United Ijaw * Welcome to United Ijaw on the web. Our preference is national self determination, the independence of Ijawnation as a Sovereign State. A state that promotes sustainable economic and social development, democratic principles, liberty, free enterprise, equal rights and justice. This is our story, this is our struggle. **** On Kaiama Declaration We Stand **** United Nations Under Secretary-General, Dr. Antonio Maria Costa, in Abuja condemned the theft of Nigeria's assets by past corrupt leaders. He said that kleptomaniac leaders stole more than 400 billion dollars from the Nigerian treasury between 1960 and 1999. **** IJAWNATION THINK! THINK. **** Almost $170 billion of the country’s wealth disappeared and ended in the private accounts of individuals between 1999 and 2003 alone... Priye Torulagha ****Nigeria has failed Niger Delta – Nnamani **** Resource Control: Niger-Delta governors are traitors – Evah **** Only the fear of a volcanic social eruption from below can stop barbaric behaviour by holders of political power – Gani Fawehinmi ***** “ if the Confab and Nigerians are not willing to heed to Resource Control, they will take it by force” - Oronto Douglas We Dare To Be Different.


01 = Kene
02 = Mamu
03 = Taru
04 = Nien

05 = Sanran

06 = Siindie
07 = Sunoma
08 =Niengina

09 = Esei
10 = Oyi

15 = Diye
20 = Sii
30 = Sii Oyi
40 = Ma Sii
60 = Tra Sii

The Kaiama Declaration


What is Egbesu?

Ijaw History


United Ijaw States
POPULATION: 15,053,751

 We The Ijaws, the predominant indigenous people in the Niger Delta,  moved to the Delta over 7,000 years. We have a distinctive language.

The Niger River Delta, one of the largest and beautiful deltas in the world, is the largest delta in Africa, and it covers approximately 14,000 square miles (36,260 square kilometers). Its origination is in the highlands of the Fouta Djallon Plateau in western Guinea 150 miles (240 kilometers) from the Atlantic Ocean.

The Niger River is Africa's third longest river covering approximately 2,600 miles or 4185 kilometers. It flows northeast into Mali. In central Mali, the Niger forms a vast inland delta, a maze of channels and shallow lakes. Just below Timbuktu, the Niger bends, flowing first east, then southeast from Mali through the Republic of Niger, and finally into Nigeria.

At Lokoja in central Nigeria, the Niger is joined by its chief tributary, the Benue. The Niger then travels south 250 miles or 400 kilometers, becoming a great  fan shaped delta before emptying into the Gulf of Guinea. The Ijaws have called this delta home for over 7,000 years.

The Niger Delta covers an area of about 70,000 square kilometer, and is spread across eight of the 36 Nigerian states. These are Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers, Edo, Akwa Ibom, Ondo, Abia and Imo. It is endowed with immense natural resources, particularly crude oil.

SEIGBEIN is the ritual that precedes the Ijaw equivalent of the New Year. It is intended to clean the town of evil before the celebration of the Ijaw new year.

EFI FISHING FESTIVAL IN SABAGREIA: This festival is similar to the Arugungun fishing festival in northern Nigeria.




TROFANI SEIGBEIN.. very early in April. Hosting is on a rotational basis between the three compounds in Trofani. This is a week long colorful festival with dancing, masquerades and lots of food.

Some of  the most popular traditonal market centers in Ijawland include  (1)Tereke, (2)Iwoama, (3)Igwueama, (5)Lobia, (6) Yenagoa, (7) Patani.

1. ABADANI Buru-fe-uge ---ABADANI in OKOLOBA (KOLOKUMA) ----20th July every year.

AMASSOMA Seigbein----- AMASSOMA--- June every year. Hosting is rotated among the compounds in Amassoma.

EFI Imbi uge-----KALAMA in SEIBOKOROGHA(SABAGREIA)--about every seven years.

4.GBARAIN Uzu-------GBARAIN clan in YELGA------between the15th July and 22nd July every year.


Above Info: Courtesy of Dr. Ebiye Sami of Odi.

What is Egbesu?

Izon Cultural Studies

By IHD Copyright Ó 1998


What is Egbesu?

It is commonly stated that Egbesu is the god or deity of warfare. While this statement is correct, it is at the same time misleading as it does not address all the functions of the metaphysical intelligence, and how it relates in the divine scheme of things.

In order to answer the question who and what is Egbesu?, we must have a technical understanding of the cosmology of the Supreme Being (God!), and how It governs the universe. We can use a number of references texts to aid our task, such as the Christian Bible, or even older sacred books such as the Ancient Egyptian Book known as "The Book of Knowing the Forms of the Creator".

