Elon, and Jahleel (Genesis 35:23-26; Genesis 25:26-34).

The number 6 represents man, or just shy of perfection and we were made in G-d’s image, yet a little lower than the angels as the Bible tells us. 6 is also the letter Vav in Hebrew which is symbolic of a stake or tent peg, symbolizing groundedness and security. 10 is the number of law and order. Ten is represented by the letter Yod, which is symbolized by the hand. Could this mean Zebulun was a hard worker with his hands with farming, shipbuilding, warfare and business? Could this numerology collectively also hint of his military naval prowess by ordering men at sea or in battle?  The tribal symbol and banner for Zebulon after all is a fleet of ships.

The name Zebulon means, or carries the meaning of, Dwelling, Habitation, and Exaltation.

Zebulon is spelled: Zayin-Beit-Vav-Lamed-Vav-final Nun. Each Hebrew letter has a symbolic meaning and a pictorial meaning.

·      Zayin (Z) Sickle, Weapon = Food, Cut, Nourish, #7: The blood of Messiah overcomes the powers of Hell (cancels sin).

·      Bet (B) Tent, Floorplan = Home, Family, #2: The Messiah is the habitation of his people.

·      Vav (V/W) Tent Peg, Nail = To Hang, To Secure, To Fasten, To Add, #6: The Messiah grips and tears the evil of the flesh.

·      Lamed (L) Shepherd staff = Teach, Yoke, Bind, #30: The Messiah is the Great Teacher of discipline through twelve Tribes and Apostles.

·      Nun (N) Seed, Son, Heir, #50: The Messiah is the steadfastness of His people. The Heavenly Yehoshua (Joshua) the son of Nun.

So we can say that Zebulon is the Protector and Provider of the House/Family and Secures such with Teaching and Secures the future with Seed and or Sons.  Zebulon were navel warriors, tradesmen and fishermen. The Book of Judges speaks of them handling the pen which could mean they were as seamen they were traders and made treaties which kept them prosperous and safe for generations to come. Handling the pen also could indicate they could have been great teachers and scholars or that they were very good at passing down knowledge to their children or others.  This fits well with the prophecies given them my Jacob (Israel) and Moses.

The general meaning of their name means that they exalt, lift up, praise or improve the places where they dwell and inhabit, which again hints of their being skilled explorer, tradesmen and possibly agriculturists. Because they dwelt by water they knew how to harness it through irrigation and or the use of it to generate power.  This does fit the people I will talk about in this study.

Rabbinic legends tell that Zebulon were successful seamen that brought in income to Issachar in order for them to stay home and study Torah and be great teachers, lawyers and diplomats (Genesis Rabbah 72:5).

There is a pseudopigraphal book called, “The Testament of Zebulun” which is supposedly what Zebulun said to his children and grandchildren before he died. The main theme was being compassionate and charitable towards others, that what goes around comes around. In this book also tells how he was became a sailor and was a fisherman by summer and a shepherd by winter. So far fits with what we know of Zebulon from other documents, legends and accounts.

Zebulon’s tribal stone in the Levitical Breastplate is the Amethyst – Hebrew – ahlama.  The Amethyst symbolizes power, protection and healing.  The Greek meaning means “Not Drunk.” The Hebrew means, “Dream stone.”  The Hebraic meaning of the letters of this word means, “Strong fence and yoke upon the watery home.”  Could all this hint of Zebulon’s hard sailor attitude and hence the Testament of Zebulun’s focus on the need for compassion? However, Exodus Rabbah 38:5 says the stone representing Zebulon was a diamond. Diamonds are the hardest precious gem known to man. Sailors are known for being hardened men, Zebulon were hardened sailors and warriors, again reason for the Testament of Zebulun’s focus on the need for compassion?

Mystically speaking, Zebulun in Jewish mysticism is represented by the Hebrew Month of Sivan and is symbolic of Movement. Zebulon, a quiet tribe is all about action, movement through hard work. The Hebraic month of Sivan falls within the Counting of the Omer, representing agricultural abundance and growth.  Shavuot, the harvest festival and the festival celebrating the given of the Torah at Sinai are both celebrated in this month. This would tie in with how Zebulon participates in the spreading of Torah by quietly assisting the scholars in working to fund their studies.

And the sons of Zebulun; Sered, and Elon, and Jahleel. – Gen. 46:14

We already know what the Name Zebulun means, but what of that of His sons?

