Culture shock in Nigeria - Ijaw people throw their newborns right into the river! Is that right?

Think your tribal traditions are weird? Read about the Ijaw one of treating newborns in a certain way and experiece culture shock in your own country.

At times traditions get really radical. Here is one such possible case. Ijaw are native to the Niger delta river. This region is famous for the conflicts and fights over the oil dominion, for its Ijaw Youth Council and the amnesty.

Ijaw people shocking tradition

Water is the main element here. No wonder locals live like aquatics in it and take it like a duck to water. No respect for Ijaws, who cannot swim! It’s a must have quality for this tribe, but they have surely pushed the envelope there.

Niger River Delta IjawOnce a baby is born, the parents take it to the river: at any weather, be it sun or rain, or hurricane.  They throw the newborn into the river waters to see, if it can swim up or not.

This tribe believes they have special relationships with the element and the water is particularly kind to them. If the child swims up, it is a true Ijaw and more training can turn him or her into an excellent swimmer. If not…

Surely, swimming skills are essential for this tribe’s survival. They live on the water, they feed of the water, they love the water. They even dance like the water. While other tribes imitate mammals in their dances, Ijaws imitate fishes.

Niver Delta Ijaw traditionThey do the fish dance and wear the fish masks during their fests. A regular Ijaw child would become a fairly good swimmer by the age of 4. Turning 10+ years they become excellent swimmers and boaters.

For over 2 decades their land has been on fire with ethnic and political conflicts. Initially the Nigeri Delta River region had only 3 states in it, but later on few more were added.

The oil deposits on it are exploited by foreign companies and ecology has been recklessly ruined.

That has become the reason for the ongoing conflicts. Even elections and democratic ruling could not mend the situation. 

cultural shock in NIgeriaIjaws used to worship water and spirits abiding in it. Water is their source of life and traditions. 

But is that a good reason to do such things to newborns? The Giant of Africa has many surprising traditions to offer and Niger Delta River region tops the list. Do you think this tradition is true?

Is it still practiced in the Ijaw tribe? Do you think it is acceptable for our modern world with its technologies and inventions? The tradition places much pressure on families. 

The life on its own produces a bunch of surprises and pressure. Should it be increased by following old rules? Comment and give us your opinion on the subject. 

READ ALSO: How to clear tribal marks – 5 best methods for Nigerians.


This tradition is very сruel and unnatural add goes against any laws and laws of the nature. But when the person borns it means thet he or she just have to live and no matter how long her life would be. I cant even imagine how it is possible to care the child, to born a child and then to kill him, even when traditions of your country demand such thing. I would never in any circumstances do such a horrible thing. Its wery awful as for me and I would fight with such horrible traditions, I would rather die myself than let to kill my child.

Answered 2 years ago.
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