6 interesting facts about the Idoma people

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Idoma People - Idoma culture

The Idoma culture is perhaps one of the most fascinating cultures in Nigeria. Exceptionally proud of their native heritage, the Idoma people have preserved many of their ancestors’ traditions, a number of them present in their mixture of elaborate traditional tales, artistic expressions, music and varied culture elements.

Like any other society, Idoma people reveal their customs, traditions, beliefs, norms and lifestyle through the distinctive behavioral traits. Jumia Travel, Africa’s No. 1 online hotel booking site presents 5 of these notably peculiar facts that have now marked out the Idoma among other ethnic groups in the country.

The Idoma people are not only found in Benue state

The popular idea is that the Idoma are an ethno-linguistic group primarily found in the western areas of Benue State, Nigeria. This is because they are the second largest group in the state and occupy 9 local government areas (L.G.A.’s) which include: Ado, Agatu, Apa, Obi,Ohimini, Ogbadibo, Oju, Okpokwu & Otukpo .

Aside from the western parts of Benue, the Idoma tribe have sparse settlements in other parts of the country, including Nassarawa and Cross Rivers States.

Masquerades - Idoma culture

The men are obliged by tradition to pound yam for their wives

Unlike other cultures where the woman is expected to perform all culinary chores, the Idoma men are not always exempted.

The traditional head of Otukpo, Och’Otukpo John Eimonye, stated in an interview with Daily Trust Newspaper that the job of pounding yam is one of the expectations of the Idoma men and serves as a masculine chore when considered from hygienic, social and cultural viewpoints. This interesting detail thrills not just outsiders who learn of it but the indigenes who practice it as well.

The people strongly believe in the ‘Alekwu spirit’

With the advent of Christianity and other foreign religions, the traditional belief systems of most ethnic groups in the country has been influenced by western practices.

However, a majority of the Idoma people still believe strongly in the Alekwu , which is seen as a link between the living and the dead. They host an annual ‘Aje Alekwu’ festival where traditional religious practitioners commune and make sacrifices in worship of their ancestors across the land.

The Idomas have strong attachment to the worship of Alekwu-spirit of the ancestors which is believed to stand as an invisible watchdog of the family and communities while checkmating vices like adultery, theft and murder.


The groom and the rooster

While the marriage rites and customs of the Idoma people is not unlike that of the Ibos and some other south-eastern cultures, there are specific aspects that clearly distinguish their tradition.

One of those specific aspects is the fact that the groom and his family have to present the bride with a rooster and some money on the marriage day after the dowry has already been paid. If she  accepts, it is a sign of approval and disinterest if she reject the gift. While there are no certain reasons to justify the need for a rooster, it remains an interesting part of the ceremony.

Language Diversity

Classified as a minority ethnic group and often mistaken to be part of the Igbo tribe, the Idoma people are known for one language – Idoma, which is classified in the Akweya subgroup of the Idomoid languages of the Volta–Niger family.

With a population estimated to be about 3.5 million, varied dialects have over time emerged from the umbrella of this mother-tongue and they include ‘Western Idoma’ chiefly spoken by the Okpokwu and Ogbadibo local government areas; ‘Central Idoma’ spoken by Otukpo and Ohimini people; ‘Southern Idoma’ largely spoken by Ado communities and ‘Northern Idoma’ spoken by the Agatu & Apa regions.


Idoma Dancers

The Okoho Soup

The Idoma people are known for their love of food, as there is an annual food festival in Benue State to celebrate women and the various traditional cuisines.

Most popular among their delicacies is the Okoho soup which is made with the peculiar Okoho plant, bush meat and many other ingredients.

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We would love to read your opinions in the comments section below. 


  1. ojabo matthew ameh

    December 7, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    My people of idiom

    • Stella

      September 25, 2016 at 8:13 pm

      Though we are not many, I thank God for being part of them. The part about Alekwu is true only in some parts, because my side doesn’t believe in it

      • Adagboyihollymoses

        August 22, 2017 at 11:09 pm

        So where are you from ?

    • Abraham ijimbili

      October 7, 2018 at 5:50 pm

      It is a great privilege to be an idoma.

  2. Nwora Uzo

    December 11, 2015 at 6:58 am

    Idoma people will be better-off if the Idoma goes back into history and find-out who Idoma was, is and will ever be. Truth is bitter. Find your link in the East.

    • Solomon Moses ijamu

      March 4, 2018 at 5:35 pm

      You’re right. I believe the Idomas have eastern connection. There is a link between them and the igbos

    • Ehi

      July 28, 2018 at 10:34 am

      Can you share more of your knowledge about the connections to the East?