In the Christian Bible, in the book of Genesis 2.26 the Supreme Being is made to say "Let us make man in our image". This gives us the impression that the Supreme Being is talking to other lesser beings. Indeed this is the case. In Psalm 82 we have the following statement;

"God has taken his place in the divine council; in the mist of the gods he holds judgement:"

In the Jewish, Christian and Islamic tradition, these other or lesser beings or smaller gods! are called "angels", meaning "messengers of God". In the Ancient African spiritual tradition, from which the above mentioned religions learnt most of their spiritual doctrines, these lesser beings or gods are known as metaphysical or spiritual or divine intelligence’s. They are the attributes or forms of God, also known as the forces of nature that govern the visible and invisible universe. They are not apart from God, but are the forms of the God that It uses in administrating the universe. This is made clear in the book of Revelations (Christian Bible) and from ancient African texts such as the "Book of Knowing the Forms of the Creator", which for the record is the oldest Book concerning the nature of the Supreme Being, preceding the Bible by Thousand of years. Parts of it which state;

"…The Book of knowing the forms of the Creator, and of overthrowing evil

. The words of the Lord of the universe which He spoke after he had come into being. I am he who came into being in the form of the Creator, coming into being in the beginning. I came into being in the forms of the Creator. I am the creator of what came into being, that is to say, I produced myself…… I was alone not born were they…. And I even I came into being in the form of the things which came into being, and I came into being in the forms of the Creator. I came into being from the formless matter, coming into being in a multitude of forms from the beginning. Not existed created things in the universe. I made whatever was made, everything. I was alone, not existed any other who worked with me…..

This is a paraphrased extract for the easy understanding of the reader. What it tells us is that the Supreme Being comes into being as the Creator of the universe, while at the same time, It comes into being in the forms of the Creator, and as the created things. Breaking it down we have God manifesting Itself as the Almighty Creator, as the forms of the Almighty Creator or metaphysical intelligence’s, and as the creatures (ie to say, the spirit of God at the centre of all things dwelling as our essential nature.

We have now established that the Supreme Being manifests Itself in a multitude of forms, the forms of God or the metaphysical intelligence’s being the forms of God that Itself uses to govern the universe. It manifests at the centre of man’s being as the divine self or spirit of God dwelling within. On the other hand God as the "Unmanifested One" in Its essential nature is formless and non-visible. Thus ultimately God has no image and is therefore invisible. It cannot be perceived but can perceive all things.

The Spiritual culture of the Ijo can be traced back to the ancient city of Annu or Onnu (Heliopolis to the ancient Greeks , the On of the Bible, the city where Moses the Hebrew lawgiver was educated). This city was a major theological centre of ancient Egypt and ancient Africa, even the whole ancient world. It was also one of the main intellectual centres that was the foundation of ancient African spiritual culture. At Annu was centralised the cultivation of the Creative attributes or aspects of the Supreme Being in the form of Tem the Almighty Creator, his female counterpart Temeta, the Supreme Intelligence Atum, and his energy/power aspects known as Ra. Now these terms are direct translations of the ancient Egyptian language, by present day Egyptologists. In modern Ijo, these terms have survived in the form of Temeowei or Temuno (Tem), Tamara (Temeta), Adumu (Atum) and Urau (Ra), the Egyptology ancient Egyptian rendition in brackets . This is born out by the following extracts;


The creator deity in Ijo religion is feminine. Thus most of the words which refer to the Supreme Being are feminine. TAMARA is the woman who created us; WOYIN means 'our mother'. WODAU is a Christian version of our father. ZIBARA is the deity that gives life. It is from her that the Ijo ask for blessings in life. It is on your knees that you plead to Zibara..... Foot note; Zibara - Goddess of prophecy, divination, often called upon along with the Creative Deity Tamara. Teme - Life-Breath, soul the double. Oru - god, goddess, a major deity, as distinct from Tamara or Woyin, Woyingi, Tamuno, Oyibau, Temeowi...."

"....The supreme creator God is the basic part of all Ijo religion. In the eastern delta, God is Ayiba (begetter as well as killer) or Tamuno (creator). In the poetry of the drum, God is Oloma Ogina, or Oloman Ogina. In the central and western delta, God is Woyin (our mother) Ayibarau (she who begets and kills), Oginarau, and Tamarau (creator). God is a female idea among the matrilineal Ijo..."

"...The religion of the Ijo, who are perhaps the most ancient people in West Africa, is still distinct from that of all surrounding tribes. The supreme deity, partly identified with the sky, is a Goddess called Tamuno by the Kalabari, Ayiba by the Brass people and Tamara by the western section of the tribe - who is deemed to have created everything, man, animals, trees, etc. The symbol to which sacrifices are made, especially by children is a clay pot, containing black earth, and which is most rare. Second only to Tamuno comes the earth god, Amakiri.... It is interesting to find that in this most ancient of the tribes, the earth deity is male and that of the sky is female like the early Egyptian Geb or Seb and Nut whose offspring’s, according to Heliopolitan doctrine were Osiris, Isis, Set, Nephtys and Horus Anubis. It should be remarked also that it is this tribe where the mother Goddess is still supreme that the clearest traces are to be found of the dual organisation, of religious and civil or war chiefs..."

Because of the ancient roots of Ijo spiritual culture, it is not surprising that Ijo culture expresses knowledge of certain fundamental spiritual concepts, such as the Tree of Life spiritual initiation system, as practised by the cosmological/theological school of Annu, reincarnation and the survival of the soul after physical death, ancestor communication ritual with the deification of ancestors. Most of all is the conceptualisation of the Supreme Being as the Almighty Creator, who manifests Itself in the form of the Supreme Creator of the Universe (God), in the forms of the Supreme Creator (metaphysical intelligence’s or deities, so called angels or gods) and as the creatures that make up the universe (as the inner intelligence dwelling in all things including human beings).