·      Sered – To tremble. Obviously a name of ferocity to strike fear into the heart of his enemies.

·      Elon/Ilon – Some argument to the exact meaning, but my sources say, God most High, Or Oak Grove, either way it is a name of strength and security of immovableness.

·      Jahleel/Yahleel – Expectant of God. A name that gives hope to its bearer to expect God to do mighty things for him.

As a sailor, merchant, warrior or farmer, you need all these traits to stand immovable in the face of the enemy and expect God to fight with and for you, or to not take no for an answer in business, or to expect God for a good harvest, even in the most adverse conditions.

Other than what we just uncovered, not a lot is known about Zebulon. He is a mysterious patriarch.  He seems to be a quiet fellow in Scripture, maybe because he was a way at war or on the sea or busy in his fields most of the time.

The Scattering of the 10 Tribes

There is an imbalanced view fueled by racial prejudice and supremacy that says the Lost Tribes either have to be black or white. They have to be found either in Africa or the Northern Hemisphere of Europe and the Americas. You have the two opposing camps of Black Hebrewism and British Israelitism. Both have their extremists and bias embellished propaganda, and both equally have their grains of researchable and verifiable truth. I have no problem accepting that a portion of both camps are true. Why? Because the 10 tribes which made up the Northern Kingdom of Israel that went off into Assyrian captivity has never returned and these peoples were transported, sold, traded, migrated, scattered and settled everywhere; having mingled through marriage and assimilation into virtually every people group on the planet and thus Hebrews have become a part of virtually every nationality, and ethnicity.

Though portions of Judah and Levi has been scattered with the other 10 tribes, who we recognize as Jews today come from Judah and Levi who went off into Babylonian captivity and eventually returned and this is who we recognize as Jews today.

I think it is undeniably clear that the first Hebrews were of brown to black in complexion and many of Shem’s line married into the dark complexion of the Hammitic line, genetically producing dark skinned Hebrews. But through the two captivities and scattering in the diaspora, Hebrews (Israelites) and Jews, as I said earlier, have mingled with many peoples of the world and have migrated to unfamiliar climates and through the centuries some Jews and Hebrews/Israelites have lost much of the darker skin tone and so we have descendants of Jacob (Israel) of every color, shape and size. I believe HaShem has allowed this to happen to break down racial barriers and the dividing wall between Jew/Hebrew/Israelite and Gentile and as a way of reversing the effects of the Tower of Babel. Instead we have perverted this purpose to fortify disgusting racist diatribes. Therefore, it would be prejudice and foolhardy of us to dismiss either side of the debate because of issues of bias or race. Let us glean the truth that inherently resides in both sides of the issue.

Where in the World is Zebulon?

We know according to Revelation that in the End of Days Zebulun will be found and accounted for.

Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. – Rev. 7:8a

So where will they be found?

Some speculate that he is in Nigeria among the Igbos and Ijaws. Others say he ended up in Holland, also known as the Netherlands as well as South Africa. Are any of these claims true? Granted, hard evidence is difficult to come by, but the circumstantial evidence is incredibly striking and compelling, so much so that it makes claiming sheer coincidence sound as if one is grasping desperately at straws to deny the plain and clear truth and succor their own religiously prejudice views.

Zebulon in West Africa; Nigeria:

It is said that Ijaw (Ujo) was a traveling companion of Eri, Areli and Adodi as they fled Egypt. Oral tradition states that Ijaw is a son or some descendant of Zebulon. Others say he came from Egypt, which is where Eri and his traveling companions set out from! However, Ijaw is not listed in any Canonical Biblical genealogies that I could find. But this should come as no surprise as one person could go by different names and it may be that Ijaw was known by another name in Biblical Writ. Or it could be Ijaw was a son of one of Zebulun's sons, and there for not recorded in any Biblical genealogy. He was said to be the water scout and river navigator of the group, and even today the Ijaw (Ijo, Izon) tribe and land can be found near water and many are fishermen.

Ijaw (Ijo, Ojo, Ejo, Ujo, Izon) means, “Real, Good or Palm tree;” could this relate to Zebulon’s son Elon, meaning, “Oak Grove”? Could this Ijaw be Elon or Ilon or at least a descendant of his? In 2 Chronicles 16:4 says that king Asa of Israel conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel Maim and all the store cities of Naphtali. Of the places from which the Israelites were taken by the Assyrians is mentioned Ijon (In the Land of Israel). Is it related to the Ijo (or Ijaw) in Nigeria?

