The Ibibio Peace Praxis

A Discourse in African Indigenous Peace Ethos


  • Saviour Emah University of Uyo


Ibibio, Indigenous, Peacebuilding, Hybrid, Pax-Ibibio


This study is a discourse on the indigenous system of peace building, peacemaking, peace enforcement and peacekeeping among the Ibibio people of Southern Nigeria, before the permeation of western peace praxes into the study area. Data obtained for the study were collated from both primary and secondary sources; including interviews, focused group discussions, and analysis of extant literatures on the Ibibio peace practices. The findings from the study reveal that the Ibibio had instituted several sources, symbolisms, instruments, agents and institutions of sustainable peacebuilding and conflict resolution prior to western permeation of traditional Ibibio society. In addition, they had also understood and appreciated, though in different vernacular, the various peace conceptions that we recognize today-negative and positive peace, structural peace, active peace, inner peace, etc.  For the most part, this indigenous pax Ibibio helped in the sustenance of peace and order in the society, and steady but effective resolution whenever conflict arose. The paper therefore derived from the Ibibio case study that indigenous peace practices in Africa have historically proven effective and they still posses the efficacy of balancing the deficit of mainstream western approaches in Africa today. Hence, the paper advocates a paradigm shift from the western-technique centered approaches of peacebuilding in Africa, to more indigenous approaches. This does not necessitate a total neglect of the western methods, but a kind of hybrid formula where indigenous approach to peacebuilding in Africa are balanced with the western approaches and tailored according to changing circumstances for effective peacebuilding in the continent.