Buea Archives File No. Ac. 5.
Original File No. 1461 refers.
AN INTELLIGENCE REPORT ON THE MBAW, MBEM AND MFUMTE AREAS,
Hitherto JOINTLY KNOWN AS THE KAKA-NTEM AREA OF THE BAMENDA DIVISION OF THE CAMEROONS PROVINCE, BY MR. F.W. CARPENTER, ASST. DISTRICT OFFICER, 1933.
AN INTELLIGENCE REPORT ON THE MBAW, MBEM AND MFUMTE AREAS? HITHERTO JOINTLY KNOWN AS THE KAKA-NTEM AREA OF THE BAMENDA DIVISION OF THE CAMEROONS PROVINCE, BY MR F.W. CARPENTER, ASSISTANT DISTRICT OFFICER.
INDEX PAGES PARAGRAPHS
G L O S S A R Y
I. INTRODUCTORY ............................. 1 - 10 1 - 30
II. GEOGRAPHICAL ............................. 11 - 13 31 - 36
III. HISTORICAL ................................... 14 - 22 37 - 66
IV. ADMINISTRATIVE ............................ 23 - 33 67 - 105
V. JUDICIAL ........................................ 34 - 46 106 - 135
VI. FINANCIAL ..................................... 47 - 58 136 - 155
A P P E N D I X E S.
II. List of Villages visited and dates.
IV. Language and its numerals.
V. Cameroons Form No. 3 Census Statistics.
G L O S S A R Y
|Family||A man and the immediate members of his family.|
|Family group||A man, his wives and grown sons who have themselves taken wives and remain near the family group head.|
|Kindred||The 'Quarter' where a collection of family groups is to be found.|
|The extended family group.||A collection of kindreds comprising the Chief's compound and all surrounding compounds of the other kindred groups.|
|The 'Village Group'||Used of the MBAW Area to denote independence of their original clan, i.e., no longer an 'extended family group'.|
|NKOMBAW, LOINGI, etc. etc.||These are names which alter from time to time, much in the same way as WARWICK, 'the King maker', the latter title corresponding to NKOMBAW or LOINGO or GWAKO, i.e. almost a nickname.|
AN INTELLIGENCE REPORT ON THE MBAW MBEM AND MFUMTE ARAS, HITHERTO JOINTLY KNOWN AS THE KAKA-NTEM AREA OF THE BAMENDA DIVISION OF THE CAMEROONS PROVINCE, BY MR F.W. CARPENTER, ASSISTANT DISTRICT OFFICER.
I. I N T R O D U C T O R Y.
1. An Assessment Report on the KAKA-NTEM area was completed by Mr E.H.F. Gorges, Assistant District Officer , in April 1932; the following Report is written on the same lines, i.e. on those referred to in the Confidential Memorandum No. S.P. 675/96 of the 23rd of February, 1932, and embodies the greater part of the former Report, including the census figures.
2. Any radical differences in the Report can be readily accounted for in that the people are very shy and were not sure of the outcome of the Intelligence Officer's investigations; thus much of their original information proved misleading.
3. The resultant effect of having their own Court separate form that of NSUNGLI, has given them the confidence to impart the real facts as afar as they know them.
4. It will be the purpose of this Report to show that the Area known as KAKA-NTEM, and hereafter referred to by its component parts MBAW,
MBEM and MFUMET, contains peoples of quite different origin, and of different states of progression.
5. Association and proximity have resulted in a certain amount of assimilation of language and custom, but that these three areas contain different peoples there is no doubt.
6. The Area as a whole lies between 6Ú 15' and 11Ú 15' East Longitude. The Area is situated some 120 miles by road and some 70 miles direct from Divisional Headquarters.
7. The Northern Area of what has been hitherto termed KAKA will be referred to as 'MFUMTE' and the remainder as 'MBEM'; the latter Area will include the lower slopes of the range of hills which forms the northern boundary of the MBAW Area, hitherto known as the NTEM plain. These three names are in general use amongst the people themselves and proximate tribes. The name 'KAKA' is used more often by strangers to denote the hill MBEM and MFUMTE Areas as a whole.
8. The population of the MBAW Area is 2129; of MBEM 6129; of MFUMTE 2415. The respective Areas are 216 square miles; 292 square miles, and 192 square miles. The density of population per
square mile is 9.9, 20.9, and 12.5 persons.
9. With the conception of five communities of the MBAW Area, the origin of the remainder is largely a question of surmise and inference. The original TIKARI migrants found the ancestors of the MBEM clan in the MBAW plain where the village of NYURON now stands, while the greater part of MFUMTE cannot trace their history further back than that they separated from AKOJA in MBEMBE.
10. Authentic history may be dated from the beginning of the FULANI INVASIONS some seven or eight generations ago which finished with the advent of the Germans at the beginning of the century. After the war until 1920, a French interregnum followed the Area being then handed over to the YOLA Province. In 1924 the whole Area was transferred to the BAMENDA Division.
11. These frequent changes under organisations with widely differing methods of organisation have not contributed to any sense of order or well being in the Area, more especially as under German rule it was looked on as a recruiting centre for road labour. The French paid only one visit to MBEM, and MFUMTE was entirely neglected by both Administrations.
12. The people of the MBAW Area are more sophisticated than their mountain neighbours,
having come into close contact with both the FULANI and the Germans, who attempted to make a road through the plain to join up with BANSO.
13. From the time of the cessation of the FULANI raids this route has been used by Hausa traders who have since formed considerable settlements near one or two of the villages. The value of trade and money is thus better known than to their more inaccessibly placed neighbours, though a parallel trade route through MBEM is rapidly attaining popularity now that traders can travel through to GASHAKA free from molestation. The road passes through the villages of ROM, MBEM, NWA, and NYANG and so to BANG on the YOLA side. This route is also used by French as well as FULANI for passing their cattle southwards to NKONGSAMBA and PORT HARCOURT.
14. The lingua franca of the MBAW communities has become Fulda through the influence of the trading element; the villages still however retain their old languages in contradistinction to those of the MBEMBE Area who, though of widely different origin, speak 'MBELIBE' to the exclusion of their original tongue.
15. Christianity has made little impression in this part of the Division, in spite of the fact that a Baptist Mission has existed at MBIRIKPA since 1929. This Mission is now moving to NSUNGLI. It
is not probable that there will be any following from the MBAW Area as the change of climate is too great. The School had already been moved to NDU in NSUNGLI, but those boys from the MBAW Area have since run away and do not attend any more.
16. From 1923 till 1932 the whole Area was included in the NSUNGLI Native Authority Area. In 1932 a native Court with restricted 'D' grade powers was established sitting alternately at MBEM and LUS; the members consist of all the 'Chiefs' of the villages, their Councils being encouraged to attend.
17. The fact that not enough was known of the heads of the people of their relation to them, made is impossible to set up a Native Authority, even of an experimental character. From further investigation and aided by a spirit of greater confidence on the part of the people in the aims of administration, the position has vastly altered.
18. The two small communities that before alleged that they were of MBWAT origin own that this is true of only one of them, while certain others who before said they were related to LUS, now admit that three of them are offshoots or extended families of the MBEM clan while a fourth is of MAMBILA origin. ADERI, more than a century ago departed from NSUNGLI and since a sub-town of AKOJA, have for the reason that they are a great distance away from both
NSUNGLI and MBEMBE, asked to be included in the Area of MFUMTE, whose language they talk.
19. Those of the MFUMTE communities that are of MBEM extraction have largely been influenced by the LUS group, talking their language and assimilating their customs; though this is not so true of MALA owing to proximity and association with NGUNG, their parent stock.
20. Previous information as to the various migrations attributed to certain groups of MBEM villages are admitted to have been a fairy tale, but certain families broke off from MBEM itself, and have since been considered as separate units.
21. In spite of the disrupting influence of the FULANI and other foreign incursors, the MBEM clan are bound together by definite administrative and social ties, which are in evidence to this day.
22. This is not true of the communities of the MFUMTE Area, whose social organisation is practically nil, and whose chief characteristic is one of an almost complete independence of their nearest neighbour, at least until recent years.
