THE BEROM PEOPLE

The Berom people are a peace loving, industrious, accommodating and hospitable people found in Plateau State, North Central Nigeria with a population of 1.6million (National Census 2006). Their homeland covers Jos North, Jos South, Barkin-Ladi and Riyom Local Government Areas. A few of the Berom people are today also found in Mangu, Jos East and Bokkos Local Government Areas. A few of the Berom people are predominately Christians who live peacefully with their neighbours. To the North are the Anaguta and Anabuze (Buji), the Afizere to the North-East, Bacce (Rukuba) and Irigwe (Miango) to the North-West. To the South-West are the Aten and Atakar, the Ron and the Kulere to the South, while to the South-East are the Mwaghavul. As a result of boundary delineation between Plateau and Kaduna States, the Berom are also found in Aboro, Sanga Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Aboro people are predominately Moslems ruled by a Katuka Numana.

A dominant oral tradition in Berom history has it that the people are autochthonous to the Jos area, with Shonong and Kabong caves as ancient cradles of the people. While some other schools of thought believe that the double human headed earthen pot (rwey toh) usually associated with royalty and in the custody of the ritual Priest (Gwom Kwit) provides a link to the Nok Terracotta ancestry of 5,000 years ago thereby linking Berom history to the Bantu civilization.

19th Century historical accounts have celebrated the somewhat invincibility of the Berom territory alongside that of the Anaguta, Buji and Rukuba areas against any form of external aggression. In this regard, stories are fondly told children that the Berom have never been conquered except of course, by the British under colonial rule.

The Berom are predominately game hunters and agrarian, engaged in cattle rearing, cultivating crops such as Fonio (acha), Maize, Millet, Guinea corn. Kpana (Tamba), varieties of Potaotes, Berom Yam (Bekyit) and Vaat as staple foods. They also cultivate in commercial quanties a wide variety of fruits and vegetables namely passion fruits, strawberries, apples, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, cabbage, carrots, green beans, peas, pumpkin, apples, garden eggs, pomegranate, roussel to mention a few.

Berom foods are rich sources of energy and nutrients contributing to making the Beroms well built, very healthy and strong willed. They are likened to the Mediterranean diet. Berom foods are low in calorie, low in cholesterol and high in complex carbohydrates and proteins that support healthy growth, good nutrition for all age groups, general well-being and the management of many health conditions.

Berom cuisine has a great variety of dishes and some of the popular delicacies include: a rich vegetable porridge with fonio (‘Tere’ or gwote’), fonio dumping or stiff puddings ‘tuk-chun’ to be served with a variety of soups such as ‘leng tow’, simmered chicken or beef glazed with ground black beni-seed (black sesame) and sprinkled with olive oil ‘Nei pwat’ (nama dyara). Today, these dishes are served both locally and internationally.