Brief History

The Berom people are found in Plateau State, North Central Nigeria with an estimated population of 1.6 million (National Census, 2006). Their homeland covers Jos North, Jos South, Barkin Ladi and Riyom Local Government Areas with pockets of their population found in Jos East, Mangu and Bokkos Local Government Areas of Plateau State and Sanga Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

The following ethnic groups are neighbors to the Berom. 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, Aten and Atakar, to the South are the Ron and the Kulere while to the South East are the Mwaghavul.

Some versions of Berom history hold that the Berom are autochthonous to the Plateau area, implying that there is no known migration of the Berom from anywhere. However, some versions believe that some migration occurred from the North African sub-region through Niger Republic, Sokoto and subsequently to the Jos Plateau.

Another narration of the migration school believes that the Berom migrated from somewhere in the Central African area and are linked to the Bantu civilization. In this regard, Bernard Fagg, points out that the Berom double human headed earthen pot (rweytoh) usually associated with royalty and kept in the custody of a ritual Priest (Gwom Kwit) is a clear evidence that the Berom belong not only to the Nok Terracotta ancestry but to the Bantu civilization that dates back 2000 B.C.

Historical accounts have documented the somewhat invincibility of the Berom territory and indeed that of the Anaguta, Buji and Rukuba areas against the Jihadist expeditions of Usman Dan Fodio, Queen Amina of Zazzau and Yakubu 1 and 11 of Bauchi. Oral tradition celebrates this fact, that the Berom have never been conquered by any external force. Therefore, the Berom today; whether Christians or Muslims were never coerced into embracing their chosen faiths and religion.

The Berom people are predominantly agrarian, cultivating crops such as Fonio (Acha), Maize, Millet, Guinea Corn, Kpana, Irish/Sweet Potatoes, Bekyit (yam), Vaat as their foods. They also cultivate in commercial quantities a wide variety of vegetables including Cabbage, Carrots, Green Beans, Pumpkins, Garden egg, Roussel just to mention a few. Some of the most popular delicacies of the Berom include Tere, Tuk-chun, and Nama Dyara (garnished beef, Chicken and game with Black Beniseed powder). Today, these dishes are known and patronized nationally and internationally. Chun for one is a preferred cereal for diabetics the world over. In addition, a significant number of Berom households also practice animal husbandry.

The Story

The land on which the Berom compound is developed was allocated to the Berom people to showcase their traditional, architectural artistry, in the form of their traditional compound.

MOTNA came up with the concept and so the Berom people designed and built the present compound.

The Berom practiced style of living and as such a household that is blessed will have different compounds. A household is referred to as “LO” meaning “House” made up of many compounds. The Berom compound is therefore called “La’La” as it is a single house.

The architectural design is made up of the entrance – “Ruhup”

With other adjourning huts made up of “Duk Dara” the Dad’s room, “Fwang”, where Chun is pounded. There’s the “Coban” – “Silo” where grains are kept. Each of the huts has its own significance up to the back of the compound where we have the “Vwi” (compound farm).

The Berom kitchen is coming up side by side with the compound. The intention is to keep the compound busy by serving Berom cuisine to the general public.