A brief walk into the lives of Ika tribe

The Ika people, often confused as Igbo, are native to Delta and Edo states of Southern Nigeria.

Ika tribe: A brief walk into the lives of this ethnic group

Often confused with Igbos because of the language similarities, the Ika people are one of the tribes in the Delta and Edo states.

The Ika tribe is not Igbo or Benin, but shares similarities with them. For instance, the Ika language is very similar to Igbo, as even their names bear the same semblance. Ika people also share so much in terms of culture and lifestyle with the Benin people as most of the Ika communities were discovered by Benin Prince’s and chiefs.

The Ika people do not trace their ancestry to common origin. The various clans that make up Ika have many origins. Similarities of the language with Igbo suggests there might be Igbo connections but oral accounts and cultures as well as ancient ika name suggests bini origin. Ika historians have argued that changes in language can occur due to large migrations or trade or due to other factors.

To distinguish the Ika people from other ethnic groups in Delta region would be difficult as they do not have any shared physical characteristics or features. The exact population of Ika people and speakers is unknown.

Geographically, the Ika speaking people are found in the north west of Delta State, mainly occupying the Ika South and Ika North Local government areas of Delta. They share borders linguistically in the west with the Edo speakers, in the north with the Ishan speakers, in the East with the Aniocha language speakers and in the south with the Ukwuani speakers.

Ika communities can also be found in parts of Edo state such as Igbanke, Inyelen, Owanikeke, Ute Obagie, Owa-Riuzo Idu, Igbogili. Iru and Ekpon. In Delta, they can be found in Agbor, Owa, Umunede, Owerre Olubor, Ekuoma, Emuhu, Mbiri, Abavo, Orogodo, Otolokpo, Igbodo, Ute-Okpu, Ute-Ogbeje, Idumuesah and Akumazi.

According to Kay Williamson in his 1968 paper, An Introduction to Ị̀ka and Ụkwụanị̀, the dialect of Ika people is Igboid group, taking influences from Igbo and Bini.

The Ika (of Delta state) boast of being the home to the sweetest African Palmwine. The people of Ika tribe are majorly Farmers and the wealthiest engage in Palm kernel business with red oil extraction or other forms such as palm wine tapping.

They are predominantly Christians.

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