The Idoma people are the second largest ethnic group in Benue State and occupy 9 local government areas in western Benue State. These are Ado, Agatu, Apa, Obi, Ohimini, Ogbadibo, Oju, Okpokwu & Otukpo local government areas. Though there are other Idoma groups in parts of Nassarawa and Cross Rivers States, the main focus of this website is on the Idoma people of Benue State.
The majority of the people of Idoma Land speak Idoma language with different dialets. These dialets are Western Idoma (Okpokwu & Ogbadibo), Central Idoma (Otukpo & Ohimini), Southern Idoma (Ado) and Northern Idoma (Agatu & Apa). Others languages spoken in Idoma Land include Igede (Obi & Oju), Akweya (Akpa in Otukpo) and Ufia (Utonkon in Ado). The people of Idoma Land are predominantly farmers who grow crops like yam, cassava, corn, rice, soya beans and palm fruits.
The Idoma colours and red and black; with red signifying royalty and the black is strength.
The leader of Idoma people is the Och'Idoma and he is resident in the Och'Idoma Palace in Otukpo. The current traditional ruler is HRH, Elias Ikoyi Obekpa, Och'Idoma IV. Past Och'Idomas are HRH, Agabaidu Edwin Ogbu - Och' Idoma III, HRH, Agabaidu Ajene Okpabi - Och' Idoma II, & HRH Agabaidu Ogiri Oko - Och' Idoma I.
There are many divergent views as to the origin of Idoma people but most historians agree that Idoma people migrated from Apa in Kwararafa Kingdom after her disintegration. It is believed that Idoma people settled in present day Tiv Land before majority of Idoma people were pushed to their present day location while others found their way to present day Nassarawa and Cross Rivers States.
Food is a big part of life in Idoma land and just as it is all over Nigeria, rice is the main staple food. There are rice farms dotted around Idoma land with milling carried out in the Otukpo Rice Mill, which has been in existence since the 1960s. Popular types of rice dishes in Idoma land include rice & stew (with beans), jollof rice and rice fufu (mashed rice).
Another dish, which is widely touted as Idoma soup is okoho (óhor okoho or ólor okoho), a meat rich slimy soup that is usually served with fufu (pounded yam, amala or eba) and can be found at special events such as weddings and funerals. While very popular, okoho is like marmite, you either love it or hate it and is predominantly eaten in Central Idoma and it is believed to be least popular in Western Idoma.
Idoma alphabets are:
a b gb d e ē f g h i j k l m n ng o õ p kp r s t u w y ch gw kw nw ny mn
For more detailed information about the history of Idoma people, please check the books section of our website for relevant titles.
- It is considered very rude to ask a guest if they will eat food. One is expected to present the food and it is only then the guest will advise the host if he or she wants to eat or not