Nigeria with a population of over 200 million people is blessed with different ethnic groups. She has over 200 ethnic groups and more than 300 spoken languages with English being the generally accepted language. The major ethnic groups are Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba. We will be talking about the Igbo ethnic group and the states that make up the ethnicity.
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The Igboid languages form a cluster within the Volta-Niger phylum, most likely grouped with Yoruboid and Edoid. The greatest differentiation within the Igboid group is between the Ekpeye and the rest. Williamson (2002) argues that based on this pattern, proto-Igboid migration would have moved down the Niger from a more northern area in the savannah and first settled close to the delta, with a secondary center of Igbo proper more to the north, in the Awka area. Pottery dated at around 2500 BC showing similarities with later Igbo work was found at Nsukka in the 1970s, along with pottery and tools at nearby Ibagwa; the traditions of the Umueri clan have as their source the Anambra valley. In the 1970s the Owerri, Okigwe, Orlu, Awgu, Udi and Awka divisions were determined to join “an Igbo heartland” from the linguistic and cultural evidence.
Biafra Civil War
A series of ethnic clashes between Northern Muslims and the Igbo, and other ethnic groups of Eastern Nigeria Region living in Northern Nigeria took place between 1966 and 1967. Elements in the army had assassinated the Nigerian military head of state General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi (29 July 1966) and peace negotiations failed between the military government that deposed Ironsi and the regional government of Eastern Nigeria at the Aburi Talks in Ghana in 1967. These events led to a regional council of the peoples of Eastern Nigeria deciding that the region should secede and proclaim the Republic of Biafra on May 30, 1967. Late General Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu made this declaration and became the Head of state of the new republic. The resultant war, which became known as the Nigerian Civil War or the Nigerian-Biafran War, lasted from July 6, 1967, until January 15, 1970, after which the federal government re-absorbed Biafra into Nigeria. Several million Eastern Nigerians died from the pogroms against them, such as the 1966 anti-Igbo pogrom where between 10,000 and 30,000 Igbo people were killed. In their struggle, the people of Biafra earned the respect of figures such as Jean-Paul Sartre and John Lennon, who returned his British honor, MBE, partly in protest against British collusion in the Nigeria-Biafra war. In July 2007 the former President of Biafra, Late General Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, renewed calls for the secession of the Biafran state as a sovereign entity.
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The Biafran War left Igboland devastated. Fighting had destroyed many hospitals, schools, and homes. In addition to the loss of their savings, many Igbo people faced discrimination from other ethnic groups and from the new non-Igbo federal government. Some Igbo subgroups, such as the Ikwerre, started dissociating themselves from the larger Igbo population after the war. In the post-war era, people of eastern Nigeria changed the names of both people and places to non-Igbo-sounding words. For instance, the town of Igbuzo was anglicized to Ibusa. Due to discrimination, many Igbo had trouble finding employment, and during the early 1970s, the Igbo became one of the poorest ethnic groups in Nigeria.
Igboland was gradually rebuilt by its citizens and some contribution from the Nigerian government over a period of twenty years and the economy prospered again due to the rise of the petroleum industry in the adjacent Niger Delta region. This led to the establishment of new factories in southern Nigeria. Many Igbo people eventually took government positions although many were engaged in private business. Since the early 21st century, there has been a wave of Nigerian Igbo immigration to other African countries, Europe, and the Americas.
The Igbo states in Nigeria are
- Abia State
- Anambra State
- Ebonyi State
- Enugu State
- Imo State
light sleeper, heavy dreamer.