Kin Groups and Descent. Although not as extensively studied, the Ibibio appear to have shared the same settlement patterns and territorial organization as their Igbo neighbors. Ibibio villages generally consisted of compounds of rectangular constructions, each with several rooms, arranged around a courtyard or common meeting place. Their villages usually held about five hundred people, and were divided into physically distinct hamlets that contained separate patrilineages. The hamlets were part of a larger settlement, which was represented by a secular leader who was generally the senior male member of the group. In patrilineal descent groups, the men traced their descent to a single male ancestor. Women continued to claim the support of their own lineage head after they were married.
Kinship Terminology. The ete otun, or secular leader, is distinguished from the ete ekpuk, the ritual leader. The ete otun may not rightfully act without the latter's consent.