We know from history that the Ijaw and Igbo are fierce warriors as well as the people in general have a positive or “expectant” attitude toward the work of the divine in their life, no matter how bad things get around them.

Could it be that Elon/Ilon, Sered and Jahleel or at least their descendants traveled with Gad’s sons Eri, Areli and Arodi to Nigeria?

Some Ubulu in Igboland Nigeria claim that they know they came from Zebulon.  Ubulu in Igbo is the name of and means a “huge tree,” could this relate to Zebuon’s son Elon, meaning, “Oak Grove”? I ask, could Ubulu be named after Elon or Ilon of Zebulun or at least a descendant of his?  The word in Igbo zebulu means to protect, hide or save oneself.  This sort of relates to the Hebraic meaning of Zebulon, dwelling and habitation, because both carry the connotation of a hidden and protective place.

Ubulu oral tradition states categorically that the grand-parents of Ezemu (a famous Hunter, Marksman and Herbalist) migrated from Israel and settled at Ife hence Ezemu was often referred to as the king with long hairs – “Ezi Isi Iyomiyo”. From Ife Ezemu and his relations migrated to Afor a village in present day Ndokwa Local Government Area of Delta State. (http://www.nairaland.com/63003/origin-ubulu-uku)

“Legend that one of the descendants of Eri (from Gad) who first settled in Onitsha, at the bank of River Niger, near the domain of his relatives from the descendants of Zebulun (Ozubulu in Anambra State) had to travel across the River Niger to the ancient city of Benin or kingdom to prepare war medicine, talisman or charm for a prospective contender to the stool of Oba of Benin.” -  Prof. O. Alaezi, Ibo Exodus, pg.  25 – italics mine

“The Igbo Jews are said to have migrated from Syrian, Portuguese and Libyan Israelites into West Africa. Historical records shows that this migration started around 740 C.E. According to UCLA trained amateur Jewish Historian and Rio Hondo Police Academy trained Forensic investigator Chinedu Nwabunwanne of Aguleri, who resides in Los Angeles and has researched this subject for more than 15 years at the UCLA libraries in Los Angeles, "the migration started when the forces of Caliph Mohammed -the last leader of the Umayyads- and his Qaysi-Arab supportes defeated the Yamani-Arab Umayyads of Syria in 744 C.E; sacked the Yamanis and their Jewish supporters from Syria. The Syrian-Jewish migrant tribes Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher resettled in Nigeria where they became known as Sambatyon Jews. In 1484 and 1667 Judeans and Zebulonians from Portugal and Libya respectively joined Sambatyon Jews of Nigeria. Thus, Nigerian Jews originated from the following six Israelite tribes: Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher and Zebulon. It is interesting to note that these six tribes are the same tribes Moses repeated their names twice when he blessed the Children of Israel. These six tribes mentioned above are The House of Judah and the children of Israel his companions (Ezekiel 37:16. Those remaining six tribes not mentioned above are The House of Ephraim and the children of Israel his companion (Ezekiel 37:16)."”

The tribe of Zevulun ben-Ya`aqov (Zebulun), who was the sixth son of Ya`aqov (Jacob). These groups comprise the Ubulu Okiti and Ubulu Ukwu clans in Delta State who settled in Ubulu Ihejiofor. According to oral tradition, it is said that a descendant of the Tribe of Zevulun named Zevulunu, on the advice of a certain Levite, married a woman from Oji, who was descended from the Tribe of Judah, and from this union was born Ozubulu ben-Zebulunu. Ozubulu then went on to have four sons of his own who settled in other regions. These sons were: Amakwa, from whom a clan in Neni, Anambra State is descended, and Egbema, from whom the Egbema Ugwuta clan in Imo State and the Ohaji Egbema clan in Rivers State are descended.

It has also been suggested that the Jewish Ibo people originated from a migration of Israelites who fled to West Africa. They claim to be descended from three tribes; Zebulon, Gad and Manasseh (Hebrew Qaraim Community).

The Igbo Jews traditionally claim descent from three particular Israelite tribes: Gad, Zevulun, and Menashe. The Jews of Manipur and Mizoram, the Bnei Menashe, also claim descent from the tribe of Menashe. It is thought that these Jews fled to Africa after the destruction of the biblical Temples in Jerusalem and established communities all across the African continent.

