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Location of Nkambe Council

Nkambe Central Subdivision, which also harbours Nkambe Council, is found in Donga-Mantung Division. It is bordered to the west by Misaje, to the north by Ako, to the North-East by Nwa Subdivision, to the south-east is Ndu Subdivision and to the southwest is Noni Subdivision. It has a surface area of 487.4 km2. The Municipality is situated between latitudes 6° 00΄ and 6° 01.13΄ north of the equator and longitudes 10° 01.03΄ and 10° 01.45΄ east of the Greenwich meridian.

Nkambe Council falls within the Nkambe Central Subdivision and is the divisional headquarters of Donga-Mantung Division. There are 5 subdivisions in the division, comprising Nwa, Ndu, Nkambe Central, Misaje and Ako.

The Council’s History

Nkambe Division, as it used to be called, remains one of the oldest divisions in the North West Region - which used to be known as the grassfield region. Today one can say that Nkambe town in particular and the Council area in general is witnessing some expansion and growth.

The Nkambe Division was created by ordinance of the colonial era, emanating from Lagos in 1946 and went operational in 1948, including the Nkambe Divisional Council, which covered the present day Donga-Mantung Division. The councils then were known as Native Authority councils.


Population distribution

The rate of growth in the urban area of the municipality is far greater than that of the villages. The urban area is a pull centre for various classes of people ranging from students, apprentices and workers of different institutions. Thus Nkambe town is a big agglomeration of population. Nkambe Central Subdivision has a population of about 171,478 inhabitants according to projections as of 2011, and with a population density of 351.8 persons per km².

Rural Population vs. urban population numbers

The rural milieus of the council contribute as feeders to the urban area, with the main drivers being occupational shift, lifestyle choices, linkages to other advanced milieus and a decline in soil fertility. Thus a lot of youths leave the suburbs to the town to pursue education or engage themselves in gainful jobs.

Migration Pattern

The original Nkambe people left Northern Cameroon in the 16th century and moved southwards due to constant raids by Usman Dan Fodio in in his attempts to convert people to Islam; they also moved due to water crisis. Under a group known as the Tikars, they left North Cameroon and settled first in the Ntem Valley. Later, they moved to Kimi and further moved southward to a place known as Mbirboh in Mbot Village - a place within the council area, thus forming the Wimbum tribe.

The quest for power, land, water and a need for purification led to their spreading throughout the municipality in three clans - Tang, Warr and Wiya. The different villages within the council area can thus trace their origin to one of these three clans.

However, today movements within the municipality have been influenced by factors other than the above mentioned.

Generally, the pattern of migration in most parts of Cameroon is rural - urban. Nkambe town has developed into a small urban area with several educational, administrative, financial and private institutions constituting a pull factor. The presence of a growing civil service and private entrepreneurs has provided avenues for employment, thus pulling people into the area. In the recent past, the location of the military unit has also helped to pull people from other regions to Nkambe.


Ethnic Groups

Nkambe Municipality comprises people who are of one ethnic group - the Tikari tribe. They all form a tribe known as the Wimbum. The tribe makes 94.50% of the population of the Council area.

The municipality, however, hosts people from other tribes such as the Moslems, Hausas, Fulanis, and a diverse people from various parts of the country.


The main conflicts existing in the area are farmer/grazer problems, boundary and chieftaincy problems. The consequences of these conflicts are that they retard development and progress in the villages.

Farmer/grazer problems are rampant and in most villages. Some of the conflicts in some villages have led to full-scale destructions. Some persons were even described as very bad persons due to the destruction caused by their cattle on crops. With the intervention of MBOSCUDA and other NGO’s as conflict mediators, some of the problems are being handled with care.


The main chiefdoms of Nkambe Council are Kungi, Konchep, Binshua, Bih, Saah, Wat, Nwangri, Mbaa, Kup, Chup, Bongom, Mbot Village, Tabenken, Njap, Binka, and Binjeng.

Several villages and localities are attached to them. The full list is found in the Annex.

Social Stratification

These are social organizations or structures to facilitate the living together of the people and to uphold their societal values. As such two types of strata can be identified in Nkambe, the traditional and the political or government administrative structure.

