Iyala people @ I am Benue 2018

We Are Idomas And Not Cross Riverians; Yala People

Culture, Stories 8/04/2018 by Anwo Iordepuun Godfrey

Have you ever wished you were an indigene of another state other than Benue?

It must have been because of a very strong reason then, well may be because of this one that has prompted the Yala people of Cross River State to refer to Benue State as their home.

The Yala people of Cross River State are believed to be a subgroup of the Idoma nation, but how true is this?

According to traditional history, Iduh, the father of the Idoma had several children who each established different areas. Hence the expression: “Iduh the father of Idoma”. Iduh who begot the whole Idoma had the following children: Ananawoogeno who begot the children of Igumale; Olinaogwu who begot the people of Ugboju; Idum who begot the people of Adoka; Agabi who begot the people of Otukpo; Eje who begot the people of Oglewu; Ebeibi who begot the people of Umogidi and Odeh who begot the people of Yala. While there may be some truth to the above, the Idoma cannot be said to have a unitary origin. Many Idoma groups and village subsets have their own histories complete with stories about how their people arrived at their current location.

So, it might be that the Yala people wandered too far from home, landing at the present location. One thing that baffles me is the ease with which one who is grounded in idoma language can understand Yala language. In my interaction with a Yala man recently when I visited Ugaga (a district in Yala Local Government Area) for a traditional marriage ceremony, he confidently told me they will one day return home.

The big question however is that will they live the high recognition they now have in Cross River State in pursuit of a home history told them is theirs?


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38 thoughts on “We Are Idomas And Not Cross Riverians; Yala People

  1. Abraham Idagu

    we feel at home here in cross river and we have bury much here the truth is that we are feeling at home here no going back…. We Love Idoma as our Grand father and our origin…. We are one….

    @Yala Boy


    when child grow he wil live his father We yala we all no that our foundation is idoma but no going back we are forword.

    • Obande David

      If they create apa state yala we be together with idoma, they will cut the Land from river state to apa state nobody will lose anything from that place

  3. Joseph Abah

    It is very simple, but it will take the grace of God to achieve this presently in Nigeria current political circle.

    The creation of Apa state for the Idoma is the way out to unite with our Yala brothers and sisters in Cross River state.

    Personally I understand Yala language as an Idoma man from Benue State.

  4. Ogar Godwin Ohiero

    If i May ask, where did Benue/Cross River State originated from? Well as for me idoma as the first son, own a place in Benue State and are the second most populated people in the state. Likewise yala as the second son own a place in Cross River State and are the second most populated people in the state. Above all yala found them selves in the reach region (salt/oil deposit). going back into the hands of Fulani headsmen is not the best. we feel at home. Idoma we love you ??

  5. Owokonu Mike

    Idoma is our home weather we all agree or not we’re idoma and idoma is our home

  6. Mike Audu

    Thanks to my Brothers/sisters in cross river, I feel you all, nice comments, our ROOT no go lost. we are one family living separately. If u want to know that same blood runs in us, let idoma man meet yala man outside their various state, they ll be their own brother/sist. May God give us d strength to grow n dominate for better unification n takeover of leadership. Help us God.

  7. Joe Abah ( Abuja )

    What beats my imagination most in Iyala local area is the Igede people and their strong connections to their kin in Benue State. I watch on youtube where the Igede people of both Cross River State and Benue State came together to trace their origine to Sabon Gi dan Ora in present day Edo state.

    I think, the Idoma and Yala can can connect very well in that regards too, but our traditional chief the Ochi Idoma should take a bold step and visit the Yala traditional chief and people in Cross River State as a brotherly visitation for good relationship between brothers.

    While the Iyala enjoy their present environment in Cross River State, the Idoma in the other hands should continue to demand for state creation to unite us all. The idea of the Yala leaving their land is absud, but the idea for them to unite to create a state that will cover both the present Idoma land and Yala land is the key.

    Only God can make that happen through unity, understanding, and dialogue of the Idoma and Yala people of Benue State and Cross River State respectively.

    Please i will like to know if the Red and Black Idoma attire is the same as the Yala people too. The attire will unite us even more just like someone from Yala (Mr. Odey Fedelis Ushie) said in one another article.

    • Ushie odey F.

