FACTS ABOUT THE IKWERRE PEOPLE

The Ikwerre people belong to one of the many ethnic groups in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. The people are related to the Igbo ethnic group. The people, along with the Ijaws and Kalabaris, make up the larger part of Rivers State, Nigeria. The people are found in four local government areas of the state, which are: Port Harcourt, Obio-Akpor, Ikwerre, and Emohua.

The total population of the people is about two million. As a result of oil wells (a total of 92) in the land, it, therefore, plays host to several multinational oil producing and servicing companies. Ikwerre land also has the state’s major universities as hosts. These include The University of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, the three campuses of the Rivers State College of Education and the Rivers State College of Arts and Science. The major language spoken in the land is Ikwerre and Igbo language.

CULTURE AND TRADITIONS

Traditional Marriage in Ikwerre is highly revered just like every other ethnic group in Nigeria. It involves the man going for a formal introduction called “Door Knocking.” This is done by the groom who takes a few elders of his family to the girl’s family for the introduction. Palm wine and dry gin (okamme) are brought as gifts by the man during the introduction.

The traditional marriage which follows is always elaborate and the traditional attires are elegant. Men adorn a loose-end wrapper on top of etibo (flowing shirt) with a hat to match. Hand staff/walking stick completes the men’s attire while the females adorn wrapper with some traditional top. Beads are an essential part of the females’ dressing. It is worn on the head, neck and wrists.

Festival wrestling is an important part of the people’s culture. During the wrestling competition, different types of drums are used, such as Ikwiriku, Ekwenkalu, Ngele, Mbamba, which are of different types, shapes and sizes. The aim of the wrestling competition is to throw down the opponent. Whoever does this wins. If they are unable to throw each other, they are said to have equalized (Ogba-oga).

Other cultural activities include the Eregbu cultural dance, Ekpo and Ekpe masquerades are also important features of their tradition.

The Ikwerres also have a lot of cuisines such as oha soup, okpotoro and okasi soup, vegetable soup, periwinkle soup and others. Periwinkles (Isam) are important parts of their dishes.

NOTABLE PEOPLE

There are many great Nigerians that belong to Ikwerre land. Notable among them are; Elechi Amadi (writer), Chibuike Amaechi (current minister for transport), Obi Wali (Rights activist), Tonto Dikeh (actress), Monalisa Chinda (actress), Duncan Mighty (musician), Nyesom Wike (current governor of Rivers State), Celestine Omehia (politician), and so on.

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