There are 36 states in Nigeria and a Federal Capital Territory (FCT). This FCT is not a state but a territory under the Federal Government of Nigeria and as such, unlike the 36 states that have Governors as their heads, the FCT has a minister. This article will give an overview of each of these states. Things to expect in this write-up includes the capitals of the states, their slogans, natural resources, the ethnic groups dominating and other interesting details peculiar to each of them. The capitals of each of the states is in the bracket beside the name of the states.
1. ABIA STATE (UMUAHIA)
Abia state is located in the South East Geopolitical zone in Nigeria. It houses Aba, a popular commercial city in Nigeria known for its manufacturing and commercial prowess. Am sure you must have heard the phrase “made in Abia” then it is this Aba that’s been referred to, it is the China in Nigeria. Aside been known for its commercial activities, Abia is also an oil producing state. Farmers in this state grow food crops such as cassava, yam, rice, potatoes, plantain, maize and taro. The most important cash crop in Abia is Oil Palm.
Abia state is made of predominantly the Igbo speaking ethnic group and it slogan is “God’s own state”. Abia state has 17 Local Government Areas.
2. ADAMAWA STATE (YOLA)
Adamawa state is located in the North Eastern Geopolitical zone and pride itself as the “Land of beauty”. This cannot be far from the truth considering the beautiful landscape of the state. It is one of the most mountainous states in country. Mountains like the Popular Mandara Mountain and Koma hills are the remarkable mountains that seats gracefully here. To add to the beauty, the state is transversed by River Benue, Gongola and Yedsarem. Adamawa can be regarded as predominantly an agricultural state. They produce agricultural crops such as groundnut and cotton (cash crops) as well as food crops like maize, millet, rice, guinea, cassava and yam. The state is also known for rearing animals such as cattle and goats and the farmers are also engaged in fishing. Adamawa is also a home to solid mineral resources such as limestone, zinc, iron and lead.
This state has 21 LGAs and it is one of the largest homes of the Fulani speaking group as well as the Fulfulde. It is also worthy of notice that the largest national park in Nigeria which is the Gashaka Gumti National Park stretched between Adamawa and Taraba state.
3. ANAMBRA STATE (AWKA)Anambra state is the state in Nigeria with the lowest poverty rate in the country. It is located in the southeastern part of the country. It is an oil producing state and have two very popular cities aside it capital (Awka). The first is Nnewi which is an industrial city and the second is Onitsha, a commercial city. The state is also blessed with natural resources such ceramics and bauxite.
Anambra state is made up of 98% Igbo and 2% Igala living in the northwestern part. It has 21 LGAs. The slogan of Anambra state is”Light of the nation”
4. AKWA IBOM (UYO)
Akwa Ibom state, the land of promise is the highest oil producing state in Nigeria and also a Niger Delta state. This state shares boundary with the Atlantic Ocean and regarded as one of the most beautiful states in Nigeria. It is home to 2 major seaports as well as an ultramodern sport complex.
Akwa Ibom is home to many tribal groups. The dominating ones include Ibibio, Annang, Oron, Eket and Obolo. It has 31 Local Government Areas.
5. BAUCHI STATE (BAUCHI)
Bauchi state is popular for one thing; the Yankari National Park formerly known as the Yankari Games Reserve; this is the largest games reserve in Nigeria. The state because of this and other things named itself “Pearls of Tourism”. It is located in Northeastern part of Nigeria. Bauchi state just like other Northern states in Nigeria is blessed with a fertile arable land which makes agriculture a very popular economic activity. Mineral resources found in Bauch state includes; gypsum, lead/zinc, uranium and Amethyst.
About 55 tribal groups can be found in Bauchi out of which the Hausa-Fulani, Gerawa, Jarawa, Kirfawa, Turawa Bolewa, Butawa, Warjawa, Karekare Kanuri, Zulawa and Badawa. Bauchi state has 20 Local Government Areas.
