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Facts you probably didn’t know about the Efik people



The Efik is an ethnic group primarily located in southeastern Nigeria, in the southern part of Cross River state. They make up a significant number of the Calabar people, they generally speak the Efik language and their signature soup is ‘Edikang Ikong’. The Efik people have an interesting culture that unfortunately most people don’t know about. Jumia Travel, the leading online travel agency, shares 5 interesting facts about the Efik people.

Descendants of Israel

You probably wouldn’t have guessed this, but the Efik people are believed to be of Hebrew origin. Although, there are some accounts that suggest that they are of Bantu origin, they are generally believed to have originated from the Orient, precisely from Palestine.

The Ekombi Dance

The Efik might be a minority tribe, but there’s definitely nothing minor about their rich cultural heritage. One of the ways this rich cultural heritage manifests is through the Ekombi dance, a colourful dance that is beautiful, precise and said to be a rhythmic adaptation of the movement of sea waves.


Efik was one of the earliest Nigerian languages with its original orthography devised in 1812 by King Eyo Nsa Honesty. It was one of the first three Nigerian languages to be codified with its own orthography and grammar. It was also one of the first Nigerian languages used in translating the Holy Bible.

The Fattening Room

The famous Fattening Room practice is another interesting cultural feature associated with the Efik people. Here, virgins were overfed, massaged and made to sleep for hours to become the perfect robust bride. It’s an all-round training and beauty therapy carried out over a period of time to prepare the lady for marriage and womanhood. A modified version of this is still practiced today considering today’s ‘fit fam’ frenzy.

The Love of Edikang Ikong

The Edkiang Ikong is a mouth-watering nutritious vegetable soup that originated among the Efik-Ibibio people of Akwa Ibom and Cross River state in southeastern Nigeria. It’s considered a delicacy among many Nigerians and widely eaten all over Nigeria. It’s rather expensive to prepare however, and it’s described as a soup mostly eaten by the rich people in Nigeria.

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