    • Jacinta

      April 18, 2019 at 6:50 am

      I am sorry we have nothing as such as attachment to the east I studied history as a matter of fact no link between both tribes

  3. Daniel

    March 24, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    I love Idoma people. Apa lga, a place i would love to visit again. God bless NYSC for posting me there. ANYA


      October 7, 2018 at 11:36 pm

      I love the IDOMA People and thier culture.

  4. Idoma Boy

    April 22, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    Too not mention Igala in talking about the Idoma is unfortunate.

    Idoma are closer to Igala than any other group. Only a small recent subset of Idoma have anything to do with Igbos. Idoma and their brothers the Igala migrated from the ancient land of Apa which was part of the Kwararafa Confederacy in what is now Nasarawa State Nigeria.

    • Alex

      May 17, 2017 at 9:43 pm

      Unfortunately, history isn’t taught in Nigeria since civil war. One history has it that Igala and Idoma are two brothers who migrated from Agureli (Anambra State) even the geographical proximity isn’t mere coincidence.I’m from Awkunaw(Awk)in Enugu State and these names are common between my people and great Idoma people viz;


      These are not mere coincidence, it’s indeed disheartening that History is not taught in Nigeria after the civil war.

      • Oyinusco

        April 20, 2018 at 2:59 am

        Brother there is nothing like that. Our origin is from the Kwararafa kingdom though the Idoma that live close to the Igbo do copy Igbo names a times but not related by origin.

      • Ela

        May 21, 2018 at 7:50 pm

        Alex you’re more correct than others. The Idoma people have more in common with Igalas and the Igbos. My paternal grandma was from Owukpa, which shares boundary with Obolo in Enugu state. Food habits, traditional worship, tongue and lifestyle is similar. It is only political influence from the north that’s wants them added to increase northern population. Idomas are from South Eastern Nigeria, NOT North. Idomas are NOT NORTHERNERS.

        • Williams

          September 5, 2018 at 9:32 am

          You are absolutely correct

          • Ojobo Sunday

            November 10, 2018 at 8:29 pm

            Am proudly idoma

    • Ilove idoma

      November 3, 2017 at 10:27 pm

      Yes the state apa must be created

  5. Abah Sunny Best

    May 24, 2016 at 8:25 am

    my people of idoma I am bodily proud my idoma ppl an I will always keep prouding idoma until de end time even in de grave I will still proud idoma , but I has a question to ask my ppl to day , my quetion is why is it that is only the first born of the family has a right to inherit his father’s property? while other children ar still there

  6. juliana nicholas

    July 16, 2016 at 9:41 am

    proudly idoma


    August 2, 2016 at 12:50 am

    There are dialects in Okpokwu like Edumoga which is d largest & widely spoken nevertheless others with Igala origin.So no such thing as southern,northern,central,western dialect.

  8. p.cleff oche

    August 11, 2016 at 11:26 am

    I Luv my tribe IDOMA proudly IDOMA abole .

  9. Jannyangel

    August 30, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    I’m proud to an African, am prod to be a Nigerian, am proud to be a benue Queen, am proud to an idoma I Luv all idomas cus they have love and there is peace in the land especially Otukpo

  10. friday adah

    September 24, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    idoma ola dam. How una dey? I am proud to be from idoma tribe. I also greet our brodas called d alagos of nasarawa state and the yala of cross-river state.

  11. austine ogwuche

    October 1, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    idomas are from no were but from igbo.I will soon publish my book on that…

    • ogwuche Victoria

      December 15, 2016 at 12:20 pm

      I cnt wait for the book. that’s what I also think. your surname says the same thing

    • Georgina ene ijachi

      March 11, 2017 at 9:29 pm

      Wow also writing presently about the idoma people,pls can you add me let’s rub minds together,

    • Cent anyebe

      July 5, 2018 at 6:45 am

      Don’t publish what you don’t know cause it’s punishable by law and custom of great IDOMA NATION

    • Gloria Uroko

      July 25, 2018 at 7:55 pm

      Please do you by chance have any proof on what you just said? cause I would like to know more…

  12. Goodluck

    October 5, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    My people,correct me if I made mistake..i had that ladies from Benue don’t depend on one man,please how true is this…

    • Onoja Beatrice

      January 30, 2018 at 4:55 pm

      Dats a fat line the idoma woman is hard working but must stick to only her husband once married failure to do so attracks the wrat of Alekwu

      • Licia

        August 13, 2018 at 12:06 am

        Pls I will like to know more

  13. blessing ekpeta

    October 18, 2016 at 10:48 am

    @ gudluck what do u mean? well am proud to come Frm Benue state, otukpo to be precise n I love my culture n tradition even though Christianity has made us to abandon some of our traditional believes. long live Benue n long live otukpo.

  14. oyafiafia 1 of Ublegi

    October 20, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    I am proud to be an Idomaman . But let us pray against cultural genocide which is eminent.