6. BAYELSA STATE (YANAGOA)
With the slogan “Glory of all land,” Bayelsa state has the lowest number of LGA in the 36 states of Nigeria (it has 8 LGAs). It is also one of the least populated states in Nigeria (2nd in ranking). Bayelsa state is located in the Niger Delta Region of the country. Though small, it is an oil producer and has one of the largest oil deposits in Nigeria. Despite this, it population lives in poverty. The state comprises of mostly riverine communities and as such, it locals engage in fishing at both subsistence and commercial level. The major languages spoken here are the Izon, Nembe, Epie-Atissa and Ogbia.
7. BENUE STATE (MAKURDI)
Benue state is located in North central part of Nigeria (middle belt), it is one of the states of Nigeria known for its great agricultural productivity. In fact, the state prides itself as the Food basket of the nation. What more would you call a state that is blessed with rich soil which is used for producing various agricultural crops like Yam, Cassava, Cocoyam, Sweet potatoes,Rice, Beans, Maize, Sorghum, Soybean, Millet, Sesame, etc. Benue state accounts for 70% of soybeans production in Nigeria. Aside it agricultural resource, Benue is also blessed with mineral resources like limestone, Gypsum, Feldspar, Baryte, Gemstone, Mineral salts, Kaolinite, etc.
The Tiv, Igoma and the Igede ethnic groups dominate the state. The state has 23 LGA.
8. BORNO STATE (MAIDUGURU)
Borno state is at the extreme end of the North eastern part of Nigeria and it is the second largest state in Nigeria. Agriculture is the main occupation of the people in this area as the occupants are mostly into farming, fishing or rearing of animals. The state is the most important livestock producing state in Nigeria. The Fulani and the shuwa tribesmen are the ones mostly into the producing of livestock and from here, they move as far as Lagos state. Aside this, it is blessed with solid minerals such as clay, limestone, uranium, kaolin, potash deposit and salt, etc.
However the state dubbed as “the home of peace” had been turn by the Boko Haram insurgence group into a home of war. Borno now can be known as the seat of the terrorist group as their widely known zone “Sambisa Forest” is located in this state and the population as well as the infrastructures in the state had suffered heavy damage in the hand of the group. This had inhibited the one time “the home of peace” from utilizing it potentials.
The largest ethnic groups in Borno state include the Kanuri, Babur and Marghi. This territory has 27 Local Government Areas.
9. CROSS RIVER STATE (CALABAR)
This state is nicknamed the Home of Paradise and sure, it is as it is one of the tourist hubs in Nigeria. It is located in the coastal area of the South South geopolitical zone in Nigeria. This state shares boundary with Cameroon. Talking of tourism, Cross River is a place to look at in the country. It houses the popular Obudu Mountain Resort popularly known as the Obudu Cattle Ranch. Other tourist hub includes Tinapa Business Resort, Calabar Marina, Calabar Residency Museum, the slave park among many other interesting places.
There are 18 LGAs in Cross River with the Efik, Ejagham and Bekwarra as the ethnic group dominating.
10. DELTA STATE (ASABA)
Located in the South South Geopolitical zone in Nigeria, Delta is a Niger Delta state and the second largest oil producing state in Nigeria. Tagged “the Big Heart of the Nation”, Delta is the house to the widely known Warri, this happens to be its main commercial hub. Aside being an oil producer, it is also blessed with other mineral resources such as the industrial clay, limestone, lignite, silica, kaolin, decorative rocks and tar sand among others. Not only this, the state is blessed with good arable soil that encourages agriculture.
There are 25 Local Government Areas in the state and it has the Itsekiri, Urhobo/Isolo, Anioma and Ezon as the dominating ethnic groups.
11. EBONYI STATE (ABAKALIKI)
Tagged the “Salt of the Nation” is located in South Eastern part of the country and dominated mostly by the Igbos. Ebonyi is known to be the least populated state in Nigeria and an agricultural state. The farmers here plants crops like Cassava, Yam, Potatoes, Beans, Rice, Maize, etc. Lead and salt are also found this state. Ebonyi has 13 LGAs.
