Known as the power state, Niger state was created on February 3, 1976 from the defunct North-Western state during the regime of Late General Murtala Ramat Mohammed; however, official functioning of the state began on of that year.
The state, whose capital is Minna marked its 40 years of creation this year under the governor ship of Abubakar Sani Bello.
It is a State in the central Nigeria and the largest state in the country.
The state is fairly populated, totalling 3,950,249 as estimated in 2006 and ranking 18th among 36 other states of the country.
Other major cities in the state include Bida, Kontagora, Suleja Minna, Lapai, Mokwa among others.
Majority of numerous indigenous tribes of Niger state include the Nupe, Gbagyi, Kamuku, Kambari, Dukawa and Koro.
The state is named after the River Niger. Three of Nigeria's major hydroelectric power stations namely the Kainji Dam, the Shiroro Dam and the Jebba Dam are located in the State which makes the state to be referred to as the Power State.
The famous Gurara Falls is in Niger state, and Gurara Local Government Area is named after the Gurara River, on whose course the fall is situated.
The largest National Park of Nigeria known as Kainji National Park, which contains Kainji Lake, the Borgu Game Reserve and the Zugurma Game Reserve, is situated in Niger state.
Under the administration of Abdulkadir Kure on May 4, 2000, the state adopted Sharia law as the code of law.
Niger State is home to twenty-five Local Government Areas, which include Agwara, Bida, Borgu, Bosso, Chanchaga, Edati, Gbako, Gurara, Katcha, Kontagora.
Other are: Lavun, Magama, Mariga, Mashegu, Mokwa, Munya, Paikoro, Rafi, Rijau, Shiroro, Suleja, Tafa, Wushishi and Agaie and Lapai which were later created out of Etswan LGA.
Important to note, between 1979 and 1983 when Malam Muhammadu Awwal Ibrahim was Governor of the State, eighteen LGAs were administered by his government, namely Kuta, Paikoro, Chanchaga, Rafi, Gbako, Katcha, Lemu, Lapai, Agaie, Suleja, Mariga, Bangi, Magama, Auna, Lavun, Mokwa, and Jima-Doko. But the military in 1984, returned to the original L.G.A structure. Chanchaga was however divided into two: Minna Municipal Council, with headquarters at Minna and Shiroro LGA with headquarters at Kuta.
In 1991, the LGAs in the state became nineteen, when President Ibrahim Babangida created nine States and additional LGAs in Nigeria. However, by 1996 when late General Sani Abacha created six additional States and 182 LGAs in the entire country, Niger State got additional six LGAs, namely, Katcha, Munya, Mashegu, Edati, Tafa and Mariga, bringing the total to 25 LGAs.
The state is bordered to the north by Zamfara state, west by Kebbi state, south by Kogi state, south west by Kwara state, North-East by Kaduna state and south east by the Federal Capital Territory.
Beyond the bounds of the country, the state is also bordered by the Republic of Benin along Agwara and Borgu LGAs to the North West.
The three principal ethnic groups in Niger State are the Nupe, the Gwari, and the Hausa. Other tribal groups include the Kadara, the Koro, the Baraba, the Kadara, the GanaGana, the Dibo, the Kambari, the Kamuku, the Pangu, the Dukkawa, the Gwada and the Ingwai and a host of others.
It was reliably confirmed that development activities unfolding across the state is among other reasons, as a result of contributions by numerous settlers from other parts of the country, who are living peacefully and breathing life into the state’s rapid growth on a daily basis.
Majority of the residents in the state are farmers while a few others are involved in other vocations such as businesses, craft and arts among others.
Predominant among the people of Niger State are Muslims and Christians with a very few traditionalists and atheists.
Economy & Mineral Resources
It was gathered that the cherished asset of Niger State is its fertile land, however, the potentials are yet to be fully explored. The climate and availability of wide variety of mineral and agricultural resources also attest to the economic potentials of the State. Every government that has come to power accordingly, endeavoured to provide good infrastructure such as roads, electricity, water and communication facilities, to make way for interested investors.
