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Ngwa People
Total population
3 million
Regions with significant populations
Abia state, Nigeria
Ngwa language
Christianity, Omelala
Related ethnic groups
Ikwere, Etche, Igbo, Ekpeye, Ohuhu people.

Ngwa people (Ṅgwà IPA: [ŋɡʷa]), an Igbo group in south eastern part of Nigeria. It's also the largest and most populous ethnic group in Abia state southeastern Nigeria.[1][2][3][4] They occupy an area of about 1,328 square kilometres (513 sq mi),[5] although some accounts read at least 2,300 km2 (900 square miles).[6] The current population is estimated to be 3 million.[7] Within the seventeen local government areas of Abia State, Nigeria. Ngwa people occupy nine Local Government Areas which include: Aba North, Aba South, Isiala Ngwa North, Isiala Ngwa South, Obi Ngwa, Osisioma, Ugwunagbo, Ukwa East, Ukwa West. The Ngwa language spoken by over 3 million people in Aba North, Aba South, Osisioma, Obingwa, Ugwunagbo, Isiala Ngwa North and Isiala Ngwa South LGA's and Ngwa unique alphabets are endangered as there is no official documentation and parts of the artificial "Central Igbo" dialect are being substituted into Ngwa language by the younger generation.

Aba North and Aba south make up the popular commercial city: Aba which is known for business, creativity and industrialization. Their ethnonym Ngwa is used to describe the people, their indigenous territory, ethnic group and their native tongue. King Josaiah Ndubuisi Wachuku,[8] who died on Monday 2 January 1950, was Eze, paramount chief and servant leader, Onye Isi: head of Ngwa people during British colonial times.[9][10][11]

Ngwa is the largest Igbo group along with Ikwere.

Origin Of Ndi Ngwa[edit]

Accordingly, the present day Ngwa land was, also, inhabited by Ibibio people. There was a man known as Diobu who was a descendant of Iwhuroha. Subsequently, Diobu left Iwhuroha with his followers and was sheltered by Ibibio-Efik people. Notably, Diobu and his followers were highly polygamous. Extensively, Diobu and his followers married Ibibio-Efik women; and became more populated than their host: Ibibio. This triggered Ibibio people to invade and chase them out. Diobu and his followers joined forces with Ohafia and Abiriba people; and fought Ibibio people from all angles.

The Ibibio did not only lose the war; they, also, lost their Land; and were forced to leave what became Abia State. Till today, the people of Obi-Ngwa Local Government Area are at logger-heads with the Ibibio-Efik people because of that unsettled war. The part that Ohafia warriors conquered is the geographical area known as Abiriba. Ngwa did not have a special place they kept their captured Ibibio slaves; so, they simply Ngwanized them. Population of Ibibio people who were Ngwanized was almost as that of Diobu and his followers. *** Observantly, someone can notice that Ngwa people and Ibibio-Efik people are of the same height; although that has changed, now, due to large intake of proteinous foods by Ngwa people.[12]

Villages on the left bank of Imo are inhabited by Ibibios, who once received Ngwa Ukwu (Diobu) and his brothers. After the Ngwa Ibibio war, Ngwa Ukwu settled at what is now the village of Umuolike where he also established his ancestral shrine. 'Aba Ngwa' in a small hut 'Okpu' which is today the capital of Ngwa-land called 'Okpu-Ala Ngwa.' For many years, those three brothers dwelt around Okpu-Ala Ngwa in peace; but as their families increased in number, they moved apart in different directions.[13] There is a serious attempt by other groups who share similar language with Ngwa to claim Ngwa.

Geographical setting[edit]

The area covering old Aba Ngwa division is situated in the tropical rain forest of southern Igbo plain in the present Abia State of Nigeria. It has a population of over 1.8 million people; and an area of little over nine hundred square miles (2,300 km2). This area is bounded on the north by the present Umuahia zone, on the west by Owerri and Mbaise, on the east by Ikot-Ekpene and Abak and on the south by Ukwa. Important waterways are: Imo river to the south and west, Aba or Aza River that rises at Abayi and flows south through Aba township into Imo river at a point near Okpontu. Around Nsulu to the northeast, there are two minor rivers; namely: Otamiri and Ohi.

