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PEOPLE, POPULATION AND SETTLEMENT


Ethnic Composition, Language, Culture and the Arts: The people of Ebonyi
State are of lgbo stock. However, there are also nonlgbo speaking indigenes.
The nonlgbo speaking people of the state include the Okpotos and the Ntezis
in Ishielu Local Government Area. English is widely spoken as the second language,
and a visitor will be under stood anywhere in the state, if he can speak English
language or its local variant, the pidgin.


 









 Ebonyi State Building Materials Industry, Ezzambo

Ebonyi
State Building Materials Industry, Ezzambo


Ebonyi State is richly endowed culturally. The traditional mode of dressing
for the men is an over flowing jumper or longsleeve shirt worn over a George
wrapper tied around the waist and flowing down to the ankles. This is complemented
with a cap and a walking stick for support and defence.


For the women, the traditional dress is a blouse over an Abada or George wrapper
around the waist. This outfit goes with a headgear, earrings and necklaces.



Two important traditional festivals are observed every year: the masquerade
and the New Yam Festivals. The masquerade is a very important and colourful
institution, and features the Omaba Ekpe and Ogbodu masquerades.


The New Yam festival is known by various names, such as Joku, lhejoku or Njoku
ji. The festival marks the end of the farm ing season and ushers in the harvest
and con sumption of the new yam.


There are a variety of colourful dances in the State. The notable ones are
the "Nkwa Umuagbogho" of Ehugbo, "Nkwa Nwite" of Ehugbo, "Oji anya lere" of
Amasiri, "Uri" and "Akpoha lgurube" and the "Dibugwu" cultural dances of OgbuEdda.
Traditional industries and works of art include blacksmithing at Ezza and pottery
works at Ishiagu in lvo LGA. Other works of art produced in the State include
carved doors and stools, walking sticks, tra ditional flutes, wooden mortars
and pestles.


Population Structure and Distribution:


Ebonyi State has a population of about 1.7 million people on a total land
area of 5,935 sq. km. This gives a population density of 286 persons per sq.
km. Population concentration is highest in the urban areas. Table 11.3 gives
a breakdown of the popu lation of the state by Local Government Areas.


Urban and Rural Development and Problem of Urban Primary: Ebonyi State
has three impor tant urban centres: Abakaliki, Afikpo and Onueke.









Abakaliki Market

Abakaliki
Market


Abakaliki, the state capital, has a vibrant econ omy based essentially on its
traditional role as a market centre for the produce of the rich agricultur al
hinterland, buoyant with rice and yam. The town has an impressive infrastructural
network, particu larly in terms of road network and water supply, anchored on
the Greater Abakatiki Water Scheme.


Ageneral hospital is located in Abakaliki, in addition to Ebonyi State University,
and recreational facilities such as parks and an ultramodern golf course. Afikpo,
the second major town, is noted for the educational institutions located in
the area, particu larly, the Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Uwana.


The third main urban centre is Onueke, which is the headquarters of Ezza South
Local Government Area. The area is noted as an important centre for food production.



Besides the above urban areas, the headquar ters of the other local government
areas are functional and effective 'central places' Most of these fall within
the countryside, each with its own requisite infrastructure, indicative of the
wide scope of incipi ent urbanization which is generally taking root in the
state. Rural development programmes of the Ebony


State government emphasise road construction and rehabilitation, aimed at improving
access to the hitherto marginally exploited farmlands for the evacuation of
agricultural produce to urban mar kets. Rural electrification schemes are also
pursued as an essential infrastructure for successful small scale and cottage
industrial schemes.


In addition, various agricultural innovations are being put in place and farmers
are encouraged to go into large scale farming through the adoption of these
innova tions, which include tractor hiring schemes for till ing; irrigation;
land consolidation for extensive and intensive farming; seed and livestock breeding
and multiplication; and fish farming.









A Typical Salt House, Okposi

A
Typical Salt House, Okposi


Water resources improvement programmes have been instituted to provide clean
and safe water in the villages and in guineaworm prone areas. The provision
of Primary Health Care (PHC) facilities, and the development of effective rural
information delivery system are other important facets of the state's rural
development programme.


Effective communal involvement through Community Development Associations (or
Town Unions), and Age Grades are also encouraged to promote rural development
in Ebonyi State.


Settlement patterns in the urban areas often take the form of distinct neighbourhoods
or quar ters. Some of these neighbourhoods are of high density, while others
are of medium and low densi ties in varying degrees of admixture. Rural settlements
are dispersed over much of the farmlands.


In almost every community, howev er, there are vast unoccupied areas set aside
as farmlands and somewhat removed from the settlement. The village is the traditional
unit of settlement in most lgbospeaking communities. The dispersed pattern of
village settlement is traditional among the people of southeastern Nigeria.
Each homestead is made up of houses in an oblong form around a compound.


The hut of the head of the household is separated from those of his wives and
adult mem bers of the household. Compounds are often walled, thus separating
one compound from the other. Traditional houses are built of local materials,
such as clay for the walls and mat or thatch for the roofs.


Increased affluence in some communities has led to the introduction of cement
bricks, west ern architectural design concepts and the use of corrugated sheets,
into the construction of village homes.


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