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By Haruna Mohammed

Haruna Mohammed in this special report captures how negative cultural norms and religious misinterpretations affect family planning in Bauchi State, Northern Nigeria.

Hamza Abdu Katangan Warji, hails from Warji LGA of Bauchi state. He is a father to 40 children; married to three wives and only owns a donkey which he uses to fetch firewood to feed his family, i.e. three wives, his aged mother and the 40 children. He owns a farmland which he inherited from his ancestors and farms during the rainy season.

Abdu has only four rooms; one for each of the three wives and the fourth for his mother. Young male children and unmarried female sleep with their mothers, while the matured male ones squat with friends and neighbours outside his house.

With his donkey and support from his matured children, Abdu strives to provide two square meals for the household, which they eat at night and rewarm the remaining food in the morning for breakfast. In the afternoon, everyone, including the kids is left to hunt for their lunch, sometimes at the mercy of neighbors who drop portions out of pity for the younger children.

Some of his children who attend primary schools are left with no uniforms and books, and they only attend free government primary schools.

Among his 40 children, only Isah Hamza the 13th son holds a Diploma in Shariah and Civil Law from AD Rufai College of Legal and Islamic Studies, Misau.

Despite the glaring poverty that characterises the household, Abdu is hoping to marry a fourth wife and produce as many children as the wife could bear. His reason for marrying many wives and producing more children is simple, God feeds and provides for every child.

Neither does he believe in child birth spacing nor birth limiting to enable him have moderate household that he can feed and educate.

To him, the whole concept of family planning is a western idea that tries to upset decades of cultural heritage where husbands take pride in the number of wives and children they have.

Although they live approximately150 kms apart, Abdu from Warji and Muhammadu Yusuf from Lafiyari village in Bauchi LGA share many things in common.

The duos maintain polygamous households with many children amidst dwindle purse to address their needs.

They believe that birth limiting for economic or social reason is a direct affront to their understanding of Islamic religion.

Albeit Muhammadu Yusuf has 23 children and do subscribe to the idea of birth spacing, he does not believe in limiting the number of children one should have and his reasons are simple; “you aren’t the one to feed the children, it’s God that does that.”

“I told you earlier that those with moderate households do borrow money from people with larger households and more children; which implies that the many wives and children is not a factor to one’s economic status,” he argued.

Abdu and Muhammadu’s views explain the long held cultural believes and religious misinterpretations surrounding the concept of family planning in northern Nigeria.

It perhaps explains why the concept is still facing resistance amongst some Nigerians who believe that it is a western agenda to depopulate the country.


The costs of Abdu’s decision to have more children than he could cater for does not only lie on him, many innocent people also bear the brunt of his indiscretion of having many children and lean economic power to address their basic needs. For instance, Aminu Adamu is Abdu’s neighbor who is a victim of the resolve of many people like Abdu; “with their reckless behavior, they put a very serious burden on people like us. For instance, I’m a civil servant with a certain salary that may not necessarily solve my basic needs and my immediate family, yet, these kinds of people, being relative or neighbours will be demanding things that you can’t afford to do.”

Aminu said on many occasions, “They ask for money to buy food, drugs when they’re sick and sometimes clothes to put on.

“In some instances they can request you to pay their children’s school fees and if you refuse, they see you as wicked man that doesn’t help his people, that makes you an enemy automatically,” he grudgingly lamented.

Kabiru Suleiman from Boto in Tafawa Balewa LGA also lamented how his refusal to sponsor the children of his elder brother affected their relationship despite being siblings.

“He said I have to sponsor two of his children to write WAEC since they could not pass the aptitude test conducted by the state government that would have enabled them benefit from government scholarship.

“My salary is only N36, 000 a month, I have a wife and two kids who are equally in need, where will I get the money to sponsor two people to write WAEC.

“I told him I don’t have money, he picked offence and that’s how our issues with him started,” he said.

Suleiman’s brother who has two wives, 16 children and still counting, is a local butcher whose capital does not exceed N3,000.

“I have told him that he should at least allow his wives to rest so that they would be able to take care of the children they have instead of adding more, but he vehemently rejected the suggestion and insisted that it’s God that would take care of everyone,” Suleiman added.

Efforts to get Suleiman’s brother Aliyu for an interview could not yield result despite visiting his house three times on different occasions.