Oru in modern Ijo is the survival of the ancient Egyptian term Horu or Heru (Horus), which means deity or god. It also corresponds to the co-ordinating functions of the Will of God as manifested in the universe, and at the same time the co-ordinating function of the will of man, as manifested in our mental (mind) expression. Teme means to make, or create, or the creative essence, and again is the same as the ancient Egyptian Tem which means Creator. Thus Oru-Teme or Teme-Oru, refers to the Supreme Creator manifesting in Its various forms, which we understand to be the metaphysical intelligence’s or spiritual entities which are termed deities or gods and goddesses (Oru).

The term Oru has caused much controversy within Ijo traditional thought, because Christian missionaries translated the term to mean devil. The term does not mean devil, for the concept of the devil as an evil spirit ebing is non existent in Ijo theology. Oru or Eru derived from the ancient term Horu (Horus) or Heru. The fact that Oru does not mean devil is borne out in the story of the fight between Horu and Set. In this ancient Egyptian story. Horu is the principle of good, while Set (the Christian Satan) is the principle of evil. Horus or Oru also corresponds to the angel Michael in the Hebrew tradition.

The term Oru also means deity or god/goddess and corresponds to the Christian concept of angel. Indeed it is the same, because an Oru is a servant or messenger of God.

Ijo traditional spiritual culture places much emphasis on the mental focusing on the Orus or servants of God. The Orus exist to help human beings in their day to day running of their affairs. Since it is the Orus (metaphysical intelligence’s or forces of nature) that govern the natural world, and the governing of the natural world has not been known to fail, we can see how cultivating an Oru would benefit the individual and society. This is because Ijo culture has the correct understanding that, in order to manifest an aspect of the Supreme Being (God) one must become at one with the attribute that one is focusing on. The mental focusing on a divine attribute is called worship. It is through worship that one is able to awaken the divine attribute within oneself. This is what worshipping God is all about.

The Tree of Life Cosmological Schema: To understand Ijo spiritual culture one must be familiar with the Tree of Life cosmological scheme authored by the priests and priestess of the great Nile Valley civilisations of ancient Egypt and ancient Sudan, which is a diagramatical summary of the various attributes of the Supreme Being in numerical form. Here we will give you eleven attributes of the Supreme Being in their gender, and with their Ijo names and the meaning in English. Together they summarise the totality of God and are the underlying metaphysical intelligence’s that govern the physical universe. They are as follows;

* Woyingi-Tamara and Temeowei (The Supreme Mother Goddess and Father God as the Supreme Being’s Creative dualities that are the source of all things). feminine and masculine

* Adumu or Esseru or Asain (The Supreme Being manifesting as the Supreme Intelligence or the Divine Self i.e. God’s spirit dwelling within each of our being). masculine

* Tau or Tautu (The Supreme Being manifesting as the universal knowledge or omniscience-wisdom metaphysical intelligence). masculine

* Sokari or Benikurukuru (The Supreme Being manifesting as the universal spiritual power or omnipotence metaphysical intelligence). feminine

* Ayibara or Ayiba or Oginara (The Supreme Being manifesting as the metaphysical intelligence that is the embodiment of the divine law and order of the cosmos). feminine

* Egbesu or Ako-oru or Agdagba-oru (The Supreme Being manifesting as the metaphysical intelligence that enforces the divine laws and secures the divine natural order of things). masculine

* Oru or Kalasuo or Kalaoru (The Supreme Being manifesting as the metaphysical intelligence that co-ordinates the universe). masculine

* Oruamina (The Supreme Being manifesting as the metaphysical intelligence that gathers the metaphysical or spiritual energy to give rise to all things). feminine

* Ari or Seki (The Supreme Being manifesting as the metaphysical intelligence that differentiates all things into various categories). masculine

* Zibara or Beniara (The Supreme Being manifesting as the metaphysical intelligence that moulds a metaphysical or spiritual image or form of all things-the so called spiritual double or metaphysical personality). feminine

* Ogbo or Kiri-Ogbo or Amakiri. (The Supreme Being manifesting as the metaphysical intelligence that generates and presides over the physical realm, earthly laws and living). masculine

These various attributes of the Supreme Being correspond to the so called different names of God in other religions (e.g Benikurukuru corresponds to the Shekina power of the Hebrew tradition), and to the much misunderstood term angel of Christianity and Islam. In the Tree of Life system, level 0 is God, formless and invisible, of which everyone talks about while 1-10 are the so called angels or gods/goddesses, the forms of God that It uses to govern the universe.

When God creates the universe, It first lays down the laws that the universe is to be based on and governed by. These laws translate as the hidden patterns of nature and the laws of interdependence and interrelationship between all things, seen and unseen. In short the so called laws of nature. After making these laws, God manifests an attribute of Itself that will enforce the laws.

