|Local Government Area|
|State||Cross River State|
|• Chairman||Jonas Obi Odu|
|• Total||1,070 sq mi (2,771 km2)|
|• Total||186,611 |
|• Density||174/sq mi (67.3/km2)|
|Time zone||WAT (UTC+1)|
Boki (//; Boki language: Bokyi) is a Local Government Area in the Cross River State of Nigeria. It was created on the 28th of August, 1991 and its capital is Boje. The region has a contiguous border with the Republic of Cameroon and is known internationally for being a commercial centre of agricultural commodities such as cocoa, coffee, timber, and palm products.
The name of the area is derived from that of a native group (Boki people) that resides in the area. The term originates from the word Bokyi, which is the name of the group in the Boki language although it is also referred to as Nki.
Boki is a landlocked Local Government Area of Nigeria surrounded by Republic of Cameroon to the east and 5 other Cross River State LGA's. These are: Obudu and Obanliku in the north, Ikom and Ogoja in the West, and Etung to the south.
The region has some of the most rugged terrain in Nigeria due to it being almost completely covered by the Cross River Rainforest (one of the last remaining in the country), and the Afi mountain range, 60% of which is inaccessible to vehicles throughout the year.
The district has many settlements including:
- Nsadop Abo
Culture and customs
The Boki people give the region many different traditions and customs that are unique to the district. Traditional dress for men consists of loincloths and a white long-sleeved shirt with a broad hat. Some men also carry a walking stick. Women usually wear wrappers or a blouse, and head scarf.
Major events include the Boki New Yam Festival, Irruan Boki Local Government Area Edien festival, and Borum & Cassava Festivals. Music and dance are at the heart of Boki culture and is often practiced during festivals and social occasions. Common instruments include: the Obam, Mgbe, Atam, Obon, Bekarim, Awaribo, Obashi and Enya-Atu. Other traditions include inter-village cultural dance, age grade meetings, burial ceremonies and communal farming.
Boki is known for its practice of male and female circumcision, as well as forced marriages. In July 2000, female genital mutilation was made illegal by the government of Cross River State in an attempt to stop violence and abuse against women. The penalty for such actions is a fine of up to 10,000 naira (US$62) or a prison sentence up three years.
The ubiquity of wildlife habitat as represented by the thickly forested vegetation and unique topology of Boki continues to interest environmental activist and conservationist groups. The Okwargwo Division of the Cross River Park, a brainchild of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), was established in Boki. It provides a spectacular opportunity for visitors to witness wildlife in its natural habitat.
Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary
The Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary was created in May 2000 and is managed by the Cross River State Forestry Commission. The protection and research of the wildlife sanctuary are sponsored by a partnership between the government and four NGOs (Pandrillus, Wildlife Conservation Society, Nigerian Conservation Foundation and Fauna & Flora International). Generations of hunting Afi’s gorillas, chimpanzees, drills and other endangered species have left them extremely wary of humans and so years of protection may be required before they're more easily seen again.
Afi's gorillas belong to the most endangered subspecies of the Cross River gorilla. Day hikes or multi-day treks into the sanctuary can be arranged by the Drill Ranch. There are additional fees required for a guided hike, which the Drill Ranch collects on behalf of the Forestry Commission.
Afi Mountain is listed as an ‘Important Bird Area’ for Nigeria, and the migratory swallow roost at Boje is one of the largest in Africa. Bird-watchers are welcome, but mist-netting is not permitted except by special arrangement with the state wildlife authorities.
Communal wars and political unrest
Over the years, Boki has been notorious for communal wars, the most recent of which happened in 2010 in a farmland tussle between the Nsadop and Boje communities. The war claimed an estimated 230 million naira in property damage, about 400 human lives were lost, and approximately 6000 people were impacted by the war. As of 2011, the damaged fence walls are still being reconstructed and homes destroyed during the raids are still undergoing repairs. The Cross River State Government has been replacing destroyed and looted furniture and fittings using relief funds.
The government also took over the rebuilding processes of the village, building hundreds of two bedroom flats as compensation for the burnt or demolished houses of over 6,000 victims of the invasion. Women and children suffered the most from the invasion.
In 2001, six autonomous communities in the Local Government Area protested against the State's refusal to create a separate Boki North council and threatened to join neighboring Cameroon.
The region was the birthplace of the late former Nigerian politician and diplomat Matthew Mbu, who served as Foreign Minister from January 1993 until November 1993, as well as Chief Soni Abang, the Nigerian ambassador to Mali and fellow politician.