He was said to have left for farm each time this reporter visited the house. His wives did not agreed to grant an interview because, according to them, they were not permitted by Aliyu to speak to the press.


Abdu’s 40 children and his inability to educate them perhaps explain the consequences of having many children than one can afford to shoulder.

“The health and education of your children is a right. When you failed to give them sound education and address their health needs including nutritious food that would enhance their wellbeing, you have trampled upon their rights and that will continue to haunt them throughout their lives,” said Samuel Sule a lecturer at the Federal Polytechnic Bauchi.

Aminu Adamu, Abdu’s neigbour explained how difficult it was for people with such responsibilities to feed their family, “the kids usually feed themselves in the afternoon through begging and sometimes doing some menial unskilled jobs. “Again, they usually stagnate their education after secondary school for the male, while female obtain primary, junior secondary or Islamic school as the case maybe.

“They almost always ask for money to buy drugs for their sick children, wife, relatives etc. They ask money to buy ram and kolanut when their wives put to bed; they ask for dowry when they want to marry first, second, third or even fourth wives,” he explained.

Aminu said education and food was not the only problem faced by Abdu’s children, “sometimes they resort to staying with neighbours or relatives, like Adda’luHamza, Abdu is one of his children in our house,” citing inadequate rooms to accommodate all the children.


The story of Abdu and Muhammadu has reiterated how distorted understanding of religion and culture influenced people’s decision on whether to space their children or not. There are many people scattered across nook and crannies of Bauchi State and beyond who strongly believe that accepting the idea to space children or limit the number of children based on one’s economic status is a direct confrontation with religious injunctions and cultural dictates where men procreate as much as they remain sexually active.

For people like Muhammdu, having many children is fulfilling a prophecy bequeathed to him by his dad, who was also said to have inherited the practice.

“Look, my dad had more than 30 children and most of them were males who contributed in making him rich because he cultivates huge portions of land when he was alive.

“He was very proud and respected in the community because of the magnitude of household he controls, and that was the prayer he offered to his children—to have as many children as they can bear—that to us is not a problem, because every child has their individual destiny in life,” he insisted.

Aisha Hamza Abdu, the first wife of Abdu has no problem with many children despite their inability to provide shelter and cater for the children, her reason is that, “if one is destined to have many children, so be it, after all our holy prophet Peace be Upon Him said ‘give birth and multiply in number so that I will be proud of you in the day of judgment,” she maintained.

But Aminu Adamu said such kinds of views are induced by ignorance, adding “they could give rise to a bleak, gloomy future.”

“We are battling with what I call cultural misunderstanding of religion. Most of our religious leaders are conservative who have not really integrated their religious knowledge with secular, western style of education.

“Some religious leaders frown at issues of family planning, child spacing and girl child education,” arguing that they have no justification based on available evidence from Islamic jurisprudence.

He said if such views were not confronted with commensurate behavioural change, “there will always be poverty in the community. There’ll be generational transfer of poverty in the lineage and by extension in the society.


Regional coordinator of Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria, (PPFN), Yusuf Wabi, said innovative approaches such as the use of traditional and religious leaders to preach the gospel of child birth spacing is turning around the misnomers that have clouded the concept for years.

“looking at the realities on ground, different kinds of innovations and methods including meeting the women one on one, going through the religious and traditional institutions who preach the gospel of the family planning, and what we call the new concept of male involvement will play a greater role in addressing some of the issues affecting family planning in the state,” Wabi said.

He added that interventions that focus on behaviour change and incorporating greater role on the concept of male involvement will help in mitigating some of the barriers affecting the acceptability of child birth spacing especially in local communities.

Bauchi State coordinator, Usman Mohammed Inuwa Breakthough Action Nigeria BA-N, Usman Mohammed Inuwa, whose organisation focuses on behavioural change in the aspect of family planning expressed optimism that despite the difficulties involved in changing established beliefs, norms and cultures, obnoxious trends are not beyond reversal.

“Before we came, actually it was like a taboo to hear a religious leader coming out publicly to speak about family planning. “Now, our religious leaders are actually very much involved and you know they are speaking publicly on family planning without generating issues, even during religious gatherings like Tafsir during Ramadan you hear our religious leaders talking about family planning, encouraging people to go for child spacing”, he said.

