Human Milieu - Babessi Municipality

Babessi Town

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Human Milieu

Created in 1995 by Presidential Decree No – 95/082 of 24th April 1995, the Council area is host to one ethnic group that is the Tikaris. The people of the four villages are called: Papiakum (Baba 1), Vengo (Babungo), Wusincho (Babessi) and Ngwang (Bangolan).


Before the arrival of Christianity and Islamism, religious practice in Babessi Municipality was closely linked to the local traditions and culture. The Fondoms of Babungo and Bangolan have very strong tradition and culture demonstrated by the prominence of their Fon Palace. However, the tradition and culture of the people of Babessi is overwhelmed by imported religious beliefs.  Some aspects of the foreign religion conflict with the tradition and culture of the people.  For example, the issues arising from the Bangolan Fondom could be traced to the conflict between “modern” religion and the tradition and culture of the people. Notwithstanding, many persons in the Municipality who are adherents to these “modern” religions still have deep-rooted beliefs in some aspects of the traditional worship and beliefs. For example, pouring of libations, especially at family levels.

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The prominent Christian denominations in the municipality include: Catholics, Presbyterians, Baptist and the pentecostal churches.

The Catholic church

The Catholic mission is the predominant Christian denomination in the Municipality. Apart from developing the spiritual growth of the people, the Catholic mission is contributing in the education and health sectors.
There are 01 primary and 01 nursery Catholic owned schools in Baba I; 01 primary and 01 nursery schools in Babessi; 02 primary school in Babungo and 01 primary school in Bangolan and a Catholic Nursery and Secondary I Babessi. In the health sector, they operate the St. Monica Health Center in Baba I.

The Presbyterian church

The Presbyterian church may be the second largest Christian denomination in the Municipality. They have 03 parishes and 16 congregations. In addition to contributing to the spiritual growth of the people, the Presbyterian mission operate 01 primary school in Baba I and 02 Primary schools in Babungo.

The Baptist church

The Baptist are implanted mostly in Bangolan, Babungo and Babessi where they operate 01 primary school each in Bangolan and Babessi, 01 nurseries and 02 primary schools in Babungo and operate a health centre in Finkwi- Babungo and another in Bangolan.

The Pentecostal churches

Other Christian denominations have a growing presence in the Municipality. They contribute mostly to the spiritual growth of the population. These denominations are still to contribute to the development of other sectors such as education and health. The dominant Pentecostals include; Apostolic Church with 10 congregations, Full Gospel Church, Bahai, and True church of God.


Islamism is very strong in the Municipality, especially in Bangolan, Baba I and Babessi. Apart from developing the spirituality of the people, this religious denomination contributes to the development of the Municipality in the education and health sectors with 05 IPS and 01 ISS in Baba I, 02 IPS in Babessi, 02 IPS, an Islamic Nursery school and 01 ISS in Bangolan, and 01 IPS in Babungo and Islamic Health center in Babessi.

Traditional religion in Babessi municipality

Traditional religion is mainly based on the worship of ancestors, and shrines. Generally, there are many gods to whom sacrifices such as animals, wine, and other aspects are made. The gods have shrines. Each village has shrines as shown in below:

Shrines in the Municipality

Village Name of Shrine
Baba I Chingem, Yiwah, Mohkebon, Yipafer
Babessi Bikeh, Luobeu, Nguotuweh, Nkaketso, Nkamupto, Kokelabu, Nyinjee
Babungo Foghai, Fesha, Beurh, Ndong, Lia, Mbeulung, Nghenei, Ntoh Yindoh, Nkarhteng, Nkarhguhng, Nkarh yiboh
Bangolan Tekah (Makulung), Yi-camida Fongoh, Yi-Fongoh, Yi-Nweih

Source: ACTWID-KONGADZEM, Field survey, 2017

The shrines are coordinated by a chief priest who is a link between the living and the gods. Traditional religion in all villages of Babessi is strongly rooted in ancestral worship and shrines. Central to the worship is the shrines where sacrifices are performed. Sacrifices are generally intended to appease the gods from vengeful or angry ancestors who might want or have inflicted curses on the people or individuals. The sacrifices may also be intended to solicit for blessings such as abundant harvest, rains, high fertility etc.

Where, the Fon is converted to Christianity or Islam, he is still expected to assume his responsibility in accordance to the tradition and culture, otherwise, he might be disregarded or even disowned by the people. All the Fons of the villages of the Municipality are Muslims.

In the Babessi community, the remnants of traditional religion are reminiscent in certain practices and beliefs such as:
•    The belief that if certain rituals are not performed after the death of a relative, the family may be bewitched.
•    The belief that angry ancestors could inflict sickness, ill-luck and even death on individual members of the family.

The influence of traditional religion and Christianity in the Babessi municipality has resulted in situations where fervent Christians are torn between total belief in Christ and belief in certain anti-Christian traditional beliefs. For example, in Bangolan.
Also, there are situation where tradition and Islam conflict, for example during burials where Islam religion will not accept traditional burial rites.

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