Origin Of Ugep 

Ugep which is also known as Umor Otutu is a town in Cross River State, Nigeria. The town is populated by the Yakurr people and is known as the largest Village in West Africa”. History And Origin of Ugep

Ugep originated from a place or village called “Akpa” or “Umowen” in the Eastern Ejagham race in the Central senatorial district of Cross River State, Nigeria.

Ugep, as it is popularly known, is one of the units that constitute Yakurr and the headquarters of Yakurr Local Government Area in Cross River State.

The indigenes of Ugep speak the Lokaa Language which is the general language spoken in Yakurr, though other villages like Assiga, Nyima, Agoi Ekpo, Agoi Mbami, etc speak other languages other than the main Lokaa language.

Ugep is administered and controlled by the Obol Lopon of Ugep who is the chief priest of Ojokobi (A fertility spirit) The Obol Lopon is the central figure in the administrative system with powerful chiefs called “Bi-Nah” with their religious role like the “Atewa Wu-kang – kang” and “Opebelede “as the chief celebrant of the Ugep New yam festival

The ancestral homeland of the Yakurr people is “Akpa”, said to be a shortened form of “Lẹkanakpakpa”. This area is believed to correspond with Cameroon–Obudu range as it stands today. The Yakurr cites the Okuni, Nsofan, and Ojo people as their neighbours at Lẹkanakpakpa. The traditions of Okuni, Nsofan, and Ojo corroborate the Yakurr claim of having lived together at Lẹkanakpakpa, which is referred to as “Onugi” by the Okuni and Nsofan people and Lẹkpamkpa by the Ojo people.


The main reason why the people of Ugep left Akpa was due to a misunderstanding between the two paternal families that made up Akpa about AD 1617.

When a member of any of the paternal families dies, the other paternal family is the one to perform the ritual rites, and burial rites, and also bury the dead and vice versa. But the Ugep people usually eat up the dead body of the other Paternal family instead of burying it.

This went on for a long time until one day when the People of Akpa found out what Ugep have been doing to their dead sons and daughters. This caused a great fight and the killing of the Ugep people. The people of Akpa pursued the people of Ugep out of the village which led to The Great Trek according to Wikipedia.

As the warriors of Akpa kept on pursuing and killing the Ugep people, a man called Edem Omilakpa who was tired and weak with his pregnant wife, pushed a stone from the apex of a hill down to the Apka warriors and the stone killed all the warriors and landed at the feet of the King of Akpa. According to Obono, Oka (August 2004), the stone is referred to as the “Ancient wonder and savior stone”.

The killing of all the warriors of Akpa actually ended the war between Akpa and the people of Ugep, but The Great Trek continued from where the war ended to the present-day Ugep, Nko, Mkpani, and Idomi communities.


Ugep and Yakurr Culture

According to Wikipedia.org, the people of Ugep did not leave Akpa without any cultural heritage, they left with most of the cultures that were being practiced in Akpa, and that is the culture they practice to date.

Some of these cultures are Leboku Festival, Ebelembi, Obam, Kepan, Ukwa, Okpor, ejom, etc.

1. Leboku Festival

The Leboku Festival also known as the “New Yam Festival” was celebrated by the Ugep people but now has become one of the renowned Festivals in Cross River State as it was rebranded to International New Festival by the past Governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke in the year 2005.  

Some of the things celebrated during the Leboku Festival are Liyofi, Ndebra; Janenboku; Ledemboku, Etangala, Lobo, Libini, Oka, Egwendu, Etc. 

To read full details about the Origin of the Leboku Festival, Click Here!

2. Ebelembi

The Ebelembi is one deadly culture in Ugep, many people are always afraid to join this culture because the culture demands human sacrifices from its members. Members of this culture usually kill their loved ones in exchange for power and fame in the Ugep community.

3. Obam

The Obam is a wonderful and sweet culture in Ugep. It is celebrated once a year in honour of a late of the culture. Only members of the Obam culture are celebrated whenever they died.

You can watch The Obam Celebration Video below:

The Obam culture is held once a year between December and January, (The Obam 2022 was held on the 3rd day of January 2023 in honour of The late Obol Lopon Of Ugep, HRH Obol Ubi Ujong Inah). Wile the obam for 2023 was held on the 4th of January, 2024. This culture allows all sons and daughters of Ugep to participate as the culture is not deadly. When once this culture is announced, sons and daughters from home and abroad usually come back to participate in the celebration of the culture.

4. Kepan

Just like the Ebelembi, The Kekpan is also another deadly culture in Ugep, many people are always afraid to join this culture because this culture also demands human sacrifices from its members. Only Chiefs and Clan heads of some communities in Ugep are allowed to join this culture.

You can watch The Kepan Celebration Video below:

During the celebration of the Kepan culture, members cannot leave their hands mistakenly, hence something drastic will happen to their family members.

The members usually parade in a line holding and dragging each other, without saying a word.

5. Ukwa War Dance

The Ukwa War Dance also known as “Ukwa”, “Ukwa Celebration” or “Ukwa Cultural Dance” is another sweet and wonderful culture in Ugep. The culture is owned and managed by the Ijiman people. The shrine of the Ukwa is also located in Ijiman.

You can watch The Ukwa War Dance Celebration Video below:

People who control this culture are believed to have superstitious powers which they used in making the Ukwa Pot rise from ground level to sit on the head of the Ukwa pot carrier.

The Ukwa culture is also held once a year just like the Obam in honour of their late member of the Obol Lopon of Ugep.

The year 2022 Ukwa war dance was celebrated in honour of The late Obol Lopon Of Ugep, HRH Obol Ubi Ujong Inah on the 28th day of December 2022.

We believe the article “History And Origin of Ugep” has helped you a lot in your research, So please kindly comment below.

Also, Read The Following:


Yakurr Names and their Meanings, Gender & Origin

Yakurr Names That Do Not Have Meanings 

Migration and Origin of the Ugep People

Leboku Festival 2022 – Full Documentation


Origin and Significance of The Bekwara New Yam Festival

To Watch the Yakurr Culture, Leboku Festival, and other Traditional Videos, Click Here.


  1. Wikipedia
  2. Obono, Oka (August 2004). “Life Histories of Infertile Women in Ugep, Southern Nigeria”. Union for African Population Studies. Retrieved 2022-10-15.

Sponsored Stories

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *