Skip to main content
Salt of the Nation
Quick Fact
Population: 2,176,947 (2006 census figures) - 34th of 37
Percentage of Nigeria’s total population: 1.6%
Population density: 393 people per square kilometre
Landmass 6,421.2square kilometres
State capital: Abakaliki
Local Government Areas: 13
Current Governor: David Nweze Umahi


Ebonyi State is one of the five states that make up the South East geopolitical zone of Nigeria. It has interstate boundaries with Abia State to the south, Benue State to the north, Enugu State to the west and Cross River State to the east. Its capital is Abakaliki.

Land Mass, Location and Population
Ebonyi State covers an area of 6,421.2 square kilometres. It lies at latitude 6�15' north and longitude 8�05' east. It has a population of 2,176,947 (2006 census figures) and a population density of 393 people per square kilometre. The state accounts for 1.6% of Nigeria's total population.

Main Cities and Towns
Abakaliki (capital city), Afikpo, Amasiri, Edda, Ishiagu, Nkalagu, Okposi, Onicha, Onueke and Uburu

Image Source:cometonigeria


History and People

The early settlers of Ebonyi State were the Igbo people. The state is named after the Ebonyi (Aboine) River. Under the three-region structure of 1954, Ebonyi State was part of the Eastern Region. In 1967 with the creation of twelve federal states by General Yakubu Gowon's military government, it became a part of East Central State. The 1976 military government of General Murtala Muhammed created nineteen states out of the existing twelve and Ebonyi State became part of Anambra State. With the creation of Enugu and Abia States in 1991 by the military government of General Ibrahim Babangida, Ebonyi State became part of those states. In 1996, the military government of General Sanni Abacha created Ebonyi State by combining portions of Abia and Enugu states.

The Igbo people form the largest ethnic group in Ebonyi State and Igbo is its most widespread language. A total of nine languages (Afikpo, Mgbo, Izzi, Ezaa, Ikwo, Kukele, Legbo, Mbembe and Oringare )are spoken in the state, all of which are Igbo dialects. The dominant religion in Ebonyi State is Christianity. About 1% of the people in the state are Muslims, while roughly 8% hold other beliefs.

Economy and Educations

Ebonyi State is predominantly forest savannah. Agriculture and fishing are important in the state. An estimated eighty-five percent of the population earns its living from one form of agricultural activity or another. Ebonyi's agricultural productivity is one of the highest in Nigeria. The main cash crops grown in the state are rice, oil palms, yams, sugar cane, cocoa and groundnuts. Important minerals found in the state include lead, marble, zinc and limestone. The state is called "the salt of the nation" because of the huge salt deposits at the Okposi and Uburu salt lakes. Nkalagu, where a major limestone formation is located, is also home to the Nigerian Cement Company. There are also quarries and rice mills.

The tertiary institutions in the state include one federal university (Federal University, Ndufu-Alike Ikwo); a federal polytechnic (Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana); a state university (Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki); the Federal College of Agriculture in Ishiagu; and the State College of Education in lkwo.

Further Description

Governors and Administrators:

  • Walter Feghabo (Administrator - Military): October 1996 - August 1998
  • Simeon Oduoye (Administrator - Military): August 1998 - May 1999
  • Sam Egwu (Governor - Civilian (People's Democratic Party)): May 1999 - May 2007
  • Martin Elechi (Governor - Civilian (People's Democratic Party)): May 2007 - May 2015
  • Dave Umahi ( Governor - Civilian ( People's Democratic Party)): May 2015 - Present

Local Government Areas:

  • Abakaliki
  • Afikpo North
  • Afikpo South
  • Ebonyi
  • Ezza North
  • Ezza South
  • Ikwo
  • Ishielu
  • Ivo
  • Izzi
  • Ohaozara
  • Ohaukwu
  • Onicha

Notable Indigene

Dr Akanu Ibiam was the first Nigerian principal of the Hope Waddell Training Institute, Calabar. The institute was established in 1895 by the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland and Dr Ibiam became its principal in 1957. In 1960 he became the first Nigerian governor of the Eastern Region.

Did You Know

The Okposi salt lakes is the economic base for most of the rural women in the Okposi. The salt lake gave Ebonyi its slogan "the salt of the nation".