THE IKWERRE PEOPLE REAFFIRM THEIR IGBO ROOT,INAUGURATE OHANAEZE NDI-IGBO RIVER STATE CHAPTER
Press Statement – The leadership of the
Umbrella Igbo youth organisation Ohanaeze
Ndigbo Youth Wing held a meeting after the
inauguration of the Rivers State Executives
of the Pan-Igbo organisation Ohanaeze
NdiIgbo in Port-Harcourt the Rivers State
capital. After the meeting, resolutions were
reached and we wish to state as follows;
1.That we congratulate the Rivers State
chapter of Ohanaeze Ndigbo under the able
leadership of Prince Igo Okparamma and
the eagle-eye guidance of the leader of
Ohanaeze Ndigbo South-South and Deputy
Secretary-General Chief (Engr.) Isaac Wonwu
for a successful inauguration.
2.That the historic inauguration of the
Rivers State Executive Committee of
Ohanaeze Ndigbo signifies the actualisation
of the life-long dream of the founding
fathers of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Rivers state
(such men as Senator Francis Ellah, Eze C.C
Nwuche, Chief Emmanuel Aguma, and
Senator Obi Wali) , which is re-uniting the
Igbo of Rivers state with their kits in the
South-East and Delta state.
3.We are overwhelmed at the resurgence of
the Igbo spirit and bold affirmation of their
Igboness by the Igbo of Rivers state,
resulting in the massive and qualitative turn
out for the event despite the heavy down
4.We hereby call on those Igbo elements still
sitting by the fence in the Rivers
configuration to immediately identify with
their true brothers; Ndigbo by openly
identifying with Ohanaeze Ndigbo. Not
allowing artificial geographical boundaries
to continue to erode their minds of who
they truly are.
5.Furthermore we demand that as a matter
of urgency, the negative psychological relics
of the Biafran war should be dismantled
from every part of Igboland in Rivers state,
with particular emphasis on the urgent
change of name of the “Liberation Stadium”
to either “Elekahia Stadium” or it be named
after a “son of the soil” who have made his
mark in the field of sports: This will
appreciably bring to an end the sore in the
mind of the people of this region who have
been made to erroneously believed that they
were “liberated” from their brothers during
the Biafran War.
6.We re-affirm the resolve of the Igbo nation
to ensure total oneness and reunification of
every part of Igboland in Rivers and Delta
state, not through any conquest by working
in concerted synergy with our brethren
This article is about the Ikwerre as a native ethnic group. For the language, see Ikwerre language. For the local government area, see Ikwerre, Rivers State.
Ikwerre Regions with significant populations
The Ikwerre (also spelt Ikwere) are one of the many native ethnic groups in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. They are a subgroup of the Igbo people, although a small minority for political expediency now dispute this account, claiming their history was rewritten during the colonial period because of the dominance of the larger Igbo group. The Ikwerre are said to be related or share common ancestry with the Ogba and Ekpeye people (Akalaka brothers). They trace their origins to Owerri, Ohaji, Etche, and Ngwa areas of Igboland. They constitute the majority of Rivers state, although there are other populations in neighboring states. The Ikwerre speak the Ikwerre dialect, a dialect part of the many diverse Igbo dialects, and are predominantly settled in the Ikwerre, Obio-Akpor, Port Harcourt and Emohua local government areas. They are traditionally farmers, fishermen and hunters, but in recent times, the environmental degradation and urban sprawl associated with oil exploration and exploitation has caused a sharp decline in the amount of farmland, forests and rivers available for their traditional occupations.
The Ikwerre exist in well-delineated clans, with each clan having its own Paramount Ruler, therefore, the Ikwerre do not have an overall paramount ruler or King, but designated kings/ruler/leader mostly approved by its constituents. Although all paramount rulers in ikwerre are united in what is known as Ogbakor Ikwerre which is an association of Ikwerre traditional rulers. A total of 92 oil wells, producing an estimated 100,000 barrels of crude daily, are located in Ikwerreland. The Ikwerre therefore play host to several multinational oil-producing and servicing companies, in addition to many other industries and establishments. Despite these, the Ikwerre, like nearly all other minorities of the Niger Delta, frequently complain of marginalisation by the oil operatives. The University of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, the three campuses of the Rivers State College of Education, as well as the Rivers State College of Arts and Science, are all sited on Ikwerreland.
The Ikwerre are considered by a great majority of scholars as a subgroup of the Igbo people of southeastern Nigeria,
There are several theories over the origin, and the strongest and most widely accepted one is the theory linking the Ikwerre to an Igbo origin. They would be descendents from an Igbo migration from Awka and Orlu areas towards South. Igbo scholars take Ikwerre as part of the Southern Igbo. Amadi, an Ikwerre scholar, says that the Igbo origin theory has some support even inside Ikwerre themselves, with Ikwerre would be descendants of a migration of Arochukwu Igbo, with Okpo Nwagidi being the leader of the Ikwerre tribe. Before the civil war, there had been dissident voices that claimed that Ikwerre could have migrated from Owerri, Ohaji, Ngwa, and Etche areas of Igboland. But when Port Harcourt was conquered by Nigeria during the Biafran War and the Igbo people from other parts of Igboland fled the territory, a UN report says that the Ikwerre decided to claim that the Ikwerre were non-Igbo for convenience. The Ikwerre are recognized officially as a separate group in the 1979 Nigerian Constitution.