Adding to the stockpiled development elements sprinkled across Niger State, some other natural and mineral resources found in the State include Talc, Gold, Ball clays, Silica, Sand, Marble, Copper, Iron, Felsper, Lead, Kaolin, Casserole, Columbite, Mica, Quartzite and a host of others. The three Hydro Electric Power Stations in the Country (at Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro) are all situated in Niger State.
NAIJ.com found out that Niger State is one of the richest states in the country in terms of tourism. Some of the Tourist attractions are Zuma Rock, Gurara falls, Baro Empire Hill, Lord Lugard Colonial ruins at Zungeru, Nagwamatse Well and Kainji Lake National Park.
The government of Niger state it was gathered, was aware that the true development of any nation depends on her level of industrialisation. This accounts for concerted efforts that have been made to ensure rapid industrialisation in the State. Being largely an agrarian state, Niger State can support a large variety of Agro-allied industries. Also, the State’s numerous mineral resources can serve as basis for the establishment of many other industries in the state.
In order to induce industrialists to invest heavily in tapping these resources, government according to investigation, has to put in place many incentives such as provision of well-serviced Industrial layouts, guaranteed accelerated processing of application for industrial plots and even financial assistance in form of loans and equity participation by the government in certain cases.
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Other facilities like telecommunication, postal services etc. are adequately provided in the State for effective business contacts. The State has International airport and is well linked to all parts of Nigeria by road and rail.
Attractions: Gurara Fall
Located in Gurara Local Government Area on the road linking Suleja and Minna together, the waterfalls span 200 meters across with a sheer drop of 30 meters. Gurara river is a large tributary of river Niger and it is always in full wave especially during the rain seasons.
Apparently in January, the falls are a trickle and visitors can swim in clear pools at the bottom of the falls. Visitors can take a day trip to the gushing Gurara waterfalls – an hour drive out of the FCT.
At Gurara, small streams diverted from the main Gurara river run softly around rocks on top of the cliff, converging from scores tributaries in the narrow rugged pass and dashing out from the cliff with its heavy torrent.
Finally, the water, shining under the sun, as beautiful as fireworks, falls into a pond some 20 meters below before returning to tranquillity.
There are two main streams of waterfalls, but in the rainy season, the whole cliff would be covered with a curtain of waterfalls. Investigation revealed that to get close to the waterfalls, visitors need to make a daring walk.
There is accordingly, an ongoing plan to turn the waterfall area into a tourist resort and there were already investors showing interest in the project. Construction of a five-star hotel is also on the agenda.
Famous for its hand crafts and colourful market, this principal city of the Nupe people is an important city for glass beads, clothes, silver and brass work, it carved eight-legged stools made from a single piece of wood and decorative pottery.
It was gathered that this beautiful, giant rock is used for defensive purposes by the Gwari natives against invading neighbouring tribes during the inter-tribal wars. The rock is believed to possess certain powers which rendered enemies powerless and provided the natives with a good hiding haven.
As the tourists nets closer, a human like face becomes visible with engraving representing the sockets, the nose and the mouth on the side of the rock that faces Abuja road. Zuma rock represents a beautiful and unique natural work of rock formation. It offers a good environment for picnics and relaxation.
Zuma Rock Village
Zuma rock Nigeria Village is situated a few distance from the foot of the Zuma rock and it depicts the village settings of the Gwari natives.
Mayanka fall is one of the nature’s gift situated in Niger State, which is surrounded with lush vegetation and appreciative landscape.
Shiroro Dam Tourist Resort
Shiroro Dam is one of the hydro electric dam stations that generate electricity for the country. A section of the dam was transformed into a resort for visitors and tourists who come to visit to have fun, relaxation and leisure.
These footprints could be seen on the hill top in Bina Village near Muye, some kilometres east of Lapai. The footprints, also called Dauda Woyaba footprints, are also believed to be that of Dabo, who started his journey from Bina and later went to Gulu to perform his ablution and build his mosque. It was gathered that this man stayed for some times before leaving for Kano. The footprints are still visible on the rock at Bina hilltop.
