The Chikide & Chinene (Nigeria)

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No etymology is known for Chikide or Chinene. First mentioning of the Chikide and Chinene is by Mathews (1934:3ff). According to Muller-Kosack (1994:117ff) Chikide and Chinene are the names of two brothers, sons of Irira/Irare. They trace their descent back to Turu as their place of origin.



The Chikide and Chinene live traditionally on the eastern slopes of the Gwoza Hills. Chikide is the name of the administrative village unit, which includes as such Chinene and Arboko (Arboko is a Glavda unit). Chikide village belongs to the Ashigashiya District of the Gwoza Local Government Area (GLGA). While the Chinene have descended from the hills, the Chikide still have extensive settlements in the mountains. The neighbours of the Chikide and Chinene are the Guduf in the northwest, the Dugwhede southwest, the Glavda in the north and the Mafa in the east and southeast. The Chikide represent the majority.

Sources available for the Gwoza Hills are the results from Census 1963 (Population Projection of Borno State, April 1989) and Census 1991 (National Population Commission, final results for Borno State). Comparing the estimated projections for the year 1996 is difficult. In 1963 only Chikide is listed (presumably including Chinene and Arboko). In 1991 only Chinene (A and B) and Arboko are listed (presumably Chinene A now meaning Chikide). The 1996 projection of Census 1963 counts 4,201 inhabitants of Chikide. The 1996 projection of Census 1991 counts a total of 3,820 inhabitants (Arboko = 707; Chinene A or Chikide = 2,812; Chinene B = 301). My estimate from this is that the Chikide consist of about 3,000 inhabitants and the Chinene of about 350 inhabitants, whereas the Glavda-Arboko count about 800 inhabitants. These estimates make clear that Chikide are the majority, which explains why they provide the village head, and why the village as a whole is administratively known as Chikide. The estimated population density for Chikide is at about 150 per sq/km still high in the mountains (Muller-Kosack 1999)..


Muller-Kosack (1999) is of the opinion that although the Chikide and Chinene are historically closely related, they are quite separate ethnic units. Both believe to have come from Turu (Fitire). Both share ancestral relationships with Dughwede via Dingida. Dingida had two sons, Irare and Buhe. While Irare was the father of Chikide and Chinene, Buhe was the father of Guduf and Gava (Muller-Kosack 1994:114-121). Oral tradition records that Chikide and Chinene separated through disagreements over land rights (ibid:120). Oral traditions record from the Podokwa who left the area towards Mora, and the Vale, who left to settle near Kerawa.


According to Muller-Kosack (1994:114, 117) the Chikide speak Guduf, while the Chinene speak Chinene. The Chikide refer to their own language as ‘Afakbiya’ meaning ‘I said’ in Guduf, the Chinene refer to their language as ‘Nakacha’ meaning ‘I said’ in Chinene. Wolff (1974:23) sees Chikide as a dialect of Guduf and ‘Cinine’ or ‘Cena’ as a dialect of Glavda. Wente-Lukas (1985:68) lists the ‘Chinine’ or ‘Cena’ as a separate group but not the Chikide. She classifies ‘Cena’ as a dialect of Glavda, although Wolff (ibid) is of the opinion that the ‘Cena’ see their language to have an independent position. Blench (1999) only refers to Chikide as a dialect of Guduf. The SIL website ethnologue does not mention either Chikide or Chinene. Both Chikide and Chinene are languages of the Wandala group.



Most important ethnographic literature so far is Mathews unpublished report from 1934, and Muller-Kosack’s unpublished fieldnotes on the Gwoza Hills from 1994. Also White (1941) mentions the Chikide. Wolff’s mentioning of the language position of Chikide and Chinene is of great importance. There is no independent study of the Chikide or Chinene so far. What seems to be clear so far is that, although the Chikide and Chinene are ethnically closely related, they seem to differ in terms of language affiliation. While Chikide is a dialect of Guduf, Chinene seems to be a dialect of Glavda (Muller-Kosack 1999).

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