The Niger Delta States are only a quarter of the states in Nigeria. Evidently, there are 36 in all. However, the Niger Delta is the delta of the Niger River. This River sits directly on the Gulf of Guinea which is on the Atlantic Ocean in Nigeria. Also, it has its location in nine coastal southern Nigeria states. Firstly, there is one state from the South-West geopolitical zone. That is Ondo state. From the South-East zone are Abia and Imo. Lastly, al six states from the south-South zone are included. However, Cross-River is the only non-oil-producing state.
Niger Delta was once a major producer of palm oil. As a result, Oil Rivers as it is often called has a dense population. Apparently, the area use to be the British Oil Rivers Protectorate. As this happened between 1885 and 1893. Afterwards, there was an expansion and it became the Niger Coast Protectorate. Despite the controversy overpopulation, the Delta is a petroleum-rich region.
After the transition of the protectorates, the core Niger Delta later became a part of the Eastern region of Nigeria. This, however, came into existence in 1951. Majority of the people were from those from a few colonial divisions. These divisions were Calabar, Itsekiri, and Ogoja. Others include the present-day Annang, Ibibio, Oron, Efik, Ijaw, and the Ogoni peoples. On the other hand, the National Council of Nigeria and Cameroon (NCNC) was the ruling party at the time. After a while, western Cameroon made a decision to separate from Nigeria. As a result, NCNC became National Convention of Nigerian citizens.
The expulsion of professor Eyo Ita caused an uproar in the old Eastern region. Evidently, the majority of the Igbo tribe were responsible for this in 1953. Mr Ita was an Efik man from Calabar. He also happens to be among the pioneer nationalists for Nigerian independence. On the other hand, the minorities in the region had their location along the southeastern coast. In the Delta region were, the Ibibio, Annang, Efik, Ijaw, and Ogoja. They demanded a state of their own, the Calabar-Ogoja-Rivers state. This issue of a new state however caused problems for Nigeria internationally. To clarify, they were problems of status of a minority in Nigeria. As they came up often in debates in Europe on Nigeria’s independence. This crisis led to the formation of a new party. Mr Eyo left NCNC and created a new party called the National Independence Party.
Sub-Regions in Niger Delta
The Niger Delta occupies a major part of the coastline of Nigeria. It accounts for as much as two-thirds of the entire region. The region extends from Apoi to Bakassi. And extends as far as Bight of Benin from Mashin creek. Furthermore, The Niger Delta has about 40 different ethnic groups. As they are dispersed in over 3000 communities. In addition, they have an estimated population of about 20-40 million people. These commuters are housed in nine states altogether.
These Niger Delta states are also divided into sub-regions. As they are the nation’s money house. Over the years, this region has continually become significant. Its prominence is both regional and international. And this is as a result of the political impasse between producing communities and the oil companies. The federal government is however not an exemption.
These are the Sub-regions;
Western Niger Delta
This region obviously consists of the western section of the coastal south-south part of Nigeria. The states here include Delta, Ondo and the southernmost part of Edo. However, this Western or Northern region is a heterogeneous society. And it has several ethnic groups. Some of which are, Itsekiri, Urhobo, Isoko, Ijaw, and Ukwuani. These groups belong to the Delta people. Moreover, the Edo people have; Bini, Esan, Auchi, Esako, Oral, Igara, and Afenami. Lastly, Ondo state has Yoruba (Ilaje). According to history, their primary form of livelihood is farming and fishing.
Central Niger Delta
This is the central section of the coastal south-south. The states here include Abia, Bayelsa, Rivers, and Imo. This region has the Ijaw that comprises of several ethnic groups. There is the Nembe-Brass, Ogbia, Abua, Okrika to mention a few. They also have the Ogoni people. It comprises of Khana, Gokana, Tai, and the Eleme. And lastly, you have the Etche people (Ogba, Ikwerre, Ndoni, Ekpeye and Ndoki).
Eastern Niger Delta
The Eastern region has just the Cross-River and Akwa-Ibom states.
This is one of the geo-political zones in Nigeria. All of the state here also belong to the Niger Delta region. They provide a major part of the country’s revenue. And the population from this end is enormous. These are the Niger Delta states in this region;
- Akwa Ibom: The state has a land area of 6,806 square metres. And its population is put 3,920.208.
- Bayelsa: The land area is 11,007 square kilometres. While it has a population of 1,703,358.
- Cross River: It has the highest land area at 21, 930 square kilometres. As the number of occupants is 2, 888,966
- Delta: The size of the land is 17,163 sq.km2. Its population records 4,098,391
- Edo: This state’s land measures 19,698 sq.km2. It has a high population of 3,218,332
- Rivers: Sources gives its land area at 10,378sq.km2. As it records the highest population in Niger Delta at 5,185,420.
These records were made as far back as 2006. This is when the census was taken and an assessment made.
Each of these states has different languages. Here’s a list of them.
- Oro language
- Obo language
- Edo language
Some of these languages have other languages embedded in it. That is to say, there are different dialects within one. So, some tribes may speak the same language quite differently. Also, to note, there are more languages. As these are only a few.
Niger Delta Map: Oil Pipelines and Vegetation
Since the 1950s, Nigeria continues to pump the vast amount of oil.
The lives of Niger Delta residents continue to be in danger. This is because of the fierce clash between an aggressive guerilla militia and the federal government. A feud that exists over the control of the nation’s wealth. Subsequent disputes and fights have forced the residents to leave their homes. An action that requires them to trek through the wetlands. Sadly, this wetland is also contaminated with oilfield wastes. And so, their lives are still threatened by the toxins and industrial wastes. The oil slicks that contaminate their drinking water and kill the fishes also endanger their lives likewise. For instance, just a drop of oil makes 25 litres of water undrinkable. Meanwhile, 9 million barrels of oil have been spilt over the past 60 years.
The map shows the oil fields, pipelines, and terminals in Niger Delta. Not only Niger Delta states. All relative to the main cities and the different types of vegetation. All of these from swamplands to the rainforest.