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Obolo (Andoni) People

ILotombi Village Square, Akwa Ibom, Nigeria

The Andoni people of Rivers and Akwa Ibom States, of Nigeria, are a part of the Ijaw tribe and are also considered as a distinct ethnolinguistic group by others, and a people related to the Annang, Ibibio and Efik people of Akwa Ibom State and Cross River State in Nigeria. The Andoni people refer to God as Awaji or Owaji.

Historically, the Andoni (Idoni or Indo) before the colonial era had commercial contacts with European traders and with other Ijaw clans, such as the Bonny, Okrika, Kalabari, and Nkoro. The Andoni frequently fought wars with the Kingdom of Bonny. The Andoni people speak Obolo as the only native language after the complete loss their defaka Ijaw dialect. Obolo language is now a combination of Efik, Ibibio, Oron, and Ijaw dialects based on the original Ijaw intonation and Efik-Ibibio lexicon. Andoni villages and towns are situated on islands. Thus, Island I comprises Ngo ile Town, Akaradi province Ikuru Town, Unyeangala, Asukama, Agana, Egwede, Ayamboko Town Agwut-Obolo, Ilotombi, Ekede and stretched to Oyorokoto, the largest fishing settlement in Rivers State. Island II comprise Asarama Town, Unyeada, Egendem and other small villages and Island III has Ebukuma Town, Okoloile, Agbalek-Ama(Agbalama), Ama Ubulom, Ama Ngere Nkpon, Otako, Okorobo-Ile, Down Below, Asuk-Oyet, Ama Esuuk, Ama jaba, and several other smaller villages. In fact, it is believed that Island Three stands at the centre of Andoni as it is the link between Island One and Two. Island Four includes four major communities – Dema, Ibotirem, Samanga and Ajakajak, Dema being the largest. Across this stretch of land are parts of Ogoni. Other towns of Andoni that are situated on Island includes, Ataba Town and its many villages, Oron-Ijah, Egbomun, Ajakajak, Ibot-Irem, Isiodum, Iyon-Oron, Asarama-ija and many smaller fishing ports. Aerial view of these island display a sort of shattered constellation on the surface of water.

There is a historical link between the Okrika and the Andoni people. The Andoni people are the fiercest warriors in the Niger Delta, they have fought many wars with the Ogonis yet they are the best of friends. The Andoni (Obolo)also migrated and settled in various parts of Niger Delta and West Africa including Ibeno-Eket and Oron in Akwa Ibom, Andoni, Kala-Ido and Ogoloma in Okrika and Kalabari in Rivers State. The Andoni people are very cultural, among the key towns are Ngo (Gogo), Ebukuma, Ikuru (Ama Ikwut), Ataba, Ekede, Agwut-Obolo, Okoromboko, Okoroete, Iko, (Eastern Obolo axis), Asarama, Unyeada, Dema and Ilotombi and so many more. The Nwantam masquerade of Andoni celebrated every first January is one of the highlights of Obolo festivities, which they share with the Opobo, Nkoro, BonnyIjaws. Their ancient practices includes a writing system known as nsibidi, ofiokpo cult and the war dance. Some parts of the Andoni tribe can be reach by roads and all can be reached by sea. It is rich in Wildlife (Elephants, Monkeys, Species of Pythons, Tortoise etc. and Mineral resources. It is a growing tourist location in Rivers State.

Reference; Wikipedia

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ILotombi Village Square, Akwa Ibom, Nigeria

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