12. ENUGU STATE (ENUGU)
Unlike the other states above, this state has its name from it capital. Located in the Southeastern part of the country, most of it communities are rural and as such, just like many other part of the country, about 70% of its population is agrarian. However, Enugu has the largest coal deposit in Nigeria earning it the slogan “the coal city state”. While the dominating ethnic group is the Igbo, the Igalas and Idomas can be found in patches.
13. EDO STATE (BENIN CITY)
This is an oil producing state in Nigeria and also located in the South South. Aside being an oil producing states, agriculture is the major occupation of the people living in the area. Edo state is dominated by the Edo, Okpe, Esan, Afemai/Etsako, Ora, Akoko-Edo, Igbanke, Emai and Ijaw. Edo is divided into 18 LGAs.
14. EKITI STATE (ADO-EKITI)
Nicknamed the land of honour, Ekiti state is located on the western highland otherwise known as the Yoruba highland. The Yoruba highland seats gracefully in the southwestern part of the country. Ekiti state has the highest number of professors in Nigeria and also pride itself as a state with several pioneer academics. Ekiti state is home to the Ikogosi Warm spring. Talking of mineral resources, Ekiti boast of having granite, kaolin, columbite,iron ore, limestone, gold, gemstone, aquamine, barite, phosphate, etc.
The state is predominantly made of the Yoruba ethnic group and it has 16 LGAs.
15. GOMBE STATE (GOMBE)
Nicknamed the Jewel in the savanna, Gombe state is an egalitarian society located in the Northeastern part of the country. This state has agriculture as the main occupation of it people and this is because it is blessed with rich soil. In Gombe, it has been estimated that 65% of the area is cultivable and close to 50% is already being cultivated; this is to show the rate of farming in this area. No wonder the state is a popular hub for traders that deal in agricultural produce. It is also a known fact that the only surviving grain depot in northern Nigeria is in Gombe state. The state is also the home to the Gombe Oil Seeds Company and Gombe Cotton Ginneries as well as the Ashaka Cement Company Plc. Limestone, uranium and gypsum are also found in a substantial quantity here.
Generally, Gombe is dominated by the Tangale tribe as well as the Hausa-Fulani and the Tera. Other includes the Bolewa, Dadiya, Kanuri and Waja. There are only 11 LGAs in this state.
16. IMO STATE (OWERRI)
The Eastern Heartland is the slogan of Imo state and it is one of the states of Nigeria located in southeastern part of Nigeria. Imo state is an oil producer. Aside this, it also has deposit of white clay, lead, fine sand, zinc and limestone. The state is also blessed with forest resources like the Iroko, Mahogany, Obeche, Bamboo, Rubber and Oil Palm. The state has 27 LGAs and it is Igbo dominating.
17. JIGAWA STATE (DUTSE)
The new world is the slogan of this state; the state is one of the Northern states in Nigeria. In this state about 80% of the population are into agriculture which is mostly at a subsistence level. Talking of poverty, Jigawa is one of the poorest states in Nigeria. The people in the state are known to have access to portable water; this is put at about 90%. This is predominately a Hausa-Fulani state with some Kanuri and Badawa. The state has 27 Local Government Areas.
18. KADUNA STATE (KADUNA)
This is one of the 36 states in Nigeria with the city of Kaduna as it capital. The state prides itself as the centre of learning. The unique thing about this state is that it boasts of having some of the best and unique schools in the country. Some of these include the prestigious ABU – Zaria, the Nigerian Defence Academy, Nigerian College of Aviation Technology – Zaria, Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology – Zaria, Institute of Leather Research – zaria, National Institute of Teachers – Kaduna, etc. The state is also home to many Military barracks including an Air Force Base.
There are over 50 ethnic groups in the state out of which the Hausa-Fulani, Fulani, Kataf, and Bajju are the major ones. There are about 23 LGAs in the state.