      Thank you more by brother…
      You have said it all,well said.
      The traditional attire is the best connection.
      Since our brothers and sisters in the music industries are showcasing it all to.the world I believe this should be our normal connection root.
      This should first of us start with senator Abba Moro and Dr. Steve Adi odey, both of benue and cross river state.
      We should have a national language program at benue state college of education,the polytechnic, benue state University n so on.
      We should have one central n general Idoma language,at certificate, diploma and degree levels just like every other major tribe dose today.
      This will bring a strong unity’s and the current Nigerian system will no idoma is a language of recognition.
      First of all my brother.
      I am happy we have two illustrious sons in the senate house..
      That is where we should begin from.
      We should have idomas forum idoma.nokwu idoma,Ette and the yala forum we one language the central idoma will be recognized and used as our national language to all idoma race in Nigeria.
      Thanks and God bless you my brother.
      Ode f.ushie


    Thanks everyone. I know God will surely answer our secret and open prayer. [yala boy]

  9. Odoga John Oluohu

    Unity is a thing of Joy. It is true Yala and Idoma people are one but as the case the implies, reunion is possible not by moving from Yala land to Idoma land or by moving from Idoma land to Yala land but practice of Culture. The Idoma people posses and practice more of the original Yala Culture.

  10. Boniface odeh agbo

    I am Very impressed stumbling on this piece of write up. I am from Akpa in otukpo local government of Benue state, the said iyache speak like Akpa people language, I wish to visit iyala to hear them speak, I love them so much…

    • Joe Abah ( Abuja )

      So, i also heard that, the Ufia people of Ado LGA of Benue State speak same language with the Kukelle people of Iyala LGA Area of Cross River state.

      Also, The Akpa people of Otukpo LGA Area of Benue State, speak same language with the Yatche people of Iyala LGA of Cross River state.

      There are Igede people in Iyala LGA Area of Cross River state.

      While the Iyala themselves are idoma people in Iyala LGA of Cross River state.

      How did God made this possible is still a surprise to me.

      Please how many language do the have in Iyala LGA Area of Cross River state ?

      Also, is it all the language in Iyala LGA Area of Cross River state that are also in Benue State?

  11. Paul Edache

    This is wonderful, am amazed seeing the body of work and your comments. Am happy to know that Yala people are my brothers and sisters: no doubt there’s a proven evidence. What is left now is how to cultivate and maintain a synergy. Am Idoma boy from Otukpo LGA Ogobia Ugboju, I love my people and always want to marry an Idoma girl, thinking it may not be possible since am away from home not only God brought a Yala girl to my way and now am so happy. God bless Idoma nation.

    • Abah-fada

      Am happy for you, to have married from our tribe Idoma, because both Yala and Idoma are one people.

    • Agadex

      But our ochi-Idoma is aware of this ? If so then he should constantly invite there king ,? and the entire yala brother’s and sister’s to our meeting time to time both home, Lagos, Abuja and abroad so that they can return home , Long live to Agada family, Long live to Idoma land to Yala brothers and sisters


    I am very happy for this platform of educating me I pray, through which strengthen people for unity will never let us depart but mainten the unity till infinity. am a native of yache in yala LGA thank you all am the happiest person now. Pls issue of the certificate I pray God will let use have it in Jesus name amen.

    • Amuche

      Please find time bro, and visit the Akpa people in Otukpo LGA in Benue State and you will see that both Yache people (of Cross River State) and Akpa people (of Benue State) are closely related in language and will understand each other.

      The Igede people of (Cross River State) and the Igede people (of Benue State) are closely related.

      And the same applies to the the Kukelle (of Cross River State) and the Ufia (of Benue State) are closely related.

      The Yala people (of Cross River State) and the Idoma people (of Benue State) are closely related and understand each other.

      And we are all one as the “Idoma nation – Idomoid” an umbrella that cover us all.

      I love my Yala, Yache, Akpa, Kukelle, Igede, Ufia and Idoma nation.

      And funny enough, Yala LGA is the perfect description of Benue State South, because it houses all the tribes found in Benue State South and vice-versa.

      Dear God we need a State for the Idomoid people.

      God bless the Idoma nation.

      • Bikelle

        Oh dear Amuche I love you back and the yala families.
        I am from ukelle And only now have I learnt that we have relatives or ancestors from benue.
        I will like to marry from ukelle but I have always known that any yala girl is the same thing as what I wanted.
        Because of the oneness mentality.
        if we should have a general king it great but I understand since the time of monarchy is no more .
        let democracy realise us that which is good.

        • Amuche

          Thank you Bikelle for reciprocating the love back.
          Oh that sounds great if you can marry any of our sisters either Ukelle (Ufia) in Benue or in Yala or an Iyala lady in Yala.

          On the issue of king, over here in Benue State South, we have one general King that unites the Idoma, Igede, Ufia-ukelle) and Yatche-Akpa people, and the king is addressed as the Och’idoma, and he is greeted Agabaidu.

          The good thing about the throne is that, all the tribes that make up the Idoma nation can ascend the throne as Och’idoma.