23. The communities of the MBAW Area are more sophisticated, but whereas their social system functions in their own village, it goes little or no further. Jealousy is the keynote of their relations due to a fear that the temporary protection afforded
them by the NTEM during the FULANI raids should be construed into something savouring of subservience.
24. The communities living in the MBAW Area number eight, being composed of five who are of TIKARI extraction and three of MAMBILA; they have however adopted many of each others customs, though still retaining their own dialects. Houses are round and conical roofed and farms generally stretch away from the back of the compounds: these compounds are quite close to each other and form a compact village: the village group is the highest functioning unit. Owing to the lowness of its altitude some 1000 feet above sea-level, mosquitoes abound and a recent tour of the Medical Officer was spent almost entirely in treating yaws. FULANI dress has been adopted.
25. The MBEM Clan are healthier and hardier than their lowland neighbours living as they do in mountain grassland in scattered compounds made up of square shaped houses, in which are to be found their family groups - farming is done by the family group and each piece of land on the surrounding hills though uncultivated has a known owner and can be bought and sold, in contradistinction to that of the MBAW plain where land is common and right to it that of occupation only. Their dress is scanty and generally confined to a loin cloth. The Clan is the highest functioning unit.
26. Those of the MFUMTE communities that owe their origin to MBEMBE are not such a healthy and well formed type, a heritage perhaps of their goitre-ridden ancestors although there is none to be seen at the present day among the MFUMTE. Their houses are square though some round ones are to be found especially in KWAJA, the most backward of them. AKOJA in MBEMBE have round houses. An indiscriminate type of shifting and mixed cultivation is practised, the produced of which is not sold as palm oil is extensively produced in the Area, a ready market being found for this among the oil lacking NSUNGLI peoples. Their dress in many parts is characterised by its entire absence. Chieftainship since they left AKOJA with its autocratic Chief, has not been incorporated by these seceding kindreds. Consequently these kindreds lack any organisation that would exist among peoples like the MUNCHI who never have had Chiefs; in this case their original organisation included a Chief and were under his authority, now there is no one who has the right to order another to do or to refrain from doing anything.
27. The effect on the three Areas of the formation of a 'D' grade Native Court sitting alternately at MBEM and LUS, which started functioning at the beginning of the year has been such that at last they have shaken off the shy attitude that was evident among a number of its communities; this together with the fact that the visits of Administrative Officers
have ben made for reasons other than punitive or tax collecting. This shyness in the past has been due rather to the behaviour and methods of the NDU Chief, a member of the NSUNGLI Native Authority under which the Area was originally included, rather than their primitiveness.
28. Separate or combined Treasuries are not desired by the three Areas, separate Estimates have however been prepared. Federation in any respect is not desired by them nor is it considered time for this. It is proposed now to establish a separate Native Authority in the MBAW Area and a 'D' grade Native Court with restricted powers, together with a village Court with restricted for each village in the Area, except where two or more villages have agreed to combine. The Native Authority is only to function as such under the presidency of the divisional Officer, until such time as either a natural leader emerges or the representatives of the communities learn to act in concert.
29. It is further proposed to establish an independent Native Authority in the MBEM Clan together with a 'D' grade Native Court with restricted powers, and extended family group courts with restricted powers, for each group except where two or more groups have agreed to combine.
30. Further that the MFUMTE Area should have a 'D' grade Native Court with restricted powers.
As in the case of MBAW, the Native Authority only to function under the presidency of the Divisional Officer for the time being.
31. With the inclusion of ADERI the whole Area forms a rough isosceles triangle, with the MBAW Area a narrow strip, some 25 miles long and 10 miles wide, as the base, The MBEM Area is roughly rectangular in shape, 15 miles long and some 20 miles broad. The MFUMTE Area is triangular in shape some 20 miles wide at the base, and 20 miles long in a North-Westerly direction. The whole lies in the North-east corner of the BAMENDA Division and its general direction, North-north-west.
32. At the apex of this isosceles triangle lies MBEMBE separated from it by the continuation of a range of mountains forming the edge of the NSUNGLI-BANSO plateau which runs down the whole length of the West side of the triangle. The East side of the triangle is formed by the BAMENDA-GASHAKA boundary which runs along the DONGA and MBURI Rivers. The base of the triangle is the International Boundary which follows along the top of a lozenge-shaped hill in the South-east corner of the MBAW Area and runs down into the plain, parallel to the range of mountains, some 10 miles away, which separate the hilly MBEM Area from the MBAW plain. The South-west corner of this plain reaches the base of the BANSO-NSUNGLI plateau, it last 10 miles being included in the NSUNGLI Native Authority Area.
33. In the northernmost corner of the MFUMTE Area the village of ADERI stands perched on the top of the range of high mountains, on the other side of which lies MBEMBE; but for the gorge through which the DONGA flows this range would join up with that mass of mountains comprising the MAMBILA plateau. Between ADERI and the main group of the MFUMTE village of which LUS is the nearest, lies triangular shaped fertile savannah, bounded on the West by the INSUNGLI escarpment and the DONGA on the East. The MFUMTE communities are to be found roughly in a straight line from North-East to South-West along the lower slopes and valleys of the extremely broken country that lies between the LUS - ADERI plain in the North and the larger MBAW plain in the South.
34. The MFUMTE Area boasts of a considerable number of palm trees, lying as it does in well-wooded valleys some 1,000 feet below the general level of the rest of the hill country which is the habitat of the MBEM Clan: hence their name 'MFUMTE' - 'people of the palm-tree country'.
35. The MBEM Area is composed of extremely broken country, hills and valleys alternating with monotonous regularity and varying from 4,500 feet to 3,000 feet. Every valley possesses a stream and each eventually finds its way in a North-easterly direction towards one or other of the tributaries of the DONGA, itself a tributary of the BENUA River.
36. The MBAW Area lies at a height of some 1,500 feet and is extremely hot, sheltered as it is on three sides by high mountain ranges. In the rainy seasons these mountains cause the greater part of the plain to be almost impassable owing to a large area being already very swampy all the year round.
37. It has been suggested that the people inhabiting what has been known as the KAKA-NTEM Area are of 'TIKARI origin'. the phrase 'of TIKARI origin' is apt to be misleading as the great TIKARI plain lying to the South of BANSO and of which the MBAW Area is a continuation took its name from the TIKARI migrants from BORNU some centuries ago. It is not unreasonable to presume that there were other tribes settled in that Area or near its confines, who in course of time become confused with them.
38. It may not be out of place to make reference to the TIKARI migration, two descendants of whose royal line passed by way of this North-East corner of this Division, leaving definite traces of their passage.
39. The first TIKARI migrants were led by one FON KIMI who settled in the 'TIKARI' plain on a hill also name after him. It was not till some four generations had passed that his senior, KIMI MANGA or 'big KIMI', followed and ousted FON KIMI, originally a younger son of the KIMI family. KIMI MANGA had seven sons who subsequently left him two of whom passed into what is now BAMENTA territory, while the other five are to be found in what is now French Mandated territory. The Chiefs of BANSO and NTEM are directly descended from two of KIMI MANGA's sons.
40. The claims of BIKOM, NDOP, BAFUT and WUM to TIKARI ancestry would appear to be founded on ancestry traceable to one or more of KIMI'S senior followers; that of BUM unfounded for BUM left MBWAT, now to be found in NSUNGLI. It is certain that MBWAT has nothing to do with the TIKARS; nor has the YA clan of NSUNGLI, confusion having arisen through the usurpation of the 'NDU Chief', who is a TIKAR and junior to the NTEM Chief, not to mention the NSUNGLI Chief of KONCHEP and the MBAW Chief of ROM.
41. On the arrival of KIMI MANGA, FON KIMI left and settled near his present site not far from hills in the south-east corner of the MBAW plain. There he found at a place called NAU, one GANAU and his kindreds; this community the present Chief of FON KIMI alleges were taken as a subtown by his ancestor. Suffice to say that there was no relationship between them other than that of association.