19. KANO STATE (KANO)
Home of Commerce is the slogan of this state; it is the most populated state in Nigeria according to the 2016 census. This is one of the top industrial states in the country and the largest in northern Nigeria. To add to this glory, Kano is one of the top commercial states in Nigeria earning it the nickname centre of commerce. Talking of agriculture, kano state is a major player as it is a major producer of soybean, sesame, cotton as well as hides and skin. Other crops in this state include groundnut, garlic, gum Arabic and chilli pepper.
It is a Hausa state and has the highest number of Local Government in Nigeria (44 LGAs).
20. KATSINA STATE (KATSINA)
Just like Kaduna and Kano, Katsina state is located in North West Geopolitical zone in the country. The occupation of most people in the state is agriculture and they are a major producer of Maize, Guinea Corn, Wheat, Yam, Cotton, Rice, Onion, Tomatoes, etc. it is also blessed with Kaolin and asbestos. The state has 34 LGAs in Katsina. The slogan of this state is home of hospitality.
21. KEBBI STATE (BIRNIN-KEBBI)
The land of equity (Kebbi state) is part of the North western states in Nigeria and host to the widely known Argungu fishing festival. The economy of the state is agricultural driven as it is a major producer of millet, wheat and guinea corn. Talking of minerals, the most important in Kebbi is Kaolin, gypsum and marble.
The state just like most other north western state is predominantly homogenous ethnically with the Hausa ethnic group dominating while there exist a substantial number of the Bussawa, Lelna, Kambari, Dukawa and Kamuku. There are 21 LGAs in the state.
22. KOGI STATE (LOKOJA)Kogi state is a North Central state of Nigeria, a region popularly referred to as middle belt. One unique thing about Kogi state is that it is the only state in the country that share boundary with 10 states; this is the highest in the country. The confluence of the two most important rivers (River Niger and Benue) is in Lokoja, the state’s capital earning it the slogan; the confluence state.
Lokoja, the state capital is the first administrative capital of Nigeria ironically; the city is now a shadow of itself. The state is also a host to one of the largest cement factory in Africa that’s the Obajana Cement Factory owned by Dangote as well as the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited. Kogi is blessed abundant mineral resources like limestone, coal, iron, tin and petroleum.
Major of kogi people are farmers. They produce food crops as well as cash crop ranging from cassava, yam, rice, maize, melon, groundnuts, cashews, cocoa, coffee and oil palm. The Igalas, Igbiras and Okuns are the major tribes in the state. The state has 21 Local Government Areas.
23. KWARA STATE (ILORIN)
The Yoruba state with a lot of Fulanis; this is what best describes Kwara. It is located in North Central Nigeria and has 16 Local Government Areas. This state has a number of industries in it. It is also an agricultural state as agriculture is the most important economic activity in the state. They grow oil palm, coffee, kolanut, tobacco, cotton and beniseed among other crops. Mineral resources in Kwara includes gold, limestone, marble, feldspar, clay, kaolin, granite and quartz.
Aside the Yoruba majorities and Fulani minorities, there are other tribes like the Nupe and Bariba.
24. LAGOS STATE (IKEJA)
This is just one state out of the list of states in Nigeria that stands out economically. It is the richest state in Nigeria. It is unarguably the most economically important state in Nigeria. Lagos is also the second most industrial state in the country directly following Ogun state (Yes, Ogun state is Nigeria’s No.1 industrial zone). It strategic location made it a commercial hub and a “hustling zone in Nigeria”. Lagos state is home to Africa’s largest metropolitan city; Lagos. This city is termed as one of the world’s growing city.
