It is home to the Ijaws
, Itsekiris, Efiks, Isokos, Igbos, Hausas, Yoruba and Uhrobos.
The territory that became Rivers State was also the location of the first armed struggle for autonomy and self-determination mounted by Isaac Adaka Boro on behalf of the Ijaws
against the Federal Government after independence.
In this newly formed province, the agitations by the Ijaws
, the majority ethnic group in the Niger Delta, for improvement in their standard of living, was championed by a young man called Harold Dappa Biriye, under the auspices of the Niger Delta Congress (NDC).
Ever since it was formulated, it has served to energise the leadership of both the Ijaw
youths and their communities throughout the Niger Delta, and has become the justification for the constant resistance mounted by the other ethnic groups who co-exist with the Ijaws
in the territory.
, Itsekiris and Urhobos have clashed with each other and with the Nigerian government (supported by increased US military aid).
Bayelsa is the central home of the Ijaws
who are predominantly fishermen.
This was common among the Ijaws
, isoko, Urhobo and Iteskiri ethnic groups.
Worse yet, the Ijaws
, fed up with being cheated of their birthright, finally took up arms a decade ago and have since been showing up the Nigerian state for what it is: corrupt, inefficient and incapable of engaging with a handful of young men in the creeks--or militants, if you prefer--from which the oil is tapped.
According to Patterson Ogon of the Ijaw
Council for Human Rights, approximately 2,600 Ijaws
were killed in oil-related protests or repression between December 1998 and November 1999.
Other sources say that the four people were killed and 25 houses burnt in Warri in ethnic clashes between Urhobos and Ijaws
One of the issues in the Warri crisis--violence among the Ijaw
, Itsekiri and Urhobo ethnic groups in the Warri area that flared up in 1997 over the location of a local government headquarters and continues today--is the allegation from the Ijaws
and Urhobos that Shell and Chevron had unfairly directed contracts and other benefits to the Itsekiri community.
NYSE: CVX) and TotalFinaElf (NYSE: TOT) halted production totalling 817,500 barrels a day, or about 40% of Nigeria's output of some 2 million b/d amid violence between rival ethnic groups, the Ijaws
and Itsekiri, leading up to April 19 parliamentary and presidential elections.