This is great. Three things.
1. I’m glad they didn’t list Ijaw. Ijaw is a catch all term of diverse groups of people, many of who are not linguistically or culturally related. You could be talking about people as far away in Ondo state like the Apoi who now speak Yoruba dialects. They have little similar in culture, language and tradition as say a Kalabari person in Rivers State or a Buseni person in Bayelsa, but they all fall under the Ijaw umbrella. Many think Ijaw is one group of people. It is not. Many Nigerians don’t know that.
2. Happy to see my father’s people, the Andoni listed. Most Nigerians don’t know who they are, and they too fall under the very wide Ijaw umbrella. However, Andoni excludes the other clans that collectively form a group. If you aren’t going to list them all individually, then to cover them all, the proper term would be ‘Obolo’. Obolo is not just a language, it doubles as a grouping. That said, not all in the group will even speak the Obolo language. For instance, there are groups of us in Ohafia clans in Abia State that speak Igbo and not the Obolo language. Many Andoni people speak Igbo due to intermarriage, trade and shared cultures, but they aren’t Igbo. Those that went to Igbo speaking areas adopted the language, others speak it as a second language. There has been a lot of shared cultures in these areas. The Ibeno in Akwa Ibom speak Obolo. They share culture with the Andoni, but they are a distinctly different group.
3. As exhaustive as this list is, there are dozens of groups left out, most notably the Ogoni. One wonders if there aren’t really over 500 distinct groups in Nigeria. A lot of people get lumped together that don’t need to be (see Ijaw people for instance). Smaller groups with little political clout get swallowed by larger groups, and it also boosts the more dominant group’s numbers. There are so many groups of people in Nigeria, it is daunting. Below are some that were left out. Of course, there are way more than this.
Ogoni people. Ken Saro-Wiwa is probably the most famous Ogoni person. Together with the Ogoni Nine, he brought the exploitation of the Niger Delta by multinationals like Shell to the world. Not including the Ogoni is a huge omission.
Apoi people. They speak Yoruba, but they aren’t Yoruba people. They are in Ondo state. They are an Ijaw group.
Nembe and Akassa peoples. The Nembe had an illustrious kingdom that was ravaged by the British. King Koko is probably the most well known leader of the Nembe Kingdom. He fought against the British. After the British sacked Nembe, they deposed him and he died in exile. Many Nembe people were killed at the hands of the British.
Ikwerre people. Sometimes they get lumped in with Igbo, and even though they are “Igboid” in culture and linguistically similar, they are distinct enough to be their own group, which they are at this point.
Ibani people. They are in Bonny Island. It was once the Kingdom of Bonny. Their downfall came at the hands of the British.
Nkoro people. If you’ve ever been to Rivers State, these are the people in Opobo. I’m sure many have heard of King Jaja of Opobo. He was really an Igbo, but he rose to leadership. Jaja formed Opobo which is further inland because of issues between Ibani, Nkoro and other indigenous peoples. These people are now collectively recognized as Ijaw, but we should understand that they are distinct ethnic groups.
Arogbo people. The Arogbo speak a mix of Yoruba and several Ijaw dialects due to their history of migration. They’re in Ondo state and are an Ijaw group.
Bassan people. Not to be confused with Bassa in North Nigeria on the list. Bassan are in the Niger Delta (Bayelsa). They’ve been battling with Chevron for years. Chevron has been carrying out human rights abuses in Niger Delta for a long time and they have gotten away with it. Chevron is brazen with their actions, which included flying in armed personnel via helicopter to shoot and kill unarmed protestors. See this. This is one of the reasons why there is armed militancy in the Delta and kidnappings of western/white oil workers and expats happens. Some of the militants are Bassan.
There are many more. I’d say the Niger Delta area alone easily has a third or more of all the groups in Nigeria.
This is so important, it’s amazing how little Nigerians know of other ethnic groups. Another thing that really gets me is when people from the South group the entire North as “Hausa” when it is mostly Hausa *speaking* and then again not every one in Northern Nigeria speaks or even understands Hausa.