The Izon Ladies Association was formed in 1977 as a result of the need for educated Izon (Ijaw)
ladies to come together to promote the welfare of the Izon tribe, spread across six States of
the Federation of Nigeria namely: Ondo, Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom (there are
44 clans of the Ijaw tribe in Nigeria).
The Founder of the association is Mrs. Jane Alek, who was then a Senior Police Officer; she
later retired as a Deputy Commissioner of Police. It was she who sought out a few educated
and enlightened Izon ladies of like minds to start the Association. The inaugural meeting of
the Association was held on Sunday, the 9th of October, 1977. Since then till date the monthly
meetings of the Association has been held every 2nd Sunday of the month.
The objectives of the association are:
- To protect the Izon culture and see to the general development of the Izon speaking areas of Nigeria.
- To award Scholarships to deserving Izons.
- To assist the needy e.g. orphanages e.t.c
- To give assistance in any form to any member of the Association, when necessary
- To do such other lawful things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the above objectives
The motto of the Association is: “Izon Unity and Progress”
The Association is based in Lagos, with branches in
Yenagoa, Bayelsa State and Abuja, the nation’s capital.
The Izon Ladies Association was registered as a corporate body with the Federal Ministry of
Internal Affairs in November 1984, and is an affiliate of the National Council of Women’s
The Association has built a reputation as a responsible organization among the
Izon-speaking people of Nigeria through giving of Bursary awards to deserving Izon girls,
granting soft loans to Izon women and doing charitable work especially in time of crisis in
Izon Ladies Association has also been involved in the training of the Girl Child and in the fight
against Female Genital Mutilation, especially among our people.
The Association has made donations in cash and kind to orphanages, Old Peoples’ Home in Yaba,
Lagos; homes for the disabled e.g. Child Treatment and Placement Home/School in home founded by
the late Bethy Torrey 160, kirikiri Road Apapa, Lagos.
The Association also donated to the “Betty Aghomi Rehabilitation Fund” spearheaded by
Punch Newspapers in November 1979. Miss Betty Aghomi, a young lady from the Niger Delta,
then in her early 20’s was a victim of a motor accident on Eko Bridge in Lagos. Her two legs
were amputated as a result of that accident; ILA contributed towards her rehabilitation.
Izon Ladies Association has a tradition of hosting prominent sons and daughters of our great
Izon Nation, whenever the occasion arises, either solely or conjunction with elders like Chief
George Weikezi of blessed memory, who was the Chairman of the Izon Community in Lagos. Some of
those honoured by I.L.A. include:
- Chief Melford Okilo, former Governor of old Rivers State
- Major General Charles B. Ndiomu, as the first Izon man to be promoted to that rank in the Armed Forces of Nigeria.
- Brig-General John E Yeri, then Governor of old Bendel State and later Military Administrator of Delta State.
- Brig-General Clark and Dr Mrs Ikejiani –Clark, a former Federal Minster.
- Rear Adm. F.B.I. Porbeni, on his appointment as Federal Minister of Transport.
- Mr Ben Murray-Brace, on his appointment as Director-General, National Television Authority.
- H.E. Chief D.S.P. Alamieyeseigha, when he became Governor of Bayelsa State
Through these occasions/civic Receptions, I.L.A. has succeeded, not only to bring together our
sons and daughters, but also created awareness as well as promoted our rich cultural heritage.
The Association does not compromise on its mandatory dress code, i.e. double wrapper of “George”
material or “Abada” with a blouse and head tie for it monthly meetings and other occasions.
We also enforce the speaking of Izon language at meetings and advice same in our homes.
Membership of the Association is open to all ladies who are Izon by birth or by marriage,
literate and over 21 years of age. Monthly meetings are held rotationally in members’ houses.
Izon Ladies Association was one of the founding members of the Izon Peoples Union, which later
became the Ijaw National Congress. Though not a political association, I.L.A. encourages its
members who wish to join politics to do so or hold whatever political opinion that they wish.
The Association has raised funds in times past for its many activities from members, and
through donations from Patrons Matrons, and other well-wishers, especially during Fund-Raising
activities. One of these was the launching in December 1984 of an Almanac and the release of a
Record Album, produced by Chief I.K. Belemo, one of the best selling Izon musicians at that time,
in the name of Izon Ladies Association.
St. Andrew’s (Anglican) Church, Aiyetoro, Ajegunle, Apapa, Lagos, an off-shoot of the Ijaw
Section of Bishop Tugwell Memorial Church, Sheteolu Street, off Odunlami Street, Lagos Island,
has played host several times to I.L.A. whenever the Association hold its Thanksgiving Service.
This Church headed then by its Vicar, Rev. Nestor Ayebiowei, was the arrow-head of the
translation of the Bible in the Izon (Ijaw) language. Izon Ladies Association is proud to have
contributed financially and other wise towards the project.
The Association has donated money, clothes, food items, etc. on several occasions to alleviate
our people’s suffering during oil spills, ethnic crises and the disastrous floods of the year
I.L.A. believes in the empowerment of women, especially now that many of them have become
the bread-winners in their families. Even though ILA’s efforts to build a Vocational Training
Centre is yet to materialize, it has joined hands with other groups, in conjunction with the
Presidential Amnesty Programme to encourage young girls and other less privileged ones to
acquire various skills that will better their lives. The Association also acts as a pressure
group sometimes to demand from Government, measures that will alleviate the sufferings of our
people e.g. good road and river transportation, potable water, electricity and containment of
erosion that has caused many houses to be washed away etc.
Although based mainly in Lagos, the Association tries to play an active role in the affairs
of the Izon Communities to the best of its ability. As difficult as this is, we hope,
God willing, to forge ahead in this 40th year of our inauguration, to achieve all the dreams
and aspirations of the Association.