NIGERIA: The Nupe are an ethnic group native to the Middle Belt of Nigeria. The ethnic group is termed “Tapa” by the Yorubas and “Nupawa” by the Hausas. Nupe is the dominant ethnicity in Niger State. On the other hand, it is considered an important minority in Kwara State.
The ethnic group’s presence is also noticed in Kogi State, as well in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Nupe cultural history
Nupe people have different traditions and practices. The history of Nupe speaking people traces back to the 15th century when Tsoede left Idah and settled in a town in the Niger state.
Their many practices have changed as a result of the movements started by Usman Dan Fodio’s jihad in the 19th century. Fodio was a Fulani scholar, religious teacher, revolutionary, military leader, writer, promoter of Sunni Islam.
Nupe people have tribal marks on their faces that are similar to the Igala people. The tribal marks are a symbol of dignity, protection from evil or to identify the family of which they belong. Now, these traditions are gradually dying out in certain areas.
The Nupe speaking elites are making serious efforts to help their culture sustain amid the presence of other tribes and cultures.
According to them, the local Nupe dialect is as important as English or Hausa languages. Cultural development is directly proportional to the overall growth of society.
Indigenous Language Learning Centre
An indigenous language is representative of our ancestors. Today, many people don’t have knowledge about their cultural origin. Thus, learning indigenous languages is as important as learning any other global language. Indigenous Language Learning Center (ILLEC) was established on 19, November 2016, in Niger State. The main objective was to help in teaching, enhancing, and building the spirit of acquiring knowledge through the local culture.
The new generation who are unable to afford to learn their native language will now be able to do that.
The international society has reached a global consensus on the Human Rights of indigenous peoples. This consensus is the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. According to that, “indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions providing education in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning”.
Necessary measures are being taken to support teaching in Nupe dialect to enhance and ease understanding of learning. The inclusion of the local Nupe language in the Nigerian curriculum is now necessary.