The Bājju are an ethnic group found in the Middle Belt (AKA North Central Region) of Nigeria. The word Bājju is a short for “Bānyet Jju” which simply means “Jju People” and is used to refer to the speakers of the Jju language found in the Kājju, the homeland of the Jju people.
They are found in the Southern part of Kaduna State, chiefly in Kachia, Zangon Kataf, Jama’a and in Kaduna South Local Government Areas. Bājju people are also commonly known as “Kaje” which is a pejorative name used to refer to both the Jj people and Jju language by the larger Hausa people who could not pronounce the name Kājju (meaning the land of the Bājju people) well. The Bājju people are predominantly farmers, hunters, blacksmiths and petty traders.
The Bājju paramount Leader is called Āgwam Bājju. The current leader is His Royal Highness the Āgwam Bājju, Āgwam Nuhu Bature Achi.
History and Origin:
According to oral history, the origin of the Bajju can be traced as far as Bauchi State where a group of people lived in hill caves and had watchers atop the hill to watch for enemies. These people were called ‘mutanen duwatsu’ (literal translation in English is ‘the mountain people’). It was believed that their migration was for the search of better hunting grounds. They migrated from Bauchi State to Plateau State (of Nigeria) and settled on a hill called ‘Hurruang’. The hill was already occupied by a tribe called the Jarawa, but the Jarawa people left and lived on another hill called ‘Tsok-kwon’.
The Jarawa were a faction of a larger tribe called ‘Miango’. The Bajju, Miango, and Jarawa tribes collectively called themselves ‘Dangi’ (meaning ‘those of same stock’) because they share cultural and linguistic similarities.
Two brothers named Zampara and Wai were said to have left ‘Dangi’ settlement and migrated South of the Plateau. The Chawai people of today are the descendants Wai. Wai settled at a place and named it Chawai. Considering that the forefathers of both the Bajju and Chawai people had family ties made both nations affiliated.
Zampara migrated further and settled at Hurbuang , which is now called Ungwan Tabo. Zampara had a wife named Adama (who was a Fulani woman) and gave birth to two sons, Baranzan and Akad. When Zampara, their father died Akad left his elder brother Baranzan and stayed near the hills. He did so and became the ancestor of the Atakat people. That was how the Atakat tribe got associated with the Bajju. It was because of this close relationship that the Atakat and Bajju people made it a tradition and a religious law never to intermarry.
Descendants of Baranzan Baranzan had five sons namely:
ANKWAK was the eldest son of Baranzan. He had the following children: Kamurum, Akurdan, Kpunyai, Azawuru, Katsiik, Gatun, Byet, Duhuan, Atachab, Rikawan, Chanchuuk, Rikayakon, Zibvong, Kamasa, Ankpang, and Byena.
TUAN the second son had the following children: Zankirwa, Atutyen, Kukwan, Vongkpang, Zat, Furgyam, Sansun, Kamantsok, Dinyring, Amankwo, Kpong, Zantun, Dichu’adon.
AKADON the third child had the following children: Tsoriyang, Wadon, Rebvok, Abvong, Chiyua.
KANSHUWA the fourth child had the following children: Jei, Dihwugwai, Zaguom, Tabak, Baihom, Bairuap, Zambyin.
IDUANG the fifth and last born of Baranzan had the following children: Zuturung , Zunkwa, Zansak, Dibyii, Avo.
However, some stubborn Bajju and Atakat people intermarried, and this caused the widespread death of 1970, Gaiya (2013). The Gado of Bajju, along with his people, met with the Gado of Atakat, along with his people, to discuss the crisis of frequent deaths of people of both tribes as a result of the intermarriages.
They reached a decision to abolish the law religiously and traditionally so that there would not be any consequence for the intermarriage. That was how the Atakat and Bajju people began to intermarry freely.
The previously mentioned Baranzan (son of Zampara, and brother of Akad) left Hurbuang and cleared a place by a riverside called ‘Duccuu Cheng’. He settled the Kajju there (Kajju was the initial name of the Bajju). The name ‘Kajju’ was derived from the name which Baranzan gave the new settlement, which was ‘Kazzu’.
Although it is unclear from oral history when the migration occurred, but evidence suggests that the Bajju were in their current location since the early 1800s, Gaiya (2013).
Bajju witchcraft and rites:
There are many rites in Kajju land such as things like rain, farming, harvest, new house, pregnancy, and child-naming. Tyyi Tson (Euthanasia): Tyyi Tson means ‘to give hungry rice’ (hungry rice was a type of rice which the Bajju thought of as the most sacred and perhaps elite). This practice involved offering an elderly woman poisoned hungry rice (called ‘Kasap’) to end her suffering of physical infirmity. It was usually done by one of her children or her sister.
