The history of Grand Bonny is rich and also diverse. That said, Bonny has been a significant destination for all people, be it the Europeans or groups in the hinterland. Today we will be succinctly discussing the interactions of Bonny Igbos [Ubani's] and its neighbors. This is an exciting read, so the author hopes the reader stays put to the end!
Koller was a German physician who was said to have spent about four months in Bonny in 1840. Moreover, he sure made good use of the time jotting down facts and the people's way of life. Moreover, the reader would not blame him, we humans are thirsty for knowledge, so it was a typical attitude to know the ways of life of the people who accommodated him.
He was said to make good use of the time collecting wordlists, recording all types of detailed observations about the various ways of Bonny people. In his overbearing conclusion and facts, it was thereby seen that Bonny indeed had Igbo solid ties and was more or less, in fact, of Igbo origin. This was not only based on trade but cultural practices as well.
This is no discovery at the time, Captain Hugh Crow of Liverpool had stated directly without an iota of objection on his part. The author quotes him directly, "The King of New Calabar, in the neighborhood, and Pepple, the King of Bonny, were both of Eboe descent, of which are also the mass of the natives; and the number of the slaves from the Eboe country, which throughout the existence of British trade were taken from Bonny, amounted to about three-fourth of the whole export." (Captain Hugh Crow, Memoirs of the Late Captain Hugh Crow of Liverpool, P. 196) Now that we have a brush with some of the facts, this short article is written to describe the significance of Bonny Igbo's [Ubani's] history and sheds light on the Bonny- coastal and hinterland relations and the role of Igboland [their culturally and historically related kith and kins] as an exporter of agricultural produce and metallic products. This, the author must say, has been ignored and neglected by historians, which has encouraged fabrications of all sorts when it concerns the true history of Grand Bonny and its people [more pitifully, the historians of various universities have been asleep when it comes to Bonny's history, which had made way for all sort of fabrications. And if it weren't for the British and all other foreign documentation, we would indeed have been with a different story altogether] Igbo was and is still the language widely spoken in the riverine area. This is not only because of the Igbo hinterland's proximity but also because Bonny, as we have it today, is related to what we call the Ndoki's, an Igbo tribe in Abia state, Nigeria. We have reports spanning the quarters that Bonny is an Ijaw enclave when this is not true and to spearhead this belief, some scrupulous persons are pushing forth their agenda by capturing the ancestral land of the Bonny people, and that is Ndoki, calling it an Ijaw area. This should be laughable because Ndoki, as we have it today, has no relations with the Ijaw, except perhaps in the advent of the slave trade or trade in general.
However, our primary focus is the level of interactions between Bonny Island and the Igbos [why do they speak Igbo, and why are they Igbos]. First of all, the advent of the slave trade did not create this interaction or early trade—a false truth. Bonny has been Igbo [Ubani] right from its founding fathers who were from the Ngwa/Ndoki sections of Igbo land.
The Bonny language is the mother tongue for a significant portion of the people, and for a small part, it was said to be adopted. Moreover, a large part of this city-state consisted of enslaved people purchased or seized by other tribes, sometimes from a far distance.Most of such people not born in Bonny are either enslaved people from the Igboland or were brought there by the Igbos from the interior—this was when a strong sense of nationalism amongst the Igbo was not as prevalent. The presence of a great majority of Igbos in Bonny, whether it is those who are indigenes of that land or those brought from the interior, had necessitated a concentration of the Igbo language in that section of the country. Interestingly the only other documented ethnic presence on the island across several records were the Brass people who were indigenous to the lands far west of Bonny. The Brass themselves were not ijaws but with elements of Ijaw culture from assimilation. A further reason for a strong Igbo presence in Bonny asides the fact the Bonny people themselves were Igbo, is the fact that the Bonny people were in constant communication and contact with the Igbo hinterland and this tightened trade and cultural influences between both areas. The significant portions of the goods imported by the colonials found their way to the Igbo hinterland from Bonny. Furthermore, the hinterland also was where most of Bonny's trade and expertise flourished.
Before the preponderance of Europeans in the city-state, all types of weaponry in Bonny were purchased from the Igbo hinterland. They purchased daggers, swords, spears, and all types of tools from the Igbo country. Maize, yam, and various food products was also gotten from the Igbo hinterland, and lovely, soft pattern clothes and jewelry were also bought.This is not a detailed study, but it helps in appreciating the Igbo heritage of Bonny from inception. Calling themselves Ubani holds no ill-will, but what bothers everyone is calling their ancestral language a language gotten from the enslaved people, which is laughable. If this was so, we wonder why the Americans still speak English, and perhaps not Akan, Yoruba, or even Igbo.

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