North Central Region Guide

North Central Nigeria consists of the seven states situated geographically in the middle belt region of the country, spanning from the west, around the confluence of the River Niger and the River Benue. The region itself is rich in natural land features, and boasts some of Nigeria’s most exciting scenery. The region is also home to many historical and colonial relics.




Abuja – Centre of Power


Abuja is the capital city of Nigeria, and as such the buildings of the government of Nigeria are located here. When you look at the map of Nigeria you will see it covers an area that is strategically located at the centre of the country in the FCT (Federal Capital Territory). Abuja has not always been the capital of Nigeria, and only attained that status in 1991, when all administrative offices were officially moved from Lagos.
Abuja is a relatively new city, designed in a neutral part of the country that was not traditionally the property of any ethnic or religious group, but mainly owned by the Federal Government. Abuja was developed in phases, and has three phases, each with a number of districts.

Phase one area of Abuja has 10 districts (or cadastrals as they are also known), which make up the central parts of the city. The most important of these are:

Central District

Central District lies between the foot of Aso Rock and the Three Arms Zone to the southern base of the ring road, which in turn circles the city. The Central District with its spinal cord-like orientation divides the city into the northern sector with Maitama and Wuse, and the southern sector with Garki and Asokoro.

This district is the city’s major zone, and where practically all government parastatals and multi-national corporations locate their offices. Three Arms Zone is located in this district and named after the three arms of government which have their offices here. It is arguably the most attractive in area in all of Abuja.

Garki District

Garki is to the south-west of the city, and is divided into units called areas from 1 – 11. It can be confusing at times, as Garki II is very different from Garki Area 2. Garki is the main business district in Abuja. Area 2 is mainly residential, although quite a few commercial offices are also located there.

Wuse District

Wuse District is in the north-western part of the city. The district is numbered zones 1 – 8. The Wuse Market is Abuja’s main market (zone 5).

Maitama District

In the north of the city of Abuja we have the Maitama district. This is an exclusive area, with expensive properties and real estate. This district is home to many of the embassies located in Nigeria.

Asokoro District

Asokoro District houses all of the state’s lodges and guest houses. It is another exclusive district of Abuja and houses virtually all of the federal cabinet ministers and also the Presidential Palace (commonly referred to as the Aso Rock). Asokoro is very secure for this reason.

Gwarimpa District

Gwarimpa is about 20km by car from Central District. Gwarimpa is home to the largest housing estate currently in Nigeria, the Gwarimpa Housing Estate. The estate was built by the administration of General Sani Abacha and is the largest of its kind in Africa. It provides housing for the majority of the civil servants in federal ministries and government parastatals.




Benue State – Food Basket of the Nation


Benue State is located in the mid-eastern region of Nigeria and it has a population of about 4,256, 641 (2006 population census). The state was carved out from the former Benue-Plateau State in 1976 and was named after the River Benue. The capital city is Markurdi and their main ethic groups are Tiv, Idoma, Igede, Etulo and Abakwa.

Benue State shares boundaries with Nasarawa State to the north, Taraba State to the east, Cross River State to the south, Enugu to the south-west and Kogi to the west. Due to the geographical location, Benue is often thought of as the ‘food basket of the nation’, as it has a rich agricultural region. Some of the crops grown in the State are: potatoes, cassava, soya bean, guinea corn, flax, yam, sesame rice and groundnuts.

In a bid to encourage higher education among it citizenry, the state has three universities: Federal University of Agriculture, Benue State University and University of Mkar. It has two polytechnics: Benue State Polytechnic and Fidel Polytechnic.




Kogi State – Confluence State


Kogi state is located in the central region of Nigeria, it was created out of Kwara State and Benue State on August 27, 1991 with Lokoja as the administrative quarters. Lokoja, is steeped in Nigerian history as the name “Nigeria” was coined there by Flora Shaw who became the wife of Baron Lugard (a British colonial administrator in the colonial era).

Kogi State is called the “Confluence State” because of it location. The State is located at the meeting point of the Rivers Niger and Benue; the confluence of both rivers. It has several several ethnic language groups, but the three main ones are: Igala, Ebira, and Okun.

