Introduction / History The Gupa-Abawa are an indigenous, agricultural people who live in west-central Nigeria. They are closely related to the Nupe, Kami and Gana-Gana. In fact, the people group is a blend of the Gupa and the Abawa peoples. The Gupa-Abawaw language is endangered as the young people prefer to speak the Hausa and English they learn in school. Many of the Gupa are unable to read and write. The only Christian resources currently available in the Gupa-Abawa language are gospel recordings.
Where are they located? They spread from Lapai in Niger State to a few villages in Kogi State while some Gupa-Abawa are in portions of the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria.
What are their lives like? The Gupa live in rural villages surrounded by the land they farm. They grow rice, beans, yams, millet, maize, and vegetables. Peanuts, palm oil and kola nuts are cash crops, which provide money for the things the Gupa cannot make for themselves like cell phones and tools.
Most people groups in rural Nigeria like the Gupa-Abawa enjoy music, story telling and dance as a form of entertainment and communication. These art forms are very meaningful in rural Nigeria. Those who want to take the gospel to the Gupa-Abawa people would do well to use these art forms when presenting the gospel.
What are their beliefs? Islam is the prevalent religion among the Gupa people. They often view Christianity as an invading force from the West that can ruin their families and culture.
Islam is a major world religion that is based on five essential duties or "pillars": (1) A Muslim must affirm that "there is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet." (2) Five times a day one must pray while facing Mecca. (3) One must give an obligatory percentage (very similar to tithes) on an annual basis. (4) One must fast during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim year. (5) One must try to make at least one pilgrimage to Mecca in his or her lifetime. Muslims are also prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, slandering, and make idols.
The Islam of the Gupa is heavily influenced by folk religion or animism. They believe that spirits inhabit the objects of nature like trees, rocks, animals, rivers and the sky. These evil spirits must be appeased or they can bring disaster upon the community. The people live in fear of these evil spirits.
What are their needs? The Gupa-Abawa people need adequate rain for their crops and their livestock so they can live lives free of want and poverty. They need modern medical care and good schools that will help the next generation to thrive in a rapidly changing world. Solar panels can charge phones and run appliances.
The Gupa-Abawa people need most of all to hear and understand the message of Jesus Christ. He alone can forgive their sins and get them right with the one, true God.
Prayer Points * Pray for a "Book of Acts" type of movement to Christ among the Gupa-Abawa people in Nigeria.
* Pray for the Gupa-Abawa people to understand and embrace that Jesus wants to bless their families and neighborhoods.
* Pray for Holy Spirit anointed believers from the Gupa-Abawa people to change their society from within.
* Pray for a movement in which the Holy Spirit leads and empowers Gupa-Abawa disciples to make more disciples.
* Pray that the Bible is translated into the Gupa’s language. * Pray for translation of the Bible to begin in this people group's primary language. * Pray for the availability of the Jesus Film in the primary language of this people.
Nigeria Evangelical Missions Association (NEMA)