This well is said to have been dug by the legendary Nagwamatse during the Jihad. It has been revealed that when he was resting under a tree, he struck the ground with his sword in order to get water for ablution in preparation for prayers. The water spot that resulted from that action still exists as a well some kilometres away from Kontagora.
Dr. Ladi Kwali Pottery Centre
Established in 1951 by late Mr. Micheal Cardew, a British potter of international repute, the centre trains native traditional potters in the art of modern pottery making in order to preserve and protect Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage through the art of pottery making. It is a good centre for tourists to purchase souvenirs.
Kainji Lake National Park
Established in 1979 by the merger of Borgu and Zugurma game reserves, which covers an area of 5,340sq km, Kanji Lake National park is one of the largest parks in Nigeria and West Africa. The park is closely linked with the famous Kainji lake hydro electric complex and it is one of Nigeria’s inland jewels. It also contains a wide variety of Nigeria’s floral and fauna resources. Kainji Lake Park boasts of abundant wildlife such as antelopes, lions, hippopotamus, buffalo, roan antelopes, baboons, monkeys, duikers, crocodiles, elephants etc.
Ibrahim Babangida (IBB)
Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, a one-time Military Head of State of Nigeria was born in 1941 at Minna, Niger State of Nigeria. He is from the Gwari ethnic group.
According to records, Ibrahim Babangida joined the Nigerian Army on December 10, 1962, and served in an administrative capacity under the military government of Olusegun Obasanjo. Ibrahim Babangida also served as a member of the Supreme Military Council from August 1, 1975 – October 1979.
During the administration of General Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Babangida became the Chief of Army Staff and a member of the Supreme Military Council (SMC). He eventually came into power as a Military Head of State.
Abdulsalami Abubakar was born on June 13, 1942 in Minna, Niger State of Nigeria.
After this initial formal education, Abdul Salami Abubakar enlisted in the Nigerian Army where over a period of time, he became Chief of Defence Staff.
On June 9, 1998, Abdulsalami Abubakar became Nigeria’s Military Head of State after being persuaded to accept the position, when the former Head of State General Sani Abacha died.
On May 29, 1999, Abdulsalami Abubakar transmitted power to the civilian government in keeping with an early promise he made when he took over power.
Cyril Stober, journalist and on media personality with Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) is an indigene of Minna, in Niger State. The talented newscaster. graced our screens, informing generations with authentic eloquence. He has often been described as a wonderful voice at the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) where he has held sway over the years as an eloquent newscaster.
Prime time news on the Nigerian Television Authority will never be the same again. After three decades in front of the camera, Cyril Stober has finally retired from Nigeria’s premier TV station on December 10, 2015.
Hon. Mohammed Abdulkadir Mahmud
Hon. Mohammed Abdulkadir Mahmud was born in 1966. He is an indigene of Niger State. He is a member of the Federal House of Representative representing Agaie/Lapai Federal Constituency.
He obtained his Primary School Leaving Certificate at Central Primary School, Minna. He then proceeded for his Secondary Education at Government Science College kagara, Kaduna. He thereafter obtained his Ordinary National Diploma(OND) and Higher National Diploma(HND) at Kaduna polytechnic.
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In the 2015 elections, he contested for the Federal House of representative under the Platform of the All Progressive Congress(APC) and Won to represent Agaie/Lapai Federal Constituency.
It is worthy to note that he has as his Legislative Interests Bills and Motions and he Targets to be the Best Legislator.
Other prominent people from Niger State include but not limited to Alhaji Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, Hon. Justice Musa Dattijo Muhammad, Abdulkadir Kure, Hon Adamu Shadafi Salihu, Hon Faruk Bala Muhammadu, Hon Abdullahi Idris Garba, Hon Umaru Bago Mohammed, Hon Shehu Rijau Saleh, Hon Ahmed Abu, Hon Abubakar Abdullahi Lado, Hon Abubakar Chika Adamu, Hon. Umar Rofia Muhammed, Senator Garba Abdullahi Mohammed, Senator David Umaru, Senator Abdullahi Sabi Aliyu and Ibrahim Kpotun Idris.