Benue State

Posted by Nigeria Direct on 2009/02/15 | Views: 814 |

Benue State
Governor: Gabriel Suswam (PDP)

Date Created: February 3, 1976

Capital: Makurdi

Main Towns: Gboko, Katsina-Ala, Adikpo, Otukpo, Korinya, Makurdi Tar" Vandeikya, Aliade, Otukpa, Lessel, Oju, Okpoga, Awajir, Agbede,Ikpayongo and Zaki-Biam.

Benue State was created on February 3, 1976. The state derives its name from River Benue, the second largest in the country and the most prominent geographical feature in the state. The new Benue State has twenty three local governments; fourteen from Tiv speaking area and nine from the Idoma speaking area. They are Ado, Agatu, Apaa, Buruku, Gboko, Guma, Gwer East and Gwer West, Katsina-Ala, Konisshisha-Tse, Kwande, Logo, Obi, Ogbadibo, Ohimini, Oju, Okpokwu, Tarka, Otikpo, Ukum, Makmuni and Varideikya.

Benue State lies in the middle of the country and shares boundaries with five states namely; Nassarawa to the north,Taraba to the east, Cross River and Enugu to the south, and Kogi on the west:

Benue State experiences a typical tropical climate with two distinct seasons, the wet or rainy season and the dry season. The rainy season lasts from April to October with annual rainfall in the range of 150 -180 mm. The dry season begins in November and ends in March. Temperatures fluctuate between

23C and 31C in the year. The south eastern part of the state adjoining the Obudu-Cameroon mountain range, has a cool climate similar to that of the Jos Plateau.

Since its inception in 1976, Benue state has recorded tremendous growth in the area of education. From a background of a few secondary schools and no tertiary institution, the state now has over 300 secondary schools and six tertiary institutions. The tertiary institutions include the Colleges of Education at Katsina-Ala and Oju, Akperan, Orshi College of Agriculture and the Schools of Nursing and Midwifery in Markudi.

The Benue State University took off with the first intake of its students in the 1992/93 session. The state government operates a liberal scholarship scheme which guarantees automatic scholarship to deserving state indigenes in higher institutions of learning. The federal government has also established one university and three secondary schools in the state. These are Federal Government College, Vandeikya, University of Agriculture, Markudi and the Federal Technical School, Otukpo.

The present health care progamme of the state places great emphasis on primary health care. Extensive health education and immunization campaigns are regularly undertaken to eradicate the high incidence of preventable diseases. Recently, the federal government took over the general hospital in Markurdi which has been turned into a Federal Medical Centre.

There is an ultra-modern market of 2,500 stalls in Makurdi. The market which is of international standard, has facilities such as an administrative block (housing offices, courts, a police station, restaurant, community hall, clinic and banking hall) for users of the market. Other facilities include a fire station, sewage plant, abattoir, power station, a borehole and water storage tanks and children's playground.

In the area of industrialization, the state government has taken several bold steps to redress the industrial backwardness of the state by setting up several industries including Taraku Mills Limited, Benue Brewery Limited, Benue Burnt Bricks, Benco Roof Tiles and Ago Millers Limited in which it still retains some holding. The state government has initiated a policy of greater private sector participation in their management through gradual privatization.

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.

Of these mineral resources, only limestone at TseKucha near Gboko and Kaolin are being commercially exploited.

Benue state is acclaimed 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 great 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 state is largely a rural state. Given this fact, priority attention has always been given to rural development as a deliberate government strategy to improve the living standards of the people. The main thrust of efforts is centred on the opening up of rural roads, provision of portable water, rural electrification and the establishment of cottage industries in the noel area to arrest the perennial population drift to urban centres.

The state possesses a rich and diverse cultural heritage which finds expression in colourful cloths, exotic masquerades, sophisticated music and dances. Traditional dances from Benue have won acclaim at national and international cultural festivals. These dances include Ingyough, Ange, Anchanakupa and Swange among the Tiv and Anuwowowo and Obadaru among the Idoma. The Tiv Kwagh-hir theatre provides memorable entertainment in its dramatization of Tiv folklore and social commentary.