It should be noted that the majority of Ndi Igbo can be traced back to Gad through his sons Eri, Areli and Arodi, or Levi who became the Nri priests.  A small percentage stake claim to Judah, Zebulon, and some even believe they are from Manasseh, Asher, Dan and even Naphtali. But we see in ancient Israel that at times Benjamin and Simeon were a small remnant living among Judah and were thus absorbed into Judah. In similar fashion these other tribes which make up the Igbo have been absorbed into the majority of Gad.  Prof. O. Alaezi in his book “Ibo Exodus” also recognizes this custom. “Other exiled Hebrews descendants (e.g. Judah and Zebulun) are not as many and have been swallowed up by the Eris.”

  Zebulun in Holland and South Africa and their connection to the Igbo’s and Ijaws:

There are those who prescribe to the British Israelite theory that the 10 Lost Tribes scattered north and spread throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas.

Steven M. Collins and Yair Davidiy are the two main proponents of British Israelitism, though not agreeing 100% with their views, as well as not agreeing with 100% of Black Hebrewism views, I have stuck to the uncanny connections that ties Zebulon to both camps and allow the reader to decide for themselves where Zebulon is.

To get a clue why some feel Zebulon made it to Holland (Netherlands); we must first look at the prophecies given about them by Jacob and Moses.  These prophecies will give us clues to their whereabouts in the last days.

Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon. – Gen. 49:13


And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents. They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand. – Deut. 33:18-19

Because the prophecies connect Zebulon to the coast and the sea and one should look to famous and heavily trafficked sea ports one of which is the port of Rotterdam in Holland. It handles the largest freight in the world and is considered the gateway of Europe.  It should also be noted that Ijaws and Igbos who claim Zebulonic descendancy also live close to and on the coast. In fact Ijaws pagan expression of worship is tied to water and water spirits. Ijaws are known as fishermen and tradesmen in Nigeria. Many live in the Delta and River states that are close to the sea.

The phrase in Gen. 49:13, “haven of the sea” can mean shelter and or refuge and Holland, via its system of dikes is quite literally “sheltered” from the sea. This same phrase also lends to the fact as mentioned before of Holland’s great and world renowned sea ports.

Moses’ prophecy (Deut. 33:18-19) speaks of the “sucking of the abundance of the sea” and “treasures hidden in sand.” It is of interest to note that the Dutch of Holland literally “sucked out” the sea with their system of dikes and windmills which made the land “abundantly” fertile. The treasure in the sand is believed to be the black gold, the oil that the Royal Dutch Shell company has “sucked” from its “hiding” place in the sand.  It also should be noted that Nigeria is also an oil rich country, especially in the places where the Zebulonite Igbo’s and Ijaws live! And Ducth oil companies have set up shop in oil rich Nigerai too.

Some even feel that the description of Zebulun’s “borders” being “Zidon” is also a clue, because the word for border also means thigh which includes the pubic region. Many feel this hints of the Holland being the “red light district” of the world with its abundance of pornography, prostitution and tolerance of sexual promiscuity. Zebulon’s territory in the Promised Land was previously occupied by the ancient S(Z)idonian fertility cults of Baal and Ashtaroth.  The Wicked Queen Jezebel, known as a sexual temptress was a S(Z)idonian.

It should also be brought to the reader’s attention that the tribal symbol for Zebulon is the Ship which fits well with the Dutch, the Ijaw and a portion of the Igbo who claim Zebulon is their forefather.

The Dutch Coat of arms of the original seven provinces of the Netherlands (1579) is a ship with a Bible on its prow.

Their Levitical breastplate stone some say was the diamond and many Dutch relocated and colonized South Africa and are in the diamond mine and trade business; so would say is an  amazing coincidence.  I am one who does not believe in mere coincidence.  And though diamonds are not known to be found in Nigeria, Amethysts are and are mined! Recall that this is the other gem supposedly in the Levitical breastplate that represents Zebulun.

Linguistically speaking it is said that Middle East and Turkish people who may have possibly been related to the Sidonians of Phoenicia settled around Holland and Belgium and are believed by some to be the ancestors of the Dutch which would include Hebraic ancestors from Zebulon because of the mingling of the Zebulonites and Sidonians in the Promised Land. And it is obvious that the Zebulonites were influenced they the pagan ways of the Sidonians and hence why the L-RD took them away into captivity.

