Format: Ms- WORD Chapters: 1-5
Pages: 52 Attributes: Primary Data
1.1 Background to the Study
The migration of the Igala people to Otukpo town and idoma land in general is traceable to the colonial period when formal contact was opened between Idomaland and Igala people. This formal contact was seen in the area of the construction of transport infrastructures such as railways and roads. This development of transport infrastructures facilitated the movement of agricultural products as well as commercial activities in the area and consequently, this led to the influx and gradual settlement of the Igala people in Otupko town. The middle Benue Valley provided a background for the interaction of several ethnic groups such as Igala, Idoma, Tiv, Igede and Etulo as the trade and commercial transactions along the Benue Valley, served as an Important factor in the migration of the Igala settlers to the area.
Before the creation of the Benue State in 1976, there was already isolated few pockets of Igala Migration to Idomaland. These Igala migrants were basically fishermen and boatmen at the bank of river Benue and its tributaries. It is important to note that, Igala contact with Idomaland during this period was isolated and an insignificant proportion Impact.1
The development and contributions of Igala settlers in Otukpo town began earnest from 1961 to 1976. This period witnessed the gradual migration and settlement of the Igala people in Otukpo town. Most of the Igala migrants during this time were either traders or missionaries who, came along with trading firms such as the United Africa Companies and National Africa Companies from Lokoja.
Igala migration and settlement in the area became intensified as from the post-independence era especially in the years following the creation of Benue plateau region in 1967. This period actually saw the increased growth of Igala settlers in
Otukpo Town.2 The growth of Igala settlement was as a result of the railway system across Otukpo town which created and offered job opportunities and the European trading firms which also created job opportunities, all served as factors responsible for Igala migration into Otukpo town.
Igala growth in Otupo town and Idomaland as a whole, was as a result of their search for fertile land and most of the Igala people at the south-east of Kogi State are highly agrarian, consequently, this led to the inter-group relations between the migrants and people of Otukpo town.3
From the background of the study, it is clear and obvious that Igala migration into Otukpo town was as a result of colonial infrastructures, their settlement in Otukpo increased with the ccreation of Benue state in 1976, and subsequently, the Igala settlers played a key role in the development of Otukpo town through Agricultural and Commerical activities carried out in the Otukpo town.
1.2 Statement of Research Problem
This research work identifies the History of Igala Migrant and Settlement in Otukpo and as its intends to address the problems following the development of Otukpo town.
It also seeks to addresss the contribution of Igala settlers to development of commercial activities such as transport, petroleum business and industries such the rice mill industry in Otukpo town.
The research work also addresses the factor of Igala Migration and settlement in Otukpo town that relate to the socio-economic development of Otukpo town.
The research work therefore identifies the problems of migration of Igala people and the impact they had on Otukpo town as it aims to reconstruct the history of Igala people in Otukpo town as well as documenting it.
This research work is aimed at capturing the history of the Igala migrants in Otukpo and their contribution to the subsequent development of Otukpo town from 1990-1999. The objective of the study is to give an account of the causes of Migration and settlement of Igala migrants in Otukpo town as such, the factors responsible for the migration of Igala migrants into Otukpo town will be discussed. One of the objectives is to evaluate the contributions of Igala migrants to the development of Otukpo town.
1.4 Scope and limitation of the study
This research work deals with the history of Igala migrants in Otukpo town and covers the period 1990-1999. This work is however confined to the migration and settlement of Igala people into Otukpo town, their socio-economice activities and the impact it had on the general development in Otukpo town from 1990-1999.
In the course of this research, several problems were faced by the researchers; the most important of all is the field survey. The people that the researcher had to conduct the interview with were not always around; the researcher had to book appointment with them which always consumed time and finance. Another problems faced the researcher is lack of adequate materials on the area of study. The available materials did not discuss the activities of Igala migrants in otukpo town.
1.5 Significance of the study
The study is significant for the fact that, it identifies the contributions of Igala migrants to the development of Otukpo town.
The study is also significant because it will for a long time serve as a reference of knowledge for history scholars. The study also serve as an appropriate tool as it adds value to the existing literature on the subject matter. The study is also significant because
More importantly, working on this topic will provide a focus for future researcher in the area of study and other people who might require such knowledge and therefore would have closed the gap that has existed before in terms of secondary materials.
1.6 Research Methodology
This gives an indication of what was done to achieve the aim and objectives of the study. The purpose was to examine the contributions of Igala settlers in Otukpo town 1900-1999, in regard to this, this chapter describes the data sources and data acquisition and analysis. For the interest of this research work data were generated from both primary and secondary sources, which served greatly in the collection of facts for this research.
Primary sources involves oral interview which were carried out, the researcher conducted with account witnesses. Also the use of secondary sources such as journal,books and wriiten record, published and unpublished were used.
1.7 Review of Related Literature
The importance of quality of life in rural to urban migration in the developing world tends to be over shadowed by economic factors with most research emphasize on economic motives. Economic consideration constitutes the most important cause of migration. According to Raveinstein in his study of migration in England on the 1881 census of England;
Bad or oppressive laws, heavy taxation an unattractive climate, uncongenial social surrounding have all produced and are still producing currents of migration, but none of all these currents can compare in volume with that which arises from the desire inherent in most men to better in material aspect.8
However, the rising expectation and changing values of people have created new demands for goods and services which an increasing number cannot obtain in their districts of origin, and they are therefore obliged to areas where their expectations can be adequately met.
