5 things to know about the Ijaws

5 things to know about the Ijaw's

The Ijaws are the predominant indigenous people in the Niger Delta who moved to the Delta over 7,000 years. With a distinctive language, this group of people are popular across Nigeria for their beautiful culture, food and attire.

The Ijaw's are popular across Nigeria for their beautiful culture, food and attire (Hometown.ng)

Here are a few facts you probably didn’t know about them:
1. The Niger River Delta, one of the largest and beautiful deltas in the world and the largest delta in Africa.

It covers approximately 14,000 square miles (36,260 square kilometres) and has its origination in the highlands of the Fouta Djallon Plateau in western Guinea 150 miles (240 kilometres) from the Atlantic Ocean.

2.  The Ijaws are a nation of more than fourteen million people in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, the most populous indigenous inhabitants of the Niger Delta and constitute the fourth largest ethnicity within the borders of Nigeria.

3. The term Ijaw is the anglicised version of Ijo or Ejo, a variation of Ujo or Ojo, the ancestor who gave the Ijo people their name.
Ijaw girl (Hometown.ng)

4. Some anthropologist say that the Ijaws came from South Africa, some say from East Africa. Some say they are from a district around Nupe province in Northern Nigeria and some say that the Ijos came from Benin. The Ijaws themselves believe that they came from Benin and in fact, most of their traditional stories and folklore refer to Benin.

5. Ijaws speak 9 Niger-Congo languages originating from the Ijoid branch of the Niger-Congo tree. Approximately 1 million people speak Izon which belongs to the Eastern Ijo division of the language. The second most prominent sub-language, Kalabari belongs to the Western Ijo division and is the mother tongue of 500,000 speakers.