Owukpa is a community in Ogbadibo Local Government Area of Benue State, Nigeria.


As you are received into the heart of the city, you are smitten by its rustic ambience – ancient architecture, quaint stairways, narrow archways and intricately carved windows.

Dunamis Church, Owukpa
Dunamis Church Owukpa

At the outskirt of the town, you are welcomed by a signboard that simply says “Welcome to Owukpa”. The signboard was erected by the defunct Owukpa Community Bank, OCB.

Few metres away from the signpost, you see the only petroleum filling station in the area as at 2022.

It was established some years back by Edwin Apochi, one of the town’s chieftain.

Family roots
The people of Owukpa are Idomas.

Historically, it was founded by a hunter called Amuche Onomo who migrated in 1450, from Ankpa in Kogi State.

Amuche had six children and each one of them founded a community, which altogether became the six clans of the Owukpa community.

Owukpa originally had six clans: Ogwuche Ekwo, Okpe, Agada, Agbo Ogri, Ai-Amuche and Oko.

These clans are believed to represent the six children of the father of Owukpa, Amuch Onomo.

In 1977, Ai-Unwaba, kindred of Okpe was granted clanship status by Benue State government thus making it the seventh clan.

Activities at a market in Owukpa

The traditional stool of leadership is rotated among the seven clans.

Together the seven clans formed Owukpa town.

The name Owukpa derives from the word Ayi-okpa or Owo-Okpa which means “descendant of the river.” or “people of the water area”.

The name is apt because the town, founded right on Ojogwu hill, is encircled by three rivers – Awube, Adu and Opokwu.

One among Ogbadibo districts
It is one of three districts that make up Ogbadibo Local Government Area, the other two been Orokam and Otukpa.

A road in Owukpa

Situated in the southern end of Idoma West, it is bounded in the North by Okpoga district and in the East by Ichama district, both of Okpokwu local government area. In the south, Owukpa shares boundary with Obollo Eke in Udenu local government area of Enugu State while Orokam borders Owukpa in the West.

Owukpa town is nested deep within the grassy hills of Ogbadibo.

Secretariat of Ogbadibo LGA. Ogbadibo is the LGA of Ogbadibo
Secretariat of Ogbadibo LGA. Ogbadibo is the LGA of Ogbadibo
Secretariat of Ogbadibo LGA. Ogbadibo is the LGA of Ogbadibo

Close to Enugu
It’s close to Obollo Eke and Obollo Affor in the neighbouring Enugu State

Owukpa coal
Owukpa has a coal field at Ibagba.

The site was overtaken by tall grasses, and old and rusty machineries and vehicle littered the field.

There is vast coal deposit in Owukpa, estimated to be around 48m tonnes, which was mined in the past but collapsed during the economy downturn.

Owukpa coal

Efforts are currently on-going towards the revival of the coal mining industry, though past efforts have been hampered by environmental concerns about the effects of open cast coal mining.

Water bodies
Besides the soil fertility the community is surrounded by natural water bodies.

Awube stream runs through Eja, Ikwo, Ugbugbu, Ubafu and other villages, while Adu stream runs through Ibagba, Ukwu, Ai’Odu and other communities.

The district headship of Owukpa is rotated between the seven clans.

The district head as at 2022 is Hyacinth Ojobo Idoko (Ogwuche Ekwo clan).

Past districts heads were Ijanda Egigwe (Agada clan), Cohogwu Onyiaba (Okpe clan), Inedu Onye (Agbo Ogri clan), Thomas Ugwu Oko (Ai-Unwaba clan) and Agbara Uhi (Ai-Amuch).

Owukpa, the expected capital of the agitateed Adu Local Government, Apa State. Surrounded by unscathed forests, encircled by Enumabia river and the rambling Ojogwu hill, there you will find Owukpa, the acclaimed ‘capital of yet-to-be-created Adu Local Government.

As the Idoma people agitate for the creation of a Apa State, Owukpa wishes to clinch a local government status.

This medium-sized town has a population of about 40, 000 people as at 2022.

Prominent school
Government Secondary School, Ugbugbu Owukpa

Prominent person
Honourable Christopher Obute, former Commissioner for Finance in Benue State.

Despite the fact that Christianity is well-rooted in the community, traditional religious still has a stout stump.

The community has not totally thrown away the worship of deities practiced by their forefathers.

One of the deities still widely worshiped goes by the name Aj’Owukpa.

The shrine is located in Ipole Owukpa, where the remains of the late Amnuche Onomo, the founder of Owukpa was interred.

There is, at least, half a dozen gods worshipped by the people. Among the pantheons are Onyipkechi, (god of summer) and Ekwu Anya, a popular god whose affairs are administered by women.

There has been a gradual erosion of the traditional worship as the people take to Christianity.

New yam festival
The celebration of the New Yam festival, called Orureshi is a cultural fiesta that the people still hold in high esteem.

The epic festival holds mainly in the month of August. During the New Yam festival, people gather at the village square with different foods and hold a cultural activities that include masquerades displays, from different clans and groups.

The occasion is always an opportunity for reunion among friends and family members.

Economic trees
Owukpa economic trees include iroko, obeche, mahogany and gmelina.

Yams, banana, cassava, groundnuts and livestock, especially goats, as well as palm products – Palm oil, palm kernel, palm wine – are some of the major food commodities in the market.

Owukpa markets
Because the population is mostly farmers, Owukpa is a town of many market days.

At least there are no less than eight markets in and around the town. But the most popular is the Ukwo market day.

On a typical market day, people from 42 villages, those that make up the community and beyond, converge on the market square, which also attracts traders from neighboring towns in the state and from the south eastern parts of the country.