According to the 2006 census, Lagos state is the second most populated state in Nigeria, directing behind Kano despite being the smallest state in Nigeria. Talking of economy, Lagos is the largest economy in Nigeria. It had been said that if Lagos was to be a country, then it will be the 5th largest economy in Africa. It is home to one of the busiest and largest ports in Africa as well as the busiest international airport in Nigeria. It is home to a lot of manufacturing industries as well as many startups. To crown it up, it is the economic nerve of Nigeria. No wonder the state prides’ itself as the centre of excellence.
Like some will argue, Lagos is a no man’s land! This is false as Lagos is a Yoruba state though, due to its economy, it is now like a mini-Nigeria where almost all ethnic groups can be found. The state has 20 Local Government Areas.
25. NASARAWA STATE (LAFIA)
Nasarawa state with just 13 LGAs is located in North Central part of Nigeria and it one of the states in Nigeria bordering the FCT. Many of the people living in Abuja lives in this state particularly the Mararaba axis in Karu LGA of the state. The major economic activity in this state is agriculture. The state is also blessed with mineral resources such barite, salt, bauxite, etc. This earned the state the slogan; Home of solid mineral.
Ethnic groups in Nasarawa include the Eggon, Mada, Tiv, Alago, Hausa, and Fulani etc.
26. NIGER STATE (MINNA)
Niger state is the largest state in Nigeria in terms of land area, it is located in North central and have it slogan as “the power state” due to the presence of hydroelectric power stations in the state. They are the Kainji Dam and Shiroro Dam. Aside this dams, it’s also the home to the popular Gurara fall. The state is home to the Kainji National Park which hosts the Kainji Lake, Zugurma Games Reserve and Borgu Game Reserve among others. The iconic Zuma rock in the Nigeria’s one hundred naira note is located in this state.
Nupe, Gbagyi, Kamuku, Kambari, Dukawa and Koro are the major ethnic groups in Niger. There are 21 Local Government Areas in the state.
27. OGUN STATE (ABEOKUTA)
The Gateway state, Ogun is the most industrialized state in Nigeria that’s, it is Nigeria’s industrial hub. Many companies are located strategically within the 2km Government acquisition area of the Lagos – Sagamu Expressway. Aside been an industrial zone, it also a host to many religious organization headquarters as well as many tertiary institutions. The state has 20 LGAs. It is located in South Western Nigeria and shares border with Lagos.
28. ONDO STATE (AKURE)
The sunshine state is located in the south western geopolitical zone in Nigeria and it is an oil producing state. The state is home to the much talked about Idanre Hill which is a popular tourist hub in Nigeria. Ondo state is the largest producers of cocoa in Nigeria. It is also a producer of timber among others. The state has 18 LGAs, it is dominated by the Yorubas and some patches of Ijaw.
29. OSUN STATE (OSOGBO)
This is a Yoruba state located in the South west and a home to the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University as well as the Osun-Osogbo Grove, a world heritage site. This states houses Ile-ife; an important Yoruba cultural location. The state has 30 LGAs and it has Land of Virtue as it slogan.
30. OYO STATE (IBADAN)
This state’s slogan is the pace setter state. It is located in southwestern Nigeria and home to the University of Ibadan, the first University in Nigeria. The first skyscraper built in Africa is located here; it is known as the Cocoa House and built from cocoa earning. The state also houses the old Oyo National Park, Ado-Awaye Suspended Lake and other tourist hubs.
The main occupation in this state is agriculture. It has 33 LGAs.
31. PLATEAU STATE (JOS)
This state is geographically unique in Nigeria as it is the only state in Nigeria with a near temperate climate due to it being located on the Jos plateau. The state has many tourist hubs; some of this includes Wildlife Safari Park, National Museum, Jos zoo, Assop Falls, Kurra Falls, Wase Rock, Pandam Game Reserve, Riyom Rock, Shere Hills and the Museum of traditional Nigeria Architecture.
While the state is blessed with numerous mineral resources, Tin is the most important in this area. Plateau has over 40 ethnic groups with the Berom, Hausa-Fulani, Afizere, Amo, Anaguta, Aten, Bogghom as the major ones. There are 17 LGAs in the state.