Laws are useless if there are no means of enforcing them. This aspect or principle of God is termed "divine enforcer" divine executor". And since it is used to restore law and order when there is an infringement, it is also termed the god of war, meaning that it is the manifestation of God fighting against the forces that threaten the divine order. In the Christian tradition, it is the angel that holds the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain used to lock up the dragon Satan the devil, principle of evil (Revelations 20.). In the Ijaw spiritual tradition it is known as Egbesu (bearing in mind that Angels or Oru are non other than the various manifestations of the Supreme Being which It uses to govern the universe).

Egbesu is also known by other names in Ijaw language, such as Agadagba-oru, Ako-oru, Dirimo-oru or Dirimo-asain, to name a few. Egbesu is the offensive and defensive power of God used to protect righteous people from the forces of evil. This was understood by the Ijaws and also neighbouring tribes such as the Edo. In his Book ‘Benin (1971) subsection ‘Some Tribal Gods of Southern Nigeria (1951) page 22, J U Egharevba comments on the Gods of the Ijaws:

" Tamaran or Aiyiba by Brass people and Tamuno by the Kalabaris: Deity, God, the Supreme Being; the Creator. Egbesu: The God of defence or protection next to Tamaran both in power and in importance. But very antogonistic against the evil doers. It is also the God of war; "

Egbesu is the spiritual foundation for combating evil. It is the main spiritual tool (weapon) for overcoming evil. It is used to enforce the divine order in the natural realm, so that all things coming into being can take place in their own space and time without infringing upon other things. It is used to make sure that all things are functioning as a unified whole, despite their outward differences. Of the utmost importance to human beings is its influence in the social order, whether we know it or not. Like it or not, the social order constructed by human beings must follow the blueprint of the universe as laid out by the Almighty Creator. When it is not so then social disorder is the result.

Two major principles must be adhered to when constructing a society. The first is that all things, be they human beings, interest groups or animals, must not infringe on each others time and space, following the principle that no two things can occupy the same time and space at the same time. The second is that all things, be they human beings, interest groups, enterprises, animals and plants, are part of a unified system function as a whole. This is evident in ecosystems, but is applicable to human society as well. As such anything that threatens the smooth functioning of the whole system, through infringement of other’s time and space, must be restored to its proper role, through force if it is not a free agent, and by a combination of force and gentle persuasion if it is a free agent.

The only free agents in the universe outside of God are human beings. Not even the so called angels are free. Thus in the divine order, things are forced back into equilibrium if they threaten to go astray. That is why nature has not been known to fail. In the social order constructed by human beings, it is another matter. It is here that Egbesu plays a leading role in making sure that society is governed by moral principles instead of greed.

A look at the function of angels will give us an understanding of why the Ijaw invoke Egbesu anytime their society and environment is at risk of annihilation. We are told by specialists on the subject of religion that;

"..Muhammadan theologians declare that the angels are created of a simple substance of light, and that they are endowed with life, and speech, and reason; they are incapable of sin, they have no carnal desire, they do not propagate their species, and they are not moved by the passions of wrath and anger; their obedience is absolute. Their meat is the celebrating of the glory of God, their drink is the proclaiming of His holiness, their conversation is the commemorating of God, and their pleasure is His worship. Curiously enough, some are said to have the form of animals. Four of the angels are Archangels viz. Michael, Gabriel, Azrael and Israel, and they possess special powers, and special duties are assigned to them. These four are superior to all the human race, with the exception of the Prophets and Apostles, but the angelic nature is held to be inferior to human nature because all the angels were commanded to worship Adam……The Archangels in this system are described as a "swift operative motion," which has dominion over every living thing except man; and the Angels are a motion which has spiritual knowledge of everything that is on earth and in heaven……."

A number of important points come out of the extract. Angels are absolutely obedient to the will of God, therefore they are not free agents. If they are not free agents then there cannot be any fallen angels. Lucifer or Satan a so called fallen angel is in reality a personification of the corrupted mind of man used in the infringement of the divine social order. The fight between good and evil, is not a fight between God on one side, and a fallen angel on the other side, but a fight within the mind of man, and the social order constructed by human beings, between what principles should govern society and human behaviour, either they are divine moral principles, or principles based on human desires, which ultimately leads to greed. This is the evil.

Another important point is that angels take on the form of animals or human (metaphysically speaking. Read Revelations) when perceived in a vision. Africans have been in the past, accused of animal worship. Again this is false, for they are not worshipping animals, but using the animal like forms communicated to them by the angels (messengers of God) to invoke the forces of nature, so that the divine social order is established in the affairs of man. Revelations 4 confirms that the metaphysical or spiritual intelligence’s otherwise called angels (the messengers of God that communicate the divine impulses of God to the minds of humans) take on the form of animals or humans when appearing in a vision.

