Niger Delta States; History, Governors, Population, All to Know

Niger Delta States; History, Governors, Population
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This post extensively covers the Niger Delta States, their history, governors, populations, and more.

There are possible reasons why you are reading this article;

  • You want to travel to one or all of the states in the Niger Delta.
  • You just want to learn more about the famous group of states referred to as the Niger Delta.

Whatever your reason is, this article explicitly discusses all the necessary details you need to know about Niger Delta.

Niger Delta States; History, Governors, Population
Niger Delta States; History, Governors, Population

The article will cover areas like:

  • The history of Niger Delta
  • States in the Niger Delta
  • Governors of Niger Delta States
  • The population of Niger Delta
  • And other necessary details

History of Niger Delta States, Nigeria

Nigeria is famous for its abundance of natural resources, the most abundant being crude oil in the Niger Delta region.

The Niger Delta states refer to all oil-producing states in Nigeria.

Take note not to confuse the Niger Delta states for the South-South geopolitical zone of the nation.

The reality is that the Niger Delta has 6 states in the South-South, as well as one from the South-West, and two from the South-East.

Originally, the Niger Delta only consisted of 3 states – Delta, Bayelsa, and Rivers.

However, in 2000, the former President Olusegun Obasanjo added the remaining 6 states to the region.

The reason is that those 6 states were major contributors to oil production in Nigeria.

States in the Niger Delta

The following 9 states are the largest oil-producing states in Nigeria and are collectively referred to as the Niger Delta.

The Niger Delta states are;

  1. Delta
  2. Rivers
  3. Bayelsa
  4. Akwa-Ibom
  5. Cross River
  6. Imo
  7. Ondo
  8. Edo
  9. Abia

Map of Niger Delta States

Map of Niger Delta States
Map of Niger Delta States

Overview of the Niger Delta States

Delta State

The big heart of the nation, Delta state, was formerly part of the twin states called Bendel, the other state being Edo.

It is one of Nigeria’s richest states and is home to the major petroleum refineries in Nigeria.

It is part of the original states in the Niger Delta and is the 2nd largest oil-producing state contributing about 22% of the oil produced in Nigeria.

Other natural resources Delta state has include Industrial clay, Lignite, Kaolin, Tar sand, Limestone, and decorative rocks.

The state has several tourist attractions and is also popular for its agricultural prowess.

The capital of Delta state is Asaba. The state is home to the Urhobo, Isoko, and the Itsekiri people along with other ethnic groups.

Major tourist attractions in Delta state include the Kwale Game Reserve, Otuogo Beach, Living History Museum, Abraka Turf, and the Araya Bible site.

Rivers State

Rivers state is one of the original Niger Delta states.

Before Akwa-Ibom became the largest oil-producing state in Nigeria, Rivers state was the first.

Now it is the third-largest oil-producing state, contributing approximately 21% of the oil produced by the Niger Delta.

The capital of Rivers is Port Harcourt, and the state is mostly populated by the Ikwerre, Okrika, Upobo, and Kalabari people.

Major landmarks in the state are its 2 refineries making it a major oil refining state.

It is no wonder why they call themselves the “Treasure Base of the Nation.”

The has one of the country’s international airports and has several tourist attractions.


Bayelsa State is the first state where oil was discovered in commercial quantity in Oloibiri community 1956.

In 2015, the state ranked as the 4th largest oil-producing state in Nigeria.

The state is home to the former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

The state was created in 1996 under the military regime of General Sani Abacha.

Read: Military Coups in Nigeria; All to Know

Bayelsa is known as the least populated state as well as the state with the least amount of local government areas.

Read: Most Populated State in Nigeria; Top 10

Asides from crude oil, the state is also blessed with other natural resources such as salt, silica sand, and natural gas.

Ogbia, Nembe, Izon, and Epie-Atissa are the major ethnic groups in the state, and the major language spoken there is Ijaw.


Akwa-Ibom is the largest oil-producing state in the Niger Delta.