Some notable people of Ikwerre origin:
Elechi Amadi, writer
Emmanuel Onunwor, former Mayor of East Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Chibuike Amaechi, former Governor of Rivers State
Obi Wali, Writer, Politician and Minority rights activist
Tonto Dikeh, Actress, Musician
Celestine Omehia,former Governor of Rivers State
Monalisa Chinda, Actress
Duncan Mighty, Musician
Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, Current Governor of Rivers State
Hon. O.K Chinda, Politician
Bobby Ogoloma, Actor
Okogbule Wonodi, Poet, former Mayor of Port Harcourt
Stephen Amanwo, President, University of East London Students’ Union London UK
Indigenous peoples of Rivers State
^ a b Chigere, Nkem Hyginus M. V. (2001). Foreign Missionary Background and Indigenous Evangelization in Igboland. LIT Verlag Berlin-Hamburg-Münster. p. 17. ISBN 3-8258-4964-3. Retrieved 2008-11-24.
^ a b Udeani, Chibueze (2007). Inculturation as Dialogue: Igbo Culture and the Message of Christ. Rodopi. p. 12. ISBN 90-420-2229-9.
^ a b Yakan, Muḥammad Zuhdī (1999). Almanac of African peoples & nations. Transaction Publishers. p. 371. ISBN 1-56000-433-9.
^ Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.), 2005. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Fifteenth edition. Dallas, Tex.: SIL International. Online version: Linguistic Lineage for Ikwere
^ a b c Kelechukwu U. Ihemere (2007). A Tri-Generational Study of Language Choice & Shift in Port Harcourt. Universal-Publishers. pp. 26–35. ISBN 9781581129588.
^ Okwudiba Nnoli. Ethnicity and development in Nigeria. Research in ethnic relations series. Avebury Series in Philosophy. United Nations Research Institute for Social Development. ISBN 9781859721155. “The Igbo indigenous who remained found it advantageous to deny their Igbo origin and claimed, instead, a non-Igbo Ikwerre identity”
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Bight of Biafra
Map of the Gulf of Guinea showing the Bight of Bonny.
The Bight of Biafra (also known as the Bight of Bonny) is a bight off the West African coast, in the easternmost part (beyond the Bight of Benin to the West) of the Gulf of Guinea. It extends from the River Delta of the Niger in the north until it reaches Cape Lopez in Gabon.
Countries located at the Bight of Bonny are Nigeria (eastern coast), Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea (Bioko Island and Rio Muni), and Gabon (northern coast).
On 30 June 1849, Britain established a colonial protectorate over the Bight of Biafra, under the authority of the British Consuls of the Bight of Benin:
May 1852 – 1853 Louis Fraser
1853 – April 1859 Benjamin Campbell
April 1859 – 1860 George Brand
1860 – January 1861 Henry Hand
January 1861 – May 1861 Henry Grant Foote
May 1861 – 6 August 1861 William McCoskry (acting)
On 6 August 1861, the Bight of Biafra and the neighboring Bight of Benin protectorate (under its own British consuls) became a united British protectorate Bights of Biafra and Benin, again under British consuls:
1861 – December 1864 Richard Francis Burton
December 1864 – 1873 Charles Livingstone
1873 – 1878 George Hartley
1878 – 13 September 1879 David Hopkins
13 September 1879 – 5 June 1885 Edward Hyde Hewett.
From 16 July 1884, it merged into the British protectorate over Brass, Bonny, Opobo, Aboh and Old Calabar (excluding Lagos Colony), which was confirmed on 5 June 1885, and named Oil Rivers Protectorate, where, on August 1891, effective consular administration was established, headed by a consul general (on 5 June 1885, the aforementoned former consul Edward Hyde Hewett became the first). The area would, in different steps, merge further via the 12 May 1893 Niger Coast Protectorate, 1 January 1900 (renamed Southern Nigeria Protectorate into which, on 16 February 1906, Lagos was incorporated), on 28 February 1906 made into the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria. From 1 January 1914, it was part of Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria.
The bight was renamed within independent Nigeria in 1972, when after the Biafran War, the Nigerian government wanted to remove the name of the secessionist Biafra.
Bight of Biafra
Alternative title: Bight of Bonny
Written by The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica
Bight of Biafra, also called Bight of Bonny, bay of the Atlantic Ocean on the western coast of Africa, extending east, then south, for 370 miles (600 km) from the Nun outlet of the Niger River (Nigeria) to Cape Lopez (Gabon). The innermost bay of the Gulf of Guinea, it is bounded by southeastern Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, and northwestern Gabon and receives portions of the Niger and Ogooué river discharges and also the Cross, Sanaga, and many other rivers. Within the Bight of Biafra are several islands, the largest of which is Bioko, belonging to Equatorial Guinea. Major ports on the bay are Malabo (on Bioko), Port Harcourt and Calabar (Nigeria), Douala (Cameroon), Bata (Equatorial Guinea), and Libreville and Port-Gentil (Gabon).
Between the 16th and the 19th century the Bight of Biafra was the scene of extensive slave-dealing operations, based mainly on the ports of Brass, Bonny, Opobo, and Old Calabar (now Calabar) in Nigeria. By the 1830s the palm oil trade had surpassed slave trading, and it has maintained its importance. Petroleum, discovered in the late 1950s in the Niger River delta, is a major economic resource.