We are now in a position to elaborate on Egbesu. Repeating what we said earlier;

Egbesu operates on the principle of synergy. All factors that will establish righteousness must come into play before the force of Egbesu produces an effect. Egbesu cannot be utilised by the ordinary man as he or she lacks spiritual discipline. The Divine Enforcer or Corrective Force of the Supreme Being known as the deity or god of warfare (to the layman) can only be utilised by the righteous or upright beings (through wise guidance wage a war that is just). It cannot be called upon by evil doers or be used for dubious purposes. The Divine Enforcer, as the god, deity or angel of warfare is not called upon to start a war, but to end injustice, conflict and confusion. He comes not to start a war, but to end it. That is why it is only in exceptional circumstances that it is called upon. One of these exceptional circumstances is when an individual or community is under attack from other communities with evil or diabolical intentions (evil forces), and they themselves are innocent and blameless.

In Ijo the Divine Enforcer is known by several names such as Egbesu, Dirimo-asain, Agadagba-oru, Ako-oru. The Egbesu is the defensive and offensive power of the Supreme Being used to uphold the divine laws of nature, and to protect the upright or righteous from evil. If you are a person who consistently infringes divine law (i.e. the laws of natural justice), or commits wrong, then you cannot call upon Agadagba or Egbesu to help you in times of strife or conflict. That is why the priests of Agadagba require all persons who seek the protection of the Divine Enforcer to confess their sins. After a sincere confession, and a further commitment to uphold righteousness and truth in times of strife and conflict, you will be protected within the circumstances you find yourself, i.e. to say an individual or community will be protected by Egbesu as long as they themselves do not infringe the laws that are enforced by Egbesu.

The symbol of divine force is the leopard. Therefore the leopard is sacred to the Agadagba or Egbesu priesthood. (In the Christian tradition Egbesu is the angel of God who chains the Dragon Satan, the principle of evil and confines him to the bottomless pit for a thousand years- Book of Revelations Chapter 20, verse 1)

Egbesu is the aspect of God that manifests as a metaphysical or spiritual intelligence that is responsible for the maintenance of the divine order. Any infringement of the divine order is met with a force that restores the equilibrium between all things. Since human beings live in a world that is a part of the divine social order, any human being that infringes on the laws of nature will automatically feel the effects of that infringement. Put in a graphic way, if you infringe the laws of fire or heat, you will get burnt, if you infringe the laws of health, you will fall sick.

Egbesu is the offensive and defensive power of God used to protect the righteous or upright people from the forces of evil. Egbesu is the corrective force of God used to restore order when there has been an infringement within a unified natural system such as an ecosystem, which as we said earlier is ultimately a part of the divine order created by God. Egbesu is the divine enforcer and executioner. You reap what your sow as the saying goes. Egbesu is the divine security agent of God, securing the social order of societies that abide by the laws of nature, securing the minds of individuals who uphold divine law, from negative psychic influences or attacks released by other minds.

All things, all individuals, function in the divine scheme of things that is known as the universe. If an individual is a constant transgressor or deliberately infringes the divine order as represented by the laws of nature, then you cannot expect to be protected by divine law. Therefore you can only receive protection from Egbesu if you yourself are not a transgressor or constant infringer of divine law. If you are not a transgressor you have the right to defend yourself and your society against infringement by persons who seek to do so. You also have a right to implement justice on behalf of the whole society that is being destabilised, and the corrective forces of God will assist you in doing so. This is Egbesu.

Individuals who are in full compliance with the divine order, such as an Egbesu priest, have the ability to invoke the corrective forces (Egbesu) of God, if the social and environmental order within the human habitat is destabilised. This invoking of Egbesu will take on the form of waging aggressive warfare against the forces that are causing the destabilisation and disharmony, with the aim of re-establishing order and harmony, while at the same time being protected from harm. That is why Egbesu is termed the god of warfare. It is not invoked to cause war, but to end injustice wherever it may be.

Seeking Assistance from Egbesu:

Seeking the assistance of the corrective forces of God to correct an injustice or infringement of our fundamental rights to make a living means living in harmony with the laws governing the universe. You cannot do it any other way. Thus an Egbesu priest, and the men who will carry out the defensive work will undergo a training programme that will harmonise their being with the offensive and defensive power of God. After the training programme, and in accordance to the sincerity of the individuals undergoing it, Egbesu will protect them and help them carry out their task of restoring law and order in the land, or righting a wrong. In an emergency situation an Egbesu priest can invoke the corrective forces of God to help a community in a conflict situation where they are clearly innocent, and are being victimised. All men or soldiers engaged in physical combat must as a matter of priority confess their sins, while at the same time make a sincere commitment to fight according to divine law. This means that innocent people are not victimised in a warfare situation, even if your own people are.

In calling upon the benevolent forces of God in times of conflict, where it is clear that you are not at fault or guilty of infringing the divine order, you must not give in to fear. Any time you give in to fear, you deny God dwelling within. God dwelling within is non other than the inner intelligence guiding all things. So if you deny It then it will not come to your aid in times of crises. Easier said than done. This is where the training or initiation program becomes essential. The individuals undergoing the training exercises will go through the following stages;

Confess all wrong doing, and make a sincere commitment to live by divine law (the laws of nature). This means that certain things can only be done or engaged in at certain times according to the cycles of nature.

Undergo a training program of overcoming the fear of death.

Learn the signs and symbols that correspond to Egbesu, and using these signs and symbols as energy conduits to channel the energy of Egbesu through the initiate in any warfare or conflict situation.

