Some idea can be gained of the extent to which some farmers rely on migrant labourers by quoting briefly from Adun farm budgets. Unless otherwise stated, those hired for work are not related to the farmer, nor members of his age-set or farm-path group. It is necessary to explain that among the Mbembe there are four types of farm: Ebe, usually very small farms, in very damp places in which the husband plants yams for early harvesting; Idimiteim, the husband's own farm, on which he is responsible for all tasks including weeding; Owana, a farm shared between husband and wife on which the husband is responsible for the clearing of the farm, the making of yam mounds and for the tying up of the yams, which are his, but not for weeding; and Ekumadum, the wife's farm, the wife being responsible for all crops and tasks except the clearing of the bush which the husband must do or pay for.
An exceptionally prosperous farmer of about 35, with six wives.
To labourers (Ibo) for clearing Idimiteim and wives Awona £6 3 0
To Ofuda men for removing bamboos (Ibo labourers have no experience of these and will not touch them) £1 3 0
To Ibo labourers for making yam mounds in Ebe, Idimiteim, and wives' Awona farms
£29 17 0 To Ibo labourers for making a gutter drain in a farm 4 0
To unrelated youths for cutting yam sticks 10 0 To his full brother for cutting yam sticks 5 0 To "tie-tie" bought for stringing the yams £2 17 7
To Ibo women for weeding his Idimiteim £3 0 0
To Ibo labourers for clearing his cassava farm  £6 10 0 To various local old women for weeding the cassava farm £1 8 0 ---------------- £51 17 7
This informant said he had received
no free help from anyone, whether related or not.
Prosperous farmer, about 45, with four wives. Very influential in his own village.
To Ibo labourers for clearing farms £6 15 0
To local men for clearing bamboos £ 12 0
To Ibo labourers for making yam mounds in Idimiteim & Awona £24 15 0
& 1 goat worth 15 0
Paid for sticks to support yams £1 19 0
C C tie-tie £1 3 0
This informant received no free help. --------------
£35 19 0
A very influential Court Member with six wives.
To Ibo labourers for clearing farms
To Ibo labourers for making mounds £7 10 0
To local men for cutting sticks for yams £2 4 10
To local men for fixing yam supports £1 8 9
Paid for tie-tie £1 15 0
To the Village Ovat and certain elders who came formally
to tie yams on his farm as a mark of esteem: wine and meat £ 4 0
£40 15 7
This man was de facto head of his Ekamanei. He received much help freely from one full brother. Ha also received occasional free help from three young men, his sisters' sons, a daughter's husband, close age-mates of his full brother, an age-mate of one of his sons, and a young unrelated man who had attached himself as a kind of dependent.
Prosperous farmer in 40's with four wives.
To Ibo labourers for clearing £4 10 0
(To four patrilineal half brothers for clearing his Ebe Farm, fufu only).
To local men for clearing bamboos £2 10 0
To Ibo labourers for making yam mounds £15 00 0
For sticks for yam supports (bought locally) £ 10 0
For tie-tie £ 13 0 --------------
£28 3 0
Village Ovat, with one wife.
To Ibo labourers for clearing farms £1 0 0
To Village men for clearing bamboos,
wine and two legs of antelope worth £ 11 0 To Ibo labourers for making yam mounds £15 0 0
For tie-tie £ 10 0
To the age-set of girls for "refusing fufu" for weeding -
ten coconuts and one antelope leg worth £ 3 4
and three legs of antelope. £ 6 10
-------------- £17 11 2
(The meat given for the work was tribute meat given to him by hunters, and accepted by the people instead of money because he is the Village Ovat).
A poor man in his early 50's. His only wife deserted him.
To Ibo labourers for clearing farms £ 1 0 0
To Ibo labourers for making mounds £ 10 0 0
For sticks £ 15 0
For tie-tie £ 10 0
£ 12 5 0
(Most of this money was borrowed and he was heavily in debt).
Old man, Okapata priest of patriclan, with two wives. Very poor.
To Ibo labourers for making yam mounds £ 4 0 0
He did all the work of clearing his farm for him,self, cut his own sticks, and made his own tie-tie. He has grown sons who, of course, will not inherit his moveable goods or yams. He said they were too busy working on their own farms in a hamlet, to give him any help (he lives in the village). He has only an Idimiteim farm. Each wife looks after her own Ekumadum farm. They have no Awona farms.
Evidence for the existence of a pre-1900 route between
Okuni and Calabar
The main evidence for the existence of this route, apart from the existence of local traditions to this effect in Ikom and Okuni, lies in a "Report on the British Protectorate of the Oil Rivers" by Vice-Consul Johnston in which he says:
CFrom various parts of the Old Calabar, Akpa and Akpayage Rivers there are road starting in the direction of the Upper Cross River. The most important of these is a track which leaves a Calabar settlement named Esu Ododop and the upper part of the Akpayage River just below the last falls, and which, going round the base of Mt. Hewett, proceeds to the Mbarikum Country, a district as yet unknown to Europeans when in former times and still in a lesser degree, quantities of ivory and numbers of slaves were brought down to Calabar by native caravans. At present when every tribe is on terms of enmity or armed neutrality with its neighbours, the overland routes are little used and water communications are preferred. 