The Sabalingoi of ancient Frisia which is north of Holland is said to mean Zebulon’s People or the Nation of Zebulon; Sabalin = Zebulon and Goi = from the Hebrew, meaning people or nation.

Davidiy explains through linguistics that he believes that the Chali which were the people north of the Sabalingoi were descendants of Jahleel and that the Suardeni were the descendants of Sered and the Alans the children of Elon.

The Amish culture and religion, though “Christian” is very Jewish in its dress, traditions and customs and way of life. Many Dutch Amish have Jewish last names and or married Jewish women; this would never happen if the Jewish communities of the Holland did not see the Amish as “brethren” i.e. blood relation.

With what has been presented, I do believe it is very likely that Zebulon and his sons ended up both in Africa and in Northern Europe. The linguistics, region and character traits of the peoples mention do fit the Jacobic and Mosaic prophecies concerning them.  I personally would like to see more hard, archeological evidence or become more familiar with the oral traditions of said lpeoples so as to better tie these people to Zebulon or totally rule them out.

All I know and believe is that there are people roaming the earth to day who are Hebrews and don’t even know it, after all the 10 tribes had to go somewhere, they just didn’t die off of disappear!  That would mean G-D is unable to keep His promises and it would mean the Scriptures are a lie and we know G-D and His Word is TRUTH manifest!  So why not the Ijaw, the Igbo and the Dutch? Anyone have any better candidates?

Nri-Igbo

Nri is an ancient Igbo city-state in Anambra State Nigeria. The Kingdom of Nri was a center of learning, religion, and commerce in pre-colonial West Africa. Historians have compared the significance of Nri (The Israelite peoples are the salt of the earth, therefore they are not average peoples, but remarkable), at its peak, to the religious cities of Rome or Mecca: it was the seat of a powerful and imperial state that influenced much of the territories inhabited by the Igbo of Awka and Onitsha to the east; the Efik, the Ibibio, and the Ijaw to the South; Nsukka and southern Igala to the north; and Asaba, and the Anioma to the west. The rulers of Nri did not use military conquest, but used religious authority and control of commercial routes as tactics in the spread of their city-state. Politically, Nri is known to be the most ancient origins of the Eze kingship in Igbo societies. But Nri and its rulers were also known for their reverred traditional religious institutions that instilled both awe and fear in those who made pilgrimages to the shrines. The religious practices believed in the existence of one God, 'Chukwu Okike'; but the Eze Nri was seen as a potent who had powers to undo evil and cleanse the land from abominations and taboos.

Commercially, Nri was against slave holding (Contrary to non-Israelite surrounding peoples). "Osu" was the name of outcasts of other communities who migrated and were accepted in Nri. Some Osu became eunuchs. During the colonial period, Nri and the regions under its political, religious, or commercial control became international markets for palm oil. In the heart of Nri influence was the Igbo Ukwu bronze castings.

The origin of Nri people is still a subject of much speculation. The Nri clan existed from as far back as the 9th century. Nri (the founder of Nri clan) was the son of Eri (founder of Aguleri) and had migrated to the present day Nri from the Anambra (Ama-Mbala) river valley in Northern Igboland. Nri was said to have inherited spiritual powers from his father. The Nri people belong to the Umueri clans who trace their origins to Eri. Northern and Central Igboland is the homeland of Igbo people.

Speculation starts when one starts to trace the origin of Eri. In the Nri mythology, Eri descended from the sky, sent by God to make peace (settle disputes and cleanse abominations) and provide Igbo people food (yam and cocoyam). Some historians speculate that Eri may have migrated to the Anambra area out of the Igala dynasty of central Nigeria. But there is convincing evidence that Onoja Oboli, the founder of the Igala dynasty was actually another son of Eri.

A Large Section of the Igbo Population that Live in the Western Part of the Nigerian Igbo State of Anambra Believe That They Are Descendants of Eri, One of the Sons of Gad

A large section of the Igbo population that live in the western part of the Nigerian Igbo state of Anambra believe that they are descendants of Eri, one of the sons of Gad, who was a son of the Biblical Jacob. Interestingly the names of some of the families/clans of the claimants have the prefix eri.

