One of the 36 states of Nigeria. After gaining independence in 1960, three regions were established in the country, each of which was dominated by one of the three main ethnic groups - Yoruba (West), Igbo (East), Hausa / Fulani (North). This configuration gave rise to conflicts, and to mitigate them, several waves of political and administrative reforms were carried out. As a consequence, each of the three main groups was divided into several states, while in some territories states were created for ethnic minorities.
Bayelsa was established in 1996 as a result of the separation from the multi-ethnic Rivers State. Its creation was the response of the central government to the prolonged movement for the autonomy of the Ijaw - is one of the largest ethnic minorities in Nigeria. Along with traditional religions, Ijaw people profess Christianity and speak the languages of the Niger-Congolese family.
Bayelsa is located in the south of the country in the Niger Delta, where the oil industry of Nigeria is concentrated. The conflict between the states of the Niger Delta, the ethnic minorities living there, and the central government regarding the control over oil resources and oil revenues has been going on for decades. Often it takes violent forms. Ijaw is one of the most active parties to the conflict. The key role is played by the rebel group "Movement for the Liberation of the Delta of Niger" (The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta - MEND).