Introduction / History
The Nyenkpa live in Nassarawa State, in the north-eastern part of Karu Local Government Area (LGA), as well as in Kaduna State, in the southern part of Jema 'a LGA. Tracing their origin, the people reported that their ancestors migrated from a part of present-day Bauchi State to Darigo in Jema 'a LGA before moving to their current different settlements centered around Darigo.
The population consists of four sub-groups, namely Nyenkpa Mgbe, Nyenkpa Jung, Nyenkpa Jira and Nyenkpa Gbom, but all speak the same language, Nyenkpa. Their name, Nyenkpa, means "one who knows leaves." Primarily, the people are subsistence farmers, raising livestock and crops. Their major crops include guinea corn, yams, cassava, maize, rice, sweet potatoes, hungry rice (acha), millet, ginger, cocoyams and palm products. Apart from farming, some engage in hunting, fishing, tapping palm-wine, brewing guinea-corn wine, weaving, carpentry, bricklaying and civil service to earn a living.
Most of the people are reported to be Christians, with only a small number practicing African Traditional Religion or Islam. Community-wide projects such as road maintenance, building of wells, schools and wooden bridges are common within the area. Despite using Hausa as a language of wider communication (LWC), the Nyenkpa affirmed their language as superior over Hausa within the area.
Some Nyenkpa, especially the youths, are literate in English and Hausa, both being the languages of instruction in schools. Literature in the LWCs is available and used. One pastor claimed that there are songs and liturgical materials written in Nyenkpa. Passionate about learning to read and write in Nyenkpa, their heart language, the people officially inaugurated the Nyenkpa Language Project in October 2009, which published primers to commence the literacy programme sometime in 2010.
Church services are mostly conducted in Hausa. When asked: "What do you think about the use of the local language in church?" one church leader said "It is a good thing. It will help the local people to understand God will." In 2009, the Nyenkpa Language Project published a trial edition of a few chapters of the books of Luke and Mark. With the translation of other chapters of Luke and Mark in progress, the people are desirous of seeing the complete Bible in their language.
Scripture Prayers for the Nyankpa in Nigeria.