The Niger Delta States occupies an area extent of 70,000sqkm which is just 7.5% of the area extent of Nigeria. This zone is known as the Niger Delta Region which is different from the South South zone in that it is the oil producing region of the country.
Historically, the Niger Delta Region consist of just Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers but the Nigerian Federal Government included Akwa Ibom, Abia, cross river, Edo, Ondo and Imo in the year 2000.
So it is most appropriate to regard the region now recognised as the Niger Delta Region by the Federal Government.
Basically, the Niger Delta Region is made up of 9 States and they are:
Bayelsa lies in the core of the Niger Delta Region and it is one of the largest oil producing States in the country. This state was created on 1 October, 1996 out of River State with Yenagoa as it capital.
As the 4th largest producer of oil in Nigeria, petroleum exploration is at it peak but ironically, the citizens of the state lives in abject poverty and mostly in the rural areas and engaged mostly in fishing.
Bayelsa has only 8 Local Government with a population of about 1.9 million and has Ogbia, Nembe, Izon and Epie-Atissa as it major ethnic groups. Henry Dickson is the current Governor of Bayelsa.
Nicknamed the finger of God, Delta is another Niger Delta state created on 27 August 1991 with Asaba as it capital. It is the 2nd largest oil producer and has a refinery as well as a petrochemical plant in Warri, it heartbeat.
Delta is also a core Niger Delta state with Urhobos, Isokos and the Itsekiris as the major ethnic groups in the region. It has a population of more than 4 million spread throughout the 25 Local Government Areas in the state.
This state can also be referred to an an agricultural state aside being an oil producer.
Rivers together with Bayelsa and Delta are the core of Niger Delta Region. This state was created on 27 May 1967 with Port Harcourt as it capital.
Rivers pride itself as the Treasure Base of the Nation and it is the 3rd largest oil producer in the country. Aside being an oil producer, this state also pride itself as the state having 2 refineries making it a major state for petroleum exploration.
It is one of the most populated states in Nigeria with a population of about 5 million living in the 23 LGA of the state. The major ethnic groups here include the Ikwerre, Okrika, Upobo, Kalabari the Ubani.
This Niger Delta state was created in 23 September 1987 with Uyo as the state capital.
Akwa Ibom is proudly the largest oil producing state in Nigeria. Not just this, the capital of Akwa Ibom is regarded as the most beautiful city in the country.
The major ethnic groups include Oron, Annang and Ibibio. This state has a population of about 2.3 million living in its 31 LGA’s.
Cross River State was created on 27th May, 1967 with Calabar, one of the most beautiful city in the country as its capital.
This state shares boundary with Cameroon and even got it name from a river that originates there. The name of this river is cross.
Cross River has 18 LGA’s with a population of about 3.3 million. The major ethnic groups includes Efik, Ejagham, and Bekwarra.
This is the last south south state in the Niger Delta Region. The others include Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Cross River. This is why I stated that the South South Region is different from the the Niger Delta Region because of the inclusion of Abia, Imo and Ondo in the Niger Delta States.
The capital of Edo is Benin City. Edo is home to about 2.2 million people living in the 18 LGA’s of the state and have the Edo, Esan, Igarra, Etsako/Afemai and the Okpamheri as the major ethnic groups.
This is another Niger Delta state added into the list with Akure as its capital. Created 3rd February 1976, Ondo state is one the oil producing states in Nigeria and it is a home to about 3.4 million people.
The state has 18 local government areas while the major ethnic groups in Ondo are the Yoruba sub groups with the Ijaw group as a minority group.
This is a south eastern state created on 27 August 1991 with Umuahia as it capital.
It is also an oil producing state and has a population of about 2.8 million people with it number of local government areas currently at 17.
Imo State is also another south eastern state included in the Niger Delta Region because of it oil producing status.
The capital of Imo is Owerri and this Niger delta state was created on 3rd February, 1976.
Imo has a population of about 4 million with the number of its local government area at 27. Imo state is majorly an Igbo speaking state.