  15. ZARA AMY

    November 5, 2016 at 3:43 pm


    • ogwuche Victoria

      December 15, 2016 at 12:24 pm

      please I’m not comfortable with our culture of been buried I’m father’s house. even biblically once you are married you have a new family. let’s try and change this culture old.

  16. Ebowoicho

    November 26, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    Please why is it mandatory in idoma culture to submit life goats if your parent dies?? What are they using life goat for? And does it have anything to do with ancestral worship?

    • Juliet Uzosike

      August 30, 2018 at 1:00 am

      This same thing is done in IMO state where I come from, but its the first son that most kill the goat in honour of dead parent. I don’t know why.

    • Enenu

      March 5, 2019 at 2:18 pm

      Its just to fulfill the traditional right dat u have buried ur in law or relative…Its just a traditional demand..nothing more.

  17. samuel otokpa rapheal

    November 28, 2016 at 7:09 am

    we r going some where for sure and da sky is not our limit,we going higher


    December 22, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    Idoma people are one of the most important people in Nigeria their culture and traditions are the best Christianity has made some changes but still yet their are still some traditions and cultural behaviors that can’t be denied. PROUDLY IDOMA.

  19. Udeh Jemima.

    January 11, 2017 at 11:21 am

    Although every thing said about Idoma culture is true, l am still proud.

  20. Henry

    January 12, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    I am planning on getting married to a woman from otupka BT I have little or no about them.. Can some one plz help me out?

    • Victor Otukpa

      April 13, 2017 at 1:18 pm

      U gonna pay a pretty penny bro.

  21. godwin okoh

    January 25, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    yes of curse I love my state,am proud to be one of them, idoma are great people.

  22. Raymond Bamidele Adole.

    February 8, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    Am proud to be an IDOMA. Though am nt gud in speaking idoma cos am born nd breed up in lagos. I LOVE MY STATE nd am proud to be an IDOMA. God blessed BENUE STATE.

  23. Abraham Lemuel

    February 18, 2017 at 9:03 am

    God Bless the Idoma nation and bring back the lost glory of the Kwararafa kingdom to us. It is a great priviledge to be an FBI (Full Blooded Idoma). Let’s put our hands together and build an indestructible nation for God out of the Idomas.

  24. Itodo,John Ogwiji

    February 21, 2017 at 6:13 am

    Iam proud to be one of ldoma son from old Ochekwu District,now as Apa local Govt Area.
    NB: Idoma people are also in Aba,Abia state,;Anambra state,;Nsuka;Aro-Chukwu ,etc

  25. Onojah Emmanuel

    March 4, 2017 at 9:05 am

    all hail the beauty and uniqueness of the IDOMA race!

  26. okoko Acheme

    March 5, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    it a thing of joy and been proud to know your rout and can link to proper source of origin.Being proud to be an idoma is still an assignment to all of us who are to dig more particularly those who have embrace western and other cultures.can we take a cue from the Yoruba’s?how the cherish their own. pls let collaborate and promote our culture with all we have.thanks for all those who make this possible. long live idoma nation,long live Benue state,long live Nigeria.

  27. prince, Umele Oche

    March 9, 2017 at 10:24 am

    What a great history! I enjoy the whole write-up when going through it, in fact it’s a great history for all the idomas people to place in their inner mind’ in order to tell their generation to come, tell them how great are the idomas people from the beginning and till now; pls let us come together and make a lovely brotherhood which will grant us the chance to rule benue state as a governor for a better leadership in position: great my able people of idoma land, am proud to be an Idoma man! One love my people.

  28. Ocheme Walter

    April 27, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Proudly Idoma. Long live Idomas, long live Benue n long live Nigeria.


    May 8, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    FBI. Full Blooded Idoma

  30. Anthony

    May 25, 2017 at 8:36 am

    I love my tradition no matter what, idoma are the most peacefully people in Nigeria, but the ladies do betray us by living western life.

  31. Simon Ojilimakondu Clement

    June 3, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    We are formidable, honest n humble in everything. My Idoma, my heritage my Pride. Pls let support d creation of Biafra. I have been researching n still on it. We actually have links with Ibos, ijaws, ibibios isoko etc. I no what am saying.

