THE LANGUAGES OF THE NIGER DELTA REGION OF NIGERIA

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This book, A Preliminary Report on the Languages of the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria, is a report of part of a larger project on the Languages of Nigeria. It grew out of an ordinary final year course : LIN 422 – Problems of a Multilingual Nation, which the first author taught in the second semester of the 2001/2002 session, in the Department of Linguistics and Nigerian Languages, University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria.
The Niger Delta Region of Nigeria is rich in diverse resources. It is made up of States drawn from three geo-political zones : all of the South South, two states from the South East and one state from the South West Zones. The region is plagued by environmental degradation, deriving from oil exploration. In terms of linguistic resources, it is also rich and diverse. And like the natural resources, many of its languages are threatened by both foreign and indigenous languages.

Unfortunately, we do not have a clear picture of what the linguistic situation in the whole region as a unit is, such that it is difficult to solve any of these problems. It is an
attempt to try to address some of these problems that directly prompted a concise volume on the languages of the region.

The work on the languages of the region so far is quite preliminary, and subject to revision as our investigations progress. Most of the information here were sourced from the library and informants. However, we have started a survey project on the languages of Nigeria as a whole, with a view to presenting a geopolitical profile of the languages spoken in all 774 Local Government Areas of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory in Nigeria. Although this book has also benefited from part of the on going survey project, what we have here is not conclusive.
Parts of the report in this volume had been published in a similar preliminary report on The Languages of the South South Zone of Nigeria: A Geopolitical Profile, and The languages of the South East Zone of Nigeria: A Geopolitical Profile. However, we have had to update some aspects of these previous reports as we have found more information. This is the beauty of having work in progress for a while.

We attempt to set up a framework that will help us to store, retrieve and update information on the languages of
Nigeria through this project. We therefore include at the end of this volume, a questionnaire update. We welcome, with gratitude, contributions on linguistic/geopolitical areas you are familiar with.

Imelda Icheji Lawrence Udoh

Basey Andian Okon
September, 2005

TABLE OF CONTENT

TABLE OF CONTENTS
List of Maps – 7
List of Tables – 8
Prologue – 9
Acknowledgments – 12
Introduction – 15
1. Abia State – 27
2. Akwa Ibom State – 38
3. Bayelsa State – 57
4. Cross River State – 73
5. Delta State – 102
6. Edo State – 114
7. Imo State – 125
8. Ondo State – 135
9. Rivers State – 142
Epilogue – 157
References – 162
Appendix – 170

LIST OF MAPS
Map 0.1 Nigeria showing 36 State + FCT – 15
Map 0.2 The Niger Delta Region of Nigeria
showing 9 States – – – 21
Map 1 Abia State showing 17 L.G.As – 27
Map 2 Akwa Ibom State showing 31 L.G.As 38
Map 3 Bayelsa State showing 8 L.G.As – 57
Map 4 Cross River State showing 18 L.G.As 73
Map 5 Delta State showing 25 L.G.As – 102
Map 6 Edo State showing 18 L.G.As – 114
Map 7 Imo State showing 27 L.G.As – 125
Map 8 Ondo State showing 18 L.G.As – 135
Map 9 Rivers State showing 23 L.G.As – 142

LIST OF TABLES
Table 0.1 The Niger Delta Region of Nigeria 23
Table 1 Political Classification and Linguistic
Affiliations in Abia State – – 29
Table 2 Political Classification and Linguistic
Affiliations in Akwa Ibom State – 39
Table 3 Political Classification and Linguistic
Affiliations in Bayelsa State – 59
Table 4 Political Classification and Linguistic
Affiliations in Cross River State – 75
Table 5 Political Classification and Linguistic
Affiliations in Delta State – – 104
Table 6 Political Classification and Linguistic
Affiliations in Edo State – – 115
Table 7 Political Classification and Linguistic
Affiliations in Imo State – – 126
Table 8 Political Classification and Linguistic
Affiliations in Ondo State – – 136
Table 9 Political Classification and Linguistic
Affiliations in Rivers State – – 144

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