Inuwa said the erroneous impressions attached to child birth spacing using religion and culture as justification is gradually fading out, “because religious scholars have established that child spacing has been in Islam, and they support those arguments with quotes from the Holy Qur’an,” he maintained.
(Culled from Leadership Newspaper)

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Who Is Afraid Of The Middle Belt?



By Obadiah Mailafia

Last week a bill was presented to the House of Representatives, entitled “Geo-political Zones of the Federation Bill 2020”. It was sponsored by Kpam Sokpo (PDP, Benue). It aims essentially to enshrine the Six Geopolitical Zones in our Constitution, with “North Central” being renamed “Middle Belt”.

The Six Geopolitical Zones were first proposed by the late Chief Alex Ekwueme and were accepted by the Abacha junta for the purpose of allocating positions and preferments by the Federal Government. They were an arbitrary creation, in the sense that the area that forms the core Middle Belt was designated as “North Central”. This means that the Old North was left intact for purposes of administrative reference. All sorts of abuses and discriminatory practices have been visited upon us under an Apartheid North.

The Middle Belt is both a geographical expression as well as a political identity. It is also a state of mind. Like the English constitution, the Middle Belt exists in the hearts and minds of the Middle Belt peoples.
Everyone that feels and knows he or she is Middle Belter, such a one belongs to the Middle Belt. A Middle Belter is anyone who was historically never defeated by the Fulani Jihad. We are who we are because we were never defeated by the Fulani Jihad. A Middle Belter is also anyone who does not subscribe to Caliphate ideology and the hegemony of the Fulani-dominated emirate system. Thirdly, a Middle Belter is anyone in the former North who does not wish to live under Sharia.

The Middlebelt region of Nigeria

The Middle Belt geographically encapsulates the area normally referred to as “North Central”. But it is much more than that. It extends from Southern Borno to Southern Adamawa, Southern Bauchi, Southern Gombe, Southern Yobe, Southern Kaduna and Southern Kebbi.
The peoples of the Middle Belt are also defined by history. We had one of the greatest civilisations that ever flourished in ancient Africa, namely: the Nok civilisation that was older than Benin and older than Ile-Ife. From what we know of its artefacts, the people had spiritual and cultural linkages to the Egypt of the Pharaohs. The successor to the ancient Nok culture was the great Kwararafa Kingdom that is today symbolised by the Aku Uka of Jukun land. The Kwararafa ruled Kano and many parts of Hausa land for more than 200 years. The small size of their population did not allow them to impose their hegemony over their conquered subjects. But their historical role is one of the pillars in the construction of modern Middle Belt identity politics.

The area comprising the Middle Belt today has a landmass of 300,000 square km, with an estimated population of 40 million peoples. It is the largest of any region, with the most fertile farmlands and the highest endowments in terms of minerals and natural resources. The Middle Belt is an ethnic federation of over a hundred ethnic communities. We are a tolerant and accommodating people. Our moral conscience is shaped by Christianity and the humane traditions of ancient Africa.

The struggle of the Middle Belt peoples did not start yesterday. As a matter of fact, it goes as far back as the 1900s. The subject of the creation of a Middle Belt region for the non-Muslim populations of the North was heavily debated in the British Parliament. Journalists and intellectuals and experts on colonial administration strongly urged the Colonial Office in London to consider creating an autonomous region for the non-Muslim peoples. Missionaries like Dr. Karl Kumm of the old Sudan United Mission also made strong submissions for that cause. The tribal chiefs from the Kilba, the Lunguda in Adamawa and the Baju and Atyap in Southern Kaduna also made strong representations to the colonial overlords to create a Middle Belt region.

The Willink Minority Commission 1957 advocated creation of an autonomous region for the Middle Belt, but the matter was unfortunately overtaken by geopolitics. The British considered it to be in their long-term strategic interest to ensure that the North would remain the dominant region and would continue to rule in perpetuity. Dame Margery Perham, a leading authority on colonial administration, described it as “tripod”, which was programmed to fail. One of the laws of federalist theory is that none of the federating units should be large enough to threaten the others. The British clearly sowed the seeds of catastrophe which has continued to haunt our country to this day.