A brief summary of the signs and symbols of Egbesu are as follows;

The symbol of the leopard, representing the natural aggressiveness needed to overcome your enemies. The leopards teeth are used for ceremonial purposes.

The symbol of Black (hence the term Dirimo-oru) representing the essential nature of God, formless and invisible, and the death like state that consciousness must experience in order to come face to face with the essential nature of God. Black is also the symbol of the omnipotent or spiritual power of God. All things, all colours come out of and return to the infinite and eternal Blackness that is at the beginning of time (Read Genesis).

The symbol of White, representing the clear and clean conscience or mind that must be in harmony with the divine laws and order so that one can receive protection against the forces of evil. If there is a blood stain, representing wrong doing, it will be seen on the white garment. All priests wear white garments.

The symbol of Red representing the fiery fire energy that must be generated in order to be successful in combat, and generate a protective energy shield while in action. It also represents danger. That is to say Egbesu is a danger to evil doers, so beware. It also represents blood. Like it or not blood will be shed. Just make sure that it is not innocent blood, if not you will be liable.

These symbols are used by an Egbesu priest to generate a combatant type personality, in even someone who was previously a coward. They are now prepared for warfare against the forces that seek to infringe or violate the divine social order.

We are now in a position to understand why Egbesu has been invoked by concerned Ijaw people in the protection of the Niger Delta environment our home, against those who seek to destroy it through ecological and environmental degradation caused by oil exploration, and against those neighbouring people and the corrupt elite who are ruling Nigeria, who want to infringe and violate the God given rights of Ijaw people to a fair share of the resources that are being generated by our homeland.

For Egbesu to be 100 percent effective in protecting the collective interests of the Ijaw people there is a demand placed on us to become unified in purpose and root out corruption within our mist. Without these conditions. Egbesu will aid us according to our due. The law of "you reap what you sow" must take its course.



Ijaw History (From Ijawnation Yahoogroups Archive -
by Mr. Benaebi Benatari of IPA, UK.)

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.

The term Ijaw is the anglicised version of Ijo or Ejo, a variation of Ujo or Ojo, the ancestor who gave the Ijo people our name. Other modern variations include Izon (Ijon), Ezon (Ejon) and Uzon (Ujon) meaning the same thing. Other names referring to Ijaw people are Uzo (at Benin), the original ancestral name Oru (in Ijaw and Ibo land) and Kumoni (in Ijaw). These names were applicable through the Niger Delta and environs as noted by early British visitors;

"... The early British explorers applied the curious name "ORU" to the Ijo west of Brass from the Nun entrance to Taylor creek, Dr Baikie said of them in 1854. 'From the mouth of the river (NUN) up to this point (TAYLOR CREEK), the country on either side is named ORU. The people are of the same tribe as who inhabit the tract of country up to the Rio Formoso where however they are called EJO or OJO by which name they are known at Abo, at Brass and even Bonny, by English palm oil traders. They are often termed Jo-men. Throughout this district but one language is spoken with but little dialectical difference....Dr Bakie does not explain where he got the name Oru as the appropriate term for Ijaw. the word means "a God" in Nembe and it is clear the explorer did not get it from a Nembe source….In 1906 Major Arthur Glyn Leonard listed a number of tribes of the Delta, distinguishing an Oru as well as an Ijo tribe..."The Oru occupy the tract of country on each side of the Nun branch of the Niger and along the coastline between it and the Ramos river. Then in the triangle formed by the Nun and the Gana-Gana, also outside it, to a small extent, both eastward and westward, dwell the Ijo the most important tribe in the lower Delta, and indeed after the Ibo in the whole of Southern Nigeria..."[1]

“..About three hours from Sunday Island, we came to inhabited villages; we induced two canoes to come off, from who we learnt that the people between Brass and Aboh are called Oru…”[2]

“….July 2:…Some of the neighbouring chiefs of Oru came off, with whom we had conversation about legal trade…”[3]

“…November 3: weighed early this morning, and anchored of Agberi, the first Oru village below the Aboh district…”[4]

“…The Oru or Ijo or Udso of Koelle are identical with Brass, at the mouth of the Nun on the coast, otherwise called Hebu or Nempe by their Ibo neighbours. This language is spoken to the extent of 100 miles from the mouth of the Nun, to the boundary of Abo territory: how far inland towards Benin, on the right and towards the Ibo country on the left is yet unknown…”[5]