42. It was not long after FON KIMI'S association with GANAU, that disaster in the shape of a flood overtook this ancestor Chief of MBEM and his people. The story, which is generally known, relates that only two escaped in the manner of Noah's ark; these were not only male and female but also brother and sister. They were guided by a shepp sent by God, to a safe haven. The present site of MBEM was the resting place of NGWA and his sister. Special
sanction on the part of God enabled these two to raise up a family, and to this day special rites are observed when a man marries as near a relation as a cousin. To this beginning is also attributed the reason wh the MBEM shares the farm work with the women of his family to an unusual degree.
43. While NGWA and his descendants were rapidly growing from family groups into kindreds, the BANSO clan left BANYO and passed through to near their present site, followed at a later date by the NTEM clan, direct descendants of one of KIMI'S sons and head of the NGU with a large following.
44. Three other TIKARI groups MBIRIKPA, NGOMKAW and NGU followed NTEM, the two former being extended family groups of the NTEM group. The TALA clan of NSUNGLI left NGU at this period and NGU made a treaty with the MBWAT clan, who allowed them to settle in their viinity. ROM left NTEM, soon followed by KONCHEP and NDU who passed on towards BANSO, and not agreeing to pay tribute tohim, left, both settling on the present site of KONCHEP; then NDU moved to the vicinity of the present site of MBAT where he was decimated by the FULANI and moving with him a handful of followers bought a piece of ground from the YA Clan, where ne now exists as 'Chief' of that clan.
45. The extended families of NGOMKAW and MBIRIKPA have settled down as independent communities bound to NTEM by no other ties save those of common ancestry and inter-marriage.
46. The kindreds of the NGWA clan had now grown too unwieldy and the MBEM valley too small to hold them, consequently the heads of these kindreds decided to move further off, taking with them the social organisation which had evolved during their growth to maturity as a clan. History relates that the 'NGWA' then reigning, being disappointed at the breaking up of the family, retired into private life and conferred the leadership on his brother and his descendants.
47. All except three of the present extended family groups left MBEM during the latter days of NGWA; the thre were BOM, FAM and NTONG, leaving later, during the time of MBEM Chief, NCHABUI. From the two latter there was further breaking off: NTIM left NTONG and was in turn left by SAAM, NCHA and NTERE another group now on the YOLA side, but desirous of returning to their old site and rejoining the clan; FAM brokee off from SI.
48. From MVWE in the first migration, NGUNG and NWAT separated and NGWEMBE left NWAT. NYANG was till recently called NTONG and was left behind by NTONG when they moved to their present site. KWAK left MBEM about the same time as NTONG while what is
known as GOM consists of a number of kindreds each acknowledging no one but the MBEM Chief as head; GAMFE up to now a 'subtown' of NTEM is also a kindred of MBEM itself.
49. It must have been shortly after the first splitting up of the MBEM clan that there arrived from the direction of MBEMBE part of a clan whose senior portion is to be found as AKOJA in MBEMBE at the present time. It was soon after this that two of the MFUMTE communities, KOFFA and MANANG, followed each other from an MBEM kindred, while MALA left NGUNG, BANG left KNOT, and JUI arrived from the direction of the MAMBILA country and settled down between MBAT and KOFFA. These villages lived a completely independent existence till recent years when association with the LUS, KWAJA and KOM kindred groups caused them to assimilate much of their customs and language; this is not so true of MALA who are still in close contact with their parent body, NGUNG.
50. The main body of the MBEMBE migrants settled at the present site of the LUS kindreds; four of these kindreds moved to the present site of what is now known as KWAJA, and two to what is known as BITUI. The former four groups are to this day engaged in a certain amount of bltacksmithry, the four kindred heads being the Chief blacksmiths. The soil however being suitable for the growing of oil palms their occupation has been largely abandoned
except for the making of the shovels used as dowry to this day both in MFUMTE and MBEM.
51. The FULANI invasions caused a general upheaval more especially in the MBAW part where horses were a great advantage. The MBAW communities took refuge on the high hills nearby but not before many hundreds of them were either killed or taken as slaves to BANYO, the FULANI headquarters. It was during this time that the NTEM, assuming natural leadership against a common enemy obtained a hold on the villages of the plain which developed into tyrannical interference.
52. The FULANI overran MBEM and MFUMTE, as far as any running could be done on their precipitous hill slopes, casualties were severe on both sides; MBEM, it is asserted, inflicted one severe repulse at least.
53. It was at this time that NTERE left its site near NCHA, and a number of family groups, now NCHE, fled from the neighbourhood of LUS across the DONGA River, and SAAM retired to its present site from the MAMBILA village of the TEB where it had spent half a century since leaving NTIM.
54. FULANI incursions only ceased with the advent of the Germans.
55. As might be expected German influence was strongest in the MBAW Area. The villages which had fled to almost inaccessible heights on the escarpment were ordered down, and NTEW settled check by jowl with WANTE of MBEM, much to the latters discomforture, for it had to pay tax through NTEM to BANYO and was treated as a 'subtown' till quite recent years. NTEM has since moved some four miles distance from WANTE.
56. Men were recruited from the MBAW Area and from a few villages of MBEM, and to this end a flag-post was established near MBEM: thus the memory of German rule among the MBEM is not one of esteem, ruled as it was by Sergeants and messengers.
57. Tax in kind or in marks was collected indiscriminately and for this purpose villages were joined together who bore nor elation to each other.
58. The period of Anti-German war hardly affected this Area West of BANYO, though NGUNG TOOK the opportunity of revenge for past indignities by killing a German Sergeant who had taken refuge there.
59. One visit to MBEM was made by a French Administrative Officer and tax at the rate of one mark was collected by one DOGO, installed for that
purpose as Chief of MBEM, and made responsible for its collection from the villages of ROM, NWAT, NYANG, and BOM.
60. MBAW received two administrative visits and paid at the rate of two marks.
61. In 1920 the Area was handed over to the YOLA Province under Mandate.
62. In 1923 Major Glasson, Assistant District Officer i/c of the TOANGA Division of the YOLA Province and Mr. E.G. Hawkesworth, Assistant District Officer, of the BAMENDA Division, made a joint tour through some of the villages in the Area, who at that time were paying one shilling tax in the MBAW Area and six-pence elsewhere, through the SARIKIN GASHAKA. On transfer to the BAMENDA Division, MBEM and MFUMTE still paid at the rate of six-pence, though only £3.16.6d was actually collected; MBAW paid at the rate of two shillings, being the same as NSUNGLI.
63. The whole Area was then included in the NSUNGLI native Authority Area, though no active attempt was made by way of administration by the Authority, with the exception of NTEM where the NDU Chief, one of the members of the Native Authority, had influence in respect of their family ties. At the end of 1927 tax at the rate of one shilling was
recommended in view of the comparatively rapid development of MBEM at least.
64. Trade began to increase and the markets, so long disrupted by FULANI and attendant disturbances, were resumed with comparative success, more especially in the case of MBEM, who long since had carried on a trade with the peoples of the NSUNGLI escarpment, while LUS resumed its trading relations with the village of BINKA, of the TALA clan, also of NSUNGLI.
65. Since 1927 three more villages, BITUI of the MFUMTE group and SAAM and NCHA of MBEM origin were first visited by Mr. L.L. Cantle, District Officer. The two communities on the other side of the DONGA referred to previously were discovered during the present tour; they pay tax at the rate of 1/6d per head to the District Head of SABONGARI, ADAMAWA Division of the YOLA Province.
66. ADERI who have long broken off relations with their parent clan, have been paying tax through AKOJA in MBEMBE.
67. In this section the three Areas of MBAW, MBEM and MFUMTE will be dealt with separately, for the highest functioning unit of executive authority in the Village, the Clan and the Kindred respectively, administrative proposals are set out in respect of each of the three Areas.
A. I. THE MBAW COMMUNITIES.
68. The villages of the MBAW Area, subjected as they have been to more disruptive influences than almost any other Area in the Division, have also experienced changes almost kaleidoscopic in their sequence, while their history is one of rapine, oppression and deceit.