Joseph Sarwuan Tarka
Championed the Middlebelt cause

The fathers of the modern Middle Belt struggle are well known. They include Rev. David Lot, J. S. Tarka, Patrick Dokotri, J. D. Gomwalk, Solomon Daushep Lar, Dan Suleiman and the late Bala Takaya, among several others. The millions of Middle Belt youths today are demanding a separate identity for themselves. They are tired of being lumped together as part of a monstrous behemoth called the North. We do not want to be associated with the Almajiri system, Emirate feudalism, begging, Sharia, poverty, mindless divorce and broken families, Global jihad, child marriage and vaginal Vesico-fistula, VVF; Boko Haram, genocidal herdsmen, oppression and violence.

The Middle Belt sacrificed more than anyone else to keep this country together. We are the bridge that links North and South. Without the Middle Belt, Nigeria would not exist. The greatest regret of our people is that General Yakubu Gowon used our conscripted youths to fight against the fledgling republic of Biafra. Most of them had never seen a rainforest terrain before. They were mowed down like grass. Never again will the Middle Belt ever allow itself to be used in that way.

Over the last decade, the Middle Belt Forum has been engaged in dialogue with Afenifere of Yoruba land, PANDEF of the South-South and Ohaeneze Ndigbo of the East. We have discovered our common destiny. We are working together to build a New Nigeria with a new constitution and a re-engineered federation in which all our communities will have a fair and equal voice.
We are resolved never to be part of the Old North, where our people are daily being killed, maimed and raped. During this lockdown alone, hundreds of innocent people – children, women, the elderly – have been killed by marauding bandits in Southern Kaduna, Plateau and Benue. Boko Haram has targeted Christian communities in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. More than 3,000 churches have been destroyed and more than 400 clergy have been martyred. Their trade mark is beheading, disembowelment of expectant mothers, hacking of infants, rape and forced marriages of under-age girls. There are more than three million internally displaced persons in Nigeria today as a consequence.

We are not hostile to Islam or Muslims. We have our own indigenous Muslims with whom we live in peace and harmony. We want good rapport with the North, but never accept the status of dhimmi second-class citizens in the land of our ancestors. After almost 60 years of feudal injustice, structural violence and oppression, we demand self-determination within a New Nigeria.
In July 2018, the Middle Belt peoples held a Summit in Makurdi, Benue State. The famous Makurdi Declaration that ensued sets out our principles, goals and vision for our people and for the New Nigeria of our dream. That clarion call to freedom rang throughout the world.

Its essence is a rejection of the fraud underpinning the 1999 Constitution. It begins with: “We, the people”. But that is a capital LIE! That fraudulent contraption was designed and handed-over to us by a military dictatorship without the full consent of our people. It is therefore, ipso facto, bereft of moral legitimacy. We demand nothing less than a new constitution with a referendum that ensures that all the peoples of Nigeria decide which region they will belong to, without fear or favour.

We also take strong exception to the gerrymandering of the structure of our federation in such a manner that favours some while short-changing others. We envision a two-tier federation, with federating units of no more than five Regions:North, Middle Belt, West, East and South-South. Each Region will be free to create its own municipal councils as it deems fit. We envisage Regions that shall be economically and financially viable; able to meet their basic obligations in terms of operating elected government, civil service and local police.

Ever since Aristotle, a system of checks and balances exists in constitutional government because men are not angels. The presidential system and our current fraudulent federalism have proven to be a monstrous Leviathan that sucks the blood of our people. The Middle Belt stands for a decentralised parliamentary system that devolves more powers to the people and allows them to participate in the governance process that shapes their lives and the future of their children.
Freedom beckons, and we shall not wait!

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by Gabriel Oyibo
The Igala origin started from Egypt, formerly known as Kemet. Egypt was the cradle of civilization. According to Professor Gabriel Oyibo (GAGUT), “our forefathers were the inhabitants of Egypt”. They were the inventor of chemistry and mathematics (Geometry). “chem.” Means black; “mystery” (magic) that is “black magic”. When the white give a piece of stone or metal; the blacks (our fore fathers) knew the number of hydrogen ions they would add to turn it to gold. To the white then, it was black magic. With time they started realizing it was chemical reaction taking place, hence the development of the subject called chemistry. The pyramid that was built by our forefathers involved the most intelligent mathematical calculations ever done on earth.

