Igbo: The third largest tribe in Bioko, Equatorial Guinea

Bioko, formerly known as Fernando Po, is the largest region in Equatorial Guinea. They speak the Pidgin English, Spanish foreign language, and Fang, Igbo and Bubi indigenous languages. Equatorial Guinea is located at the Eastern end of the Gulf of Guinea, West coast of Africa and is the only African Country situated in the middle of the ocean, outside African map separated by water, the only Spanish speaking.

The Igbo as officially declared by the government of Equatorial Guinea is third largest after Fang and Bubi tribes, and occupies a small area in Bioko. Their communities are small compared to Bubi and Fang. Majority of them migrated to Bioko from Arochukwu, Abia State.

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According to a 2012 report on Bioko,

‘The Igbo of Equatorial Guinea, numbering 33,500, are no Longer unreached. They are part of the Igbo people cluster within the Sub-Saharan African affinity bloc, this group, though a minority of people rank third largest in Equatorial Guinea, a country with total population of 1.2Million people. Their primary language is Igbo. The primary religion practiced by the Igbo is marginal Christianity, a form of religion with roots in Christianity but not theologically Christian”.

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The original inhabitants of Bioko are of a group called Bubi, descendants of mainland Bantu tribes. They are fought and defeated the Fang, and pushed them to inland part while they occupy the coastal areas. The Fang is also an ethnic group in Cameroon. Bioko also is home to descendants of former slaves who were freed in the nineteenth century. Many Bubi have recently immigrated to the continent, and along with other, smaller Bantu-speaking tribes, comprise the remaining 10 percent of the population in Río Muni. Minority tribes include the Kombe, Balengue, Bujebas. Most people’s daily lives are conducted in tribal languages: Fang, Bubi, or Igbo; all of which are in the Bantu family of languages.

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It is said that during the Nigerian Civil War in the 20th century, relief agencies used the island as a base for flights into Biafra.

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