Long before the Europeans and what we know as Western civilization came to West Africa, the Ekoi (Ejagham) people of the present day South Eastern Nigeria, had ready developed their unique form of writing, which was known as Nsibidi.
Author P.A Talbot, who lived during the colonial times, described Nsibidi as “a kind of primitive secret writing” that can be communicated on “cut or painted palm stems”
But historian and Reverend J.K MacGregor said that’s pure lies, Nsibidi wasn’t a primitive writing, but like any other type of writing. He even had copies of Nsibidi writing.
Scholars said that Ekoi people used this writing for a very long time. The oldest archeological evidence of this writing, dates as far back as 2000 B.C. They were using Nsibidi to decorate clothing, calabash, skin and sculptures , and even as a means of communication.
Nsibidi writing and the Egyptian Hieroglyphics share some similarities. Like Hieroglyphics, they used to teach Nsibidi to some secret groups that control power and authority. They were largely in control of the arms of government back in those days. Among them was the Epe Leopard Secret Society. They are still a secret society in the present day Abia, and they usually wear a particular cloth during formal events. The clothing is known as Ukara Epe.
Back in those days, Ukara Epe was made in Abakaliki, and they usually inscribed it with Nsibidi logo graphic, in some Igbo speaking towns like Arochukwu and Ohafia in Abia State. The impressions on the Ukara has different meanings. Apart from the symbol of power, the Ukara also shows the wealth status of the wearer.