Later in the same report speaking of the tribes of the Cross River he refers again to the Mbarikum:
"Then (there is) the populous district of Arun (Adun) inhabited by diverse tribes all speaking dialects of the Arun language (he seems here to have been speaking of the Mbembe in general) and then the turbulent people of Atam, and beyond them the Manyon, the Nke, and Inuts and the Mbarikum. All these four last named tribes are utter savages and provide the bulk of the slaves which are brought down to Old Calabar."  This reference seems to make it more likely that Mbarikum and Ikom were the same.
The existence of the Okum-Calabar overland track is given further support by the fact that such a route was marked on a map by Partridge  in 1903. There is also some rather curious botanical evidence which suggests an early connection between Okuni and Calabar. Billington, the Director of the Botanical Gardens at Calabar accompanied Sir C.M.MacDonald on his expedition up the Cross River in 1893, and wrote a botanical report on the journey in which he says:
"Seeing bamboo growing here (Okum) came upon me as rather a surprise. I saw only two clumps which must have originally have found
their way from Old Calabar (the bamboo being, he suggests, an import into this area of West Africa from India)" . At no place other than Okuni does he report having seen bamboo growing. Billington was not apparently held in very high esteem by his superiors, judging by the reports they sent home about him, but it does seem possible that he observed correctly here. The bamboo may have only recently spread into this area of the Cross River, for although an easily worked material its use seems to be of quite recent origin. Houses are now universally made with a bamboo framework, yet until the early years of this century they were made of roughly hewn planks. It is difficult to imagine that the people, then without a plentiful supply of steel tools, would have ignored the bamboo had it been available. If Billington is right and the plant did reach the area via Okuni and the Calabar Botanic Gardens then the argument for an overland route between the two towns at an early date receives support.
Finally, having quoted from Johnston in support of the argument for a Calabar-Okuni route, reference must be made to what he has to say about slaves. His statement that these tribes he calls the Nke, Mbe, Inuts and Mbarikum "provided the bulk of the slaves" brought to Old Calabar is ambiguous. If he means that they, as traders, ultimately supplied them to the Calabar slave traders then this is further evidence supporting the strong local traditions I found in the Ikom area which maintained that while local people were very rarely sold as slaves, traders from Ikom and Okuni were very active in the slave business acting as middlemen between the Cameroons people and the coastal traders. On the other hand, as I rather think, Johnston meant to imply that slaves were by origin "Nke, Manyon, Inuts and Mbarikum" then I do not think that his statement should outweigh the very strong local traditions which state the opposite. Johnston never reached these areas since on the only occasion he tried to do so he was forced to turn and flee by the Atam. He never got over his experience, and subsequently often referred to all the peoples from the Atam area eastwards as "inveterate cannibals". If he meant to imply that many of then were slaves the statement may well have arisen as a result of misunderstanding coloured by prejudice.
Population of Mbembe tribes according to the 1953 census.
A ADUN Alternative Spelling
Obabene 2,626 Ababene
Ahaha 551 Ahana
Isobo 499 Isobor
Obubem 411 Obuben
Oderiga 2,279 Oderriga
Okerukpana 283 Okorokpana
Ofat 1,241 Ovat
Ofatura 582 Ovatura
Ovenem 1,272 Ovonum
Ochon 928 Ochon Etim
Odongit 188 Odongelle
Onyen 483 Onyen Ibra
Onyen Oranga 229
Apiapum 2,447 Appiapum
Iyamitet 1,633 Iyametet
Okumorutet 414 Okumorutet
Apiapum Eja 371 Appiapum Eja
Ijutum 309 Ejitum
Ejege-Ejege 174 Ejeghe-Ejeghe
Ejege Agoma 353 Ejeghe-Agoma
Okimbonga 250 Okinbonga
Imabana Chukwu 101
and village). 1,370
Isobo Biko Biko 490
Isobo Otaka 772
Achara (N-e Ibo) 416
Ohateweke Enyibishiri (N-e Ibo) 366
Ardener E. 1956 The Coastal Bantu of the Cameroons
Beecroft J. 1844 "Details of the exploration of the Old Calabar River in 1841 and 1842" J.Roy.Geog.Soc.XIV.
Billinton H.W.L. 1893 Unpublished mss.Public Records Office F.O.2/62
Bohannon L. and P. 1953 The Tiv of Central Nigeria
Butcher H.L.M. 1939 The Priest Chiefs of Ogoja. Unpub.mss.
Colson E. 1961 The Plateau Tonga in D.Schneider and K.Gough (eds.) Matrilineal Kinship
Dorjahn V.R. 1959 "The organization and function of the Ragbenle society of the Temne".
