History of Ibaale People of Nigeria .

History of Ibaale People of Nigeria .

Ibaale People can be found in Nigeria , they are also known as Bibaali , Maya , Ibaali , Bali and Abaali .  They are part of the Niger - Congo family and they are related to Baya people of Nigeria , Nimbari People of Nigeria , Yandang and Mumuye People of Nigeria .  
They are considered to be one of Nigeria’s minority ethnic group , they settled at villages such as Farabune , Tashan , Gurgu , Geidam , Tagom , Bali , Duwo , Tamwa, Badan , Kwafara, Gidan- Rimi , Tamshe  and Bomi mostly are located in Tabara State .   Bali is a local government area in Taraba State , Nigeria and Its headquarters are in the town of Bali. 
They grow crops such as millet , sorghum , carrots , tomatoes , cocoyam , and sweet potatoes . Ibaale  keep goats , sheep , dogs , pigs and guinea fowl .  
In their Culture , Men hunt , tend to the livestock , and do most of the fishing . Women help men with agricultural work and also perform domestic duties , which include preparing meals and caring for the Children . Ibaale huts are round with mud walls and have cone-shaped thatch roofs , their clans are patrilineal , tracing through the males.
In addition they practice polygamy and Initiations plays a big role during this process girls learn how to build a family after Initiation she is eligible to get married and they begin to build a hut after their marriage , the couples live  together .
Ibaale language is known as Bali is spoken by 100,00 people in Demsa , Adamawa and Taraba States in Present day Nigeria . Ibaale occupation activities Include pottery , cloth-weaving , dyeing , mat-making , carving , embroidery and blacksmithing are also carried by them in various part of the States .  Ibaale celebrate annual Yam festival every year , during Tamtale festival, Children that were not opportune to be Intiated into the age grade system of Bokkumi will be Intiated during the stages of Sii bii or Knyi Lu . 
The Children would be dressed the way its been done at Tamtale festival and will be led to Badii to be Intiated .  The Children are grouped into the same age grade group with these that were Intiated during the Tamtale festival .
  Ibaale Intsruments Include flutes , calabash lute , gourds , trumpets , drums and handbell .  In Ibaale Culture , Calabash carving is an ancient tradition among them and their traditional music and dance is used for welcoming guests , festivals and entertainments .  They use gourds , horn , drums and trumpets also for Installation of Kings and Cultural ceremonies , story telling and local dramas are all part of their Culture .   
According to their Oral history of Ibaale People of Nigeria .
Ibaale People  also known as Bali , Bibaali , Maya , Ibaale or Ibaali they settled at these villages such as Farabaune , Tashan , Gurgu , Geidam or Tamgum , Tagombali , Duwo , Tamwa, Badan, Kwafara, Gidan- Rimi, Tamshe , Bali , others settled in Janawuri , Salem , Badalang , Tamgong, Dutse , Tangshi , Guri , Guri - Kasuwa , Dingle , Kwabak , and Ubgo who speak the Congo- Ubanpi language as classified by others.
  It is believed Presently , Bali is located in Demsa , Numan , Mayo Belwa local government areas of Adamawa State and majority of Ibaale are agriculturalist though there are traders , herdsmen and civil servants among them . 
Ibaale entered the Nigeria region from the east .  The Ibaales entered the Nigerian region from Present day Republic  of Congo and throughout their migration , It is believed their neighboring Yotti came from Present day Egypt and now occupied their Present day homelands .  
It is believed Ibaale left their Original settlement .  Probably they must have left their Original settlement in the 17th Century by which time there was a movement of population in the whole of West Africa , East Africa and Central Africa due to wars and Chieftainship dispute . 
Ibaale might have migrated to the Lake Chad basin area and , later to the Upper Benue Valley , before the declaration of Jihad in Fombina , In 1809 , Ibaale already settled in various communities .  
In Ibaale Culture , It is believed that Kpan Biswi guide and Sustain their livelihood , the birth of a child plays a big role , the parents are greeted with love and joy by the people . 
 A Child is not trained by only his or her parents but the family and community as whole , a child is considered to be a member of the society .  
Local Ibaale Craftsmen are skilled in dyeing and weaving techniques . Hand-patterned cloth where patterns are created by making certain parts of material resistant to dye and made their textiles which is made up of hand-woven strips of cloth .  In their Tradition , women wear beads , brass , waist beads and ankles , and earrings  while men sometimes wear animal skins , beads , cowries and wooden masks is used to cover their faces .  
In Ibaale Concept, They believed in a Supreme being , their ancestors are honored and It is believed there is no life after death meaning a person has only one chance on earth but will die , wicked person also dies but It is believed they have no future due to their evil deeds. 
In Ibaale tradition , a cry of a newborn baby brings joy to the family and the entire community , likewise the demise of any soul brings sadness to the family.
 Before the arrival of Christianity and Islam this customs , rites dates back to many years which was passed down from generations upon generations.  
The term ‘’ Sii bi” means mourning and celebrating the death , paying tribute and the last respect to the fallen ones . Before Abrahamic beliefs , they embrace the Sii bii traditional rites  in highly esteemed way , this was the reason why If a Child dies the community will “Sii yan” meaning mourn . 
Among Ibaales the front leading people to the grave yard for burial , the same thing applies to the burial.  Bigelei is considered to be one of the oldest clan which still leads others , they will perform the burial rites and consult their ancestors before communicating with the decease person to go well and not look or turn back and they assure decease that the ancestors welcome he or she back home . 
 If a child passed away in Ibaale tradition , the elders will send drummers known as Mbinna to mourn the child by playing drums , when the Mbinna arrive they play the drums and people cannot dance to the music because It symbolize the tears being shed and someone who is great leave to join his or her ancestors .  
The Sound of Bini signify the community and people have gathered to show their respect and mourn the decease or the child .  Ibaale Clans Include Mbomna, Wangole , Ndungwa, Wakpanaa, Waniya, Nkwanaa, Wadin’an and others .  
Binizanan is usually done in the night when the Mbinna arrives , elders would show them locations where they would mourn with their drums and Instruments , then later people are allowed to dance as they play music after Mbinna have completed all Wuu Bini.
 They would stop playing the drums and other Instruments , so women with their children will go home and sleep . Sang are the songs of Ibaale Warriors is being sing when someone is trouble such as declaring wars , hunting or at War , only men can sing such songs . Bini Nyinan is done in the mourning the Sii Bi rite first before Bini Nyinan starts , Bini Lemm is done in the afternoon .  
Knyi Lu  is the final funeral burial which is usually done after Sii bi rite has been completed before the Bini Nyinan starts , the Nyebi of the deceased would be brought out from the room and will be singing songs carrying calabashes and pots which will be broken outside as soon as the area of this items are broken the deceased go to rest and the ancestors never return back back , they finally transferred to the new world .  
They are four types of Siibi such as Sii bi di , Ngelei , Sii bi di baa and Sii bi di ngelei , Sii bi di Nsei and Bini Bi are also grouped into four then Bini Zanan , Bin Tiamti , Bini Nyinan and Bini Lemm are grouped as well .  Ibaale People perform dances such as Bali ritual dance , warrior dance , folk dance , Bwe Pule , Kasidah and different types of Ibaale traditional dances.
Source: Selikem Okatakyie
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