About Niger State
The name Niger State was derived from River Niger, the third longest river in Africa after the Nile and Congo rivers. The State houses the three major hydro-electric power stations in Nigeria namely: Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro stations respectively hence the official slogan/title “Power State”. Collectively, these three produce nearly 2000 MW of electricity to major cities across the country.
Niger State is situated in the north-central geopolitical zone of Nigeria with Minna as its capital city. Other major cities in the State include Suleja, Bida and Kontagora. Established in 1976, Niger State was created out of the defunct North-Western States. It is the largest State in Nigeria with a vast land mass of 86,000km2; approximately 8.6 million hectares constituting about 9.3% of the total land area of the country.
Lying on latitude 3.20° East and longitude 11.30° North, the State shares a country border with the Republic of Benin (West) and State borders within Nigeria. These include the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on the South-East, Zamfara (North), Kebbi (North-West), Kwara (South-West) and Kaduna (North-East).
The State is made up of 25 Local Government Areas (LGAs) divided into three Geopolitical Zones, Zones A, B and C each consisting of 8, 9 and 8 LGAs. The 25 LGAs are divided into 274 wards.The State is administered through three tiers of Government; State, Local and the Emirate Councils.
At the State level, there are three levels of authority. First is the Government, which is elected on a party basis and headed by the Executive Governor of the State.
The Governor is assisted by a Deputy Governor, the Secretary to the State Government, Chief of Staff, Special Advisers, Head of Service, and the Commissioners who run the Ministries. All these officers form the ‘Executive’ arm of government, responsible for the day to day administration of the State.
His Excellency, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello.
The Executive, Governor of Niger State
The legislature forms the second part of the government, membership of which is also elective on a party basis and is represented by the State House of Assembly, headed by a Speaker of the House, Deputy Speaker, Majority and Minority leaders, and Party leaders known as the principal officers and representative members from each local government constituency. The legislature is organised around committees with a chairman as the head of each committee. The Education Committee will be critical to the proposed reforms in the State.
Third is the Judiciary, which is the independent arm of government and is headed by the Chief Judge of the State.
The Local Government Area is headed by a Chairman who heads the local government council made up of Councillors and an administrative secretary assigned by the Local Government Service Commission. This forms the Executive Council at the LGA level.
The 25 LGAs in the state are each divided into districts and wards, each with its District Head while villages are headed by village heads throughout the State.
Finally, there are eight Emirate Councils, with the Etsu Nupe, a first class chief as Chairman, Niger State Councils of Chiefs.
Niger State has a number of different tribes. Its three most popular ethnic groups are Nupe, Gbagyi and Hausa. Other indigenous tribes are the Koro, Kadara, Kambari, Kamuku, Pangu, Bassa, Bauchi, Fulani, Dukawa, Gade, Godara, Ganagana, Dukawa, Mauchi, Ayadi, Ingwai, Dibo, Kadanda, Gulengi, Abishiwa and Shigini tribes.
|Niger State||Male - 2,004,350||Female - 1,950,422|
The State Population, National Population Commission, Nigeria.
|Local Government Areas (LGAs)|
The population of the State is based on the 2006 national census
Agriculture is the back bone of the economy within the State. Approximately 90 per cent of the population depend directly or indirectly on agriculture for their livelihood (Niger State Government, 2015).
The State is one of the largest and has the most fertile agricultural lands in the country. Approximately only 10 per cent of the state's arable land is being actively cultivated (Niger State Government, 2015). The favourable climatic conditions provide unique opportunities in the State for the establishment of large scale farming in crops such as maize, millet and yam. the fertile soil and hydrology of the State permits the cultivation of most of Nigeria’s staple crops and still allows sufficient opportunities for grazing, fresh water fishing and forestry development.
The incidence of bush clearing for agricultural purposes by burning large stretches of forest land has led to the disappearance of the rainforest which is prominent in the Niger trough and flood plain regions.
There is limited lumbering activity in the Republic of Benin savannah zone of the State.
Some natural and mineral resources can also be found in Niger State. These include: Gold, Talc, Ball clays, Felsper, Lead, Kaolin, Casserole, Silica, Sand, Marble, Copper, Iron, Columbite, Mica, Quartzite, and Limestone.
Niger State is one of the richest tourist locations in Nigeria. Some of the Tourist attractions include:
- Zuma Rock located North of the Federal Capital Territory along Kaduna – Abuja Expressway
- Gurara Falls located in Bonu Village between Suleja and Minna
- Baro Empire Hill located in Agaie Local Government Area
- Lord Lugard Colonial ruins located at Zungeru
- Nagwamatse Well located near Kontagora Local Government Area
- Kainji Lake National Park, an amalgamation of former Borgu and Zuguma Game reserves
- The Moving Rock located in Magama Local Government Area
Bida Brassworks; an interesting tourist experience that showcases the production of creative decorative ornaments, vessels and crockery. Brassworks can be found in Gbongbofu, Tswatako and Tswata Mukun areas of Bida town.
Niger State website: www.nigerstate.gov.ng