The original collective names for the ancestors of the Ijos were “Kumoni” and “Oru”, survivals of the ancient terms of “Khem-Anu” or “Khem-Onu”, and “Horu” of the ancient Nile valley civilisations of Khem or Kemetu (ancient Egypt) and Kush (ancient Sudan). The Kumoni-oru derived from ancient Egypt via Ife, while the Oru derived from ancient Sudan. Now the earliest ancestors of the Ijos, the “Orus” or “Tobu-Otu”, migrated from the lake Chad aquatic civilisation of Daima region (c 5000-2000 BCE). Their settlement in the delta was from the earliest of times. Unfortunately not much is known about this period, only that traditionally it is said that these early ancestors “dropped from the sky” (i.e. to say the Orus were of divine origin), and were devotees of spiritual culture that made much use of the waters (hence the mermaid and water people legends “Beni-Otu”) They were later to be joined by other ancestors “Kumoni-Orus” from about 400 CE, and 650 CE (AD), who, after settling first in the Nupe and Borgu regions, then the Ile-Ife region, moved to the Benin region via Nupe, and Ife. In the Benin region they eventually settled and launched expeditions into the Niger Delta, where they came across remote settlements of the Orus, whom they termed “ancient people”. But because they were also ultimately Oru, from the beginning they established communities as one people. The Ijos were known by the two names of Kumoni or Oru up till the time of the 19th century. European visitors noted the name Oru as a distinct term for Ijaw. Likewise the compilers of the Izon/English dictionary noted that “to speak Kumoni is to speak pure Izon language”. The term Ijo (Ijaw) or Izon evolved as the name of the whole ethnic nationality through time, even though as a personal name it derived from one ancestor who was known as Ujo, whom as we have previously mentioned, represents the time when the Ijos evolved as a distinct separate people from their neighbours.

The Formation of the Ijo ethnic nation was a gradual process. We have the period prior to 400 CE i.e. 500 BCE to 700 CE (AD), of which the proto-Ijos or “ancient people” ancestors (Tobu Otu) or Oru settled in the central delta and fused with later immigrants. Then we have the time of; 700-1200 CE (AD), where we have the ancient Kumoni-oru ancestors who came with the ancestor Ujo ultimately from Upper Egypt, migrating through Ile-Ife and other places such as Gbara in Nupe, establishing further settlements at Agadagba-bou in Igbedi creek, and the Nun river in present day Kolokuma Ijo. It was from here that the bulk of the ancient ancestors fused and founded several towns and clans and the beginnings of the Ijaw evolving as a distinct ethnic nationality.

After establishing at Igbedi creek, Ujo sent for more of his people who were at Wari-Ife/Warige and Ujama or Uzama (i.e. Ado or Beni). This was at the very beginning of the foundation of Beni, and it is this account that some traditions mention Benin as a place of origin (also a district around Nupe was also called Beni, founded by the Beni clan of Kumoni, with capital at Gbara);

“…The first place of Ujo’s encampment in his journey from Ile-Ife was the site where Benin City now stands. Then like the Yorubas all the tribes founded by members of Ujo’s retinue and by Ujo himself claimed that place (Benin City) as the place of their original settlement whence they emigrated….”[6]

“…The Origin of the Ijos. There are lots of different opinions about the origin of the Ijos. Some anthropologist say that the Ijos 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.... In general the Ijos themselves believe that they came from Benin and in fact most of their traditional stories and folklore refer to Benin. yet we are left to wonder the great difference in language among the Ijos and Benin. If we should assume the belief that the Ijos came from Benin according to the natives it might be that the Ijos left Benin far earlier than any other tribe migrating from Benin...."[7]

The original ancestral settlements founded by the proto-Ijos in the central delta were, Agadagba-bou (first home of Ujo in the central delta), in Igbedi Creek, Isoma-bou along the Nun river, Opuan-bou in the same area, and Orubiribua-bou, also in the same area, and Abo, with its villages, further up the Niger.

When they came and settled in the central delta, the ancestors personified by Ujo, after establishing their authority over preexisting settlements (central delta), instructed an expedition force to go and guard the mouth of the delta and other important places along the coast as stipulated by his father King Adumu. These people became the ancestors of several Izon clans. Keni Opu Ala or Keni-Ala, the holy seer (Asain) of Adumu, the Supreme Intelligence symbolized by the sacred serpent python, was the ancestor who founded Ke or Keni and its daughter towns. Kula and Bille were also founded in this way. Ogulagha and Iduwini, were founded as a result of proto ancestors settling in the western coastal delta, to guard that region. Oguru (alias Kala-Ogbo who gave his name to Warri region (Ogbo Ijo) settled the area now known as Warri region, these ancestors were to be joined by people from Oporoma. Others such as Kuru, founded the Kru people (they seem to have been proto-Ijos), who eventual migrated to the present day Liberia region, while some ended up settling in present day Ghana region.

After many years of settlement Ujo left his headquarters in Igbedi creek in charge of the Agadagba of Egbesu (military officer), and decided to go back to Otu-Ife. He traveled with nine companions including his grandson Apoi (Opoi) the son of Kala-Okun. Without a skilled astronomer they got lost and decided to settle in a creek near the vicinity of the Nun river. It was here they founded the village of Apoi. Ujo made his permanent home with his grandson Apoi at the quarter now known as Okoto-aja. It was here that he died and was buried. Ujo who was titled Kalasuo, gave the title to his grandson Apoi, since then the rulers of Apoi clan have been titled “Kalasuo”. From the central Apoi, a section migrated to the western delta, to found Apoi Ijo of the Ondo region. Also from the central Apoi, was founded Akassa clan along the coast.

