The ancient Igede people were very simple in their manners, and habits. They lived on hills and in valleys and forest which were either round or oblong in shapes in small compound called family (ugbiyegu). They also lived in forests, on hills or in valleys for protection from attacks. The area occupied by the Igede people of Oju and Obi situated in the Middle Belt Region of Nigeria.
On the basis of the Global Positioning System (GPS), Oju lies between latitude 6.860 North and longitude 8.380 East; and Obi lies between 8.220N and 8.460E with Nigerian postal codes: Igede Central-971106, Uwokwu District-971107, and Ito District-971108 respectively. The area has an average annual temperature of 270C (870F) with the Time Zone of WAT (UTC + 1). The area is 1, 283km2 with a density of 131.3inh./km2. The map showing the location of Igedeland on the Nigerian map, and map of Obi and Oju local government areas are shown below:
The Igede people of Benue State share a common boundary with Gwer and Otukpo local government areas in the North, Ado and Okpokwu local government areas in the West, Ebonyi and Cross River States in the South and Vandeikya local government area in the East. The main topographical features of the area, according to Okpaga (2003), is a long range of highland transversing the southern part with peaks at Uwokwu and Andibilla and a gap at Ameka-Owo, where the laterite Federal Otukpo-Oju-Yahe road passes.
Also Read: Oju/Obi State Constituencies and Council Wards
The rest of the territory is undulating and flat in some areas particularly in Ito. There are a few large rivers and streams such as River Onwu (Itira), River Ugbudu (Ameka Owo), River Ugbogo (Ikachi-Ukpa), River Ogwogodo (Uwokwu), River Ororu (Ainu), River Oyongo (Idelle), River Obi in Obi LGA, River Igari (Adum-ito), River Okpiino (Ikponyire), River Obwa (Igwe-Ito), River Orohu (Ogore), River Ichari (Okwuntungbe) among others which flow into rivers in Cross Rivers State.
These rivers and streams serve economically as a fishing ground for some Igede people as well as domestic consumption. The vegetation of the place is a mixture of semi-high forests and grasslands with orchard bush. The nature of the climate, vegetation and soil allow the production of northern arable crops.
Oju has a population of 168, 491 and Obi has 98, 707 according to 2006 census (National Population Commission of Nigeria). It should be stressed that the population figure is in the law court as a protest against undercount. The case which was handled by Barr. Adenyuma was ruled in favour of the Igede people. The aforementioned figures do not include the population of Igede people in other parts of Benue and Cross River States. Ethnic groups such as the Izzis and Ezzas of the northeastern (Abakaliki) Ibo origin are also found in Igede territory.
Source: Igede Traditional Custom and Paradox of Modernism by Comr Egbodo Benson Akpegi
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