Recent Archaeological discovery was a computer cell dating over 3, 000 years with the cell still alive. There is no doubt that other archaeological finding had shown that the oldest man on earth was found in Egypt, proving evidence that human life started from Egypt. Archaeologist has also on earthed the site of the ancient universities of Alexandria believed to be the oldest university in the world. Between 36 – 841 AD, the Arab from southern Europe invaded Egypt and drove away our people from Egypt. They started their journeys southwards.
The scattering made others to go towards the South and North East of Egypt. Some settled at Ethiopia making the Ethiopian population to constituting about 75% of Galas; indigenous language of Congolese is called Lingala by; in Ghana they speak Gaa; which is an Igala language. When you remove “N” from Ghana and replace by ‘L’ you have Ghala. There is a traditional ruler called Atta in Ghana and that is why many Ghanaians bare Atta.

HRM Idakwo Michael Ameh, Oboni II, Attah Igala

When Dr. Jacob Abdullahi met bishop Gad Heward – Mill, who is of Gaa tribe from Ghana when he come to Abuja to preach in Foursquare Gospel church Garki, he was proud of his Ethnic group although he was trying to link their origin to Yoruba languages. He made him to understand that Yoruba is also an Igala language. (Please read Igala / Yoruba relationship). Angola means “the land of Galas”. Gala mean celebrity. At least, in Nigeria today and the rest of the world especially among Africans, Gala is the most celebrated in scientific breakthroughs.

Some of the Igalas on their way to the present abode settled along their routes; some Galas are presently in Sudan, Madagascar, Turkey, and Yemen, one of the Arabian countries were we still have the king as “Attah-Turk” and “Ata Gala” G.M Clifford, one of the Colonial district officer in Nigeria, stated in his book, “the Igala chiefdom” that the Igala country, (as it was then known) was variously called, Igala, Igara, Gara, Gala and early reports Atangara or Akpoto… the Eastern boundary of Igala proper ran from the River Ocheku through Agatu, Idoka, Boju, through the Idoma, Nsukka, some little above Onitsha and external fief of Igbira Panda, Igbira Igu (Koton Karfi or Akpoto Karfi) and Kakanda, whilst the Ata’s writ on the Niger itself extended from the limit of Benue, Benue confluence to the Bussa rapids where Mungo park met his end”.

Please repeat carefully these statements about the Igala country as described above by Mr. G.M Clifford the then colonial district officer at Idah. Note that the description was limited to the Igala proper. This did not include other tribes within the territory of Igala country. There is every reason for me to believe that the Igbira, Idoma, Kakanda and other tribes within this area are proper Igalas. Bassa-Nge speak almost the same language as Nupes while Bassa-Komo is of Gbagyi (Gwari) extractions and the language is almost the same. “Limits of Benue, Benue confluence, which is the very center of Igala Kingdom (Lokoja) to the Bussa rapids (New-Bussa) in the present Niger State; where Mungo Park met his end”.
Please pause and trace New-Bussa and the source (limits) of River Benue. It is a pity, and unfortunate that Igala nation with all her people and might has been submerged, reduced into a tiny geographical location called Kogi State. I believe that the sleeping giant will rise up once again from a century of slumbering and be awakened unto their responsibilities by providing good leadership that has eluded this nation!
Igalas on their way from Egypt crossing the deserts must have stayed with Jukuns (Apa), (although Aros) Apa branch have their origin in Idah. Briefly before relocating to the present abode. It is not an exaggeration that Igalas are owners and the first Nigerians to be reckoned with. The 1987 political bureau, which stated thus, backs up this historical fact.

Although controversies, claim and counter claims characterize the tradition of origins and migrations of different Nigerian people, it is important to note that certain areas of Nigeria such as the upper Benue valley, the Niger-Benue confluence (originally occupied by the Okpotos) and the central high lands of middle belt were centers of origin or parent stock from where many group in Nigeria branched out to their present abodes”.
In 1917, report to investigate as to origin of the Non-Tiv in Katsina-Ala Division, proved the existence of remnants of Igala settlement, East of Katsina River.

