Delta State

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Delta State is a state in the South-South geopolitical zone of Nigeria. Named after the Niger Delta[1]—a large part of which is in the state—the state was formed from the former Bendel State on August 27, 1991. Bordered on the north by Edo State, the east by Anambra and Rivers States, and the south by Bayelsa State while to the west is the Bight of Benin which covers about 160 kilometres of the state's coastline.[2] The State was initially created with 12 local government areas[3] in 1991 which was later extended to 19 and now has 25 local government areas. Asaba as its state capital is located along the River Niger on the northeastern end of the State, while the state's economic centre is the twin cities of Warri and Uvwie[4]

Of the 36 states, Delta is the 23rd largest in area and twelfth most populous with an estimated population of over 5.6 million as of 2016.[5] Geographically, the state is divided between the Central African mangroves in the coastal southwest and the Nigerian lowland forests in most of the rest of the state as a small portion of the Niger Delta swamp forests are in the far south. The other important geographical features are the River Niger and its distributary, the Forçados River, which flow along Delta's eastern and southern borders, respectively; while fellow Niger distributary, the Escravos River, runs through Warri and the coastal areas are riddled with dozens of smaller Niger distributaries that make up much of the western Niger Delta. Much of the state's nature contain threatened dwarf crocodile, Grey parrot, African fish eagle, mona monkey, and African manatee populations along with potentially extirpated populations of African leopard and Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee.[6][7] Offshore, the state is also biodiverse as there are populations of Lesser African threadfin, crabs, and blue mussel along with various cetacean species.[7]

What is now Delta State is made up of seven distinct ethnic groups, including the Urhobos occupying the delta central senatorial district; Ukwuani, Ika, and Aniocha-Oshimili (Igbo) occupying the delta north senatorial district; the isokos,[8]Ijaws, and the Itsekiris occupying the delta south senatorial district and also other minor tribes which includes; the Olukumi, igalas; found in the delta north region, that have been quite assimilated by the larger igbo group. In the pre-colonial period, now-Delta State was divided into various monarchial states like the Kingdom of Warri and Agbor Kingdom before the area became a part of the British Oil Rivers Protectorate in 1884. In the early 1900s, the British incorporated the protectorate (now renamed the Niger Coast Protectorate) into the Southern Nigeria Protectorate which later amalgamated into British Nigeria. However, colonial forces did not gain permanent control of modern-day Delta State until the 1910s, due to the uprisings of the Ekumeku Movement. Notably, Delta has one of the few parts of now-Nigeria to have been under French control as the UK leased the enclave of Forcados to France from 1903 to 1930.

After independence in 1960, the area of now-Delta was a part of the post-independence Western Region until 1963 when the region was split and the area became part of the Mid-Western Region. In 1967, the Igbo-majority of former Eastern Region attempted to secede as the state of Biafra and invaded the Mid-Western Region in an attempt to capture Lagos and end the war quickly; Biafran forces were halted and eventually pushed back but briefly declared the captured Mid-Western Region (including now-Delta State) as the Republic of Benin. During the occupation there were widespread hostilities between the Biafran forces and the mainly non-Igbo inhabitants of now-Delta State. Upon the liberation of the Mid-West, Nigerian forces committed the Asaba massacre against ethnic Igbos in Asaba. At the war's end and the reunification of Nigeria, the Mid-Western Region was reformed until 1976 when it was renamed Bendel State. In 1991, Bendel State was split with the north becoming Edo State and the south becoming Delta State.[9]

Economically, Delta State [10] is based around the production of crude oil and natural gas as one of the main oil-producing states in the country.[11] Key minor industries involve agriculture as the state has substantial oil palm, yam, and cassava crops along with fishing and heliciculture. In large part due to its vast oil revenues, Delta has the fourth highest Human Development Index in the country; however, disputes between oil companies and local communities along with years of systemic corruption have led to hostilities that are often tied to the lack of development in host communities.[12][13]


  1. "Niger Delta | geographical region, Africa | Britannica" (in en). 
  2. "Delta State Government" (in en-US). 
  3. "Nigeria: Administrative Division (States and Local Government Areas) - Population Statistics, Charts and Map". 
  5. "Population 2006-2016". 
  6. Lameed, GA (2009). "Potential impact on biodiversity in kwale's forest reserve by power plant establishments". African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development 9 (30): 1878–1900. doi:10.18697/ajfand.30.1750. Retrieved 19 December 2021. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Ijeomah, HM; Oruh, EK (2015). "Wildlife based business activities in Ogbe–Ijaw market of Delta state, Nigeria". Journal of Agriculture and Social Research 12 (2). Retrieved 19 December 2021. 
  8. "Ika North East Postal Zip Code List". 
  9. "This is how the 36 states were created". 24 October 2017. 
  10. "Brief History of Delta State:: Nigeria Information & Guide". 
  11. Akanbi, Festus (19 September 2021). "As Anambra, Kogi Join Oil-producing States". 
  12. "Human Development Indices". 
  13. Ebiri, Kelvin (17 November 2019). "Oil-producing communities reek of poverty despite over N10t 13% derivation".