We the Izon (Ijaws), the predominant indigenous people in the Niger Delta, moved to the Delta over 7,000 years. We have a distinctive language. The Niger River Delta, one of the largest and beautiful deltas in the world, is the largest delta in Africa, and it covers approximately 14,000 square miles (36,260 square kilometres). Its origination is in the highlands of the Fouta Djallon Plateau in western Guinea 150 miles (240 kilometres) from the Atlantic Ocean. The Niger River is Africa’s third longest river covering approximately 2,600 miles or 4185 kilometres.
It flows northeast into Mali. In central Mali, the Niger forms a vast inland delta, a maze of channels and shallow lakes. Just below Timbuktu, the Niger bends, flowing first east, then southeast from Mali through the Republic of Niger, and finally into Nigeria. At Lokoja in central Nigeria, the Niger is joined by its chief tributary, the Benue. The Niger then travels south 250 miles or 400 kilometres, becoming a great fan shaped delta before emptying into the Gulf of Guinea. The Ijaws have called this delta home for over 7,000 years.
The Niger Delta covers an area of about 70,000 square kilometre, and is spread across eight of the 36 Nigerian states. These are Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers, Edo, Akwa Ibom, Ondo, Abia and Imo. It is endowed with immense natural resources, particularly crude oil.