The ancient town of Ujo-Gbaran or Gbaran for short was founded by Gbaran an elder son of Ujo. Gbaran was given the scepter of Ujo on the death of his father. Later on his descendants went and founded the town of Oporo-aja (Oproza) in the western delta region of Escravos, to give birth to the Gbaranmatu and also Arogbo in Ondo area. Children of Ujo, Olodi and Oporo, went and established a common settlement, from which descendants founded Oporoma and Olodiama clans. From Olodiama in central delta, ancestors left to found Olodiama in the western delta near Benin, and also ancestors left to found Olodiamabiri and Onyomabiri and other towns, to form Nembe clan. From Agadagba-bou was also founded Ogbia (Ogbo-Oyan) clan who are the descendants of Oyan. From the same Agadagba-bou, led by Opu-Ogbo, was founded, Isoma-bou or Opuan-bou, from which ancestors later migrated to found, Ekpetiama, and Seimbiri clans.

The last to leave the ancient town of Agadagba-bou, were the ancestors of the Opukuma, Kolokuma, Tarakiri and Andoni. Opu-Okun was the ancestor of the Opukuma, while Kala-Okun was the ancestor of the Kolokuma, both were children of Ujo by the same mother. Tara a younger child of Ujo was the ancestor of the Tarakiri, while Ayama the son of Tara was the ancestor of the Andoni in eastern Ijo,. The Andoni (ruler known as the Andoni-Oru) town of Asarama was founded by Asara or Assa an ancient ancestor descendant of Ayama.. At that remote period most of the ancestors lived in Igbedi creek at Agadagba-bou and the immediate environs of the Nun river. Afterwards their descendants migrated all over the delta. Lastly Abowi, the Asain (seer) of Ujo who led the migration from Otu-Ife or Ile-Ife, journeyed up the river Niger to establish a number of villages which gave rise to Abo and Atani (ruler known as the Atani-Oru). Abo or Aboh and Atani no longer speak Izon language.

Lastly we have the 1200-1600 CE (AD) period; From these early formations and migrations sprang other clans, while at the same time ancestors joined the Ijo of the delta at the beginning of the 12th century up to the 16th century CE or AD when the old Napata kingdom collapsed at Gbara, the Adumu or Oduduwa dynasty was overthrown at Ile-Ife, the last Ogiso Kaladiran, were overthrown at Benin City, and civil strife at Benin caused people to leave. From the central delta Apoi, was founded the Apoi of the western delta area of Ondo. From Oproza town in Gbaranmatu clan was founded at the end of the 15th century, Kabo, Kumbo and Gbaran clans, which was the result of a large family migration from Oproza town about 1480. From Kumbo was founded Okparabe. From Gbaran town in central Izon, was founded Effurun and Uvwie. Efferun a descendant of Gbaran, elder son of Ujo, was the ancestor of the Effurun in upper Warri area, while Owei was the ancestor of the Uvwei. Likewise from Gbaran was founded via Efferun, the Tuomo clan. From Oporoma was founded the Operemo clan, and some went to join the Ogbos, descendants of Kala-Ogbo to become the Ogbe-Ijo clan. From the Isedani lineage of Kolokuma, led by Opumakuba and Alagbariye (alias Kala-Beni), a migration to the eastern delta coast founded the Ibeni or Ibani clan now known as Bonny early in the 12/13th century. From the Isoma-bou area along the Nun, was founded Obiama, from which came Boma and Ogboin. Izon who lived at Benin city later joined these ancestors. From Benin City, migrated Beni-Izon people who were fleeing the local wars. They founded Obotebe, and Beni (Oyakiri) clans. The ancestor Mein, who was Beni-Izon, i.e. an Izon citizen of Benin, and his family migrated from Benin City because the reigning Oba had started to confiscated the private lands and property for his own use. Mein settled in Igbedi creek and founded the town of Ogobiri. From Ogobiri, was founded the Mein of the western delta. Perebokekalakebari shortened to Kalabari the grandson of Mein was the ancestor who founded Kalabari clan.

Basan, Furupagha and Tungbo was also founded about this time, through ancestors coming from Nupe, Oporoma, Kolokuma and Ke. Other clans include the Buseni and Okodia, who hailed from Kolokuma and Benin-Izon (Ado), Egbema from Iduwini and Operemo. Okirika or Kirikeni hailed from Isoma-bou, Andoni, and Ogboin,. Others include the Ndoki, who came from Isedani of Kolokuma, but now speak Ibo, Nkoro or small Okirika, Zarama and Egbema of Imo region, Opobo (1800), who hailed from the house of Opubo of Ibani (Bonny) and Oruma, whose other name is Tugbene hailing from Oboloma. Altogether they constitute the Ijo people who stretch from the eastern shores to the western shores of the Nigerian coast.


[1] Alagoa E J (1964) The Small Brave City State, p7.

[2] Crowder S (1970 2nd Edition) Journal of an Expedition Up the Niger and Tshadda [Benue] Rivers undertaken by Macgregor Laird in 1854 - Missionary Research and Travels no.15, p10.

[3] Ibid, p13

[4] Ibid, p194

[5] Ibid, p199

[6] Owonaru S K, op cit, p118.

[7] Neiketien P B (1941) A Short History of Tarakiri Clan, p27.