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Discover Nigeria > States > Akwa Ibom State

Akwa Ibom State

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The early settlers of Akwa Ibom State were the Ibibio people. The area was a centre for early missionary activity and contact. It was a prominent trade route providing the city-states of Old Calabar with slaves and palm produce.

Akwa Ibom State was originally part of the Eastern region in the three-region structure of 1954. In 1967 with the creation of twelve federal states by General Yakubu Gowon's military government, it became part of the South Eastern State (renamed Cross River in 1976 by the military government of General Murtala Muhammed). In 1987, Ibrahim Babangida’s military government carved Akwa Ibom State out of Cross River State.

The main ethnic groups in Akwa Ibom State are the Ibibio, Anang, Oron, Eket and Mbo. There are twenty languages spoken in the state. The Ibibio people form the largest ethnic group and the Ibibio language is the most widespread. Other significant languages spoken in the state are Annang, Oron, Ibeno and Eket.

The dominant religion in Akwa Ibom State is Christianity, although some of its people practise traditional religions.

Samuel Okon Peter, Nigerian heavyweight boxer

Boxer and Akwa Ibom native Samuel Okon Peter is the first Nigerian to win the World Heavyweight Boxing title. On March 8, 2008 he defeated Russia’s Oleg Maskaev in Cancun, Mexico to win the title.