Among the Ijaw people of old, there was a tradition called KINI-IYA, it means to adopt some one or to marry some one from a foreign land. At that time wealth in most Ijaw communities was measured based on the number of other people a man bought or adopted. This led to a rush to acquire as many Igbos as possible. Most Ijaw Chiefs had as many Igbo adopted people as possible and all these people were given equal rights and intermarried .In precolonial Nigeria, Igbos were the largest group in southern half of where became Nigeria, they were hardworking and resilient. A ceremony was always held where all the adopted people would be shaven in the public and given new Ijaw names. There after, these Igbos become full citizens of that particular Ijaw community.
This Ijaw custom was particularly widespread among the Epie, Okrika , Nembe, Ibani (i.e Bonny and Opobo) and the Kalabari Ijaw people of old. The remaining parts of Ijaw lands were founded by Igbos from the interior including Opobo, Bonny, Okrika, etc .
By Ibinabo Briggs .

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