69. It is true that relationship exists between the communities of NTEM, MBIRIKPA, NGOMKAW and ROM, yet with the exception of the latter, they form part of different migrations from KIMI. Though they acknowledge the NTEM Chief as the senior member of the migratory bodies, he has never had anything to do with their internal arrangements; but for the FULANI invasions this relationship would never have assumed any other respect.
70. It was this influence coupled with the fact the Germans had pursued the policy of making the NTEM Chief responsible for the
neighbouring villages, that has led to the bitter feeling of those villages of the MBAW plain for the NTEM community. Like BALI the people of NTEM live in the glory of their past, and it must indeed be galling to see a junior member of their family in the position of the NDU Chief; even the BANSO Chief Chief was possibly not so powerful as NTEM.
71. The structure of social organisation is composed of, man, the family, the family group, the kindred and the village group. The latter being the highest functioning unit, though of course they were extended families of their parent group before migration about a century ago from TIKARI and MAMBILA tribes, but today they are independent village groups.
72. On any matter of the TIKARIS groups will summon his kindred heads and the 'MONKOM' or head woman, and deliberate in a house set apart for the purpose, it is the business of the head woman to listen attentively and to make any objections or in recapitulation before a full gathering of the people, to correct any errors. After the Council has met the Chief will sound a horn thus giving notice of a general assembly. At this meeting the chief will speak and issue any instructions that may have been resolved on. Any disobeying member of the community is summoned by means of a token sent in the form of a leaf called 'NKANG'.
73. The Chief is general executive head; there are no special officers responsible for any particular duties, each kindred head being responsible for his own Area in the matter of communications, tax collecting and law and order. A 'CHINDA' is employed as foreign emissary. A kindred is generally composed of 3 to 4 family groups.
74. For the purpose of warfare MFOMI, the head of the drinking club is ordered to summon the warriors and get them into a suitable fame of mind. The chief himself leads in battle. The 'MONKOM', when anything pertinent has been discussed by the Council, summons the women to her compound. She sits on a chair and has two or three CHINDAS. She is not allowed to marry and his generally the Chief's sister or daughter.
75. NGU, the original head of the TALA Clan of NSUNGLI has the same customs.
76. The MAMBILA communities of NYURON, NGOM, and LI up to now regarded as a 'sub-town' of NYURON, possess similar customs. They all speak MAMBILA dialects.
77. These villages have adopted the same customs in regard to administrative procedure as the NTEM group. It is unlikely that they possessed Chiefs as such in the first placed, but were grouped in kindreds, in much the same fashion as the MFUMTE.
78. NYURON only differs from the rest in that there are four 'MONKOM', who are all present at the deliberations of the Council.
79. The independent nature of these communities has been stressed and in proposing some scheme whereby the Area may be administered as a whole, this characteristic must be borne in mind: this independence due partly to a fear that what the NDU Chief has accomplished in NSUNGLI, the NTEM Chief has accomplished in NSUNGLI, the NTEM Chief might emulate, will exist until such time as a more communal spirit arises from the closer association of the senior men of each village, and so regard the Area in a more corporate light.
80. Until a natural leader emerges from this federation, unanimity of action on the part of a Native Authority consisting of the Chiefs and their Councils will be at first lacking. Yet from an educative point of view such a meeting where matters for the general good and where difficulties of particular villages could b discussed, would it is felt be invaluable. To this end the following proposals have been formulated.
81. That the Area called 'MBAW' should have a Native Authority vested in the Chiefs and their Councils, of the village groups of NTEM, NGU, MBIRIKPA, NGOM NYURON, LI, NGOMKAW, and ROM under
the presidency of the Divisional Officer until such time as the members have acquired collective responsibility.
B. THE MBEM CLAN
82. The structure of social organisation is composed of man, the family, the family group, the kindred, the extended family and the clan. The clan being the highest functioning unit.
83. The family is the economic unit, though the family group represented by the senior member, is bound up and largely shares in the fortune or misfortunes of all its members. Ground is owned by the family group, and even unused ground on the surrounding hills has a known owner, and which if desired by a member of another family group must be bought the prices vary from 2 to 10 shovels at 2/-. Dowries are shared and paid for by the family group through the medium of the father of the daughter or boy in question, the senior members of the family group acting as witnesses.
84. Inside a kindred, control lies with the senior member of the senior family group and he it is who is responsible to the proper person for its administration and for general law and order.
85. Administration, inside the parent
community of the MBEM clan, is almost elaborate, catering as it does for the administration of the extended families as well. The officers of this organisation are generally kindred heads an their offices hereditary: Primogeniture is the rule, except in the case of infants then eldest brother.
86. The parent body of the MBEM clan is divided into two parts for purposes of
administration, the Chief of MBEM dividing his duties and the Village Area with the
NKOMBAW, who is also second to him in importance in the clan, and senior legal officer.
Any gain is shared equally with the NKOMBAW, this will be redivided between the proper
persons according to custom.
87. When the Chief site in Council the following Officers are present: the NKOMBAW and his senior men, NDI and NDIMONJA, also GWAKO, the Chief's senior men:- NANGANG, LOINGI, YAKONG and the head woman 'MENTON', is summoned in relation to women's affairs. NDI and NDIMONJA assist the NKOMBAW in his general and also his judicial duties; GWAKO is the emissary set to another group of the clan. LOINGI is in charge of communications and operates the 'WANTAP' juju, which when placed on a path forbids anyone to pass in case of sickness in neighbouring community. NANGANG is responsible for the administration of the Chief's kindred. YAKONG is the leader in war and also the emissary to those outside the clan. The Chief
never leads in war.
88. Other executive officers, who are not members of the Chief's Council are YEFA and LACHEP who are responsible for the agricultural administration and give notice when the major crops, guinea corn and cocyams, are to be planted. They also initiate the seasonal dances. Other crops are left to the discretion of the individual. Two officers, known as LONGONG are responsible for the well being of the seven kindreds that have been known as GOM, they have no executive power but report if anything amiss; one of them is positioned in one of the kindreds and the other is placed on the road between them and the main group of MBEM.
89. If an executive order is not obeyed, the Chief will send the offender a bush cow's tail through the NKOMBAW, the kindred head, and the family group head respectively, who will deliver up the delinquent through the same channels. If the offender is a member of an extended family, GWAKO is send and reports the circumstances to the NKOMBAW, who if necessary would have accompanied him in the first place.
90 The extended families have no such elaborate organisation of their own though each one has a senior man second to the Chief and three or four elders, who in most of the smaller groups are more in the nature of family group heads than
kindred heads, these will form the Chief's Council; any serious difficulty is always reported to the NKOMBAW who after consultation with the Chief of MBEM takes necessary action.
91. Since the FULANI invasions such groups as SAAM, NCHA and MALA got out of touch with the rest of the clan and a strong headed NTONG Chief went so far as to raid NTIM.
92. It is of interest to note that the descendants of the original NGWA still exist and act as paternal advisers to the clan: and though they take no administrative shape are treated with great respect; they preside at the consecration rites of marriages between close relations.
93. Approval is thus asked for a Native Authority vested in the person of the Chief of MBEM, being the acknowledged head of the clan; this also being the wish of the extended families. Both the Chief and the NKOMBAW, whose position is further dealt with later, are strong and capable men, and moreover generally respected and liked.
94. The Native Authority will embrace the extended families of :- MBEM, WANTE, NWAT, NKOT, BOM, MVWE, NYANG, SI, FAM, NTONG, NTIM, SAAM, NCHA, GWEMBE, KWAKA, NWA, WALA and NGUNG.
C. THE MFUMTE GROUP.
95. The structure of social organisation is composed of man, the family, the family group and the kindred and in the case of four communities of the extended family too.
96. It has already been observed that the MFUMTE communities contain groups of different origin, though they have come to speak one language and to a certain extent assimilate the customs of the first arrivals to the Area, namely the LUS group. Thus though they vary in customs such as burial and marriage yet they have come to pursue the same social activities to a great extent.
97. The first arrivals to the Area were LUS, closely followed by KOM, both these left their parent body with its independent Chief and have never set up a leader of their own, thus they remain to this day a collection of kindreds in various groups, but without a group head. Little or no authority is exercised within the kindred for the family group heads have no executive organisation to fall back on.