Africa XXIX 2, pp. 156-70.
Douglas M. 1959 "Age status among the Lele". Zaire XIII e, pp.386 - 413
Evans-Pritchard E.E 1940 The political system of the Anuak of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan.
1940 The Nuer
1962 The divine kingship of the Shilluk of the Nilotic Sudan.
Reprinted in Essays in Social Anthropology.
Forde D. 1937 "Land and labour in a Cross River Village in southern Nigeria" Geog.J.Vol.90,pp.24-51.
1941 Marriage and the fmaily among the Yako.
1949 "Integrative aspects of the Yako First Fruits Rituals" J.Roy.Anthrop.Inst.Vol.88,pp.165-78.
1950 "Double descent among the Yako" in African Systems of Kinship and Marriage, ed.A.R.Radcliffe-Brown and Daryll Forde.
1961 "The Governmental Roles of Associations among the Yako", Africa, XXXI, e,pp.309-23.
1964 Yako studies.
Forde D. and Jones G.L. 1950 The Ibo and Ibibio speaking Peoples of South Eastern Nigeria.
Fortes M. 1945 The Dynamics of Clanship among the Tallensi.
1950 Kinship and Marriage among the Ashanti in African Systems of Kinship and Marriage, ibid.
1959 Oedipus and Job.
Fortune R. 1930 Sorcerers of Dobu.
Frankenberg R. 1959 Village on the Border
Gluckman M. 1951 "The Lozi of Barotesland in North-Western Rhodesia";
in Seven Tribes of British Central AFrica, ed.E.Colson and M.Gluckman.
Goody J. 1956 "A Comparative Approach to Incest and Adultery" Brit.J.Sociol.XX.
1957 "Fields of Social Control among the LaDagaba" J.Roy.Anthrop.Inst.Vol.87,pp.75-104.
1962 Death, Property and the Ancestors
Harris R. 1962 (a) "The influence of the Ecological factors and External Relations on the Mbembe Tribes of South-Eastern Nigeria" Africa XXXII, 1, pp.86-101.
1962 (b) "The Politicial Implications of Double Unilineal Descent" J.Roy.Antrhop.Inst.Vol.92,pp.86-101.
Harris R. 1965 "Inestate Succession among the Mbembe" in Studies in the Laws of succession in Nigeria ed. F.Duncan M.Derett
Hogbin H.I. and 1953 "Local Grouping in Melanesia"
Wedgewood C.H. Oceania 23, pp.241-76; 24,pp.58-76.
Horton R. 1960 The Gods as Guests
1961 "Destiny and the Unconscious in West Africa" Africa XXX1. pp.110-116.
Irstam T. 1944 The King of Ganda.
Johnston H.H. 1888 (a) "The Niger Delta" Proc.Roy.Geog.Soc.Vol.10,pp.749-763.
1888 (b) Report on the British Protectorate of the Oil Rivers. Unpub.mss.P.R.O.F.O. 84/1882, pp.106-234.
Jones G.I. 1961 "Ecology and Social Structure among the North-eastern Ibo". Africa XXXI, 2, pp.117-34.
1962 Ibo age organization with special reference to the Cross River and North-eastern Ibo. J.Roy.Anth op.Inst.Vol.92,2, pp.191-221.
Kaberry, P. 1939 Aboriginal Women.
Leach E. 1959 Pul Eliya.
1962 "Some unconsidered aspects of double unilineal descent" Man, LX!!. pp.130-134.
Mair L. 1962 Primitive Government.
MacDonald Sir E.M. 1893 Report of the Adminisration of the Niger Coast Protectorate Unpub.mss.P.R.O. F.O. 2/51 pp.234-242.
Meek C.K. 1937 Law and Authority in a Nigerian Tribe.
Middleton L. (ed.) 1961 Witchcraft and Sorcery in East Africa.
Mitchell C. 1951 "The Yao of Southern Nyasaland" in Seven Tribes of British Central Africa, ibid.
Nadel S.F. 1952 "Witchcraft in four African Societies" Am. Anthrop.54.18-29.
Partridge C. 1905 Cross River Natives.
Probyn L. 1902 Report on Southern Nigeria, Colinial Report Annual 405.
Population Census 1953 Eastern Region of Nigeria.
Southall A.W. 1953 Alur Society.
Tait D. 1961 The Konkomba.
Weir N.A.C. 1929 Report on the Adun Clan. Unpub.mss.
Wilson B. 1961 Sects and Society.
Wolf E. 1955 "Some Types of Latin American Peasantry". Am.Anthrop.57.pp.452-471.
 To have a cassava farm is, of course, unusual for a man, but this man was in many ways a most unusual farmer. Although he had not travelled he had an extraordinary shrewd eye for ways to make farming pay and made by far the largest profit if any farmer in his village. Ha was viewed with some suspicion and was not popular.
 Johnston 1888 pp.122-24.
 Johnston ibid p.186.
 Partridge ibid p.324.
 Billington 1893, p.400.