Prominent examples are Umuleri, and Aguleri (Umu-eri, and Agu- Eri).

There is talk that the later were their names, and that the l’s were added by the colonizing British who could not pronounce the Igbo names.

And the Nri clan which traditionally provides a certain class of priests for the Igbos very interestingly bears an attribute that was allotted to Levi; the priestly tribe of Israel. Every knowledgeable Igbo agrees that the Nri priests take precedence in certain ritual matters among the Igbos.

The Igbos have been addressed as “Jews” by their Nigerian neighbours, and by many foreigners before, and especially during the anti-Igbo Pogroms in Nigeria, and the Nigerian Civil War which occurred in 1966, and 1967-1970 respectively, and in which millions of Igbos died from bullets, strafing and starvation.

Also worthy of mention is what I call “Igbo Christianity”: the Sabbatharian Movement, because unlike the other brands of Christianity that predominate among the Igbos, it is Igbo inspired, and in it could be found some evidence of the Igbos’ Israelitishness.

It has some distinctive features that are remarkably Jewish. Igbo Sabbatharians observe all the feasts that are in the Old Testament. And they rest, shun work, and pray on the seventh day of the week.

This is in sharp contrast with its equivalents which were founded by the neighboring Yorubas, Binis, Ishans, and other Nigerians.

My discovery is that the Christianized Igbos who founded this movement threw off “Christianity”, sought to return to what they thought was the Igbo religion, and stopped midway.

They came up with a distinct and new religion which has elements of Judaism and Christianity. At least one million Igbos belong to this religion.
Mami Wata (Mammy Water) is venerated in West, Central, Southern Africa, and in the African diaspora in the Caribbean and parts of North and South America. Mami Wata spirits are usually female, but are sometimes male. Although this veneration is pagan it's interesting that is related to serpent worshipping cult. Moses, commanded by God, made a brazen serpent so that the Israelites could be healed at looking at it. Some centuries later king Hezekiah of Judah broke the snake because became an object of idolatry. This cult was taken with the idolatrous Israelites & might the origin of the Mammy Water & other Snake based cults.

“Majority of Igbos accept the Israel hypothesis"

A popular version of the narrative holds that Gad, the seventh son of Jacob, had three sons who settled in present-day southeastern Nigeria, which is predominantly inhabited by the Igbo. Those sons, Eri, Arodi and Areli (as mentioned in the book of Genesis), are said to have fathered clans, established kingdoms and founded towns still in existence in southeastern Nigeria today, including Owerri, Umuleri, Arochukwu and Aguleri. In fact one of the Ibo clans is called Aro probably coming from Arodi. Eze A.E. Chukwuemeka Eri, the king of a community in Aguleri, claims he presides over the throne of Gad's son, Eri.Throughout history, large populations of dispersed Jews also became "lost" through forced conversions and cultural assimilation."When I grew up I heard, like virtually every Igbo here, that the Igbo people came from Israel," the Abuja-based lawyer says. His field work in Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Mali led him to conclude that Igbo and Jewish culture are not just similar, but "identical."Some historians have noted that the Igbo were practicing these customs before their exposure to the Bible and missionaries. Daniel Lis, from the Institute for Jewish Studies, University of Basel, Switzerland, is one of the foremost researchers on Jewish identification among the Igbo. He says there has been a clear continuity of Jewish identity among the Igbo. "It's not just something that happened yesterday," he says.


King Eri, like many, claims that the Igbo are the Jews of West Africa. They believe they are descendants of at least one of Israel's lost tribes. In the eighth century B.C. the Assyrians invaded Israel's northern kingdom forcing 10 tribes into exile. Historians say it is not unlikely that these tribes migrated westward to Africa.The Swiss-Israeli anthropologist says that Igbo-Jewish identity can be traced back to the 18th century. Cross-cultural comparisons have been documented by people ranging from George Thomas Basden, the influential Anglican missionary and ethnographer who proposed that the word "Igbo" evolved as a corruption of the word "Hebrew," to Olaudah Equiano, a freed Igbo slave living in 18th century British society. Peter Agbai, says he is a "proud Igbo man," strongly disagrees. He started practicing Judaism in 1991 after leaving the Methodist church. He says that the more he followed the commandments in the Torah, the more he realized that he was doing what his parents had always done as followers of traditional Igbo culture and spirituality.

