Benue State, Nigeria

Capital: Makurdi
Area: 34,059 square km
Population: 5,181,642 (2005 est.)
Major Languages: Agatu, Akpa, Idoma, Tiv  
Governor: Samuel Ortom (APC)
ISO 3166-2: NG-BE
Date Created: 13, February 1976
Population Rank: Ranked 7th



Benue is a state in east-central Nigeria. Its capital is Makurdi and it is named after the Benue River. It had a population of about 2.8 million in 1991. Benue is a rich agricultural region, full of rivers, and could be called the breadbasket of Nigeria. Some crops grown there include potatoes, cassava, soya bean, guinea corn, flax, yams and beniseed.

Benue State is located in the middle belt area of Nigeria and is bordered by Nassarawa State to the north, Taraba to the east, Ebonyi and Cross River to the south and Kogi State to the west.

Benue State lies within the AW climate and experiences two distinct seasons, the Wet season and the Dry season. The rainy season lasts from April to October with annual rainfall in the range of 100-200mm. The dry season begins in November and ends in March. Temperatures fluctuate between 21 – 37 degrees Celsius in the year. The south-eastern part of the state adjoining the Obudu-Cameroun mountain range, however, has a cooler climate similar to that of the Jos Plateau.


Benue State was created on February 13, 1976 from the former Benue-Plateau State and Igala, which had been part of Kwara State.

It's a state in the mid-belt region of Nigeria with a population of about 4,253,641 in 2006 census. It is inhabited predominantly by the Tiv and Idoma peoples, who speak the Tiv language and Idoma, respectively. The Tiv's comprises the Etulo's while the Idoma's comprises the Ufia's (Utonkon), the Igede's, and the Agatu's. There are other ethnic groups, including the Igede, Etulo, Abakwa,[2] Jukun, Hausa, Igbo, Akweya and Nyifon. With its capital at Makurdi, Benue is a rich agricultural region; some of the crops grown there are potatoes, cassava, soya bean, guinea corn, flax, yams, sesame, rice, and grand nuts.


Many of the ethnic groups that inhabit Benue State today were associated with the rise and fall of Kwororofa Kingdom. The ancient Kwororofa Kingdom under Jukun leadership was a confederacy of many ethnic groups that co-opted in a number of ways to lay the foundation of present day Benue and the neighbouring States like Plateau, Taraba and Cross River.

This great empire lasted till about the seventeenth century when it collapsed after suffering severe military attacks from the emerging Borno Empire. It is from this confederacy that the Idoma, Igala, Igbirra and Etulo are believed to have emerged at various times in history.

The Etulo are of Jukun stock and their head, Otse Etulo, is still ratified by the Aku Uka of Wukari. They left Apa when the Jukun empire disintegrated and fled to their present location where they are completely encircled by their neighbours.

The Bassa-Komo possibly fleeing from the turbulence caused by the Fulani crossed the River Benue to settle in their present location. They speak the same language as the Bassa of Plateau, Niger and Kogi States with whom they claim a common ancestry.

Their close neighbours, the Bassa-Nge were among the Nupes who left their land before the Fulani conquest, migrating first southwards, settling in Lokoja before finally crossing over to settle at their present place. Also close to the Bassa is an Igbirra group whose main town is Mozum and who migrated from the legendary Kwororofa Kingdom, settled first at Nassarawa in the present Plateau State before moving to their present location

The Tiv a semi-Bantu-stock from the Katanga region of Congo-Zaire had migrated to seven hills in the West of Cameroun between the year 1750 to 1800 when all the communities in the Apa region of the Kwororofa were in a state of turmoil. Hence it was easy for the arriving Tiv to fight their way into the land until they reached the banks of the River Benue and Katsina-Ala, thus forcing the Idomas, for example, to move further westwards.

By 1800, all the people in the area to be known later as Benue State had arrived in the area and had learnt to co-exist with one another.

Local Government Areas

Benue State is divided into twenty three (23) Local Government areas: Ado, Katsina-Ala, Oju, Agatu, Konshisha, Okpokwu, Apa, Kwande, Oturkpo, Buruku, Logo, Tarka, Gboko, Makurdi, Ukum, Guma, Obi, Ushongo, Gwer-West, Ogbadibo, Vandeikya, Gwer, Ohimini   



  • Benue State University, Makurdi
  • Colleges of Education at Katsina-Ala and Oju, Akperan
  • Orshi College of Agriculture in Markudi
  • Schools of Nursing and Midwifery in Markudi
  • Federal Government College, Vandeikya
  • University of Agriculture, Markudi
  • Federal Technical School, Otukpo
  • Benue State Polytechnic
  • Ugbokolo and Fidel Polytechnic
  • Akperan Orshi College of Agriculture
  • Federal College of Education Agasha
  • Makurdi and Mkar University, Gboko

More schools in Benue State

Business Opportunities

Benue state is acclaimed to be the nation's "food basket" because of its rich and diverse agricultural produce which include yams, rice, beans, cassava, potatoes, maize, Soya beans, sorghum, millet and coco-yam.

The state also accounts for over 70 percent of Nigeria's Soya beans production. It also boasts of one of the longest stretches of river systems in the country with potential for a viable fishing industry, dry season farming through irrigation and for an inland water way through irrigation and for an inland water way.

Benue is blessed with abundant mineral resources. These include Limestone, Gypsum, Anhydride, Kaolin, natural Gas, Salt, Petroleum Oil, Lead and Zinc, Barytes, Clay, Coal, Calcite, Germstones and Magnetite.


Ushongo Hills, Ushongo Natural/Physical DI * Ikwe Holiday Resort Natural/Man-made * Enemabia Warm Spring, Natural Okpoya * Kwag-hir Puppet Festival, Cultural (Nov./ Gboko/Makurdi Dec.) Souvenir * Dajo Pottery, Makurdi Traditional * TIV Anger Weavers, Monu

Useful Resources

Schools on The Web:


State Liason Office:
20, Mary Siessor St., Off Yakubu Gowon Crescent, Asokoro, P. M. B. 351, Garki, Abuja

Liaison office in Lagos:

Plot 1221A, Bishop Oluwole Street, Victoria Island, Eti Osa, Lagos, Nigeria