Nigeria's Igbo Jews: 'Lost tribe' of Israel?
February 5th, 2013
05:53 AM ET

Nigeria's Igbo Jews: 'Lost tribe' of Israel?

By Chika Oduah, for CNN

Abuja, Nigeria (CNN) - A Shabbat service is underway at the Ghihon Hebrew Research synagogue in the Jikwoyi suburb of Nigeria's federal capital territory.

Fourteen year-old Kadmiel Izungu Abor heads there with his family. They walk alongside stray goats on a road covered in red dust and potholes, lined with open sewage. They are nearly 20 kilometers away from the modern multi-story office buildings and sprawling mansions in Nigeria's capital city of Abuja.

About 50 people gather in the synagogue. They pray from the Siddur, they read from the Torah and as they chant, Abor's mellow alto begins to rise.

In a country of 162 million people tensions often lead to violent uprisings between Christians and Muslims and being part of the religious minority can be an issue. But Abor wears his kippah and his identity with pride.

"I am a Jewish Igbo," he says.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Judaism • Nigeria

soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. Joshua Dewal

    I just got paid $6784 working on my laptop using these simple steps leaked on this web page. Make up to $85 per hour doing simple tasks that are so easy to do that you won't forgive yourself if you don't check it out! Weekly payments! Here is what I've been doing Rich45.ℂOM

    February 6, 2013 at 1:33 am |
  2. HebrewNation

    Why are we talking about these jews and not the ones that have a strangle hold on this country? Oh that's right, one of them owns this network.

    February 5, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
    • Jake

      Ahh, perpetuating the age-old myth that Jews control the world, are we? The same big-lie that laid the ground work for Jews to be slaughtered and expelled from several countries?

      You sir, are a stain on humanity. Get help.

      P.S. Ted Turner is not Jewish.

      February 5, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
  3. seyedibar

    There were no tribes of Israel. The 12 tribes are a symbolic representation of the territories negotiated into peace under Egyptian religion during the time of Pharoah Thutmose II and III (known to the hebrews as Moses). The original hebrews were citizens of extended Egypt, not a seperate race or culture.

    February 5, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • Jake

      That's a nice imagination you got there. You should write a fable.

      February 5, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      Sure, a fable... and the next time you say a prayer, try your best not to end it in the name of an Egyptian god.

      February 5, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
    • NII

      Amun and Amen are phononyms, however the Arabs who were not soujourners in Egypt still end their prayers with Ameen another version of Amen-may it be so. It is not and has never been Amun Rah's name.

      February 6, 2013 at 5:44 am |
  4. prophet

    we must stop criticising goverments as these people have a difficult thing to do as athiests need to be guided by something and its a fact that most if not all government leaders are athiests no matter what they say and so many athiests criticise governments and so really they are criticising their own type and this is the evidence that they are misled people.

    February 5, 2013 at 11:52 am |

      are you drinking again?

      February 5, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      You might want to try something called punctuation you deluded moron.

      February 5, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
  5. prophet

    its another thing that people do what The Teachings Say. the muslim writings are all about destruction and they have plenty of followers who do just that.

    February 5, 2013 at 11:44 am |
  6. prophet

    someone said in here that Judiaism is a religion, this person is very misled, Israel is A Nation not a religion and its Teachings are a moral way of Life, that is not religious that is a way of Life, man makes religion.

    February 5, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • Thinker23

      Judaism is indeed a religion and Israel is a nation. The two are not one and the same.

      February 5, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • seyedibar

      Israel is a nation now. But it never existed before 1948, not even in Old Testament times. The modern nation is based on pure folklore, similar to people who live in El Dorado.

      February 5, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • Jake

      100% correct, prophet.

      The Jewish people were a nation for 1300 years, a nation with its own God & religion, similar to just about every other nation in ancient times. They only transformed themselves into a borderless religion after being slaughtered and expelled from their land by the Romans. It was a way of preserving their way of life in exile. The ultimate goal has always been a return to Zion and restoration of Jewish sovereignty, as evidenced by Jewish prayers dating back 2000+ years.

      February 5, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • Jake

      seyedibar, there is archaeological evidence that completely disproves your theories, but don't let facts get in the way..

      February 5, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      There is no historical or archeological evidence for the antiquated Israel. Just as there was never any truth to the tale of David or Solomon. They no doubt hold some kernel of truth relegated to actual kingships, but like most of the OT and Septuagint, it's all been fictionalized.

      February 5, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
  7. prophet

    we are praying for all of you in the hope that you may be saved.

    February 5, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • Bet

      We are hoping that you grow a brain.

      February 5, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
  8. prophet

    there is the son of the Hamas leader who converted to Adonai because he realised that their beliefs were wrong. he has been interviewed many times on you tube and his dad is upset with him.

    February 5, 2013 at 11:37 am |
  9. prophet

    just shows that ther cannot be any intelligent people who are muslims and choose to be because their religion is an embarrassment for humanity.

    i must add here that its the religion that is evil and that those arabs etc who are not muslims are lucky and okay.

    February 5, 2013 at 11:31 am |
  10. prophet

    Asterod DA14 2012

    February 5, 2013 at 11:27 am |
  11. prophet

    did see that atheism is now a religion, this was said by me many times and it seems to have happened as CNN have reported at the weekend. Athiests theme tune is – were on the road to nowhere, a song from the 80's.

    February 5, 2013 at 11:24 am |
  12. prophet

    This Igbo tribe of Israel is nice to see that they have done as Torah has asked them, they have remained loyal.