These ethnic groups are neighbors of the Igbos & are related with them: Ibibio, Efik, Annang & Ogoni. It's that they are Israelites as well.

In Nigeria, the Ibos are often identified with Jews because of their business acumen, their attachment to family and education, and the discrimination to which they have been subjected, most tragically during the Biafran civil war of the late 1960s. During that war, they received Israeli military aid, fueling speculation of secret ties between the Ibos and the Hebrews.

Ọdinani, Also Ọdinala, Omenala, Omenana, Odinana or Ọmenani, Is the Ibo Religion

With the revival of the Igbo religion, Igbos know why they were/are circumcised on the Covenant Day. That Igbo religion, whose name is Omenana, has gone by the names Hebrewisms, Mosaism, Israelism and now Judaism because it has a direct correlation with some Deuteronomical provisions.

























Igbo people

The Igbo people have had fragmented and politically independent communities. Before knowledge of Europeans and full exposure to other neighbouring ethnic groups, the Igbo did not have a strong identity as one people. As in the case of most ethnic groups, the British and fellow Europeans identified the Igbo as a tribe. Chinua Achebe, among other scholars, challenged this because of its negative connotations and possible wrong definition. He suggested defining the Igbo people as a nation similar to the Cherokee Native Americans or Japanese, although the Igbo do not have an officially recognized physical state of their own.

Due to the effects of migration and the Atlantic slave trade, there are descendant historical Igbo populations in countries such as Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, as well as outside Africa; many African Americans and Afro Caribbeans are believed to be partially of Igbo descent.

The most common name for the Igbo in English was formerly "Ibo". They have also been known as the "Iboe", "'Ebo", "Eboe", "Eboans", or "Heebo". Their territory and main settlement has often been known by their name as well.

The Nri people of Igbo land have a creation myth which is one of the many creation myths that exist in various parts of Igbo land. The Nri and Aguleri people are in the territory of the Umueri clan who trace their lineages back to the patriarchal king-figure Eri. Eri's origins are unclear, though he has been described as a "sky being" sent by Chukwu (God). He has been characterized as having first given societal order to the people of Anambra. The historian Elizabeth Allo Isichei says "Nri and Aguleri and part of the Umueri clan, [are] a cluster of Igbo village groups which traces its origins to a sky being called Eri."

Archaeological evidence suggests that Nri hegemony in Igboland may go back as far as the 9th century, and royal burials have been unearthed dating to at least the 10th century. Eri, the god-like founder of Nri, is believed to have settled the region around 948 with other related Igbo cultures following after in the 13th century. The first Eze Nri (King of Nri) Ìfikuánim followed directly after him. According to Igbo oral tradition, his reign started in 1043. At least one historian puts Ìfikuánim's reign much later, around 1225 AD.

Traditional Igbo political organization was based on a quasi-democratic republican system of government. In tight knit communities, this system guaranteed its citizens equality, as opposed to a feudalist system with a king ruling over subjects. This government system was witnessed by the Portuguese who first arrived and met with the Igbo people in the 15th century. With the exception of a few notable Igbo towns such as Onitsha, which had kings called Obi, and places like the Nri Kingdom and Arochukwu, which had priest kings; Igbo communities and area governments were overwhelmingly ruled solely by a republican consultative assembly of the common people. Communities were usually governed and administered by a council of elders.

Most Igbo slaves were not victims of slave-raiding wars or expeditions, but were sometimes debtors and people who committed what their communities considered to be abominations or crimes. Igbo slaves were known to the British colonists as being rebellious and having a high rate of suicide to escape slavery. For still unknown reasons, there is evidence that traders sought Igbo women.

Contrary to common belief, European slave traders were fairly informed about various African ethnicities, leading to slavers' targeting certain ethnic groups which plantation owners preferred. Particular desired ethnic groups consequently became fairly concentrated in certain parts of the Americas. The Igbo were dispersed to colonies such as Jamaica, Cuba, Saint-Domingue, Barbados, the United States, Belize and Trinidad and Tobago, among others.

Elements of Igbo culture can still be found in these places. For example, in Jamaican Patois, the Igbo word unu, meaning "you" plural, is still used. "Red Ibo" (or "red eboe") describes a black person with fair or "yellowish" skin. This term had originated from the reported prevalence of these skin tones among the Igbo but eastern Nigerian influences may not be strictly Igb