Inkpi of Igala

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Inkpi of Igala was an Igala princess known for her selfless role at a period many Igala melas or independent societies were under the neighboring Jukuns sphere of influence.

According to Igala traditon, Ayagba, a prince from Igala challenged Jukun dependency through various acts that drew the ire of the Jukun king. At a time, Ayagba had become a king, the Jukuns sent an army against Igala camped at the River Inachalo, a few miles from Idah. The Igala where overwhelmed and sought the advice of a medicine man. The medicine man told Ayagba he had to sacrifice his most prized possession which to Ayagba was his children. Inkpi was his most loved child, she herself saved his father the trouble of choosing when she volunteered herself for sacrifice. She died being buried alive. The medicine man later prepared some medicine which he threw into the River Inachalo causing it to become toxic. As soon as the camped Jukun army began drinking from the river's water, many died and the remnant proved to be weak against the army of Ayagba.

Ayagba secured Igala independence and went on to consolidate the various independent communes.


  • Bolanle Awe. 'Saviours of their Societies', Nigerian Women: A Historical Perspective. 1992