Nigeria has numerous ethnic groups, making it one of the most populous black nations. One of its ethnic groups is the Gwari tribe, also known as Gbagyi or Gbari. The people are predominantly found in Central/middle belt of Nigeria. They live in Niger, Kaduna, Kogi and Nasarawa states. They are also the most populated ethnic group in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. They are the indigenous people of the present day Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Significant Gwari towns include Minna, Kwakuti, Kwali, Wushapa, Bwaya, Suleja, Diko, and Paiko.
The people are predominantly farmers; they cultivate yam, maize, millet and groundnut. There are also hunters while some are involved in the making of arts and craft products such as pottery and woodwork. They are good potters and they produce decorative products such as pots.
The people practice Christianity, Islamic and Traditional religions. Some believe in a god called ‘Shekwoi’ (one who was there before their ancestors). They also worship deities such as Maigiro.
The people practice a patrilineal kinship system. The lowest tier of authority is found in the extended family compound led by the oldest male. The highest rank in the Gbagyi settlement is the king referred to as ‘Esu’. Esu is assisted by a group of elders.
The people’s language is part of the Kwa sub-division of the Niger-Congo family. They speak two dialects that are sometimes called Gbari (Gwari yamma) and the Gbagyi dialects.
They are known to be peace-loving, transparent, and accommodating people. The Gwari people are a unique breed among Nigerians. Their culture shows how much they have come to terms with the universe. They give life meaning no matter the situation they find themselves.
One of the most exciting features of their culture is pottery; Gbiri pot is the most famous. This is a slim-necked pot usually with a double handle running from the brim to the upper part of the body. Gbiri pot is used by the people as storage of grains, flower vases, for decoration purposes, and so on.
Do you know that?
The Gwari do not carry loads on their head. In this society, women carry loads on their shoulders because they are of the belief that the head should be accorded a royal status as the king of the entire body. Nowadays, only a few still make use of this style as civilization has overtaken and eclipsed the land.