This report supported all the facts earlier submitted that most tribes in Nigeria came out of Igala, Bini and Jukuns. That is why Igala word is most common to other languages in Nigeria and beyond. This work erases all doubts and controversies in the report.
In early seventies (70s), there was a seminar held in order to fashion out a Lingua franca for Nigeria; a Yoruba professor of Linguistics defended the Igalas position that it should be Igala language to be adopted as lingua Franca for Nigeria. The reason is that most Igala words are found in other languages in Nigeria and beyond.
Between 16th and 17th Century, Igala had one of the best indigenous colonization in Africa; Idah became the people’s Rome, the center of civilization and learning. The most important resources in Nigeria during the pre-colonial era were the two Rivers. The most cherished and strategic point to behold and even occupy was the confluence area.

Prior to the coming of Europeans, and subsequent partition of West Africa, Igala country stretched far as to share boundaries with Onitsha, Benin and beyond the banks of the River Niger and Benue to the North. They share influences and treaties with the Igbos, Benin’s in the Southwest, Yorubas in the far West and the Hausas in the North. Their technology was also at advanced stage. Some early explorers could not hide their feelings an excerpt from their diary:
The Igala people have had mutually reinforcing relationship with major world ethnic groups. Their craft (technology) was so advanced that at close of 18th Century, Igala country produces iron and metals; cultivate cotton, tobacco and beniseed; they also manufacture coarse grass, mats and bags, cloths, clay and brass pipes, hoes and leather.
The latter is dyed black, red or yellow, and is made with anos or charms for the neck and waist, as well as being used for covering baskets, and the handles of swords and knives”.
Igala King introduced Gunu, the chief heathen deity of the Kworra and the confluence. Before the advent of the Europeans colonization, Igala religion was practiced by several groups in Nigeria. Please read an extract from records of early explorers. “The worship of Gunu is carried on in Nupe, Igara and Bassa as well as in the states of Yauri and Gbari, and is said to have been introduced about 150 years ago by an Igara King.

Gunu is believed to be the spirit of some ancestor of the Igaras, and is looked on as the great dispenser of every blessing, but more especially as the giver of children. An annual festival takes place in its honour at the end of January or the beginning of February and lasts for ten days, there being great feasting and drinking accompanied by dancing and merriment. Gunu inhabits certain groves in the country, and thither, during the festival wooden bowls of cooked food and pots of native beer (made from hocus sorghum) are carried for the propitiation of the deity, men praying on this occasion for fruitful crops (since Gunu is considered to be the controller of the elements), while childless women pray that their lot may be changed.

As had been mentioned, there is a great mortality from various causes among children in these countries, therefore should a woman who had the misfortune to lose all her children in infancy succeed in rearing one, she prefixes to its name that of Gunu, and so among the Nupes we frequently find such names as Gunu-Kolo, Gunu-Jia, Gunu-Kashi, their possesors being much respected, and deemed to be gifts from the great Gunu”. (Nupe at that time was a province of Igara).
Furthermore, Igala kernels were among export commodities to various countries in the world.

History has played a major role in shaping the landscape of the Igala country. However, the prosperity of the old Igala nation left behind a society that is endowed with abundant historical relics which tells the stages of civilization, architecture, culture, settlement, pattern etc.

Anybody viewing the map of Africa and zooming into Nigeria will see one of the greatest features; the two great Rivers that met at a point and together journeying down Southwards into the Atlantic without the waters mixing.
Each one maintaining their white and dark colours separate identities until they flow into the Delta region and emptied into the Atlantic. God is Great!……

(Professor Gabriel Audu Oyibo, called the ‘Black Einstein’ and the creator of GAGUT, which stands for the “GOD Almighty Grand Unified Theorem” which is called the ‘Theory of Everything,’ is the man who solved Einstein’s ‘Theory of Relativity.’ Prof. Gabriel Audu Oyibo has still not been given the Nobel Prize in Physics or Mathematics by the Nobel Committee although he was nominated for the Noble Prize in 2002, 2003 and 2004)

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There’s rich history behind every state and its name. Check out all the states and how they were named



There’s rich history behind every state and its name. Check out all the states and how they were named.

From names of rivers to popular heroes, see how all the 36 Nigerian states got their names.

1. Abia

Abia is an acronym from the four main groups of people in the state as at the time it was formed in 1991: Aba Bende Isuikwuato Afikpo.

2. Adamawa

Adamawa was named after a warrior, Modibbo Adama Bin Ardo Hassan, that conquered the region in the beginning of the 19th century.