Nkut: (witchcraft) This is the power to exert spiritual influence over another person. People who use Nkut are referred to as ‘Akut’, and are believed to have a second set of eyes. The first set allows one to see the physical, while the other is used to see into the spiritual realm.
Gajimale (water spirit): A gajimale comes out of rivers, or streams to seduce its victims by transforming into a good looking opposite sex of the victim. It was a belief that many rich people got their wealth from Gajimale, and in return, they gave children to it. Epliepsy (known as ‘rong ncen’ meaning ‘fire of the river’) was believed to be caused by the Gajimale.
Abvoi: The Bajju worshipped the god Abvoi. The leader of the Abvoi shrine was called the ‘Gado Abvoi’ or ‘Dodo’. The ‘Magajin Abvoi’ is the one who translates the messages of Abvoi to the people. The celebrations involved masquerade dances.
Masquerades (Abusak): They represented the spirits in Abvoi celebrations. The Abusak danced with women and disciplines them by beating them.
Taboos and superstitions:
Children were not to eat eggs, and they were not to eat meat offered to them at other households, for it may be Nkut meat neither were they to go out in the heat of the midday sun, for they may accept food from Akut.
*Were not to eat eggs, for they would be ‘eating’ their own children;
*Were not allowed to eat chicken and birds in general;
*Were not to cook or carry out farm activities for 7 days following child birth;
*Were not allowed to hit the wall with their hands or feet, for they would be calling the Abvoi;
*Were not allowed to hit people with brooms, especially men, for they would be sweeping away all of his charms and power (including the power to impregnate a woman);
Pregnant women were not to eat sugarcane; for their babies would grow too fat;
Women were not to eat animal heads.
*Were not to allow their hair shaved halfway, for a spirit would come to finish the job, and cause the man to go mad;
*Were not to eat food prepared by menstruating women, for they would be exposed to blindness or bad luck in hunting;
*Were not to share secrets of the ancestor cult with women.
*Spirit snakes should not be killed. It may be the spirit of a person sleeping or having a fever;
*Do not whistle at night; for it would call a spirit;
*Do not whistle in the house of a hunter; for his charms would stop working;
*Do not blow food to cool it;
*A visitor must not eat food alone. A person from the visited household must eat with the guest to prove the food is not poisoned;
*People were not to talk while eating. Even though a stranger came in, they should not greet until they finished eating;
*One should not answer a call at night; for the person might die;
*One should not step over arrows;
*A cock that crows between dusk and midnight must be killed; for it calls the spirits.
*Men are buried facing east (direction of Bajju origin) while women were buried facing west.
*Those who died as a result of falling off a tree, falling off the roof of a house, or shot during hunting, were buried where the incident took place, and do not receive a burial ceremony.
*Women who died during child birth were buried at the backyard of their home.
*Someone with small pox was isolated because they believed he was a wizard. They are not given a burial ceremony after dying.
*Before drinking, elders were to pour a few drops on the ground for the ancestors.
*The Bajju believed in reincarnation.
*The Bajju believed that when a shooting star passes across the sky, a great man has died somewhere and is going to land somewhere else for reincarnation.
*Men could swear the following oaths:
*Sshi anok: To swear on one’s hoe. The oath was ‘If I did this, may the hoe cut my leg’.
*Sshi kata: To swear on one’s bow.
*Sswa mbyin: To swear on a drum. A drum was kept with each village’s gado (village head) and was used for matters affecting the entire village and used to settle local disputes.
WOMEN COULD SWEAR THE FOLLOWING OATHS:
*Sshi abyai: To swear on one’s headboard (the item used to rest loads atop women’s heads). If her oath was false, her child birth would not be a safe delivery.
*Sswa a abubvo: To swear on one’s skin. The skin is the piece of clothing used to secure a child on her back. If the oath was false, the child in the skin would die.
*Sswa katssong: To swear on one’s axe. ‘May her axe cut her if her oath is false’.
The Bajju people are governed by a traditional leader appointed by the Kaduna State government- A̱gwam Nuhu Bature A̱chi, who governs the affairs of the people majorly settled in Zonkwa. Jju appears to be a variety of or a dialect of Tyap language together with Gworok, Fantswam, Takat and others, whose speakers are ethnically distinct.
Credit: Arewa People
Source : Wikipedia