Bonny Island

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Bonny Island is situated at the southern edge of Rivers State in the Niger Delta of Nigeria near Port Harcourt. Ferries are the main form of transport to and from the island. The local language spoken in Bonny Island and Bonny Town is Ibani, though many natives also speak the Igbo language.

History[edit]

Located at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean facing the Bight of Bonny sits the island of Bonny. This serene community has several historical and economic symbolism for the Nigerian federation.

Bonny Island or Grand Bonny Island was founded by Priest and Premier King (Monarch) Alagbariye (also known and referred to as “Kala-beni”, Alagbariya, Alaigbariya, Alagbaria, Alagbarie, Alagbariagha and Alagbarigha). Alagbariye (known in Bonny tradition as "Amakoromabo", meaning "founder", and his brothers, Opuamakuba and Asimini were the leaders of the founding group of Bonny Island Kingdom (otherwise known as Grand Bonny Kingdom). The virgin lands and territories of the Island Kingdom was founded about or before 1,000AD.

The founding group of the Island Kingdom from the Ebeni-toru area, precisely from Isedani Lineage of Kolokuma, in the present-day Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State (in Ancestral Ijawland in the Central Niger Delta), was led by three direct blood descendants of Ebeni. These are Opuamakuba, Alagbariye and Asimini. From these leaders and the entire founding generation of the Kingdom evolved the lineage/ward/house system of governance, as a result of which the welfarist institution of traditional rulership of the Kingdom came into place, with the exalted position of “Amanyanabo”, Monarch/King, meaning “owner of the land”; and the position of “Amadapu”, meaning component/subordinate traditional rulers of the Kingdom. The High-Priest of the Kingdom - chief Awanta ruled the Kingdom with the “Amanyanabo”, and “Amadapu”.

Bonny Island Kingdom has Five Duawaris (ruling Houses of the Ancestors, Founding and Aboriginal Royal Houses), representing the Founding Generation (i.e., Ancient Landmarks) of the Kingdom. These are namely (i) Bristol-Alagbarigha Royal House (Founder of Grand Bonny [“Okoloamakoromabo”] & Founding House of Grand Bonny Kingdom), (ii) King Halliday-Awusa Royal House (Founding House of Grand Bonny Kingdom), (iii) Dublin Green House (Lala, Ebie, Prince Asimini-Oruakpa Lineage - Founding House of Grand Bonny Kingdom), (iv) Prince Oruasawo Tolofari Royal House (Kumaluya-Ndende Omuigbem Lineage – Founding House of Grand Bonny Kingdom), and (v) Buoye-Omuso (Brown) Major House (opu ipuo lineage – Later settled in present day Finima & Founding House of Grand Bonny Kingdom.

Bonny Island was the melting point of economic activities right from the 15th century, with the arrival of the Portuguese on the Island, at which time the Island Kingdom established good relations with the Portuguese such that it sent its first Ambassador (Aboriginal Prince Abagy) to Portugal, about 1450AD. In the 19th Century AD, Bonny Island also served as Christianity’s first port of call in West Africa. It was also home to many illustrious sons and daughters of Nigeria. With a thriving traditional system and robust cultural heritage it stands out as one of the foremost local communities in Nigeria. Her traditional institution is headed by Edward William-Dappa Pepple who serves as natural ruler and Amanyanabo-in-Council and ably assisted by a Council of Chiefs headed by Reginald Abbey-Hart who is also chief and head of Captain Hart major house. Her political leadership currently rests on the shoulders of Nelson Ben Irimagha who bears the traditional title of Amasenibo.

The community is subdivided into two main segments – the mainland and the hinterland. The mainland comprises Bonny Island and its segments, namely the Main Island (Township), Sandfield, Iwoama, Orosikiri, Aganya, Ayambo, Akiama, Workers Camp, and some outlying fishing settlements lying along the Bonny River’s coastline. Finima is an aboriginal community predating Bonny (okoloma)and situated along south of Bonny Island. First settlers of Finima were the Nyamkpos and Koniboye Awanta Tobins of Kongo Lineage. The hinterland includes the village communities that serve as home to natives of Bonny kingdom.

Presently, the Island Kingdom of Bonny has thirty five chieftaincy houses. These are fourteen major chieftaincy houses (five among which are Duawaris); twenty minor chieftaincy houses; and then the George Pepple's lineage of the Perekule royal house that has recently been producing Kings of the Kingdom. The ancestry of the Perekule royal house may be traced to the Duawaris as founding groups of the Ancient Kingdom.

It is the founding generation of the Ancient Kingdom of Grand Bonny that established the Kingdom's civilisation and Commonwealth from which all the chieftaincy houses and people of the Kingdom are inheriting.

Economy[edit]

In the early 1990s the Federal Government of Nigeria, in collaboration with 3 international partners, Shell Gas BV., CLEAG Limited [ELF] and AGIP International BV. started the multibillion-dollar project Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (Nigeria LNG).[1] Due to its strategic position, Bonny Island, particularly the Finima community area along Bonny Island, is hosting various multinational oil companies including Royal Dutch Shell, Mobil, Chevron, Agip, and Elf.

Education[edit]

Public and private secondary schools on the island includes:

Tourist attractions[edit]

Bonny Island-Finima is surrounded on the west and south by long stretches of beaches. The beautiful beaches attract tourists and fun seeking inhabitants alike on sunny days and festive periods like Christmas and Easter. On 26 and 31 December of every year, thousands of people visit the Finima beaches for beach carnivals. There is also the Finima Nature Park, which is an important tourist area located at the right-hand side of the roundabout.

References[edit]

[2] Historians.org

Coordinates: 4°26′57″N 7°14′24″E / 4.44917°N 7.24000°E / 4.44917; 7.24000