  32. itodo mondaymatty

    June 22, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    God bless Idoma land

  33. Okpe victoria

    June 24, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    Idoma were i com ?long live we idoma pple !let us keep promoteing our culture nd tradation in our state, nd nt abusein the woman in the state .couse if we try 2 point finger at our woman wht do we expect the outsider 2 do ?pls my ppl let be one family am proud 2 be idoma babe

  34. ejeh sule

    July 7, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    the idoma are independent we only have ties with the igala people and no other even the igbos we the agatu are related to some idoma linked tribes in nassarawa #proudly idoma

  35. dokto 9iz

    July 9, 2017 at 11:02 am

    Just like vicky earlier said, i’m not in support of burying one’s wife in her father’s house after death. Can’t something be done about that? Anyway, am always proud to be from benue & from o.t precisely…Idoma, we are the best…1 luv to u all wherever u’r…

  36. Ikobulu Musa Oche

    July 14, 2017 at 11:47 am

    Idoma is the best tribe so far in this country.we produce useful people to Nigeria eg.David Mark, 2face Idibia,Dr.Paul Enenche Chris Morgan.and many others.am proud to be idoma

  37. Samuel Eunuch Ngbede

    July 22, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    I love the Idoma Nation. “God bless the Idoma Nation”

  38. prince

    July 31, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    please am thinking on marrying an Idoma lady but people say there ladies like men is it true,i know Idoma has a strong connection with Ibos cos Eri which is the great ancestor of Idoma migrated from Egypt and settled in a community calls APA in Anambra Eri bore menuri which gave birth to igala.iduh father of idomas is a linage from menuri.
    but what are the good characters of an Idoma lady

  39. Agada E. Blessing

    August 17, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    Well, if you take a critical look into it, idoma ladies don’t depend on men. They are very good and entertainy

  40. G-HONES'T

    August 19, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    proudly Tiv, but I love idoma.
    long live the Tiv nation
    long live the idoma nation
    log live Benue state

  41. oko okoto

    September 5, 2017 at 1:40 am

    Idoma, Igala, Igbanke, and others are Igbos. Our language, culture, and appearance are the same. Igbos also take the bodies of their daughter back to their fathers’ home to be buried. It came from the Hebrew culture which we now know is Hebo (hibo) culture. The civil war was the only time the ibos were involved in warfare. They are peace-loving and hard working. After the war, other Nigerians deny ties to Igbos for obvious reasons. Even some of their brothers in Delta State say they are any body but Igbos. Who can blame them? The good news is the Igbos know what went wrong and they are not holding it against any of their brother tribe or nation. Eventually, we all will wake up to acknowledge the truth.

  42. David Anyebe PETER

    September 25, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    The idoma people are hard working and industrious citizens of Nigerian. Its on record that they sacrifices alot for the unity of our great country, especially in the unfortunate Nigeria civil war in which the idomas are the 2nd largest ethnic groups that contribute(in terms of Human resources) immensely in the fighting for the UNITY of one NIGERIA.

  43. Dr clement esson

    November 17, 2017 at 7:17 am

    I want to know about the lifestyle of idomas ladies and know about burial ceremony of womens that marry to other tribe

  44. Friday Adaji

    November 24, 2017 at 8:49 am

    Idoma,Ibo and Igala are one and we all need to trace our origin to one umbrella that will be better for us. Right now Idomas are found in Eastern Nigeria, Cross River and also Nasarawa state. I want our elders to trace the origin pls GOD BLESS IDOMA PEOPLE

  45. Abah Blessing

    November 25, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    I am proudly an idoma bae. love my state

  46. Edache Robinson

    February 8, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    Proudly Idomite


    March 1, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    Am highly privileged to be am idomite.God bless all idomitess all over the world.we re favoured by God

  48. Idoma

    June 2, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    I’ve encountered many Idoma people with Igbo sounding names. There’s something called exapansionism. The Kwararafa empire simply expanded and ruled idoma people but there’s clearly a link between igbos, Igala and idoma just as we know there’s a link between Igbos in Anambra and Igala in Kogi.

  49. Licia

    August 13, 2018 at 12:04 am

    Pls I will like to know more about the alekwu,am about to marry and Idoma man thanks

    • Ojobo Sunday

      November 10, 2018 at 8:34 pm

      My brother is not something you will discuss here,pls travel to your own town and they Will Tell you More about it ok

    • Jacinta

      April 18, 2019 at 7:00 am

      Alekwu is an ancestral diet that still till date puts a check on issue of death ,adultery ,and theft
      So if you want to marry an Idoma man stay away from adultery don’t think of it cause if you think of it you will try it and as a wife in Idoma land if you try it the consequences is destructive.

  50. Malcolm Angelo Malik adaji

    August 13, 2018 at 10:14 am

    All I know is that the idoma people are unique people, they v got style n they are great In terms of stuffs like music! Modeling,n a whole lot,we are elegant,

  51. Abah-fada

    August 26, 2018 at 11:14 am

    Proudly Idoma,

    But my question is, what are the Idoma’s known for?

  52. Okoh Stephen Andrew

    March 24, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    All thanks to God for making Idoma a good and great people, all we are praying for is love, and unity.. up Idoma,. One love

  53. Ene

    March 29, 2019 at 8:21 am

    I’m an idoma lady in a relationship with an ibo guy but our culture of taking the girl’s body back 2 her father’s house when she dies scares him away. He said it’s not accepted in ibo land. Pls those of you with ibo spouse how did you sort it?

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