At no point does the land rise above an elevation of 50 feet. The people are largely industrialist, entrepreneurs and farmers, producing yams, cassava, cocoyam, maize and other tropical farm products. Major rural industries include garri and palm produce; in addition to: Akwete cloth weaving in which women from Ihie area were engaged. The old divisional headquarters was Aba, a very important commercial and industrial centre; with major population concentration in:







7.Nvosi and


Modern day Ngwa land is divided into: Obi-Ngwa, Aba-Ngwa, Isiala-Ngwa, Osisioma-Ngwa; spread within Abia State: Nigeria, as LGAs: Local Government Areas; namely:

1.Aba North,

2. Aba South,

3.Isiala Ngwa North,

4.Isiala Ngwa South,

5.Obi Ngwa,


7.Osisioma Ngwa.[14][15]

8. Ukwa East

9. Ukwa West

Ngwa and Nigerian civil war[edit]

Accordingly, it is said that during the Nigerian Civil War, Ngwa people suffered a lot like every other Igbo region in eastern Nigeria. Children suffered from kwashiorkor which came from malnutrition and the adults struggled to survive. The struggle for healthy eating continued until a chief reported to be Josiah Duruem Nwangwa began to collect supplies from various organisations; making his home a relief station for the purpose of helping Ngwa people survive during the Civil War. "Great suffering was experienced in the northern Ngwa region, which formed part of the Biafran 'siege economy' during the period between May 1968 and December 1969."[16]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "Situating the African Ngwa Clan in Acts 17:15-34: An Efficient Missiological Method : Journal of Philosophy and Theology".
  2. ^ "Situating the African Ngwa Clan in Acts 17:15-34: An Efficient Missiological Method" (PDF). International Journal of Philosophy and Theology: June 2019, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 83-87: ISSN: 2333-5750: Print, 2333-5769: Online: American Research Institute for Policy Development: Madison: Wisconsin: United States of America. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
  3. ^ "Federal Republic of Nigeria: Barrister Jaja. A. Wachuku: Favorite Son of the Largest Ibo Subgroup: Ngwa". African Studies Center: University of California: Los Angeles: United States of America: 1966 + Authors: Richard L. Sklar and C.S. Whitaker, Jr. 2020-03-11. Retrieved 11 March 2020.
  4. ^ Oriji J.N. (1994) Traditions of Igbo Origin
  5. ^ Amankulor (1997) Vol 10, p.37-70.
  6. ^ Nwaguru Jason, E.N. (1973) Aba and British Rule
  7. ^ Oluikpe Benson, O.A. (1979) Igbo Transformational Syntax: An Ngwa Dialect Example
  8. ^ "Ugonna Wachuku - Josaiah Ndubuisi Wachuku".
  9. ^ Lanre Alayande (2010-01-29). Our Rainmaker. iUniverse. ISBN 9781450206099. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  10. ^ "Warrant Chiefs: Indirect Rule in Southeastern Nigeria: 1891-1929". EPDF Publication. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  11. ^ "The Founding Fathers". Leadership Newspaper. 2019-04-28. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  12. ^ Johnson Elewhemba Nnata Nwaguru (1973) Aba and British rule: the evolution and administrative developments of the old Aba division of Igboland, 1896-1960, with an epilogue on the emergence of a short-lived Aba province and the present scene
  13. ^ "Ngwa People: Origin and Wave of Migration". Ngwa Community: United Kingdom. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  14. ^ "Abia State: South East: Nigeria". FGN: Federal Government of Nigeria. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  15. ^ "Local Governments: Abia State: Nigeria". ABSG: Abia State Government. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  16. ^ Palm Oil and Protest: An Economic History of Ngwa Region: South-Eastern Nigeria: 1800-1980 by Susan M. Martin: 20 April 2006. CUP: Cambridge University Press: United Kingdom. 10 March 1988. ISBN 9780521343763. Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  17. ^ Anyanwu, O.N. 2007. The Syntax of Igbo Causatives: A Minimalist Account. Linguistic Association of Nigeria, Land Mark Series 2