In about 1922, many Ebira people were sent across River Niger (Irehu Utenyi) to work as labourers in the construction of roads and railway lines in Igumale, a town in Idoma-land.
Through the indirect rule system of the British, the Atta was responsible for the recruitment of people. People often resisted such compulsory recruitments as it was even feared that such people may eventually be sold into slavery in the ‘foreign’ land where they worked.
When horn-trumpeters like Adoke blared out the general call to the Ebira to prepare to go for work, people ran to hide in farms to escape being sent on forced labour.
Others bought their freedom from the recruiting agents like the much-feared ‘Okwenyete.’ It was yet another hard time for the Ebira people.
Culled from “The Heritage of Ebira Tao,” a book by S.S. Salami
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Author: Ebira Reporters