32. RIVERS STATE (PORT HARCOURT)
Nicknamed the Treasure base of the nation, Rivers is a member of the Niger Delta States and the third largest oil producing state in Nigeria. It is home to two major oil refineries as well as seaports. The indigenes of the state also engage in farming food crops and cash crops. Fishing is also a major economic activity due to the presence of water bodies.
Rivers state has 23 LGAs and has the Ikwerre, Ibani, Opobo, Eleme, Okrika, Kalabari, Etche, Ogba, Ogoni, Engenni and Obolo as the major ethnic groups.
33. SOKOTO STATE (SOKOTO)
Sokoto state is at the extreme of the North western Nigeria near the confluence of the River Sokoto and Rima. The state is the seat of the former caliphate and as such, Hausa Muslims dominate this area. The state is the home to the spiritual leader of Nigerian muslims; Sultan of Sokoto. This had earned it the slogan; the seat of the Caliphate.
The state is blessed with both agricultural as well as mineral resources. The state is a major producer of maize, wheat, guinea corn, millet, beans, rice, sugarcane, tobacco, cotton, groundnut as well as livestocks. Minerals found in this state include limestone, gypsum, gold, salt, granite, clay, flipper, kaolin and marble. 23 LGAs are in the state.
34. TARABA STATE (JALINGO)
Taraba’s slogan is “Nature’s gift to the nation”. It is located in Northeastern Nigeria and has agriculture as the primary occupation of its people. They are producers of cash crops like cotton, groundnut, tea and coffee as well as food crops like maize, millet, rice, sorghum, yam and cassava. They also rear animals in commercial quantity mostly on the Mambilla Plateau and the Benue and Taraba Valley. The state has some tourist attractions such as the Mambilla Tourist centre, the Gumpti Park and the Game reserve at Gashaka.
The ethnic groups here include the Jenjo, Jibawa, Kuteb, Chamba, Yandang, Mumuyes, Mambila, Wurkuma, Fulani, Jukun, Tiv, Kaka, Ichen, Hausa and Ndola. There are 16 LGAs in Taraba.
35. YOBE STATE (DAMATURU)
Nicknamed pride of the savanna, Yobe state is a Northeastern state and can be said to be an agricultural state as agriculture is it main economic activity. They are a major producer of cotton, groundnut, beans and gum Arabic amongst others. The largest cattle market in Nigeria is located in this state, Potiskum to be precise.
The Kanuris are the major ethnic group in the state. Others include Karai-karai, Hausa, Ngizim, Ngamo, Bade, Shuwa, Fulani, Bolewa and Maga. This state is divided into 12 Local Government Areas.
36. ZAMFARA STATE (GUSAU)
Zamfara state is a state of Nigeria located in the North West geopolitical zone. It is the first state to introduce Sharia Law in Nigeria and can be said to be an agricultural state. This, it even take pride with it as it slogan is “Farming is our pride”. They are a major producers of grains and cereals in Nigeria.
The Hausa-Fulani are the Major ethnic groups in the state followed by the Bussawa, Kamuku, Bussawa, Kambari and Zabarma. There are 14 LGAs in the state.
FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY (ABUJA)Just as stated in the beginning of this article, the FCT is not a state but a territory under the Federal Government of Nigeria. The FCT houses Abuja which is the capital city of Nigeria and the territory is nicknamed centre of unity. This region is located in North central Nigeria strategically at the centre of the country. It has Area Councils unlike the other 36 states of Nigeria that have Local Government Areas. The area councils include Abaji, Abuja Municipal, Bwari, Gwagwalada, Kwali and Kuje.
The major tribes here include Gwari, Hausa, Fulani, Afo, Koro, Ganagana, Gwandara and Bassa.
The list of the 36 states of Nigeria, their capital, slogan, natural resources and other interest information about them ends here. You will agree with me that Nigeria is indeed a blessed country with both human and natural resources that just need to be utilized to a force to reckon with