Similarities And Differences Of Nupe And Jukun


The Niger Valley is very unique because it consists of different smaller groups such as Tiv, Idoma, Nupe and Jukun. However, between Nupe and Jukun, there exist some similarities as well as differences among them. These similarities and differences are grouped under:

  1. Political Structure
  2. Checks And Balances
  3. Language
  4. Religion
  5. Economy/Occupation
  6. Tribal Mark
  7. Festivals/Fishing competition

Political Structure: In the political structure of Nupe and Jukun, they are similar in the sense that they both have kings at the top of the affairs. The Etsu of Nupe and the Aku Uka of Jukun. Both kings also appointed subsequent village chiefs who takes care of the districts. It is also important to note that there were a slight difference between these two kings. The Jukun king Aku Uka, being theocratical in the sense that the people see him as a divine king. They see him as the representative of their gods and also an intermediary between them and their gods.

Checks And Balances: In the area of checks and balances, both Jukun and Nupe are similar. Even though they had power and were the highest authority, they still had their powers checked. The instrument they use in conducting this action is; if the harvest is bountiful, it then means the king is good. They also use taboos to check the king. The Abo in Jukun who is also the prime minister checks the excessive power of Aku.

Language: Nupe and Jukun differs in the aspect of language, though they both are within Niger Congo Language Groups.

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Religion: Nupe and Jukun are similar in their religious practices. Before the coming of Christianity and Islam, these two societies practiced traditional region, the evidence is seen in the Jukun people believing that when they were migrating from Yemen, a crocodile assisted them on their way, because of that, they still have a shrine at Mamara Pound at Wukari. They also believe in communicating with the souls of the dead. However, Islam was later introduced in Nupe which later became their paramount religion that traditional religion is almost not practiced again in Nupe land. Finally, they both practiced from the earlier time traditional region before Islam and Christianity.

Economic/Occupation: Nupe and Jukun are similar here, they are both farmers, agriculturalists and they both do fishing. Some of the people that lives in the riverine area of Nupe and Jukun are both fishermen and their women sell the fish in the market. They also do farming of crops like, sugarcane, yam, millet, rice, salt mining etc.

Tribal Mark: This two societies draw tribal marks on their faces. These tribal marks differs in their meaning. Some of these tribal marks were used to pursue evil spirits and for beauty.

Festivals/Fishing Competition: Both Nupe and Jukun do fishing festivals and competitions. Nupe fishing festival is called Patagi Ragata done in River Niger in Patagi. Jukun fishing festival which dates back in 1826, is all about fishing, at the end the biggest fish will be weighed and the winner will be rewarded. The Jukun People loves this festival because it is through it that they showcase their fishing talent.

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Finally, other areas in which Jukun and Nupe are similar and also differs are in their marriage system. The both don’t have the same way of performing traditional marriage rites. They both inter-related with Europeans. Those food were not all the same, as the best food of Nupe land is rice while the Jukun is Tuwo. They both also love entertainment such as dancing.

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