By Stellamaries Amuwa,
The Berom, also spelt as Birom, people form the largest of the indigenous ethnic groups on the Jos Plateau, they are about 47 percent of the state population, covering about four local government areas such as Jos North, Jos South, Barkin Ladi (Gwol) and Riyom local government area and some in Southern Kaduna province, they are the largest ethnic group in the former Jos province which was created out of Bauchi province in 1927.
Berom people are said to belong to the Bantu race. The Bantu race has a migratory pattern from South West Africa, The Namibians, South Western Tanzania, Central Africa Republic, Gabon, Southern Cameroun, South Eastern Nigeria, and Central Nigeria covering Benue, part of Taraba, part of Nasarawa, South Kaduna, Southern Bauchi and Plateau State.
This confirms the fact that there are some common dialectical elements that mean the same amongst the Berom, Jarawa, Tiv, Anan, Efik and Ibibio. It is speculated that the Berom people have not only passed through the length and breadth of Central Nigeria but must have gone beyond places in the present Sokoto, some parts of Niger Republic and Burkina Faso. The traditional structural design of the Berom people looks like that of the Zuru in Kebbi State and that of some inhabitants of Burkina Faso.
They speak the Berom language, which belongs to the large Niger-Congo family of languages. It is not related to the Hausa language or other Plateau languages, which are Chadic languages. There are today, 11 Berom speaking districts namely Gashish, Ropp, Fan, Heipang, Foron, Du Gyel, Kuru, Vwang, Bauchi, and Riyom, the cradle of Berom.
Berom has a paramount ruler called the Gbong Gwom, Jos. In the pre-colonial period, the Berom were divided into autonomous political groups based on region until the colonial period that the paramount chief called the Gbong Gwom was constituted.
The stool of the Gbong Gwom, Jos was established under the recognition of a colonial officer, Mr. Synge with the aim to help coordinate the activities of the natives. The first chief, Dachung Gyang, assumed leadership from 1935 to 1941 as the first Gbong Gwom, then followed by Da Rwang Pam, 1947 to 1969, Da Fom Bot, 1970 to 2002, Victor Dung Pam, 2004 to 2008 and Da Jacob, Gyang Buba 2009. The former Plateau State governor, David Jonah Jang, is of Berom origin.Certainly, some of the ethnic groups on the Benue basin and Bauchi plateau migrated from the north. However, this does not mean that there had been no autochthons.
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