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Plateau: How People Of Namoen Fought Off Invaders With Calabashes



In this report, ACHOR ABIMAJE, narrates how the  Namoen people of Plateau state  used calabashes as  security measures and weapons against invaders, dating back to pre-colonial era.

Plateau state  is often described as the home of peace and tourism. The state is also known as the home of multiple tribes with 54 ethnic groups, each with its unique customs, culture, traditional beliefs and common values for hospitality to visitors from all over the world dating back to time immemorial.

The narrative here is how the magical villages of the Namoen people of Doemak speaking dialect of Pan natives among the Plateau’s tribe in Qua’an-Pan Local Government, stand tall in the face of attacks and communal wars in those days through the use of its rich cultural heritage and traditions.

Namoen is located south west  of the Doemak District. The people identified as Namoen people derive their identity from magical activities dating back to precolonial era, most especially when the community is under attack by external forces.

Among the major villages in the area with hamlets under them are Doewub, Goebo’ok, Goechim, Kopchim, Jepbrang, Kopmoenang, Pang-Baal, Bwoerbwoem-Kopdangloe, Goedang, Kopmoekang and Kopdang.

The people live at the valley of Pang Fe’er (mountain) with less rocky topography and where exposed to attacks during communal wars in those days.

The  Namoens people often resort to the use of  calabashes hanging on its trees scattered in the area as a security measure, hiding from the enemies as narrated by one of the inhabitants of the area, Mr. Damian Maklua.

An elderly man, Nda Tanko Dafuguplep who is over a hundred years old amongst other old people of the area, told our correspondent that the success of Namoen clan is as a result of an attack once carried out on the communities where the enemies can not see them, thereby  making  a mockery of the attackers.

“The attackers were leaving the area without harming even a single soul and suddenly they heard a mocking voice behind them saying “Namoen mey “(You can’t see us!) the woman further proceeded again, saying, “Namoen Ntoeng Daa Mey!!!” (You can’t see us on calabash trees!!!!).

“Upon hearing the name of calabash, the attackers made to do away   with the calabash hanging on the trees and began to smash them and blood began to rush out of the calabash. They then realised that the people of the communities were the ones turning into calabashes whenever they came to attack the community, ” the elderly man narrated.

Notable among some key features in the area as stated are, “Mulak Kop-Dabe traditional rite” carried out in Doewub village of Namoen, a popular traditional rite/magic activities where people from different parts of the area both home and abroad often come to participate annually.

Another striking thing is the footprint of a man and his dog on a flat stone said to have appeared after performing some magic.

“Kum Daa’rding was one of the great magicians here. He once vanished into tin air with his dog and later landed with the dog on a stone and his footprint. That of his dog appeared on the stone located in Doewub village till today.

Another amazing thing is the “Bigoedi traditional rite” found in Kopdang village used for confession among the natives of the locality and  performed every two years.

LEADERSHIP Sunday gathered that the people who purely hold on to traditional beliefs and activities in those days are victims of modernisation, especially with the coming of western religion in the area like Christian religion with most shrine such as; “Loegoets(Shrines) Daloeng, Loegoet Dadong Noemuan,” not getting the needed patronage again.

Of recent, the Long Doemak District of Pan Chiefdom, H.R.H Cosmos Ndelong Dakyap in his bid to reform the district from the precolonial structure, decentralised powers for easy administration and granted the long wishes of the magic Namoen people some level of independence.

The District Head installed the Long Namoen, Miskagam Jonathan Damen as the overall head of Namoen land and its people. The Long Namoen is answerable to the authority of Long Doemak and the Doemak Traditional Council.

Speaking on the importance of the event, the mornach said ,”Today, we are witnessing the public presentation of Long Namoen, Miskagam Jonathan Damen whom we at the Doemak Traditional Council are satisfied with and has met up with all the requirements that our tradition entails.

“So, what is happening today here is part of development and the unity of my people. I want the unity and development of the entire Doemak people and its land, Pan Chiefdom, Qua’an Pan LGA, Plateau state and Nigeria as a whole.”

“When people are too congested in one place, they will keep yearning for their own right or independence. Independence here does not mean that they are out of Doemak District, No! But it’s for them to take decisions by themselves, resolve disputes that arise, gather taxes and chart a way forward for the growth of the areas, Doemak land and Pan Chiefdom in general.”

The monarch spoke during the  installation of the Long Namoen, Miskagam, Jonathan Damen at the Goechim Dajan PHC ground along Bwall road in Qua’an Pan local government area of the state.

The newly installed Long Namoen, Miskagam Jonathan Damen pledged to work tirelessly towards the unity of his people and for the development of the areas under his watch.

He  pledged his loyalty to the higher authority in the land and that of Pan Chiefdom.



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