The Unique Benue ‘Black And Red’ Idoma Colours

Culture, Stories 18/11/2016 by Ochanya Cynthia Okwoli

Idoma people are found in the Southern part of Benue State with a population of about 2.5 million. The Idoma region is made up of Seven local government areas which include:

Agatu local government,

Apa local government,

Ohimini local government,

Otukpo local government,

Okpokwu local government,

Ogbadibo local government, and

Ado local government.

The Idoma people are the second largest ethnic group in Benue State though, there are other Idoma groups in parts of Nassarawa and Cross-River States.

The Idoma people are a homogenous ethnic group with dialectical differences indicated by some distinct speech form of people in Otukpo, Adoka and Ugboju; Edumoga in contrast to Agila, Otukpa, Orokam, Agatu among others. Even with the difference in dialectical speech, the Idoma people maintain one particular traditional attire, which indicates the language’s unity.

​The Idoma people are well known with the “red and black” colours which represent their traditional cultural attire.

  • How many of us know the name this attire is called?
  • How many of us know what the red and black stand for?

The Idoma traditional attire is popularly called, “Apa” by many parts of Idoma land, and “Edema” by the Edumoga people. The “black” colour on the Idoma attire signifies the “earth and burial shroud,” while the “red” colour signifies “royalty or red feather.”

The red feather is often fixed on the head of the traditional leader.

​The Idoma attire is worn during burial ceremonies, weddings, festive periods and local meetings. This attire can be complemented with beads, horse tails, caps, shoes and so on.

“Opa” is also an Idoma traditional attire worn during burials. This “Opa” is mostly worn by chiefs and those who are buried. The “black” signifies mourning and the “red” signifies “Alekwu,” which means, the dead must be respected.

​The Idoma attire is well respected and it is a significant symbol in local meetings. It is important for every member of these local meetings must wear either a muffler, cap (for the men), or head gear (for the women), failure to appear in the regalia attracts fines or sometimes penalization.

The Idoma attire is also a fashionable item and can be worn at any time of the day to any occasion of choice.

​Idoma attire can be sewn in different forms: it can be sewn into wrappers, gowns, skirts and blouses, Kaftan, caps, mufflers. It can also be used as decorations during any festivities.

The Idoma people will always be known for their uniqueness with their cultural colours, “Black and Red.”

Source:

  1. Idoma Home (Ipole k’ Idoma),
  2. IPN News, and
  3. Professor A.A. Okwoli.

20 thoughts on “The Unique Benue ‘Black And Red’ Idoma Colours

  1. Thaddeus Ebute

    Please note this correction:
    ALEKWU means “spirit” and could refer to “ancestral spirit” and not “that the spirit must be respected “as you put it.
    Nice information anyway, please keep it up it’s very enlightening. Well done.

    Reply
    • Kakra

      Thank you so much for the correction, you have impacted.

      Reply
  2. Temj

    Please where can I get the benue people traditional attire for my boys

    Reply
  3. KAKRA

    You can get them in Makurdi or Otukpo. Makurdi, just before the bridge. They are displayed on the roads

    Reply
  4. E Nseyo

    Good morning. Please where can I buy these attires online? Traveling to Makurdietc can take a while. Please reply also through email. Thanks
    Nse 7th February 2018

    Reply
    • Kakra

      At makurdi just before the river benue river, they are displayed on the road

      Reply
    • Beata Alheri-Audu

      Have you been able to get them?

      Reply
  5. Tosin

    Please what Benue people call their wrapper, blouse and gale in their language.

    Reply
    • Regina

      Wrapper = Ohiri or Ohili
      Blouse 👚— Uwea
      Gale— Adiko or Ordogbeyi

      Reply
  6. Morning Star

    Can someone please list 5 religious symbols in Idoma land and write short notes on them

    Reply
    • Kakra

      This is also a good topic, we will see to it

      Reply
  7. Elizabeth

    Please how many attire do i ve to change on my traditional wedding day.am an idoma girl but never attended any idoma wedding

    Reply
    • Kakra

      Idoma attire and any other two. You can decide to make ur idoma attire unique

      Reply
  8. Evans King Obande

    Please why is Igumale excluded from those names whereas it’s the Ado Local Government Headquarters?

    Reply
  9. Chris Ewaoche

    What is the idoma name of the bead, cap, horse tail and walking stick.

    Reply
  10. godwin gina

    A very good platform. please keep the good work.

    Reply
  11. OGWUCHE EZEKIEL

    ala ainya ai-idoma we are coming out.

    Reply
  12. David Ameh

    My people “ala ainya”, God will reward all the brians behinde this innovation. I want to enquire where to get “Apa” in Lagos.

    Reply
  13. Miriam Bakare

    Please Where Can I Get The Benue Red And Black Colour? I’m In Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

    Reply
  14. Paulina

    Thank you very much professor

    Reply

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