98. We thus find eight kindreds in LUS, that is as far as it goes. KWAJA is made up of four kindreds; there appears however to be no attempt at keeping any sort of order due to the fact that since migration their social organisation is incomplete,
their highest functioning unit being left in AKOJA, MBEMBE, even within the kindred, this lack of order is a byeword among surrounding communities; BITUI owns to two kindreds and KOM to one.
99. There is in fact no form of administration, their mode of life being entirely governed by custom and use, outside this province each man is a law to himself: that is a man is wronged in any way he is his own saviour.
100. Tax collection 'per village' has amounted to a scramble in the town for any money there was, its 'white man Chief' having to rely on his CHINDAS to make a successful whip round the other kindreds and relying on the knowledge that an Administrative Officer would have to come and assist him. In KWAJA almost a halfwit was originally pushed forward to answer the purpose of 'Chief', he it was who was soundly rated for not attempting to collect his tax or perform other 'chiefly' functions; he is not even a kindred head: while the chosen of BITUI was a young lad who acted as Messenger to the kindred head.
101. The other villages still preserve some semblance of their clan heritage of control, while the MBAT Chief is a descendant of one of the senior members of the MBWAT clan.
102. In such a community there can be little authority exercised in common for some time to come, though the individual kindred heads are quite
capable of exercising proper control if they are supported by their fellow kindred heads in bringing offenders to book, the basis then of any proposals must be the kindred, each being made responsible for its own administration and thus for the collection of tax.
103. In order to evolve a more communal sense it is suggested that a Native Authority be formed, vested in the kindred heads and extended family heads of the Area, to meet and function only under the presidency of the Divisional Officer until such time as a sense of responsibility has been developed.
104. The two kindreds of BITUI are known as:- MALAK and KULAK. The kindreds comprising LUS are:- MAKE, NJISO, NKWIBE, MATE, GULU, MBOLO, LASWI and NJIYA, the latter being the senior for since arrival the up to now Chief of LUS has come to be looked on as the senior kindred head of the LUS kindreds only; he was a German messenger. Those of KWAJA:- NJIFUM, NJINKA, KOGAM and BAGAM.
105. The other members would be : the heads of MANANG, JUI, BANG, KOFFA, MBAT, ADERI and KOM.
THE MBAW COMMUNITIES
106. It has been observed earlier in this Report that the customs of the TIKARI communities of the MBAW Area NTEM, NGOMKAW, NGU and MBIRIKPA have largely been assimilated by the MAMBILA element, this is also true of their judicial organisation, the greater part of which, with variations, has been incorporated where any existed before, and adopted by those whose heritage did not include any such organisation.
107. Civil and criminal trials are held outside a house set aside for the purpose, this house is also used by the Chief in Council.
108. It will be observed that the women take an important part in the judicial procedure. It is in regard to the women's part that some of the Courts differ, in other respects their judicial procedure has become practically uniform. Below is given an account of the procedure found at ROM, the local names for the Village Elders being used. ROM is the senior branch of the NTEM family.
109. A complainant brings a fowl and some palm wine to the Chief and states his complaint, the complaint having been first brought before the
family head and not settled, and then before 'NYANGANGI' the head of the Chief's household, who owing to the seriousness of the complaint has advised that it should go before the Chief. The Chief calls the 'NJI' or Elders through the 'MFOMI' or town-crier, (this has been adopted from other customs it being usual to send a junior member of the Chief's compound). An attendant of the Chief's then summons the 'defendant'. The Chief, his Elders and an audience of villagers sit in a semi-circle, the 'plaintiff' and 'defendant' before them.
110. The complainant is then called to pay his respects to the Court, this implies that h is expected to speak the truth. Headvances towards the Chief and kneeling, knows the Chief's feet with his hands then rising kisses his forehead. He then narrates his story amid interruptions from the Elders who interpose questions. When he has finished the other party goes through the same ceremony and if he is opposing the claim or refuting the accusation, tells his version of the circumstances. Witnesses are then called, these are not sworn. The Chief and 'NYANGANKI' then retire into the house behind them and deliberate on the verdict. 'NYANGANJI' gives out the verdict.
111. If one of the parties is in disagreement with the verdict, the other party is then called on to take a special oath on a horse-shoe-shaped bell, between the arms of which a fruit,
solanum incanum, is placed. It is firmly believed that if a lie has been told, sooner or later, calamity in some shape or form will overtake his family. It is not difficult to appreciate the efficancy of this form of oath, for of course sooner or later some untoward happening would occur in any case; and if a lie has ben told his family will make him confess to his false witness. If any payment had been taken as a result of that lie he will bring it to the Chief and be requested to pay the fin of one goat; this is shared by the Elders.
112. The head women or NYE is not present; proximity to MBEM is probably the reason for the little part women take in procedure.
113. NYURON on the other hand, of MAMBILA origin, boasts of a judicial body consisting of the Chief, two Elders and four YA or NYE, head women. All seven deliberate on the verdict and the Chief pronounces the judgment; otherwise the process is similar to that of ROM. LI has the same procedure but only one YA.
114. NGOM, also of MAMBILA origin, (there are many MAMBILA Clans), has the same procedure but the one YA gives out the verdict.
115. MBIRIKPA and NGU have the same procedure except that the YA does not take any part, unless the women in general are affected.
116. At NTEM the Chief sits in Court with three Elders and one YA. The Chief gives out the verdict of the Court. The method of swearing is the same among all these 'courts', and was probably acquitted from MBEM.
117. The maximum penalty for a killing within the community was selling into slavery. Adultery is no offence. Other misdemeanours and crime were punished by fines. A debtor was held in the Chief's compound till the family paid, though time to pay was given if necessary. Ordeal by sasswood was resorted to in cases involving accusations of witchcraft. Dowry was not sued for as there is no dowry as such, anything given being regarded as a gift, these were generally returned if the woman left; they are no sued for in the Court.
118. Approval is thus asked for a Native Court with restricted 'D' grade powers, also to act as an Appeal Court; for:-
(1) Civil actions in which the debt, demand or damages does not exceed £5 and full jurisdiction in all matrimonial causes, other than those arising from or connected with a Christian marriages as defined in section one of the Criminal Code.
(2) Criminal causes which can adequately be punished by imprisonment for three months or a fine of three pounds or the equivalent by native law and custom.
B. Membership to consist of the Chiefs and their Councils of NTEM, NGU, MBIRIKPA, NGOM, NYURON, LI, NGOMKAW and ROM. The Court to be called 'the MBAW Native Court'.
C. No definite appointment as President, though possibly a 'Spokesman' may evolve. They do not at present wish to choose a President.
D. The Court house to be situated between NGU and MBIRIKPA, on neutral ground.
All fees to be at a flat rate of three shillings.
E. The Court to serve as a Court of first instance in Criminal causes only, and in civil actions other than marriage, involving claims of over two pounds.
119. Further that in the above mentioned places (See 118b) there should be established seven separate courts with further restricted powers:-
(1) Civil actions where the claim involved is not more than two pounds, but full jurisdiction in regard to all matrimonial causes save those involving a Christian marriage.
(2) Criminal causes which may be adequately punished by imprisonment for one month or a fine of one pound or the equivalent by native law and custom.
B. Membership to consist of the judicial bodies of each village, with the exception that NGU and MBIRIKPA have agreed to form one Court.
C. Fees to be at a flat rate of two shillings. Appeals the MBAW Native Court (Central) to be three shillings.
D. That the Chief in question should be responsible for the recording of the judgment of a case, and the payment of any fines, in the books to be kept by the Clerk to the MBAW Native Court, and to be responsible for the carrying out of the orders of the Courts. Court fees and fines to be accounted for by the Court Clerk.
E. That receipt books in triplicate for fees should be issued to each Chief i.e. one slip for the court clerk, one for the complainant and the other to remain in the Receipt Book for the payment of fees for the summonses, warrants and appeals.
