A good number of them still dress in the manner of, the Biblical Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden — stark Unclad — with fresh leaves for a little covering. You are welcome to the top of the Gerinjina mountain in Gashaka Local Government area of Taraba State.
It was like a story from Mars when a casual talk to the hearing of this reporter indicated that there was a community up the mountain that lived worse than those of the Koma people who were discovered in the mid-1980s by a group of National youth corps members in the then Gongola State, now split into Adamawa and Taraba states. While the Koma community resides in Adamawa State, the new Stone Age people are in Taraba State.
Just like any other group of human beings, the Jibu people have their ways of life. These include collective circumcision of boys born within the same age group, a ceremony performed with the use sharp objects.
It is considered a test of strength and character for their boys not to cry during the ceremony. The circumcised are kept on bamboo beds and covered with fresh leaves that are gathered and burnt after the wound has healed.
For a young Jibu man to get a wife, he must serve the family of his bride for five years. Nonetheless, the marriage is determined by the capacity of the woman to conceive. This is measured by a dried long firewood that is set on fire for at least three months, within which if the woman does not become pregnant, the simple communication is the gods do not want the marriage.
Pregnant women work on the farms to the day of their delivery.
They have a communal life and are ruled by the Waziri Garinjina, Tann Shidin Zunbi, who confirmed in an interview with the Nigerian Compass on Saturday that maternal and child mortality rates are high among them.
The Jibu people are neither Christians nor Muslims. Rather, they believe in their own gods and the ancestors.
In an event of violation of their natural laws by any individual, animals are slaughtered to appease the land. It is also a similar story during every cropping season. The harvests are brought before the Waziri for sacrifice to the gods, after which their brand of liquor is prepared for everybody to drink in merriment. Incidentally too, the Jibu people believe that some gods are not friendly with women. Thus, throughout the period of ritual preparations, women remain indoors to avoid being exposed to the gods who could be harmful to them.
When our correspondent visited Gerinjina, their condition of living was worse than that of the much-talked about Koma people. There is no access road. They drink water with animals from the same rivers. In their scattered settlement system, there is no school around except for some missionaries who have a thatched space for that purpose but is yet to have any student. After a day’s job on the farm, their women still have the task of grinding raw corn with heavy stones before food is ready for their male counterparts.