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|People Name:||Koro, Jijili|
|Christian Adherents:||60.00 %|
|Online Audio NT:||No|
|Affinity Bloc:||Sub-Saharan Peoples|
The Ujijili people are a vibrant community residing in the eastern part of Paikoro Local Government Area in Niger State, Nigeria. Their cultural identity is deeply rooted in 12 distinct villages, with Kafin Koro, known as Ikase in their own language, holding a special significance among them. The Ujijili community is led by a local chief known as "Chozie."
The Ujijili trace their roots back to the present-day Kano area but have since migrated, first to southern Kaduna State and eventually settling in their current location. During the rainy season, many Ujijili still travel back to their previous area in Kaduna State for farming, preserving their ancestral ties to the land.
The Ujijili people maintain positive relationships with their neighbouring communities, particularly the Gbagyi and Adara tribes. They communicate with their neighbours and outsiders in the Hausa language while diligently preserving their native language, Rjili. To ensure the preservation of their language and culture, the Ujijili prefer that their sons and daughters marry within their own community.
Agriculture is the cornerstone of Ujijili life. Their primary crop is guinea corn, but they also cultivate a variety of other crops such as acha (fonio), maize, yam, cassava, rice, bambara nut, soya beans, sesame seeds, tomatoes, garden egg, and okra. Despite this diverse range of crops, food scarcity remains a concern. In addition to farming, the Ujijili engage in hunting and blacksmithing to sustain their livelihoods.
The Ujijili people celebrate three festivals annually, which hold cultural significance for them. Udire, observed in November, is a time to express gratitude to the gods for a bountiful harvest. Uduechi, celebrated in April, is dedicated to appeasing and pleasing the gods before the farming season, and Ifili held in August, is a solemn occasion to remember and honour their ancestors. During the festivals, there is joyful dancing, with both men and women wearing skirts made of palm kernel leaves called ndra, adorned with amgmile metal bands with iron rings around their knees and agbobo around their ankles, creating a unique rhythmic sound when they dance.
While few Ujijili follow traditional religions, their cultural festivals still hold significance. There is no Bible translation available in Rjili, their native language, but the community is eager to begin one. In the church, when congregants do not understand Hausa or English, there are translators available to convey the messages in Rjili. However, the literacy rate in the community remains low, posing a challenge to Scripture use.
The church among the Ujijili appears to be experiencing growth, with approximately 10% attributed to conversions. Muslim and Christian Ujijili coexist peacefully, fostering religious harmony within the community.
The Ujijili community expresses a need for discipleship, agricultural support, and peace from the threat of violent bandits in the area. Cross-cultural missionaries with expertise in agriculture, health, church planting, literacy and education, and pastoral training could make a significant impact in addressing these needs.
All Ujijili villages have schools, although they were not all established simultaneously. This is evident in the varying levels of English proficiency and literacy rates across the villages. Teachers often come from different language groups, leading to linguistic diversity in the education system. In some villages, Ujijili is used as the language of instruction for the first two years of primary school, after which English and Hausa become the dominant languages. Villages located closer to the edges of Ujijili territory often have mixed populations and sometimes need to use Hausa as the medium of instruction.
The Ujijili have expressed a need for discipleship, pray that God will send someone who will bring them closer to Jesus.
Pray for an abundant harvest, which they will know is from God.
Pray for peace and protection from violent bandits in the area.
Praise God that the church is experiencing growth, pray for the Ujijili who are Muslims to have a hunger for Jesus.