Area:- 76,363 km˛ Ranked 1st
Population:- 4,082,558 (2005 est.), 2,482,367 (1999 est.)
Major Language:- Hausa, Gwari and Nupe
Governor:- Dr. Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu (PDP)
ISO 3166-2:- NG-NI
Date Created:- 3 February 1976
Population Rank:- Ranked 18th
Niger State was carved out of the former North-Western State by the late Head of State, General Murtala Ramat Mohammed in February, 1976. It however came to being on 1st April, the same year.
Before the creation of one additional Local Government Area (Shiroro Local Government Area) from the former Chanchaga Local Government by Babangida’s administration in 1987, the State was constitutionally administered under nine (9) Local Governments. With the above development therefore, the State was later administered under ten (10) Local Government Areas.
With creation of additional States and Local Governments in 1991 by President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, four (4) more local governments were created in the State. They are Rijau Local Government with headquarters at Rijau while its former name, Magama was transferred to Nasko as its headquarters; parts of Mariga and newly merged Borgu Local Government to the State from Kwara State were carved out to form Agwara Local Government with headquarters at Agwara. Wushishi Local Government was also carved out from Mariga Local Government with headquarters at Wushishi.
Another creation of additional local governments on 19th September, 1991 gave birth to five (5) local governments in the State. Gurara Local Government was carved out of the present Suleja Local Government, Gawu-Babangida as its headquarters, Paikoro and Bosso Local Government Areas were created from the former Chanchaga Local Government, with Paiko and Maikunkele as Local Government Headquarters respectively. What remained of the former Chanchaga Local Government headquarters has also retained its name, Chanchaga. Gbako Local Government was split into two (2) and the name Gbako transferred to a local government with headquarters at Lemu, while Bida became the Local Government headquarters of the newly created Bida Local Government Area. Lavun was split into two (2). This action gave birth to the creation of Mokwa Local Government with headquarters at Mokwa while Kutigi remains the headquarters of Lavun Local Government Area. The remaining four (4) local government areas, Shiroro, Agaie, Lapai, Rafi remain untouched.
With the creation of additional States and Local Government Areas in 1996 by the Head of State General Sani Abacha, six (6) more Local Governments were created in the State. These are Tafa Local Government with headquarters at New-Wuse carved out of Suleja Local Government; Edati Local Government with headquarters at Enagi carved out of Lavun Local Government; Munya Local Government with headquarters at Sarkin Pawa carved out of Shiroro Local Government; Mashegu Local Government, with headquarters at Mashegu carved out of Wushishi Local Government; Katcha Local Government with headquarters as Bangi carved out of Kontagora Local Government Area.
Constitutionally, the State is now administered under 25 Local Governments.
Detailed Geographical Statistics
This State lies between the latitude of 3.20’ east and longitude 8 and 11.3’ north. It is bordered to the North by Sokoto State, West by Kebbi State, South by Kogi and South-West by Kwara State. Kaduna and Federal Capital Territory border the State to both North-East and South-East respectively. The State has a common boundary with the Republic of Benin along New Bussa, Agwara and Wushishi Local Government Area. This has given rise to common interborder trade between the two countries.
Before the merger of Borgu Local Government with the State, in 1991 the 1963 National Population Census stood at 1,194,508. With the release of the 1991 population figure by the Federal Government in 1992, Niger State has 2,482,367 people. The spill-over of population from the Federal Capital, Abuja is also increasing the population growth of the State.
Niger State covers a total land area of 83,266,779 square kilometres or about 8.3 million hectares which represent 8% of the total land area of Nigeria. About 85% of the land is arable.
Like most alluvial soils, the soil in Niger State is the flood plain type and is characterized by considerable variations. The soil is of two main types which could be used for agriculture and are rich in minerals for the manufacture of various products. The two types of soil are:
(a) the Ku-soil which has little hazards and
(b) the Ya-soil which has a better water holding capacity.
About 85% of the State’s population are farmers, while the remaining 15% are engaged in other vocations such as white collar jobs, manufacturing, business, production of crafts and arts.
Niger State experiences distinct dry and wet seasons with annual rainfall varying from 1,100mm in the Northern part of the State to 1,600 mm in the southern parts.The maximum temperature is recorded between March and June, while the minimum is usually between December and January. The rainy season lasts for about 150 days in the Northern parts of about 120 days in the Southern parts of the State. Generally, the climate soil and hydrology of the State permit the cultivation of most of Nigeria’s staple crops and still allows sufficient opportunities for grazing, fresh water fishing and forestry development.
The State is very richly and abundantly endowed naturally. The one most important asset cherished very much by Nigerlites is the fertile land. Added to this is the even climate of the geographical area which is characterized by very rich annual rainfall. To crown it all, a wide variety of mineral and material resources are known to be available in the State. Therefore, whether the interest is agriculture or industry, Niger State has the capacity to sustain it. This is why Nigerlites are collectively resolved that Nigeria’s strive for self-reliance and sufficiency could be facilitated and rapidly realized in Niger State. The State has numerous exportable commodities begging for patronage.
Niger State is the acclaimed “Power House” of the nation because it houses three hydro-electric power stations in the State. They are the Shiroro hydroelectric power station commissioned in June 1990 by president Ibrahim Babangida with initial capacity of 600 mega watts, the renowned 500 MW Kainji generating plant and the Jebba Hydro-electricity dam.It is a fact that all major towns in the State and indeed, all Local Government Headquarters except one – Agwara – have been connected to the national grid. Even in the case of Agwara, work is in progress to get the local government connected to the national grid.Similarly, other smaller towns that cannot readily enjoy electricity from the national grid are being served by the State’s Rural Electrification efforts. Therefore electricity power does not pose a problem to the potential investor in Niger State.