3. Akwa-Ibom

Akwa Ibom is named after the Qua Iboe (or Kwa Iboe) River.

4. Anambra

The state got its name from the corrupted version of Oma Mbala (Ànyịm Ọma Mbala), a popular river in the area.

5. Bauchi

There are three versions of how Bauchi got its name are:

‘Bauchi’ is Hausa word meaning the southern flanks of Hausaland. Tribes living in the southern parts of the Hausaland were referred to as “kasashen bauchi” and the area they lived in later came to be known simply as Bauchi. The second version the state was named for Baushe, a famous hunter who settled there before the 19th century. The third states that ‘bauchi’ is Hausa word for slavery since it was a center for slave raiders.

6. Bayelsa

Bayelsa is a combination of the acronyms of three local government areas which were pulled out of old Rivers state — Brass LGA known as BALGA, Yenegoa LGA known as YELGA and Sagbama LGA known as SALGA. The mathematics involved in the formation of their names is BA + YEL + SA = BAYELSA

7. Benue

The state was named after the “europeanised” corruption of ‘Binuwe’, the Batta word for ‘Mother of Waters’.

8. Borno

The alternative name of the Kanuris, the predominant ethnic group in the state, is ‘Borno’ which gave inspiration for the naming of the state.

9. Cross River

The state took its name from a River called Oyono or Cross River.

10. Delta

The state is where the River Niger forms a delta as it enters the Atlantic Ocean.

11. Ebonyi

Ebonyi is the anglicised version of ‘Aboine’, a river that cuts through Abakaliki, the state capital.

12. Edo

The Bini people who dwell in the area had always referred to themselves as Edo or Iduu. This inspired the name of the state.

13. Ekiti

‘Okiti’ is a term that is said to denote a settlement of many hills. It later became ‘Ekiti’.

14. Enugu

Due to the many hills and rocky terrain in the area, the people named it in igbo, “Enu Ugwu” meaning “top of the hill”. The state is named after the anglicised version, Enugu.

15. Gombe

Gombe is the dialect of Fulani language (Fulfulde) spoken in the area.

16. Imo

Just like many of the Nigerian states, Imo took its name from the popular river, Imo Mmiri.

17. Jigawa

Jigawa takes inspiration from its distinctively golden-coloured soil.

18. Kaduna

‘Kadunas’ is the plural form of crocodile in Hausa. The state therefore got its name from the many crocodiles in Kaduna River.

19. Kano

Kano was the name of a blacksmith from the Gaya tribe who settled in the area while sourcing for ironstone. The state was named after him.

20. Katsina

The state was named after the wife of a popular local ruler known as Janzama. Her name was Katsina.

21. Kebbi

It is said that Kebbi was named after the Ka’abba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

22. Kogi

Since the popular confluence in Nigeria is located in the state, Kogi is said to have been derived from ‘kogin’, the hausa word for river.

23. Kwara

River Niger used to be called River Kwara by the Nupes at the Northern border of the state. The state was named after this.

24. Lagos

In 1472, the first set of Europeans to set foot in Lagos were the Portuguese. Due to the many lagoons and rivers in the town, they named it Lagos, which is the Portuguese word for ‘lakes’.

25. Nasarawa

Nasarawa is a native word for ‘victorious’. The state was named by the founder of Nasarawa kingdom, Makama Dogo.

26. Niger

This was named after the River Niger.

27. Ogun

This state was also named after a river — Ogun River.

28. Ondo

Ondo is a word used for settlers. The state was named after the settlers of the old Ondo Kingdom.

29. Osun

This state was also named after a river — the River Osun.

30. Oyo

The state was named after the Old Oyo empire.

31. Plateau

The state was named after the picturesque Jos plateau. Jos got its name from the mispronunciation of the town ‘Gwosh’.

32. Rivers

Rivers State was named after the many water bodies present in the area.

33. Sokoto

Sokoto is the anglicized version of the Arabic word ‘suk’ meaning ‘market’ or ‘place of commerce’. The state itself was named after the defunct Sokoto Caliphate.

34. Taraba

Taraba state got its name from the Taraba River.

35. Yobe

Komadugu Yobe (Waube or Ouobe) or River Yobe (or River of Yo) inspired the name of the state.

36. Zamfara

This state was named after Zamfarawa, one of the subdialects of the Eastern Hausa group.

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