It is currently responsible for approximately 31% of the total oil produced by the Niger Delta.

Akwa-Ibom is populated by about 6 million people and is blessed with other natural resources.

Meaning asides crude oil, it is also flowing with salt, clay, limestone, etc.

The state’s capital is Uyo, and it is mostly populated by the Oron, Annang, and Ibibio ethnic groups.

The state is also home to an airport and 2 major seaports and has several tourist attractions.

Cross River

This is another state in the South-South geopolitical zone that is part of the Nigeria Delta region.

Cross River state is known as a state filled with tourist attractions such as the Tinapa business resort and the Obudu Mountain Resort.

The state has the Calabar carnival, a yearly street festival that attracts thousands of people from across the world yearly to witness its glory.

It is no surprise that this state is dubbed “the people’s paradise.”

You will be surprised to know that although the Niger Delta is made up of the major oil-producing states in Nigeria, Cross River is not an oil-producing state.

However, the state is blessed with many natural resources such as salt, clay, limestone, quartzite, granite, sand, kaolin, and feldspar.

It is safe to say the state was added to the region for economic/political reasons.

The capital of Cross River is Calabar, home to the yearly Calabar carnival festival, and the state is dominated by the Efik people who majorly speak Efik.


Imo state is one of the two states in the South-East geopolitical zone that is part of the Niger Delta region.

With Owerri as its capital city, the state is located in the heart of Igbo land as it is regarded as the richest state in Igbo land.

Asides from crude oil, other natural resources found in Imo state include Calcium, Zinc, and natural gas.

The state is known for its prowess in commerce and agriculture.

That is why it is flowing with profitable crops such as iroko, mahogany, bamboo, palm oil, etc.

Tourist attractions in Imo state include the Amadioha Shrine- the Igbo god of lightning and thunder, Okigwe rolling hills, and Nekede Botanical Garden.

A major landmark of the state is its airport, the Sam Mbakwe Airport.

The state is the richest state in Igboland and also has some of the richest men and women in Igboland.


Ondo State is the only South-Western state in the Nigeria Delta due to its oil-producing status.

The capital of Ondo in Akure.

It was created in 1976 and once included present-day Ekiti state which was split off in 1996.

Asides from the oil reserves present in Ondo State, it also has the 2nd largest bitumen deposit and largest natural gas deposits in the world.

Other natural resources flowing in Ondo include Granite, Marble, Gold, Clay, and Lignite.

While the state is largely dominated by the Yorubas, there are several languages between them.

A few of these languages include Akure, Idanre, Ijaw, Owo, Akoko, etc.

Major tourist attractions in Ondo state include the Deji’s palace, Igbo Olodumare, and Idanre Hills.


Edo state is one of the South-South states added to the Niger Delta for political/economic reasons.

It was originally part of the twin state known as Bendel state but split off in 1991. It made up the Northern part of Bendel and Delta state was the Southern part.

Asides from its crude oil reserve, Edo is home to 11 other mineral deposits.

They include quartzite, marble, gypsum, lignite, limestone, kaolin, graphite, gravel, manganese, ilmenite, and clay.

The major ethnic groups in Edo state are the Edo, Esan, Afemai, Owan, and Akoko Edo.

The capital of Edo state is Benin and the state has numerous tourist attractions.


Abia State is the second South-East geopolitical zone state in the Niger Delta.

It was carved out of Imo State in the year 1991.

Asides from its oil reserves, the state is flowing with limestone, gypsum, kaolin, copper, laterite, bentonite clay, lead, phosphate, and zinc.

The state is also home to the famous Ariaria International market Aba and one of the biggest cattle markets in Nigeria.

As the 5th most industrialized state in the country, who can argue that Abia isn’t God’s own state?

Understandably, some people may think the capital of Abia is Aba because of how well known its market is; however, Abia’s capital is Umuahia.

Ironically, Umuahia is derived from the word Amahia which roughly translates to the market center.

While Umuahia may not be as popular as Aba, it is still responsible for a lot of trading activities taking place in the state.

