Iku in Nigeria

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Map Source:  Bethany World Prayer Center
People Name: Iku
Country: Nigeria
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 22,000
World Population: 22,000
Primary Language: Iku-Gora-Ankwa
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 4.00 %
Evangelicals: 3.00 %
Scripture: Translation Started
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: No
People Cluster: Benue
Affinity Bloc: Sub-Saharan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Iku people live in the Kachia division of Kaduna state, Nigeria. They are closely related to the Idon people and speak a similar language. This language, called Iku-gora-ankwa, belongs to the Benue-Congo language family. In addition to linguistic resemblances, the Idon and the Iku share similar customs and religions. Islam was introduced to both groups by Fulani attackers in the nineteenth century.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Iku homeland, Kaduna, means "place of the crocodile." It is a region flowing with numerous rivers. As a result, the soil is rich and fertile in most of the area, making them an agricultural people. The vegetation consists of low orchard bush with shade trees such as the silk-cotton, baobab (a tropical tree with hard-shelled fruits), and shea butter. Deleb palms are numerous along river valleys and supply the people with such items as nuts, oil and fuel. Some of the area is wooded and is known to attract the disease-carrying tsetse fly. Consequently, some parts of these woodlands have become dangerous to both man and animal.Like other people living in the Kaduna grasslands, Iku people are subsistence farmers, growing millet, maize, guinea corn, and beans. They also raise animals such as goats, sheep, chickens, dogs, and horses. They eat goats, sheep, chickens, and monkeys along with iguana, which they view as a delicacy. They use dogs for hunting and for guarding the compounds at night. Fowl are used only for ceremonial purposes. Iku people also engage in hunting, fishing and some trading, but these are of lesser importance than agriculture. Each morning, after eating a light snack, the men of a household work in the fields until noon. Then they relax in the shade of a tree and eat porridge brought by their wives. Another break follows around 3:30, after which time they will work again until time for the evening meal. They eat this meal with their brothers and children. During the dry season, the Iku have less work to do. As a result, they spend more time on amusement and pursuing individual interests. The women wake before sunrise and bathe behind the house. During the day, they prepare meals and help their husbands in the fields. They spend time collecting nuts, wild fruit, honey, and special medicinal plants from the forests. The women also conduct small-scale trading. Boys help their fathers on the farm, and chase animals and birds away from the crops. Girls must clean dirty pots in the crocodile infested river, help their mothers prepare the meals, and gather forest products. The older men of the village spend much of their day making sure that the young boys properly tend to the livestock. Often, they may be found simply relaxing or sometimes weaving. Iku people live in compact villages located either in the hills or in dense forests. Their houses are made of mud with grass roofs covering an outer porch and granary. Each village consists of a clan community separated into extended family compounds. The village headman handles village affairs with the help of a council of elders.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Although many Iku have become Muslims, most still follow their traditional religious practices and beliefs. They believe in evil spirits, but they do not fear them. They pray to the "sky god" for health and prosperity. Many religious practices of the Iku center around an ancestral cult in which the dodo (masked personification of a spirit) represents the ancestral spirits. Rites of initiation into this cult are elaborate and very important to all Iku. Through this cult, ancestors are honored and worshiped.

What Are Their Needs?

The greatest need of Iku people is to understand the infinite love and provision of the one Almighty God who has paid the full penalty for all their sins. Bible translation has begun, and SIL is seeking people to pray for it.

Prayer Points

Pray for accuracy in the Bible translation work. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers to work among Iku people of Nigeria. Ask the Lord to soften the hearts of Iku people toward Jesus Christ and recognize him as the only one who can forgive sin. Ask the Lord to bring forth a strong and growing Disciple Making Movement for the glory of his name!

Text Source:   Joshua Project