* * *
THE MBEM CLAN
120. In the case of a complaint arising within the kindred, the kindred head endeavours to settle it in the first instance, unless it appears to be of a serious nature; then, and also if the parties are not satisfied with his decision the case is brought before the NKOMBAW, senior law officer of the clan. The NKOMBAW is also approached when the head of an extended family group in council has failed to satisfy a complainants. Though he is both an elder and kindred head the NKOMBAW thus has a remarkable position in the clan administration, he is second only to the Chief of the clan himself, and is buried with the honours of the Chief. Without doubt he is looked on as senior to the heads of the extended family groups.
121. A quorum is never formed in either Council or Court unless he is present and so will not function, thus the Chief gives no judgment unless the NKOMBAW is also in agreement. The NKOMBAW is often sent to settle a case with the head of the extended family and his elders before whom the complaint was first laid. If a case was really serious then a full Court consisting of the Clan Head, NKOMBAW, 2 NDI, GWAKO, LOINGI, YAKONG and NANGANG (see glossary) was convened with the Chief presiding.
The same procedure is followed as that described as obtaining in ROM. It is certain that this procedure was adopted by the MBAW community from MBEM.
122. Certain extended family groups have since the FULANI invasions lost touch with the parent body to some extend; these have agreed to join the groups from which they originally broke off for the purpose of forming a court.
123. For it is purpose to make use of the judicial organisation set out above and to institute separate courts for the extended family groups.
124. For this purpose the extended family groups of NCHA and SAAM join NTIM, FAM will join SI, MALA will join NGUNG and the kindreds comprising GOM will be included in MBEM itself; the remaining extended family groups to have their own court. These fourteen courts only to function as such when the NKOMBAW sits with the Chief or Chiefs and the Elders. The procedure suggested is as follows:- A complainant will institute proceedings in the Court where the complaint lies, i.e. in the court of the extended family of the defendants: He will on payment of two shillings obtain a receipt from the Chief, and will then report to the NKOMBAW at MBEM. If in the first place the claim amounts to over two pounds a receipt will be issued for the sum of three shillings by the clan Scribe: i.e. direct action will be taken at the Central Clan Court. In the former case the
NKOMBAW will in due course proceed to the court in question and the matter will be adjudged by the NKOMBAW, the Chief and the Elders. The proceedings will be subsequently recorded by the Clan Scribe and countersigned by the NKOMBAW; any fees or fines together with the third portions of the receipts will remain with the Clan Scribe, and be accounted for by him.
125. In MBEM itself the NKOMBAW and the two NDI or legal Elders will act as the group Court. The senior NDI will issue the summons, and with the other extended family heads have receipt books in triplicate.
126. It is further proposed to establish a native Court with restricted 'D' grade powers at MBEM, on the same lines as that proposed for the MBAW Area; this Court also to act as an Appeal Court from the extended family group Courts. The Chief of MBEM to sit as President of this Court with the 17 heads of the extended family groups and their Elders as members. The President and six or more of the heads to form a quorum.
THE MFUMTE COMMUNITIES
127. It has been observed earlier in this Report that organisation of any kind is practically absent among the MFUMTE groups; even those groups that can lay claim to ancestors possessing an organised society, have for many years left off any pretence of administration. Though exceptions may be made in the cases of MBAT and ADERI, both of the MBWAT family of NSUNGLI, whose Chiefs are hereditary autocrats.
128. Only witchcraft was taken any notice of by others than those immediately concerned in any crime being a communal matter, order by sasswood was resorted to. Murder was no one business except the parties concerned and possibly their respective families, while murder of a person belonging to a different group of kindreds was cause for general rejoicing and provided the excuse for an affray between the two communities.
129. Minor wrongs are redressed by duelling, and of a very barbarous form. The aggrieved party is permitted to strike at the bare upraised arm of the other with a hatchet, and having inflicted a gash in his turn struck and so on till the onlookers stop the duel or one of them give in. Scars on the arms of the men are a common sight. Such a case occurred while this Report was compiled.
130. It would be unwise, it is submitted, to join these primitive people with their more sophisticated neighbours, for though they are rapidly becoming more tractable, progress will necessarily be slow where organisation is concerned. At present they wish to be independent.
131. It is thus proposed, from an educative point of view, to establish a native Court with Restricted 'D' grade powers, the members of which shall be the heads of the kindreds, whose names are mentioned are paragraphs 104 and 105, and the heads of the extended family groups inhabiting the area; the senior men of each group belong also encouraged to attend. No President to be appointed, though it is thought that the senior kindred head of LUS will probably evolve as 'spokesman'.
132. It is proposed that:-
(1) Civil actions in which the debt, demand or damages does not exceed £3 and full jurisdiction in all matrimonial causes save those] involving a Christian marriage should be dealt with.
(2) Criminal causes that can be adequately dealt with by imprisonment for three months or a fine of £3 or the equivalent by for the present, these do occur in relation to palm tree bearing rights; other boundaries are known and observed.
133. The Court should sit at LUS once a month. All fees should be at a flat rate of two shillings.
134. Below is given a record of the attendances of the members of the present court and the number of v civil suits arising out of each of the communities represented for the five months since the Court started:-
Member No. of Attendance No. of Suits
Ntem 7 9
Ngomkaw 6 1
Nyuron 6 2
Ngon 2 -
MBAW Mbirikpa 3 -
Ngu 2 -
Rom 3 3
LI has always attended though not gazetted a member
Mbem 7 17
Nwat Nwat 6 1
Gwembe 6 1
NYANg 7 1
Mvwe 6 1
Gom 2 1
Fam 2 -
The Mbem Nong 3 -
Clan Ntim 5 1
Si 2 -
Kwak 1 -
Nkot - -
Saam 3 -
Ncha - -
Wante 5 1
Bom 1 -
Mala - -
Nwa 4 -
Member No. of Attendance No. of Suits
Lus 3 2
Kom 1 -
Kwaja 1 -
Manang 4 -
The MFUMTE Mbat 6 -
group Jui - -
Bang 1 -
Koffa 1 -
Bitui - -
135. Thus it may be seen that the MBAW attendance amount to 60% of the possible number of attendances, the MBEM Clan 50%, and the MFUMTE 25%, 35% of the cases originated in the MBAW Area, 60% in the MBEM and 5% in the MFUMTE Area. It should be observed that two out of the seven sittings of the Court were held at LUS and the rest at MBEM. The above figures give a fair idea of the relative state of progress and attitude shown by the three areas towards the recent experiment of a Court serving the whole area.
136. A general census was made by Mr. E.H.F. Gorges, Assistant District Officer, in April 1932. The figures will thus remain approximately the same, with the addition of the population of ADERI.
137. The separate figures for the Areas are:-
Male Female Children
MBAW 641 632 856
Strangers 123 131 47
MBEM 2123 1683 2323
MFUMTE 867 670 878
Totals 3754 3116 4104
138. The MBAW Area.
Up to the time of this Report the villages of the MBAW area have been taxed at the rate of 2/- per adult male, and strangers at 6/- per adult male. It is not proposed to change the above rates for reasons given below. In computing the average income of an MBAW fifteen family groups were taken, averaging some three tax-paying males per group.
139. The measures used were the local basket, full-size being one bushel, and the pound avoirdupois. The agricultural products of the Area are, guinea-corn,
maize, egusi bean, ground-nuts, okoro and fish. The following figures are based on last year. The average acreage per taxable male works out at 1 2/3 acres per man, cultivation being mixed it was impossible to work out the yield of each product per acre. The soil is very rich.
Guinea-corn:- 341 bushels was consumed by fifteen family groups i.e. 7 5/6 bushels per individual at 3/- per bushel equals 24/-. 62 bushels was sold by fifteen family groups i.e. 1 1/2 bushels per man at 3/- per bushel equals 4/6d.
Maize:- 277 bushels was consumed by 15 family groups i.e. 6 bushels per man at 2/- per bushel equals 12/-. 62 bushels was sold i.e. 1 1/2 bushels per man at 2/- equals 3/-.
Egusi:- 80 1bs. was consumed by 15 family groups i.e. 2 1bs. per man equals 8d.
70 1bs. was sold i.e. profit per man equals 7d.
Ground-nuts: 195 1bs. was consumed i.e. 4 1bs. per man at 2d per pound equals 8d.
