Culture, Traditions, History And Origin Of Benue

Nuelson Penuel Thursday, February 15, 2024 Basis



Benue State, which lies between latitudes 6°N and 9°N and longitudes 7°E and 10°E islocated in the middle belt region of Nigeria, is renowned for its fascinating history, vibrant culture, and stunning landmarks. In this blog post, we will take a deep dive into the origin and history of Benue State, its customs and traditions, the diverse languages spoken, its geographical location, latitude and longitude, and the notable landmarks that make this state a treasure trove of beauty and significance.

History and Origin:

Benue State, along with several other Nigerian states, was created following a major administrative reform in 1976. On the 3rd of February, precisely 45 years ago, the then Head of State, General Murtala Ramat Mohammed, announced the establishment of the new state. Named after the Benue River which meanders through the region, this state was carved out of the former Benue-Plateau State and initially consisted of 13 local government areas.

Pre-Colonial Era:

The history of Benue State extends far beyond its colonial foundation. Archaeological findings reveal that the region is home to an ancient civilization known as the Tiv people, who have inhabited the area for thousands of years. This advanced society, renowned for its agricultural prowess, developed intricate social structures and agricultural techniques that have significantly influenced the state's identity as the "Food Basket of the Nation."

Colonial Era:

During the colonial era, the British Empire gradually extended its control over the region, integrating it into the Northern Territories Protectorate. The Governor of the Northern Protectorate, Lord Lugard, played a significant role in solidifying British influence and creating administrative structures. The advent of British rule brought about changes in governance, as well as economic and social transformations in the region. The establishment of British colonial rule facilitated the integration of Benue State into the national and global economy, leading to the expansion of trade and urbanization in major towns such as Makurdi and Otukpo.

Post-Colonial Independence and Creation:

Following Nigeria's independence from British colonial rule on October 1, 1960, Benue State became an integral part of the Northern Region. However, the delineation of states in 1967 brought about a redistribution of power and resources, leading to the eventual creation of Benue State in 1976.

Customs and Traditions:

Benue State is a melting pot of diverse customs and traditions. The Tiv people, for instance, are known for their vibrant cultural festivals, such as the Swange Music and Dance Festival, which showcases their traditional music, dance, and attire. Other ethnic groups, like the Idoma and Igede, also have distinct customs and traditions that are celebrated through festivals, such as the Igede Agaba Festival and the Idoma New Yam Festival.


Several languages are spoken in Benue State, reflecting its ethnic diversity. The Tiv people predominantly speak the Tiv language, while the Idoma people speak the Idoma language. The Etulo, Igede, and other smaller ethnic groups also have their languages. English is the lingua franca and is widely spoken, facilitating communication between different ethnicities and promoting unity within the state.


Benue State is blessed with breathtaking natural and man-made landmarks that captivate visitors from far and wide. One such landmark is the iconic River Benue, which flows through the state, offering scenic views and serving as a major waterway for transportation and irrigation. Another notable landmark is the Tsar-Making Hill in Guma Local Government Area. This hill holds significant cultural and historical importance as the traditional spot where the Tiv people coronate their traditional rulers, known as Tor Tiv. It is a revered site for the Tiv people and attracts tourists interested in the region's traditions and customs.


In the northern boundary, Benue State is demarcated by the Benue River, which stretches for approximately 1700 kilometers. The river serves as a natural boundary, separating Benue State from Nasarawa and Taraba States. The Benue River plays a significant role in irrigation, transportation, and agricultural activities in the region. In the eastern part, Benue State shares boundary with Taraba State. The border between the two states is defined by natural features such as hills and the Mambilla Plateau. This region is known for its diverse ethnic groups, lush vegetation, and agricultural potential. To the south, Benue State is bordered by Cross River and Ebonyi States. The boundary with Cross River State follows a relatively straight line, while the boundary with Ebonyi State is marked by natural features and rivers. The southern region is characterized by rainforests, rivers, and significant natural resources. Benue State's western boundary is demarcated by Kogi State. The boundary follows the course of the Benue River as it flows towards the southwest. The convergence of the Benue and Niger Rivers in this region creates a unique and important ecological zone.

Wrapping up:

Benue State is a treasure trove of history, culture, and remarkable landmarks. Its origins, diverse customs, and traditions, coupled with its scenic beauty, make it a fascinating destination for history enthusiasts, cultural explorers, and nature lovers alike. Whether you're captivated by the stories of the Tiv people, eager to witness colorful festivals, or simply seeking serene landscapes and wildlife encounters, Benue State offers an enriching experience that will leave you with lasting memories.

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