Traditional Societies and Pre-Colonial Security System: Interrogating the Ekpe Society in Southeastern Nigeria


Traditional societies had long developed indigenous methods of maintaining law and order in their communities. For the multi-lingual, multi-ethnic and multi-religious communities of south-eastern Nigeria, unity was not based on central government, but rather in little chiefdoms and settlements, each having its own lodge of the highest authority known as ‘ekpe’ society. Ekpe is a traditional society, indigenous to the people, strengthened by the corporate authority of the community, from where it also derived its authority to govern, since the members where representatives of the communities. The paper attempts to draw lessons from this society whose knowledge of governance in relation to traditional security was indigenous. It concludes that its effectiveness made it become a strong tool for intergroup cohesion. By way of recommendation, the paper advocates for security establishments to open their doors and collaborate with traditional societies for effective security, just as other fields of endeavours like medical practice is doing with traditional medical practice.


Keywords: Keep Society, Pre-Colonial Security System, southeastern nigeria, traditional Societies

Article Review Status: Published

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