Education is the state’s main social industry. There are more than 20 institutions of higher learning presently in the state comprising: State University, Polytechnics, Colleges of Education, Colleges of Education, Advanced Teachers Colleges, Health Technology Colleges, Schools of Nursing and Midwifery.

Kogi State has beautiful places of interest to visit such as: Lord Lugard’s House (He was a British colonial administrator in Nigeria), the confluence of the River Niger and Benue.




Kwara State – State of Harmony


Kwara State is located in the western region in the middle belt of Nigeria. The State was created on May 27, 1967 under the Military regime of General Yakubu Gowon. It was among one of the first of 12 states created to replace the nation’s four regions. Initially the state was named the West Central State but as time went on more states was carved out from it and it was renamed Kwara a local name for the river Niger.

Kwara State is known as ‘The State of Harmony’ because of the peaceful relations between its many ethnic groups, which include Yoruba, Nupe, Bariba and Fulani tribes. Kwara state capital is the ancient city of Ilorin, with a history that dates back to the Oyo Empire.

Things to watch out for in Kwara:

  • Owu FallOkuta Ilorin
  • Alfa Alimi Mosque
  • Imoleboja Rockshelter
  • Adin and Black Soap Industry
  • Dada Pottery
  • Kanji Lake National Park
  • Ogunjokoro Iron Mass Park
  • Ningurume Fish Pond
  • Esie Museum
  • Ero-Omola
  • Watana Rock
  • Wanzaya Cave



Nasarawa State – Home of Solid Minerals


Nasarawa State was created in 1996 with its capital as Lafia and an estimated population of 1.5 million people. The state shares boundaries with Kaduna, Benue, Plateau, Taraba, the Federal Capital Territory and Kogi State. Nasarawa also has 13 local government areas and various ethnic groups within the state such as: Alago, Aho, Ake, Agatu, Bassa, Eggon, Gwandara, Hausa and Kanuri, amongst others.

The major occupations of the people in Nasarawa include farming, fishing, dyeing, weaving, carving and blacksmithery. The state is also endowed with various mineral resources that offer potential for economically viable industrial and agricultural development projects which include: tin, marble, coal, semi-precious stones, barytes and aqua marine. There is also plenty of untapped energy resources – hence the slogan ‘Home of Solid Minerals’.




Niger State – Power State


Niger State is in the north-western region of Nigeria and it is the largest of the states in the country. Minna is the state capital and other major cities include Bida, Kontagora and Suleja. Niger State gets its name from the River Niger which forms one of its natural borders. Due to its location, Niger State is home to two of the country’s major hydroelectric power stations: the Kainji Dam and the Shiroro Dam – hence why it is called the ‘Power State’.

Niger State is also home to Kainji National Park, the largest National Park in Nigeria, which contains Kainji Lake, the Borgu Game Reserve and the Zugurma Game Reserve. The state has several ethnic groups including; Nupe, Gbagyi, Hausa, Kadara, Koro, Barab, Kakanda, Gana Gana, Dibo, Kambari, Kamuku, Pangu, Dukawa, Gwada and Ingwai. The population of Niger State are primarily farmers.




Plateau State – Home of Peace and Tourism


Plateau State known as the ‘Home of Peace and Tourism’ is considered to be the twelfth largest state in Nigeria, with it administrative quarters in Jos. The name ‘Plateau’ was gotten from the picturesque of Jos Plateau, which is a mountainous area in the north of the state with a captivating rock formation. The population of the state is place at 4, 178, 712 million during the 2006 census. The main occupation of the people is agriculture and mining ( which is an old industry).

The altitude of Plateau State is about 1,200 meters, with the region bordered by Bauchi to the north-east, Kaduna to the north-west, Nasarawa to the south-west and Taraba to the south-east.

Things to watch out for in Jos:

  • The Wildlife Safari Park
  • The National Museum
  • The Museum of Traditional Nigerian Architecture
  • Jos Zoo
  • Assop Falls
  • Kurra Falls
  • The Shere Hills
  • Kahwang Rock Formation
  • Wase Rock
  • Kerang Highlands
  • Pamdam Game Reserve