A History of Ibibio People of Southern Nigeria by Uwem Jonah Akpan, Ph.D (2019)
The Ibibio forebears inhabited the Central Benue valley after their arrival in present-day Nigeria from “farther North” before they dispersed to the Nigerian side of the Cameroon border where they settled at a place known as Usak Edet (Edik Afaha). From there some sea-borne Ibibio migrants accessed present-day Ibibio land while others moved to Ibom in Arochukwu region of present-day Abia State.
In about 1550, resource conflict between the Ibibio and the Aro-Igbo resulted in the Igbo-Ibibio War. The Aro-Igbo enlisted the support of a mercenary group known as Akpa who used firearmsto dislodge the Ibibio. This led to massive dispersal of new wave of migrants into Ibibio land. By the time the new wave of migrants arrived, they met the earliest settlers on ground.
This paper refutes a proposition by some non-historians who erroneously claim that Ibibio land was first inhabited by the Ibibio migrants who were dislodged in Ibom following Igbo-Ibibio War in 1550. The paper also points out that Ibibio land had received migrants from more than one direction.
Indeed, apart from the Ibibio group, other ethnic nationalities particularly the Aro-Igbo have been assimilated into the mainstream of the Ibibio
The Earliest Identity of the Ibibio
According to Noah, the earliest known reference to the Ibibio appeared in a work written in 1627 by a priest who worked among the slaves in Latin America. In an attempt to distinguish between the ethnic origins of these slaves, Sandoval gave the name of “Moko” as an ethnic group represented by the slave population in the New World. Noah suggests that Moko was the name by which Ibibio slaves were known in the West Indies.
He adds that the term “Moko” was a corruption of Ibibio word omokop (have you heard?). Thus it would appear that Moko was derived from what was originally a trade parlance but which came to be perpetuated by the European traders.
Similar instances by which a people were named after their actions or language are not lacking. The early European traders were known among the Ibibio as ononikosi after the trade language of “how much does it cost?” and the Yoruba and Hausa are known by the Ibibio as Okusa and Sanu respectively after their greetings. ...

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