360 1bs. was sold i.e. 8 1bs. per man at 2d equals 1/4d profit.
Olcoro: 90 1bs. was consumed by 10 family groups i.e. 3 1bs. per man at 2/- pr pound equals 6/-.
60 1bs. was sold i.e. 2 1bs. per man at 2/- equals 4/- profit. In addition 50% MBAW make corn-beer for sale at 5/- profit i.e. average profit 2/6d.
Fish: 225 1bs. of fish was consumed by 15 family groups i.e. 5 1bs. per man equals 2/-.
650 1bs. were sold i.e. 15 1bs. per man equals 6/- profit.
Plantain, yams and cassava are also used in small quantities but not sold. Livestock nil. Total cost of subsistence per tax-payer annually:-
£2. 5. 4d.
Total gain from sale 1. 1. IId.
Total income £3. 7. 3d.
The proposed tax rate represents 3% of the above figure.
It is proposed that a lump-sum assessment should be instituted: this will result in a still more corporate spirit and the more backward villages of the area will gain by the introduction of markets in their vicinity where their more sophisticated neighbours will buy from them. The Clan-head and the Chiefs all expressed their desire for this form of taxation and declare that it would only be through such a measure that those backward members would throw off their lethargic attitude. The rate per head should be 2/-, an increase of 1/- on the present tax. The Clan-head agreed that his people were at least as well-off as those of the NTEM and would in the due course be more so. The average area farmed per man was 5 1/5 acres - mixed cultivation is not practised except in a few exceptional cases and the proportion of yield per acre of the MBEM to the MBAW is 2 to 3.
141. The income are worked out as follows:-
|Home consumption||Profit from sale|
|Guinea-corn||£1. 7. 0d.||£0. 4. 0d.|
|Corn||0. 12. 0d.||0. 2. 0d.|
|Egusi||0. 0. 10d.||0. 2. 2d.|
|Ground-nuts||0. 2. 0d.||0. 2. 10d.|
|Livestock||Nil||0. 5. 0d.|
|Basket-selling||Nil||0. 1. 0d.|
|Totals||£2. 1. 10d.||£0. 17. 0d.|
7/16 of the male population possess palm-oil, thus the net gain being 15/- per man, i.e. average per MBEM man equals 7/3d.
Total cost of subsistence is £2. 1. 10d.
Average profit from sale 1. 4. 3d.
Total income £3. 6. 1d.
Proposed tax is 3% of the above total.
It is of interest to note that quite a large number of MBEM men are resident at Calabar and act as middle-men to the MEMB who carry down produce for sale there.
Figures as to home-consumption are almost impossible to arrive at, nothing except palm-oil, livestock and basket-work are sold, while the crops grown are almost solely confined to guinea-corn, plantains and coco-yams. The figures below in
relation to consumption are thus a rough estimate only, mixed and shifting cultivation is practised and the farms scattered indiscriminately.
Home Consumption Profit from sale
Guinea-corn £1. 5. 0d. -
Plantains 0. 10. 0d. -
Yams 0. 5. 0d. -
Livestock Nil £0. 1. 0d.
Basket-making Nil 0. 1. 0d.
543 calabashes of oil at 2/- were sold by 16 family groups i.e. 12 calabashes per tax-paying male equals 24/- profit.
Total consumption of 1 man £2. 0. 0d.
Total profit from sale 1. 6. 0d.
Total income £3. 6. 0d.
Proposed tax is at the rate of 3% of the above total.
143. Thus for the three Areas tax at the rate of 3% is proposed, being in this case at the rate of 2/- per tax-paying male. Lump-sum assessment is at present only advocated for the MBEM Clan.
144. If the present conditions of trade obtain when these proposals are carried out then the rate of 2/- will represent percentage of nearly 4%, since current prices are 15% lower than those of last year, being 1 1/2d to 2d in the shilling cheaper for foodstuffs and 2d to 2 1/2d in the shilling
in the case of cloth and hardware.
145. The phrase 'buy money' is used by one or two of the more primitive communities; this dos not imply the existence of money-changers, but merely that they have no immediate use for money and have to sell produce and livestock to obtain the wherewithal to pay their tax: this they do through neighbouring markets. This is true more of the MFUMTE group, but if kindred heads are made responsible for their own tax there will be a general trade awakening among these more primitive and more inaccessible units.
146. It may be observed that just as primitive and more inaccessibly placed communities on the MAMBILA side of the DONGA are now assessed at 1/6d per adult male. They have also less natural resources.
147. HAUSA strangers are at present assessed at 6/- per adult male and no change is advocated.
148. For some time the area has been asking for medical help and having regard tot he comparatively small balance which will remain after executive and judicial dues have been discharged, it is proposed that a Native Administration Dispensary be shared proportionately by the three areas. The Medical Officer, Banso, has been consulted and has proposed estimates which have been included under the appropriate head and item.
149. In view of the responsibility and position of the Head of the MBEM Clan, a salary of £12 per annum is advocated in addition to dues accruing as his share of lump-sum distribution as an Extended Family Head.
150. It is as yet too early to institute separate Native Treasuries, nor are these desired, though separate Estimates are attached.
151. Provision for an inter-village Pathrates has not been made periodical cleanings form part of the village programme leading as they do to adjoining farms: these paths are better described as 'tracks'.
152. Total executive payments are computed at 20% of Head I of Revenue, except in the case of the MFUMTE executive which is computed at 12 1/2%. Total judicial payments are computed at 20% of Revenue Head I plus 40% of Court Fees.
153. MBAW Estimates
Head I. General Tax £50. 7. 0d.
Head II. Native Courts
I. Fees 10. 0. 0d.
II. Fines 5. 0. 0d.
Total £65. 7. 0d.
Head III. 25% of Head I. £9. 17. 7d.
Head IV. i. 20% of Head I plus 40% of Head II,
Item i. 13. 13. 7d.
ii. Court Scribe 12. 0. 0d.
iii. One Messenger i 6. 0. 0d.
iv. One messenger's clothing 0. 15. 0d.
42. 6. 2d.
Head VIII. i. Transport 2. 0. 0d.
Head IX. i. Repairs to buildings 2. 0. 0d.
Head XIII. Medical and Sanitary
iv. 1/3rd share, Dispensary
Attendant. 4. 0. 0d.
v. Drugs and Equipment including
transport . 5. 0. 0d.
Total £55. 6. 2d.
154. MBEM Estimates
Head I. General Tax £105. 10. 0d.
Jangali 10. 0. 0d.
Head II. Native Courts
i. Fees 15. 0. 0d.
ii. Fines 5. 0. 0d.
Total £135. 10. 0d.
Head II. Clan Head £12. 0. 0d.
Head III. 10% of Head I. 12. 1. 0d.
Head IV. i. 20% of Head I Plus 40% of
Head II, Item i. 24. 1. 0d.
ii. Clan Scribe 18. 0. 0d.
iii. Two Messengers 12. 0. 0d.
iv. Messenger's clothing 3. 0. 0d.
£81. 2. 0d.
Head VIII. Transport 2. 0. 0d.
Head IX. i. Repairs to buildings 2. 0. 0d.
Head XIII. Medical and Sanitary
iv. 1/3rd share, dispensary 4. 0. 0d.
v. Drugs and Equipment 15. 0. 0d.
Total £104. 2. 0d.
155. MFUMTE ESTIMATES
Head I. General Tax £43. 4. 0d.
Head II. Native Courts
i. Fees 10. 0. 0d.
ii. Fines 5. 0. 0d.
Total £58. 4. 0d.
Head III. 12 1/2% of Head I. £5. 7. 0d.
Head IV. 20% of Head I plus 40% of
Head II, i. £8. 12. 0d.
ii. Court Clerk 12. 0. 0d.
iii. Two messengers 12. 0. 0d.
iv. Messengers' clothing 1. 10. 0d.
£39. 9. 0d.
Head VIII. i. Transport 2. 0. 0d.
Head IX. Repairs to buildings 2. 0. 0d.
Head XIII. Medical.
iv. 1/3rd share,
Dispensary Attendant 4. 0. 0d.
v. Drugs and Equipment
including transport 4. 0. 0d.
Total £51. 9. 0d.
Assistant District Officer,
11th July, 1933.
Appendices 1-2 Missing from copy
i. Ethnological information given below is restricted to such as will indicate the difference between the three groups of peoples of the MBAW, MBEM and the MFUMTE, and also to show the difference between the TIKARI and no-TIKARI peoples of the MBAW Area. the position of the woman in regard to:-
Status in general
The woman of the MBAW Area is more independent than in the other two communities. This is due to the TIKARI influence; the other groups have adopted the same attitude towards their womankind; this is even true of the two MBEM villages on the lower slopes of the escarpment. This attitude is reflected in the two most important roles which the African woman is called on to play, namely marriage and farm labour.
A. a. Marriage
Among the MBAW dowry does not exist as such, which to the TIKAR conception savours too much of slavery. Presents are given and returned when the woman transfers her affection to another, but not if this should prove merely a passing fancy and she returns contrite, thus we find the Chiefs of NYURON and MBIRIKPA with the same mother, the former being begotten 'en passant'.
Among the NTEM the first man to present an expectant
mother with five cowry shells was regarded as a suitor if the child turned out to be a girl. Small presents were given to the father while the girl was still young; on reaching marriageable age, the girls relations (on reaching marriageable age, the girls relations (on both sides), take her to the compound of her husband who prepares one calabash of oil and presents the family with ten to fifteen shovels, one goat and five thousand cowry shells, total value about 35/-. No dance takes place. NYURON, LI and NGOM have slightly different customs. Originally marriage by exchange existed, but this was dropped after coming into contact with the TIKARI group some 60 years ago. Presents are given consisting of a pot of native beer and two shovels which are presented to the father of the girls, the father then summons his family and asks their consent. Having obtained their approval the suitor presents four shovels to the father's senior relative and three to the next. The suitor then if required, brings his male relatives to work on the father's farm and assists in the building of his house. When the girl has reached marriageable age the father instructs his half-brother to take the girl to her future husband who will present him with one shovel. On the birth of each child a fowl is given to her father-in-law.
B. Among the MBEM a suitor brings a present of oil to the father of the intended, who, if the suit is acceptable will tell him to bring a goat next day. The relations are summoned and their consent asked.
Small gifts are given till the girl grows up, the suitor is then summoned to the father's compound; his wife will bear her first child in her father's house. formerly if the suitor was not acceptable but persistent, the father would ask for an exchange. The position of the exchange girl was almost akin to slavery. If on the other hand a man is acceptable but is unable to pay dowry, or only part, he will be allowed to marry; his daughter's dowry however will revert her mother's father or such proportion as he has not paid in the first instance. Where there was an exchange marriage no presents were given during the wooing.
C. Among the LUS group of the MFUMTE oil, palm-wine and some meat are brought to the father of the chosen, his family is summoned and shares it. Dowry of seventy to a hundred shovels whose value today is 2/- per shovel, was then paid and kept by the family group head who would assist his unmarried relations to marry. If a wife dies young from natural causes without bearing children, half the dowry is returned. Marriage by exchange never took place, as members of the clan made the shovel shaped pieces of iron which were used as currency and for nothing else. No divorce is recognised; sometimes as much as twice the original dowry is asked for by the first husband in compensation; any other methods of acquiring another man's wife would invite drastic reprisals.
B. a. Farm labour
No woman in the MBAW Area does any farm labour; this is also true of the TIKARI communities inhabiting the plain in French territory. The non-TIKARI element in the MBAW Area followed suit; she may however assist in bringing in the crop from the fields.
b. Among the MBEM, women and men work side by side on their farms, though the men do the clearing in the first place.
c. The men do the original clearing among the MFUMTE the women then doing all the rest of the work.
2. a. Death and burial
The MBAW is buried in the compound not too near the dwelling, the body being laid out flat during the 'crying', males are laid on their left sides in the grave and women on their right. Lepers are buried away from the village and are not cried.
b. In MBEM the dead body is placed in an upright position and secured to a bamboo pole fixed in the ground till four o'clock p.m. next day, when a grave is dug outside the door of the deceased's dwelling. This is dug down then along underneath the floor of the house. The man is laid on his left side, the woman on her right. The man's right hand is raised towards heaven. When the deceased has died for no apparent reason, it was the old custom to perform a post-mortem to discover if the deceased had died from witchcraft, the heart, lungs and neck being examined. This is still the case with one or two of the MFUMTE communities. The clan head and the NKOMBAW alone are buried
differently, being buried sitting in an upright position, with the index finger of the right hand pointed towards heaven. They have a special burial ground. Originally five or six were buried in one grave, now each MBEM has a separate grave.
c. The LUS group of the MFUMTE bury their dead in a singular fashion. When a man dies he is lashed to a bamboo ladder and laid along the steep slope of the roof of his dwelling. The following afternoon he is taken to the kindred burial 'ground', a pit some twenty-five to thirty feet deep, and pitched down, the opening being covered with stone. The same custom is to be founding AKOJA of MBEMBE, the parent body.
3. a. Ancestor worship
Among the MBAW communities once a year, a fowl is killed over the graves of ancestors, and in the case of the Chief's ancestors, its head is cut off and the dying fowl allowed to hop over the burial ground, some corn and water are also thrown on the graves and the names of all past Chiefs are called in greeting. While this is in progress the extant Chief lies down in his house and does not come out till the ceremony is over. A goat is then killed and partaken of by the family, who alone attend the ceremony, which takes place at the beginning of the year.
b. Palm-wine and cooked food is brought by an MBEM family to the grave of their late ancestors and part of the wine is thrown over the grave, the food being eaten. In the case of the Chief's burial ground this is
cleaned by the whole community and members of extended family groups also attend; the Chief prepares food for all and then calls out the names of his ancestors. The ordinary man also calls out as many names as he can recall. These ceremonies take place at the beginning of the dry season.
c. The LUS group of the MFUMTE kill a goat and a fowl and latter being killed and the blood and feathers thrown over the stone covering of the grave.
4. a. Superstitions and beliefs
Among the MBAW and the MBEM one God or Creator is believed in, and he is good; all other spirits are evil and are regarded as devils, each of the three groups have different methods of dispelling those evils. Lycanthropy still exists among the MBEM and the MFUMTE, the latter believe in no Deities good or evil. If any evil is believed to menace the MBAW community, certain plants, costus, leea guineensis and another the FULANI call BOKO, are made up into a bundle this the men hold by one end and the women the other, the bunch is then severed by the Chief's deputy. This is supposed to stop evil.
b. Among the MBEM a spear is split in two, and the half which has the spear-head attached is stuck in the ground. The Chief then summons the community and each one has then to touch the split spear; but if there is a crowd it is sufficient to touch another who is in contact with the spear. Then if it is a serious matter the women kneel on the ground and hide
their faces in their hands, while the horn of the 'WANTAP' juju is carried round them and blown. Thus any evil contemplated by a devil that may have taken possession of any one of them would be checked. The 'WANTAP' juju is part of the 'SAW' juju society which a man will join if he is sick; it seems to possess a number of charms; if a man is ill he is told that the only cure is let us say 'MARUM' he will not get well. Fees for the particular cures are then paid, possibly a goat, perhaps two or three fowls, and he looks at 'MARUM' and so gets well. If he gets sick again, 'WANTAP' or another juju will be chosen and named as the cure. Again he pays a fee and goes away feeling better: the cure of course being psychological. If the person is a man of character he will insist that all the cures be shown him at once, and in his turn will share the 'fees' of other uninitiated members of the community. Women are not allowed t look on any 'SAW' ceremony, be present at any feast, or be members, the reason given being that they would talk and give the show away.
c. The LUS group of the MFUMTE revere ancestors only. Neither God nor Devil is owned to, though other MBEMBE communities believe in the existence of a 'Creator'. When serious sickness occurs in the neighbourhood, 'medicine' is made up and placed on the road side, passers-by dip their fingers in and pass on. They have however taken the 'SAW' juju from MBEM, as have BANSO and NSUNGLI.