One of the
best known facts about the south-eastern state of Enugu is that it is the
homeland of one of Nigeria’s largest and most influential ethnic groups, the
Igbo. This is true, in all sense of the word and this essay is not out to
challenge that. However, the sheer popularity of this single fact and the
emphasis persistently laid on it has drowned a not-lesser fact that the
geographical space known as Enugu State has been and is still the homeland  of smaller ethnic groups other than the Igbo
Below we
take a look at the ethnic groups in Enugu State, their history, languages, and
general way of life.

1. Igbo

The Igbo of
Enugu State consist of formerly independent towns and people groups such as the
Nike, Nsukka, Enugwu Ezike and Ngwo who have different history, near-different
ways of life, and speak different dialects of the Igbo language.
They make
up about 96 percent of the indigenuous population of Enugu State, occupying the
entirety of all the 17 local government areas of the state but three, Igbo Eze
North, Udenu and Isi Uzo which have significant indigenous population of other
Owing to
the fact that most of the towns that form the Igbo homeland of Enugu State were
largely independent before the colonisation and eventual creation of the
country known as Nigeria, the Igbo people of Enugu State have largely distinct
history. While the Nike people of Enugu East local government area trace their
origin to Igala land in present day Kogi State, and Obollo people of Udenu
local goverment area trace their origin to Izzi land in present day Ebonyi
State, the Onyohor people of Igbo Etiti claim to be direct descendants of the
creator himself,  with their land being
the ancestral home land of the entire Igbo race.
The Igbo of
Enugu State are most famous for their humility and easy-going lifestyle. They
are majorly Christians, but ethnic religious practices remain very influential
among them.
The Igbo of
Enugu State make their living from trading and subsistence farming, but have
recently become very visible in all spheres of human endeavour: in Tech,
education, finance, medicine, engineering , entertainment, and the government.
The Igbo of
Enugu State make a significant percentage of the population of Nigerians in the
diaspora. They are everywhere in the world, in countries such as Malaysia,
South Africa, the United States, People Republic of China, and the United Arab
population of Igbo of Enugu State run into millions.

2. Idoma

The Idoma
people of Enugu State, also referred to as the Ekpoto by their Igbo neighbours are
found in Etteh community in Igbo Eze North local government area of Enugu
State, and also in border villages in Udenu and Isi Uzo local government areas.
While those
in Igbo Eze North local government area speak a distinct dialect of the Idoma
language, those in border villages in Isi Uzo and Udenu local government areas speak
the Idoma Central dialect, which is the variant of the Idoma language spoken in
towns and villages in Ado and Okpokwu local government areas of Benue State.
The Idoma of Enugu State also speak the Igbo language as a secondary language
owing to the domineering influence of the culture and traditions of nearby Igbo
The Idoma
people in Igbo Eze North are said to have migrated to their present location as
merchants and medicine men to take part in the flourishing trade between the
Igbo and the Igala over hundred years ago.
There are around
5,000 Idoma in Enugu State, majority of whom have held on to their traditional
religious practices.

3. Igala

The Igala
people of Enugu State are found in villages bordering Olamaboro local
government area of Kogi State, in the same Etteh community as the Idoma, in
Igbo Eze North local government area.
history of the Igala people of Enugu State has been very turbulent one, mired
by their persistent agitation to join — or rather rejoin, their kiths and kins
in Kogi State.
This attempt
by the Igala of Enugu State to pull the whole Etteh community, which they share
with the Idoma, to Kogi State has led to violent clashes with the majority Idoma
population who have never hidden their desire to remain in Enugu State.
atmoshere of strife has endured for years now, resulting in political killings,
burning of properties, and even the expulsion of the Igbo — who allegedly took
side in the disagreement, from local markets. The enduring malaise have also
starved the community of development projects 
such as roads, schools, and hospitals.
There are
about a thousand Igala in Enugu State.

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