          It rotate round the 9 local government in Benue State South, and the Idoma, Igede, Ukelle have all produce the Och’idoma. Only the Akpa people that is yet to produce the Och’idoma because it has not reach their turn yet.

          All we need is a state to unite us all.

    • MAGRET

      I don’t know why but I always claim idoma anywhere even on my documents I used Benue as my state.

  13. Enechen bathelomew

    I like iyala people we are brothers and sisters….. that’s why I chose to be wife to be from there

  14. Ojili Son Ojili

    One luv 💕💕 long live Idoma nation, sky is our limit, Apa state remain our focus

  15. Agadex

    We don’t really need a state before welcome our brothers and sisters to there original home All we need to do is to invite them to our meeting both home and Abroad and I,m going to invite those in Lagos to meet with us in Eko Hotel where Idoma with high profile met at the end of the year for forther enquiry just follow me at Instagram….. Agadex.,….

  16. IdomaHistorian

    Idoma predates the creation of any modern states in Nigeria. We are bigger than Benue state. We already accept our brothers in Cross River and understand them easily. We have names for the as long as I can remember.
    There are Idoma kindred groups in In Nasarawa state (Eloyi people). It is very easy to understand central Idoma with some practice. The Alago and Agatu of Nasarawa State are also Idoma dialects. Historically they spoke an Idoma pigdin understood by call.

    Idoma goes further. there are towns in Enugu state that has dialects that are nothing like Igbo buy share the same greetings as the Agila people of southern Benue and knowns. It is just that the younger one’s are not being taught their grandparents dialects anymore. There is even a random Village in Northern Edo state that speak a dialect Idomas will understand. Recently my uncle in Adamawa discovered Agatu fishermen and their villages allong the river. There is a lot more that needs to be studies about Idoma.

  17. Skydon Decoded

    Am musically talented and also a dancer from agatu,benue state.A full fans of meddy olotu.I truly love Idomas wherever I am but now added yala as my blood,I thank God to know this today

  18. Basil O

    This discovery is a welcome development :)

  19. Bikelle

    Oh dear Amuche we love you back and the yala families.
    I am from ukelle, and only today have I learnt that we have relatives or ancestors in benue
    I Will like to marry from ukelle but I have always known that any yala girl is the same thing as what i have wanted.
    if we should have a general king it great but I understand since monarchy is no more.
    let domocracy realize us that which is good for the extended family.


    ”Please i will like to know if the Red and Black Idoma attire is the same as the Yala people too.”

    For those who may not know, yala people migrated from ADOKA in OTUKPO LGA, BENUE STATE.

    Our parents told us the story in early 70s how Odeh, a professional hunter, from Adoka, who founded yala, settled and never came back whem he discovered salt.
    ”OKPOMA” is a popular place in yala and it means ”river of salt” in idoma.

    Idoma is fully integrated to the whole world with cultural identity. Idoma ”logo” is know worldwide. Yala is Idoma in diaspora is nolonger a news, it was settled long ago.

    The question now is how to integrate yala fully into cultral and traditinal wise.

    • James Oche

      So wonderful, I don’t know how I could feel right now. Nice to meet my brothers and sisters. There is nothing impossible to God we will surely come together one day. I’m very proud of my people nobody like us, I wish Iyala girl to come into my way I could more excited. I send love to everyone God bless us. Urs brother from ADOKA OTUKPO



  22. Amuche

    Please this article should reach the Och’idoma, Agabaidu. There’s a great need for cultural and historical connection with our Yala brothers in Cross River State.

    The Och’idoma also need to extend such kind gesture with our Alago (Idoma Nokwu) brothers in Nasarawa State.

    Our unity means our majority.

  23. Akobi Barnabas

    This great, it has enlighted we the younger ones that are in diaspora and know little about our culture. More of this.

  24. Agada Adayi

    Idoma means salt fetchers, and Okpoma which is the headquarter of Yala, means salt parkers, the idoma people are wonderer, and adventurers, and because of their hunting skills brought them to discovery of salt water. The idoma people speak the language called Iyala and the common practices between the Ode_idoma and Agaba_idu always make this claims of saying Yala warleh and Yala achie and both agreed to that position. However the Yala speaking people of idoma origin are found in more than five state in Nigeria with their accesstororal origin of the benue River, these states are Benue which has the headquarter as Otukpo, and Nassarawa, Northern Cross River, and Taraba with scattered settlement and Enugu. The Yala people ot cross river state has 7 political wards and member of yala in inkom and obubura. Yala local govt shares bandery with two states benue from the north and ebony to the south which gives it the only local govt area who shares burders with two states of federation.

    • Abah _J

      We need a union (Yala, Idoma, Alago, Ette) to build a stronger tie and promote the Idoma nation our interests.


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