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Total population
Over 2 million
Regions with significant populations
Nigeria: Benue State, Cross-River State, Ogun State, Osun State
Christianity, Traditional Religion
Related ethnic groups
Idoma, Tiv, Etulo, Cross-River Languages

The Igede people are the third largest ethnic group in present-day Benue State of Nigeria.[1] They are native to the Oju and Obi local government areas of Nigeria, where 2006 population figures stand at an estimated 267,198 people.[2] However, a large number of Igede people are dispersed across the state and the Nation. For instance, the Igede language is also spoken in Nigeria's Cross River State, and a large number of Igede communities exist in Osun State and Ogun State.[3] The Igede language is a member of the Benue-Congo subgroup of the Niger-Congo language family. Igede.org is the unofficial online community of Igede people.

Geographical Location[edit]

The Oju Local Government Area was created in 1976 and shares boundaries with present-day Obi, Ado, Konshisha and Gwer East Local Government Areas of Benue State, Ebonyi and Izzi Local Government Areas of Ebonyi State, and Yala Local Government Area of Cross River State. It is headquartered in Oju Town.

The Obi local government area was created in 1996 and has its headquarters at Obarike-Ito. The local government area derives its name from the Obi stream that flows in the area and shares boundary with Ado, Otukpo and Oju local government areas of Benue State.

Ekiti State: Igede.


Origin: Oral Tradition[edit]

The Igede trace their origin to Sabon Gida Ora in present-day Edo state. They are said to be the descendants of Agba, a high chief in Sabon Gida Ora. A skirmish between the Igede and the natives of Ora led to their migration from that region to present-day Benue state through Nsukka in Enugu state. This historical event in Igede history is commonly recounted in song and drama, for instance the record and drama piece "Ego ny'Igede".[4]

Origin: Archival Records[edit]

Archival records portray them as migrants from Ogoja province who have increasingly adopted the culture and practices of the Idoma.[5]

Administration and Politics[edit]

Politically, the Igede fall under the Benue South senatorial district.[6]

Igede Culture[edit]

The Igede are predominantly farmers cultivating maize, cassava, groundnut and yams. Igede is home of the popular Igede-Agba festival, a colourful annual celebration that marks the yam harvest season in September.[7] Much importance is attached to yam in Igede nation and Nigeria and many other parts of the world, not only because it is the first crop to be harvested, but also the most important and palatable crop. The crop can be eaten in different forms – roasted, boiled, pounded, floured, fried, etc. The crop has been cultivated since 50,000 B.C in Africa and Asia. It is one of the most consumed foods in the world and it constitutes staple food in South America, Africa, West Indies and Pacific Islands, implying that it can be produced for export. Nigeria is already recognized as the largest producer of yam, providing approximately 70% of the world’s total yams. The New Yam Festival is therefore a celebration depicting the prominence of yam in the social-cultural life of the Igede people and all Agba Descendants such as the Obudu and Bekwara people. The emphasis being placed on yam by the Agba sons is not out of place as research has shown that yam has a lot of health and economic benefits. Yam, according to scholars, provides 200 calories of energy per capita daily. The demand for yam in Nigeria is higher than the supply of the crop because it occupies a very prestigious social and religious status in the country and so can be regarded as the "KING OF ALL CROPS" – it is not only celebrated in Nigeria but also in other parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America. More so, each 10 grams of yam contains 118 calories – complex carbohydrates and soluble fiber. It is an excellent source of vitamin B complex (B6, B1 riboflavin, folic acid and niacin). It also contains antioxidants and vitamin C, providing about 20% of the required vitamin C in the body per 100 grams. Other benefits of yam include supporting women’s endocrine system, aiding digestion, improving Bowel Habit, improving cognitive ability and it is cancer deterrent. Besides, the Igede Agba Festival serves as the most important day to a typical Igede man and Agba Descendants as it is the only celebration that creates a sense of nationalism in the descendants of Agba. It is the best platform through which families show love, sense of belonging, unity, communalism and harmonious living. No traditional ceremony among the Agba sons and daughters occupies a more prominent position than the Igede Agba – it is not intended at appeasing any deity (such as “Apang”), but meant to celebrate hard work, dignity of labour and magnanimity as well as elicit resilient spirit which spur farmers to putting in more effort in the next planting season. Igede traditional clothes are blue, black, and white stripes.

Igede Notable People[edit]

  • Dr. Stephen Ijaha, The pioneer rector of Delta State Polytechnic, Otefe-Oghara
  • Joel I. Iji, Ace Broadcaster with Radio Benue (Now retired).
  • Prof. (Chief) John E. Enyi, Lecturer BSU, astute public Administrator and Rural Development guru.


  1. ^ "Igede.org". Igede.org. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
  2. ^ "Brief History". Igede.org. 2010-11-10. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
  3. ^ Olatokun, Wole; Ayanbode, O.F. (April 2009). "Use of indigenous knowledge by women in a Nigerian rural community". Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge. 8 (2): 287–295. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
  4. ^ David Agogo (2011-09-02), Ego nyi Igede, retrieved 2016-05-27
  5. ^ Ugbem, Confort E. (2013). "The Social Relations of Identity Construction and Reconstruction among Ethnic Groups in Benue State, Nigeria". IFRA e-papers. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
  6. ^ "Benue Guber & The Dynamics Of Zone C Politics". benue.com.ng. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
  7. ^ Ebhota, Eseohe (2014-03-02). "Intriguing traditional wedding rites of the Igede people". Daily Trust. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
  8. ^ "Nigeria: The Sack of Prof Ode Ojowu". allafrica.com. Daily Trust. 2005-11-28. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
  9. ^ a b Odeh, Onche (2014-11-01). "Every radio station in Lagos refused to hire me –BBC's Okwoche - Life, Slider". Archived from the original on 2014-11-02. Retrieved 2016-05-27.