Gembu, Nigeria

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Gembu is located in Nigeria
Coordinates: 6°43′N 11°15′E / 6.717°N 11.250°E / 6.717; 11.250
Country  Nigeria
State Taraba State
LGA Sardauna
Elevation 1,348 m (4,423 ft)
Time zone WAT (UTC+1)

Gembu is a town found on the mambilla plateau in Taraba State of Nigeria. It is the headquarters of Sardauna Local Government Area (formerly "Mambilla") in Taraba state.
Sitting at an average elevation of about 1,348 meters (4,423 ft) above sealevel,[1] it is among the high elevated towns in Nigeria.


Gembu, the name of the ancient Mambilla town of Bommi, was taken from the name of a former monarch of the town known as 'Gelmvu'. The town is found on the Mambilla Plateau, in the south eastern part of Taraba state, close to the border separating Nigeria and Cameroon. This Mambilla region is famous in African history and a new book by Bami-Yuno (soon to be in circulation) details the discovery that the people inhabiting the Mambilla Region do represent the Bantu who remained after the great split and Bantu expansion across Africa beginning c. 1500 BC. The Mambilla Region is the generally accepted Bantu Homeland (Zeitlyn and Connell, 2003; Bami-Yuno, 2013). The following is an excerpt from Chapter One of the book, The Mambilla Region in African History.

By far the most significant factor in African pre-history is the ethnogenesis and spread of the Bantu-speaking peoples associated with the Mambilla Region of the Nigeria-Cameroon borderlands (the Mambillobantu Region) in West Africa. The Bantu expansion, which many authorities believe to have begun from this region between 2000 and 1500 B.C, led to the ramification of over one-third of Africa by the same category of Africans, the Bantus, covering some thirty African countries today. Most of the people existing in the central and southern Nigeria-Cameroon border, southern Cameroon, central, eastern and southern Africa today are a result of the Bantu expansion from the Mambilla Region or the result of a fusion between the Bantu migrants and Nilo-Saharans (as in a few communities in East Africa) or Bantu and Pygmies (as in some communities in central Africa). One in every three Africans today is Bantoid. The Mambilla Region itself was not totally evacuated and the area is still occupied by the Macro-Bantu-speaking Mambilloid peoples who represent the remnants of that great African expansion.


Bommi Town (Gembu) is about 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) away/close to the Kyiumdua or Donga River valley.[3]


Originally, the only inhabitants of Bommi were the 'Bom-bo' or Tungbo Clan of the Mambilla. They constitute the true Bommi people. The Bommi are the central group of the wide Tungbo which include the Mbubo, Ngebo (from Lenge to as far northwest as Tumbuà, Jimau, Nasò, Ngùng, Yénájù Plain, Furrmi, etc.), Gulkal, Mverip, Kwubo, and their Saan Cradle from which point they all expanded. Today, Bommi Town (Gembu), being the headquarters of a Local Government Area, has attracted a population diverse in ethnic makeup, which has resulted in the town taking a cosmopolitan shape. People coming from different parts of Nigeria have made the town their home. Cameroonian immigrants can also be found in the town. The local government area, known as "Mambilla" throughout its ancient and contemporary history, was renamed "Sardauna" by the then Col. Jega, related to the "Sardauna of Sokoto" Ahmadu Bello, when he came as Military Governor of former Gongola State in 1976. This misnomer was quashed in the Second Republic (1979 - 1983) and the ancient name of "Mambilla" was restored. However, on his second coming in 1984,Jega arbitrarily re-imposed the name "Sardauna", a chieftaincy title, on this Local Government Area (previously known as "Mambilla Landschaft", "Mambilla District", "Mambilla-Gashaka Native Authority", and "Mambilla Local Authority"). Jega imposed the misnomer of "Sardauna" notwithstanding that it was unhistorical and non-autochthonous.

The Mambila people make up the largest single ethnic group population in the town,[4] followed by the Kaka, and then the Hausa-Fulanis, the main cattle rearers of the plateau.[5][6] The Mambilla people, the denizens of this Plateau, are thought to have been in this region for the past five millennia.[7] On the other hand, the first Kaka (Yamba) probably arrived the Plateau in "early German times" [8] (but remained unnoticed until after 1928 (Percival, 1938), while the first isolated grazing visits by the Fulani nomads were in the 1920s.[9] According to Percival (1938), "No Fulani settled on the Mambilla Plateau until after British occupation". It is estimated that 85% of the Mambilla Plateau is composed of the Mambilla Group and these number over 500,000 worldwide <'Mambilla Summit", 2004>. There are in addition several minor groups, mainly business men from other parts of Nigeria and Cameroon,who can be found doing business in the Mambilla Plateau, such as the Igbos, Hausas, Bansos, Kambus, etc.


Although in the past, roads leading to Bommi Town (Gembu) on the Mambilla Plateau were poorly maintained and travelling to the town from other parts of Nigeria was difficult, the transport problems improved radically with the construction of the Mambilla Highway linking the plateau to the lowlands west and north of it. Moreover, the road works begun by the Taraba State Government in 2012 has added a greater prospect of ease of communication with the rest of Nigeria.[citation needed].


  1. ^ Maps, Weather, Videos, and Airports for Gembu, Nigeria. Retrieved on 2011-04-09.
  2. ^ news. (2008-09-27). Retrieved on 2011-04-09.
  3. ^ Mambilla Plateau. discovertaraba. Retrieved on 2011-04-09.
  4. ^ Anthropological Notes on the Mambila. Retrieved on 2011-04-09.
  6. ^ Indigenes want Taraba to name new king in Mambilla Plateau. (2009-09-01). Retrieved on 2011-04-09.
  7. ^ Zeitlyn and Connell: Ethnogenesis and Fractal History on an African Frontier, 2003
  8. ^ 1938 Intelligence Report, p. 137; see copies of these reports and other material on
  9. ^ Glasson: Report on the Mambilla,1923; D.A Percival: 1938 Reorganization Report. For online versions of these see

Coordinates: 6°43′0″N 11°15′0″E / 6.71667°N 11.25000°E / 6.71667; 11.25000