Raveinstein’s view has been supported by R.K Udo in his work, A comprehensive Geography of West Africa; he emphasized that migration studies in the country have clearly established that, economic consideration, is the desire to better oneself in material aspects, constitute the most important factor including migration. That most of the migrants both in towns and rural areas are either self employed or earn wages in the private sector of the economy.9
However, it can be conveniently postulated that, the Igala settlers moved to Otukpo town because of the need to better their life, therefore economic considrations was a significant pull factor fpr the migration of Igala settlers in Otukpo town which had established her service of trade and administration.
Falola T, et al., in their book, History of Nigeria in the 20th century, have confirmed the economic factor as motivating stimulus to migration. According to these scholars, migration or movement from the rural to urban center was very fast due to the fact that employment opportunities abounded more in the urban centres than rural areas. Furthermore, the settlement caused by administrative arrangement like the declcaration of such places as administrative headquarter by the colonial government, for instance in the Northern region, Kaduna is said to be one of those cities which served as an administrative headquarter while towns like Makurdi, Kafanchan and Otukpo developed in response to railways, roads and bridges constructed by the British government10.
Railways and road were concentrated in these regions which monopolized investment such as electricity, pipe borne water and telephone which were provided in existing native cities or in new towns established to serve the trade and administration of these
regions. As may be expected, this was a process which is pypical of the early stages of economic development. This result has been a reinforcement of inter-regional economic inequalities which in turn has resulted to increasing intensity of internal migration.
According to Udo in his book entitled Human Geography of Tropical Africa; Migration is the permanent or semi- permanent change of residence from one administrative unit to another, He also recognizes four important types of migration in tropical Africa and there are, rurul to urban, rural to rural, urban to urban and urban to rural migrations, he also postulated that push and pull factors were responsible and greatly influential in the course of migration.11
According to Mr. Abel Okoh, Igala migration and settlement became intensified in the post independence era in the years following the creation of Benue Plateau region in 1967. He noted that, this perioid witnessed an increased growth of Igala settlement in Otukpo town as well as Makurdi and Jos respectively.8 It is in this light Hadiza Okoh and other informant asserts their moving into Otukpo town was for the acquisition of modern conveniences such as refrigerators, radios, television, gas cooker etc, furthermore, the easy
access to park, theatres and other centres of diversion. To them, the town had more demandable facilities than the village.12
However, it is generally accepted that the seach for economic motive or the desire in most men to ‘better’ themselves constitute the most important factor in the rural-urban migration in the diversity of it, several writers have eastablished that fators which are non-econonmic also induce migrations. Mitchellin Ohadike, in his book ‘ Migrants in the Copper Mines of Xambia’ 1940- 1966, in Ominde S.H and Ejiogu in their work entitled Population Growth and Development in Africa, has recognized economic factor as the key factor affecting labour migration: that all other causes of migration can be removed safe from economic ones, there would still be migration.13 The suggestion that migration may not always be linked woth economic pursuit is supported by Gilbert and Gugler, as they bluntly put it, ‘poor people who ignore their material circumstances are rapidly threatened in their very survival’. Describing migration as being , driven by
quality of life consideration is, for many people at the best rather native and at worst morally irresponsible. In furtherance, Gilbert using choice as factor influencing migration has phased the situation carefully as he states:
If lack of land, starvation or poverty were the principal factors behind out migration, then the figures should show a relatively higher proportion of poor migrant in the total flow. The fact that they do not suggest that. However difficult rural conditions, there is an important component of migration flows that can only be explained in terms of choice. The people who move are those who under current conditions can best adapt to the city.13
The above literature has indicated that, many people migrated for economic reason to areas where they think they will be able to improve their economic well being. The above analysis is relevant to the migration of Igala people into Otukpo town. Although economic factor formed the dominant reason for the migration of Igala people into Otukpo town. About ten percent of the people interviewed have attributed their migration to economic factor.
This chapter so far, has attempted a general background of the subject matter, it captures the statement of the research problem, the aim and objectives of the study, limitation of the study and most importantly review of related literature. From the above analysis however, one has to point categorically that the motives for migrations are basically economic and this needs to be observed when considering causes of human migration.
1. Oral interview work,Abel Okoh,55+, Lecturer, University of Agriculture, Makurdi Benue State. 10/1/2018
2. R.k Udo, ‘Human Geography of Tropical Africa’ Ibadan: Heinemann Educational Book (Nig).Ltd., 1982, P82
3. Raveinstein, ‘Causes of Migration’ in R.K. Udo Human Geography of Tropical Africa. Ibadan: Heineemann Educational Book (Nig). Ltd., Ltd 1976. P.83
4. Raveinstein, ‘Causes of Migration’… P84
5. T. Falola, et al., History of Nigeria 3: Nigeria in the Twentieth Century, Ibadan: London (Nig) plc., P.44-46.
6. R.K. Udo, A Contemporary Geography of West Africa. Ibadan: Heinemann Educational Books (Nig). Ltd., 1982, P234
7. Oral Interview, Abel Okoh, 55+, University of Agriculture, Makurdi Benue State. 10/1/2018
8. R. K. Udo, ‘Internal Migration and Development’ citied in Oguntoyinbo et al (eds) A Geography of Nigeria: Heinemann Educational Books (Nig). Ltd 1978. P. 160-162
9. Oral Interview, Hadiza Okoh, 68’. Business Woman, Otukpo Benue State. 11/1/2018
10. M. P Todaro, Rural To Urban Labour Migration in Kenya in Minde, S. H And Ejiogu, C. N. (eds) Population Growth and Economic Development in Africa, Heinemann Educational Books (Nig). Ltd., Ibadan, 1972, P. 214. See also Boyle etal, Exploring Contemporary Migration, P.61
P. Boyle et al,
Exploring Contemporary Migration, Addison Publishing, Wesley Longman, New York,
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