The traditional structure consists of a system of living together or managing the indigenes as inherited from generations; this flow from the clans down to the village set up. The traditional administration with the Wimbums has quite some similarities but for the appellations of fai and shufai fai kuh in Mbot and fai in Bih/Saah, while it is absent in Binka. There is also the Ngiri whose position does not feature same in all the village hierarchy.


The inhabitants are of diverse religious backgrounds that can be broadly categorized into 3 groups – Christians, Muslims and Traditionalists. Various religious denominations have been involved in development through the establishment of schools and health institutions and in some cases have negotiated for the construction of roads, bridges and water points or supplies in some of the villages. The different religious bodies found within the council area are Christianity (Baptist, Catholic, Presbyterian, Apostolic, Full Gospel, Pentecostal); Muslim; and Traditional.

Cultural Heritage

The Wimbum people have a lot to exhibit about themselves that has been handed down from their fore parents. Aspects of Wimbum culture include the arts (craft work - bamboo work, weaving, embroidery and knitting, pottery); dress, housing, festivals, food, courtship and marriages, birth rites, divorce, death rites, widowhood, and the situation of the woman.

Presentation of socio-economic milieu


Subsistence agriculture has been the mainstay of the population over the years. About 98% of the population of Nkambe municipality practise agriculture. Crops cultivated are corn, beans, cocoyams, yams, etc. the dry season farming starts in October and covers a period of about three months. Mostly legumes are cultivated – beans, vegetable, Irish potatoes.

The agricultural sector of this area is plagued with a number of problems. These involve: soil infertility, bush burning which creep into farm-lands, stray animals that destroy crops, lack of farm inputs and equipment, inadequate farmland, lack of farm-to-market roads, inadequate market for products, etc.


Nkambe Council has a wide potential for grazing, with vast land of savanna vegetation. Nkambe ranks amongst the highest producers of various livestock species. Thus the population of livestock in the municipality is quite appreciable. This appreciable situation is however compounded by the existence of farmer/grazer conflicts which are many in the Council area.

The Fulanis and natives carry out livestock keeping. Transhumance is mainly to the Ako and Misaje Subdivisions due to inadequate transhumance sites in the municipality.

Traditional livestock keeping is widely practised by all producers. The need to promote improved livestock keeping is a potential that needs to be exploited by the grazers.

Forest and Fauna

Pockets of montane and submontane forests abound in the subdivision. They occupy some plains, slopes and riverbanks. None of the forests have been protected. The Njising - a site comprising a small stand of submontane and montane forest mostly between 1800m and 2200m of altitude, descends to Tabenken village at 1600m, is the largest in the region. Their unprotected status gives room for heavy exploitation for timber, fuel wood, agriculture and medicinal purposes. However, some of the forests remain in tact because some are sacred forests; hence conserved traditionally as village shrines. Details of the area of these forests are found in the annex of this report.

In these forests, the afrotropical highland biome species of birds like Bannerman’s Turaco, Western Green Tinker bird, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Cameroon Greenbul, Yellow breasted Boubou, African hill babbler, Green Longtail, Fernando Po Oliveback, Bannerman’s weaver, etc, are well represented.

The flora of this region is typically montane type with eminent species such as Croton macrostachyus, podocarpus, latifolius, polyscias fluva, Albizia gummifera, Schefflera abyssinica, Mahogany, Enthandrophragm, cylindrium, Piptadeniostrium Africana, Canariumschiven and Prunus africana. Some economic species of plants are found in some of the forests like kolanut and eucalpyptus.

Among the fauna species we have reptiles of various types, monkeys, hedgehogs and antelopes.


Trading in this area follows the conventional approach of exchanging what the population produces like beans, corn, potatoes, plantains and bananas, with what they do not produce and are in need of, for example, mats, groundnuts, egusi, palm oil, clay pots and kernel. As such they trade with their immediate neighbours, who are the other villages in Nkambe area and beyond.

The trading across the borders is done on a low scale because it is mostly by head loading, though it can be increased since they are nearer Nigeria and there are seasonal roads that link the two areas.

Banking and Micro-finance institutions

Banking and credit union activities in the municipality remain very unsatisfactory. The reasons for this situation are not very clear considering that there are appreciable economic activities going on in the Council area. The financial sector is an area that will need a lot of research for improvement.