Having seen several Igbo DNA results that show that Igbos have Middle Eastern, or what some call Semitic DNA, it came to me as a shock when I read the report of several newsletters that the tests purportedly carried out by a Christian group called Jewish Voice International Ministries showed that Igbo men do not have “Jewish” DNA, and by some “Semitic” DNA.

Below are details of a few Igbo DNA results

Remy Ilona is an Igbo lawyer from Ozubulu, in Anambra State of Nigeria. His family is one of the oldest Igbo families from Ozubulu clan and holds the title of Obi of Egbema, Ozubulu. Remy is a top researcher on Igbo origins. Readers can get details about results at his Facebook page- https://www.facebook.com/remy.ilona

Emeka Maduewesi, from another ancient family from Nnewi clan. Details of his are at – https://www.facebook.com/maduewesi

The Middle Eastern and Semitic in the results of both men indicate that these Igbos were Semitic, and that their ancestors were in what became Eastern Africa where humanity started before migrating to what  at some point became the Middle East, before migrating to what became West Africa, and in the part known as Igbo-land which is within the territory known today as Nigeria.

These two independent results with those of other different Igbo individuals which were conducted without the object of determining “Jewishness” are certainly more reliable than the missionary effort which from the newspaper articles had the goal of looking for “Jewish genes”, which don’t exist. Some of the lessons learned from all these is that important matters should not be left for people who are not professionals to undertake. The whole exercise is causing tension among the Igbo, because some of the subjects are becoming worried when they learned that the “Jewish” and “Israeli”  “scientists” that they trusted were American missionaries, and are afraid that the swabs they inserted into their mouths might not be what they were acclaimed to be, and their fears have to be calmed. Matters of these import should be carried out by qualified people, and should not be left to a shadowy messianic missionary group with its own intentions and agenda.

Several months ago when the Jewish voice missionaries came to collect the DNA samples, I pointed out several pitfalls in their protocol for the test. All we heard was that Igbos were asked to come to a certain private hospital to have their samples taken. We were worried that there was no prior effort to determine inclusion and exclusion criteria for this test. Normally a pedigree study should have been carried out to exclude people with non-Igbos in their lineage since some inter-marriage with neighboring peoples have taken place.  Besides, rural settlements in ancient Igbo communities should have been ideal for this study. But Jewish Voice Ministries sampled DNA randomly from about 120 subjects in a very urban setting with a mixed population and these is supposed to represent an estimated population of about 40 million Igbos. Obviously everything about the testing is compromised, and its doubtful that the Igbo who were among those sampled would have participated if they had known that the members of Jewish Voice International Ministries were neither Israeli nor Jewish scientists as the local press referred to them.

DNA tests alone cannot provide definitive proof of Jewish origin of the Igbo, Ashkenazi, Sefardi, or any other Hebrew community, but it can complement historical, cultural, anthropological and linguistic data and make them more powerful tools for tracing routes of ancestral migrations to the present locations of the afore-mentioned groups. For the Igbo DNA may yet provide the evidence with which their strong Israelite culture would be viewed in proper context.