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Unemhe Heritage


"Mainly the Unemhes are located in the Etsako and Akoko-Edo Local Government Areas respectively referred to as Unemhe North and South. Unemhe North consists of the following Unemhe communities - Unemhe-Akpama, Unemhe-Nekhua, Unemhe-Ekpedo, Unemhe-Erhurun and UnemheOkiosu; while the Unemhe communities in the South are Unemhe-Uzannu, Unemhe-Imiava, UnemheAnagbette, Unemhe-Udoshi, Unemhe-Oghomezie and Unemhe-Ukpekho. These two communities, both North and South are located between Longtitudes 5 degrees 55' to 6 degrees 45' east of the Greenwich and Latitude 6 degree 45' to 7 degrees 35' north of the Equator.

The knowledge of iron smithing which is the heritage of the Unemhes and the resultant manufacture of the dane gun gave them a lot of upper hand in inter-ethnic warfare and it is known that the expansion of the Bini Kingdom was solely based on their expertise in the manufacture and use of weaponry. Their influence was said to have covered the ancient Bini Kingdom and beyond - about 5000 square miles which covered the present day Edo, Kogi, Ondo, Kwara, Benue and part of Anambra state. The 15th century map as regards the Great Bini Kingdom and the Edo speaking people mirrors the extent of the influence of the Unemhes. For, among the neighbors located within this geographical location, there is none that does not have a name in their dialect that relates to the Unemhes and their expertise in iron technology.


In the agrarian communities of old when there was no warfare, the Unemhes manufactured and sold farm implements like cutlasses, hoes and knives. For the fishermen, they made the hooks and the nails for fastening the woods of the boat together. Whatever sphere of activity their neighbors were involved in, the Unemhes dictated the pace and point where they would conveniently come in. Their know how in iron technology was such that they were always behind any of the old empires that expanded and shrank without openly identifying with the empire apart from the Bini Kingdom before the exodus. Even when the Nupes were extending their jihad influence towards the South, the Unemhes played a very significant role in assisting to provide arms for them and also put a limit to the extent they must go in their southern expansion so as to avert any attack on the Bini kingdom as Unemhe-Anagbette has a
boundary with Igala across the Niger. Because of their expertise in iron making and weapon fashioning,

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they were to be found resident in almost all the communities within the geographical location indicated in the map (map is attached in the book). This is easily explained when it is realized that none of these communities that did not use Iron or who was not fascinated by the genius of the Unemhes in fashioning items from iron...." .

Source: "Unemhe - Our Heritage" by Aigbokhaleode K. Asimiafele. Uto Enterprises, 1991 .