Uneme Culture (Akoko-Edo)

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Last update July 2, 2020

From1893 to the twentieth century the Uneme people adopted an endogamous marriage laws in the bid to protect their Iron technology. This law transformed Uneme in an endogamous society, this in line with the principle and practice of endogamy. Uneme girls and women were prevented from getting married to non-Uneme men. The rationale for this was to ensure that Uneme women, as wives, did not leak to their non-Uneme husbands the information about Unemes iron technology. The situation thus, impose a caste system on Uneme neighbours. especially their men who was deprived of marital ties with Uneme girls and women. While this policy worked well for the Uneme and helped them to achieve the purpose for which it was established, it did not go down well with a number of their neighbours. But there was nothing they could do to alter the situation which they lived with up to the period of Unemes migration from Benin.

But within the twentieth century, it was shown that the worst affected of such Uneme cultural institution, was their indigenous iron technology which collapsed, due to the negative impact of the aggressive rivalry posed by European brands of iron technologies, whose product were found more valuable, more durable, more cost effective, more acceptable and better packaged than those produced by Uneme blacksmiths.

The situation also led to an unprecedented fall in the demand for Uneme's metal crafts, faced with the foregoing situation. The Uneme people decide to abrogate their pre-existing endogamous marriage laws, whose role in the protection of their iron technology has earlier been, explained one justification that there is no more iron to protect. The new marriage laws therefore "aimed at encouraging men from neighbouring non-Uneme communities to establish marital ties with Uneme girls and women in Akoko-Edo and Etsako.

However, one can rightly say that Unemes and other villages amongst them in Akoko-Edo now inter-marry. Uneme girls and women are been married outside and within other villages in Akoko-Edo.

According to the interactive session had with the two Royal fathers of Uneme their marital right this recent day can be said to be next to nothing. According HRH Oba M.0 A. Braimor he said that before one can spend close to N50, 000 you are rest assured of having wife at home but he also maintained that the bride price is also close to nothing because they don’t attach more importance to it. On the other hand, HRH Oba E.A. Fayomi the clan head of Uneme North Said that their official bride price is N50.00 and other few items like 100 tuber of yam and other items. But the suitor is expected to serve the in-laws by helping them to do some works like farming, fetching fire wood, fetching water etc though is no longer applicable in this modern days suitor provide money to the in-law in exchange  of those work.


All Uneme of Akoko-Edo speak the same uneme language although Uneme North speak Uneme adulterated with Okpaneri because of their proximity

Custom and Norms

The Unemes practices a form of matrilineal form of family or (tradition) system; this is a situation where child accord more honour, respect and have a higher regard for his or her mother side than the biological father’s side. This culture is still in existence but though some well meaning Unemes maintain that this norms is gradually fading out while some said it is still very much invoke in their custom


The Central Uneme has a clan drum which it usually beaten if there is  anything that warrant gathering  or making a special public, announcement in the town by the town crier the drum it called URO while in north Uneme clan  have none


The major occupation of the Uneme people is iron making popular known as Black smith This occupation they have guided with a lot jealousy, which has accorded the Unemes enormous, pride, prestige, admiration and respect from their neighbours, especially those from non -iron oriented communities, which later collapse, due to negative impact of the aggressive rivalry posed by the European brands of iron technologies, whose product was found more valuable, more durable, cheaper , more acceptable and better packed than those of the Uneme black smith in Akoko-Edo they faced a situation of unemployment, as a result of declining in the demand of their product. They now decided to go into other occupation which happen to be their occupation till date such as Agriculture especially cultivation of food and cash crops, trading etc.


In Uneme Central the Uneme Erhurun and Aki-Osu have the same cultural festivals but in Uneme Ekpedo there are some festival like the Ogun and the Egugu festivals which they celebrate that is not celebrated in Erhurun and Aki-Osu. Ogun festival is celebrated in honour of the god of iron while Egugu festival is a masquerade festival which is not celebrated by either the Erhurun or the Aki-Osu but is celebrated by Ekpedos .This Egugu festival is also celebrated by the people of Kogi State that is the Ibiras.

Uzoro Festival: This is an annual event which is usually celebrated by women to honour the goddess of fertility. The priestess prepares some items with the women as they go to the lake to dance and perform sacrifice to the goddess of fertility. The festival is normally celebrated between the late month of June or early July every year.  

Ure festival: This is an annual event which comes up every month of July the belief is that once it’s celebrated there would be peace and tranquility in the community

Ikwe Masquerade festival: Comes up annually every month of July

The Age Grade festival: This is the most  popular and a crowd pulling  invent  in North Uneme  clan and it comes up every seven (7) years  the purpose  is the selecting  or filling  another age group that have already graduated  to the elders council

Clan Headship

They already have a declaration in 1979, according to H.R.H. Oba E.A.Fayomi the clan headship in Uneme North rotates amongst 3 kindred. When there is vacant, the names of the kindred are:-

(1) Imiokpamosi

(2) Imiakhusi

(3) Imiogoro

While in central Uneme clan headship is rotated amongst the communities that make up the Central Uneme namely the Uneme Erhurun,Ekpedo and Uneme Aki-Osu, and presently it is the turn of the Erhurun village and that is why the  mantle of clan headship is presently held by H.R.H. Oba M.O.A. Braimoh in Uneme Erhurun.

Traditional Medicine

In Uneme central they accept it as alternative to orthodox medicine.

The clan head of Uneme central stressed that the government should assist or create an enabling environment for the herbalist in other to help them to improve.

Another clan head expressed his own opinion, on the contrary which imply unacceptable to him though in his clan, is still accepted by some people. He went on to say that they should be faced out of the society because Traditional Medicine 

(¡) lack standardization (¡¡) It lack adequate or correct dosage (¡¡¡) lack of diagnostic ability of aliment. For those reason deserved to be faced out.

Land ownership for indigenous

(¡)  In central Uneme they have a communal land . It is not owned by family or any person

(¡¡)The whole community vested the power of land allocation to the traditional rulers and where there are no traditional rulers a committee take care of land allocation. For a plot of land for building purpose , 100 by 100  is allocated per individual but for farming  purpose they don’ t measure  for anybody you farm as much  as you wish i.e. as many as your strength can carry.

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