When a man dies, his close relatives would be consulted and his death would be hushed until officially announced. The eldest man in the family would enter his room with some others to ascertain that indeed he has died. On emerging from the room, they would wear a gloomy face, making gestures of agony to indicate that “a terrible thing has happened”. The women would start screaming in loud voices to alert the community. A canon shot announces the demise of a warrior or great man.

Again, there are relatives that must be consulted culturally. Someone must be sent to his “ibenne” (his mother’s people), and to his in laws. Burial happens only in the early hours of the morning. So if a death occurs after sunrise, the body is preserved till next morning. The first son and the elders would then put heads together to mark a portion for the grave which is dug by the youths. After burial, then comes the mourning period. People come every morning to sit and mourn him. Every eight (8) days, a mini funeral would hold in his memory until finally “mgbasa ụlọ akwa“ which marked the climax of mourning. Thereafter, his funeral may be fixed or deferred indefinitely. On the day of the funeral, people visit to pay homage with different gifts and items. For relatives, there are statutory requirements. Ishi abo ji is the least of the ceremonial presentations which is expected from relatives and close acquaintances.

For mere mourners, a jar of palm wine and in recent times, a carton of beer, malt drink may suffice, as well as money gifts. For “agaba” and “ibenne”, “ite ọkụ” may suffice. Cow gifts are out of this world. Any of this items may also come with cash gifts, or cash alone in place. Ishi abo ji is made up of four (4) tubers of yams and a jar (gallon) of palm wine or beer. Ite ọkụ ọnụ the other hand is made up of eight (8) or sixteen (16) tubers of yam, four (4) or eight (8) or sixteen (16) jars (gallons) of palm wine or beer, a goat and a pot of yam porridge garnished with chicken. The Ụmụnna would send folks to receive their entitlements from each In-law that presents their ite ọkụ or ishi abọ as the case may be. Depending on the level of relationship, people may “cover the dead” with piece(s) of fabrics. However, a daughter must do this.

The position of the first daughter in the family is highly spiritual, and is rated higher than that of the first son. A funeral is incomplete without a goat being killed for the ritual. A rich man may be honoured with the killing of a cow, or any other bigger four-legged animals. But a goat must be slaughtered to symbolize a funeral, otherwise, the funeral has not happened and must be done to avoid the spirit of the dead from wandering around. In the case of a good woman, her family must be notified. When they arrive, the nature of the relationship with the in-laws would show in their conduct. If their sister was maltreated, the in-laws may refuse to mark a spot for her burial which is a problem because she cannot be buried without their consent . Negotiations would ensue and can delay things terribly. They may demand for some items to appease her soul. In extreme cases, the burial may be postponed and the carcass would be embalmed until resolution. A man is usually buried in his front court, a woman at the back of the compound towards her hut. A dead youth is usually buried in an unmarked grave outside the compound to register strong displeasure over untimely death. For infants, a male infant is buried on the right side of the entrance whereas a female infant is buried on the left. Adults are buried in coffins but may not be so for children. Generally, deaths are very tragic occurrences even for the very aged. The family of the deceased must display the extent of their hurt and grief by crying and wailing. If not, they may be seen as being unsympathetic to the dead.


Culturally, Achị has a non restrictive policy on sexuality and relationships. Usually, it is a mark of respect to first get permission from the family of a lady before going into a relationship with her. The suitor would come with a jar of wine and other gifts to seek the consent of the family to date their daughter. The father or the eldest male would then ask him hard questions about his intentions, his handiwork, and his societal ratings. He may get the consent if they are impressed, or be asked to not return again. If the consent is given, then he is free to respectfully come in and go as he may. He is also expected to help run errands for the family and assist in masculine activities like mending houses, farming, etc. Such person is usually treated with respect by the family. If the request was not granted and he goes ahead to date the lady, it is a mark of extreme disrespect and can attract punitive actions from the male relatives who would have sent several stern warnings to your family to ask you to steer clear from their daughter.In Achị, there was nothing like “bastard” before Christianity. Every child was cherished, loved, and non was illegitimate. An out of marriage birth belongs to the lady’s family. If a male, he becomes the father’s son, if a female a daughter. No discrimination whatsoever. A woman’s chance to find a suitor was never diminished by her pre-marriage parity. In fact, for a suitor in desperate need for offsprings, he and his family would seek for a woman with already established fertility. A strong man may be sought out for parturition. This was called “njote agbụ” (perpetuation of generation trait). This concept, marriage rituals, and adoption in Igboland, particularly in Achị shall be extensively discussed I will talk more on this concept in subsequent full publication. Nevertheless, what seals a marriage deal are “ita iyi ọgọ” (mutual oath-taking between the relatives of the couple) and “ime ego” (payment of bride price). When a marriage fails, however, there would be a meeting by both families to count and refund bride price, a process known as “igu na ịkwụ ụgwọ enwe”. At its completion, a calabash is broken to signify the end of the bond.


Achi had warrant chiefs appointed for indirect rule by the colonial regime, one (1) for each clan except Ihe and Ụmụmba that shared one, making it total of eleven (11). Remarkably, before the advent of the white man who appointed warrant the chiefs, Achi had some titular orders like Ọgụ na ese, Ndi ichie, Ndi Emume and others. The most popular in recent time is “Emume” which predated the Nze na Ọzọ Achi founded around 1955 but assimilated the remnants of Emume society. Each of the twelve (12) clans had Onye ishi Emume that represented it at the confederation of Achi clans which held at Obu Achi. Eze Emume was from Elugwu Achi being the clan head and matters of high importance which were above the clans were brought to Ala Elugwu for arbitration and settlement. The Eze Emume would mount his staff forcefully on the ground to mark the achievement of a consensus after a usually long and elaborate debates. This authority is incontrovertible.

Achi Improvement Union was founded around 1943 by then Achi elites who decided to create a development association for the Achi nation. Since its inception, the association has been the vanguard and rallying point for Achi people in development activities and has spearheaded building of schools, hospitals, water projects, scholarships, and countless others. In 1978, Igwe Eugene Onyelu emerged as the Eze Ala along with twelve (12) Ndi Nze, one (1) each for the 12 clans. In 2003, Enugu State Government created eight (8) autonomous communities and by 2009, the twelve (12) clans were granted autonomous communities apiece. Ultimately, we have come a long way as units and a nation.

Therefore, It is imperative for Achị clan to continue to invest heavily on common good vis-a-vis: equity, fairness, justice, and peace which are the core drivers of innovation and rapid development.

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