    February 5, 2013 at 11:21 am |
  13. prophet

    what they are doing worldwide is evidence of their barbaric inhuman methods, iran etc killing and torturing people,

    February 5, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • Big Shiz

      And what Israel does to Palestinians is barbaric and inhuman,but that doesn't make all Jews evil just like Hamas doesn't make all Muslims evil.

      February 5, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
  14. prophet

    they had a child abuser as a leader.

    February 5, 2013 at 11:18 am |
  15. prophet

    there was a comment on here from a muslim, their beliefs are from satan.

    February 5, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • Big Shiz

      Your hatred is from Satan,this is the unfortunate truth.

      February 5, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
    • Bet

      There was a comment here from "prophet". He's a dumbass.

      February 5, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
  16. End Religion

    If they're religious they're definitely lost.

    February 5, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Lost from what?

      February 5, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Any human with functioning brain believes in SOMETHING. Most barbaric religious fanatics demand an "end" to all alternative beliefs except their own... It seems that you're one of them. "End religion".

      February 5, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • End Religion


      February 5, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
  17. think for a moment !

    Quran says, (holy Islamic scripture)

    “They even attribute to Him sons and daughters, without any knowledge. Be He glorified. He is the Most High, far above their claims.” Quran [6:100]

    “The example of Jesus, as far as GOD is concerned, is the same as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him, "Be," and he was.” Quran [3:59]

    ‘They said, "You have to be Jewish or Christian, to be guided." Say, "We follow the religion of Abraham – monotheism – he never was an idol worshiper." [2:135]

    “Proclaim, He is the One and only GOD. The Absolute GOD. Never did He beget. Nor was He begotten. None equals Him." [112:1]

    The Messiah, son of Mary is no more than a messenger like the messengers before him, and his mother was a saint. Both of them used to eat the food. Note how we explain the revelations for them, and note how they still deviate! [5:75]

    It does not befit God that He begets a son, be He glorified. To have anything done, He simply says to it, "Be," and it is. [19:35]

    “No soul can carry the sins of another soul. If a soul that is loaded with sins implores another to bear part of its load, no other soul can carry any part of it, even if they were related. ... [35:18]

    They do not value God as He should be valued. God is the Most Powerful, the Almighty.[22:74]

    If you obey the majority of people on earth, they will divert you from the path of God. They follow only conjecture; they only guess. [Quran 6:116]

    “There shall be no compulsion in religion: the right way is now distinct from the wrong way. Anyone who denounces the devil and believes in God has grasped the strongest bond; one that never breaks. God is Hearer, Omniscient.” [2:256]

    O people, here is a parable that you must ponder carefully: the idols you set up beside God can never create a fly, even if they banded together to do so. Furthermore, if the fly steals anything from them, they cannot recover it; weak is the pursuer and the pursued. [22:73]

    “God: there is no other god besides Him, the Living, the Eternal. Never a moment of unawareness or slumber overtakes Him. To Him belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth. Who could intercede with Him, except in accordance with His will? He knows their past, and their future. No one attains any knowledge, except as He wills. His dominion encompasses the heavens and the earth, and ruling them never burdens Him. He is the Most High, the Great.” [2:255]

    Thanks for taking time to read my post. Please take a moment to clear your misconception by going to whyIslam org website.

    February 5, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • Thinker23

      Quran says many different things and everyone can find something there for his/her liking. This being said, however, The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said:

      "The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.

      It seems that the words of the Prophet above show the REAL face of Islam.

      February 5, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
  18. Dov

    Regardless of which "tribe" or race...
    Judaism if first & foremost a religion. Anyone is welcome to join regardless of their hebrew herritage.

    February 5, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • Austin

      I want to ! cool!

      February 5, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • Chuckles


      Not necessarily. Yes, judaism is a religion, but it also is shared cultural heritage and many people are jewish just because of their genetics. You can't just join like a christian or a muslim, there is a lot of work to do to convert and it takes years and even after that there are still sects of judaism that won't recognize it.

      February 5, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • lol??

      Austin, how did you get mixed up with the wrong seed? A cult perchance? God is gonna remarry the people of that religion? Can't pass brides around like that. It degrades women.

      February 5, 2013 at 11:55 am |

    unfortunate for them, they got lost in wrong country, remained poor and unprivileged.

    February 5, 2013 at 8:57 am |
    • Big Shiz

      Your quite the bigoted crazy man.

      February 5, 2013 at 9:45 am |

      and how is that Big Cheese?

      February 5, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • Big Shiz

      Well, you obviously hate Muslims. And your name is plane crazy.

      February 5, 2013 at 10:07 am |

      I never see you called your Hindu, Jews, Christian hater brother muhammed ackmed or whatever MF's name is a bigot? So shut the F up.

      February 5, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • Big Shiz

      I call anyone who's a bigot a bigot. Bigot

      February 5, 2013 at 3:10 pm |

      ya but you never called your people a bigot, terrorist.

      February 5, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • Big Shiz

      My people? You dont even know who my people are. Racist coward

      February 5, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
  20. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Pray without ceasing in 2013
    Prayer changes things

    February 5, 2013 at 7:34 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your repeated assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your repeated unfounded assertions may represent truths is: "EPIC FAIL". Perhaps the following book can help you cope with the problem of repeating unfounded assertions:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...

      February 5, 2013 at 7:37 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      February 5, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
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