Tourist attractions to visit in Abia state include Arochukwu Cave, the National War Museum, the National Museum of Colonial History, and the Azumini Blue River.

The state also has several interesting Abia State festivals that might caught your attention.

Governor’s of the Niger Delta States

This is a list of the Niger Delta States’ Governors.

Bayelsa2/2020 – PresentDouye Diri
Edo9/2020 – PresentGodwin N. Obaseki
Rivers5/2015 – PresentEzeriwo N. Wike
Delta4/2015 – PresentIfeanyi Okowa
Imo1/2020 – PresentHope Uzodinma
Abia5/2015 – PresentOkezie Ikeazu
Ondo2/2017 – PresentOluwarotimi O. Akeredolu, SAN
Cross River5/2015 – PresentBenedict B. Ayade
Akwa-Ibom5/2015 – PresentUdom G. Emmanuel
Table showing the governors of Niger Delta states

The population of the Niger Delta States

The Niger Delta region is home to about 40 million people.

This table shows the population of the Niger Delta states.

Bayelsa1.7 million
Delta4.1 million
Rivers5.2 million
Edo5 million
Imo4.8 million
Cross River3.7 million
Akwa-Ibom5.4 million
Abia2.5 million
Ondo3.5 million

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About the Niger Delta

Is the Niger Delta part of Biafra?

In terms of geography, we can say a large part of the Niger Delta is part of the Biafra area.

To be more specific, about 77% of the Niger Delta is included in the Biafran territory.

7 out of 9 states in the Niger Delta are part of the 11 states that make up the Biafra area.

They are:

  • Imo
  • Abia
  • Delta
  • Akwa-ibom
  • Cross River
  • Bayelsa
  • Rivers

The remaining states of Biafra are Ebonyi, Anambra, and Enugu.

Whether the people of the states in the Niger Delta consider themselves to have been part of Biafra or not is what we cannot say.

What Caused the Niger Delta Crisis?

The Niger Delta region is responsible for a bulk of Nigeria’s oil reserves with over 2 million barrels per day produced daily.

Asides from its oil reserves, the area has an abundance of other natural resources such as gold, granite, clay, sand, calcium, zinc, etc.

Despite this clear pool of wealth, the Niger Delta remains one of the poorest regions in the country. Not to mention the riverine areas of the region have been heavily polluted with waste from the refineries. This has made the water unfit for consumption, fishing, and livelihood.

This has resulted in a series of militancy attacks in the region in an attempt to seize the natural resources under government control and promote the economic prowess of the region.

Unfortunately, it has only been theft and violence which ultimately led to an insurgency under the name Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND)

The movement came to an end when the late President Umaru Musa Yar’dua reached an amnesty agreement with the Niger Delta in 2009.

The election of former President Goodluck Jonathan also greatly contributed to the ceasefire of the movement.

What is the Largest Oil Producing States in Nigeria?

Since we have already established that the states in the Niger Delta are mostly the oil-producing states in Nigeria, it is safe to say that the largest oil-producing states in Nigeria are part of the Niger Delta.

Going by the number of barrels produced daily, we conclude that there 4 states that majorly contribute to oil production in Nigeria.

The largest oil producing states in Nigeria include;

StateBarrel per DayPercentage
Akwa Ibom504,000 BPD31%
Delta344,000 BPD22%
Rivers346,000 BPD21%
Bayelsa290,000 BPD18%
Largest oil producing states in Nigeria

How much Oil does the Niger Delta Produce?

Going by statistics, the Nigeria Delta produces an average of approximately 2 million barrels of oil per day.

The largest contributors being Akwa-Ibom, Delta, Rivers, and Bayelsa who collectively contribute about 1,484,000 barrels alone.

That is approximately 74% of the total oil the country produces daily.

Conclusion on Niger Delta States

That is all you need to know about the Niger Delta states of Nigeria.

We hope this article has been able to adequately inform you of the necessary details you need.

If there is anything you need further clarification on or wish to communicate to us, kindly use the comment section.

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