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Nigerian States This is how the 36 states were created

The creation of states would begin in the year 1967 with General Yakubu Gowon coming to power via a coup d’état.

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Nigeria before the creation of states play

Nigeria before the creation of states

(Daily trust)

Nigeria is a beautiful country with a lot of amazing people.

From up North to down South, the rich heritage of different cultures displays themselves with pride. And from East to West, the story is the same.

However, with approximately three hundred and seventy-one tribes to her name, Nigeria is a country made up of thirty-six states.

It is, therefore, important to note here, especially for millennials, that these thirty-six states were not created simultaneously.

In fact, as at 1960 to 1966, there was no such thing as a state in the country. What we had then was the Northern region, Western region, Eastern region, and the Mid-Western region.

The creation of states would begin in the year 1967 with General Yakubu Gowon coming to power via a coup d’état. He would dissolve the regions and create twelve states out of them.

Here is a list of the first twelve states that were created by the then military head of states, Gen. Yakubu Gowon 

  1. North-Western State

  2. Kaduna State

  3. Kano State

  4. North-Eastern State

  5. Kwara state

  6. Benue-Plateau State

  7. Western State

  8. East-Central state

  9. Lagos State

  10. Mid-Western (Bendel) State

  11. Cross River State

  12. Rivers State

The twelve states Nigerian map play

The twelve states Nigerian map

(Commons Nigeria)


However, almost a decade later, Gen. Murtala Mohammed would re-create seven states by carving from the existing twelve states that were created by Gen. Gowon.

This will result in the birthing of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja from Niger State as the North West states were divided into Niger and Sokoto.

In the same order, the Northern Eastern state was divided into Bauchi, Gongola, and Borno. Benue-Plateau was, however, carved into Plateau and Benue.

Also, the Western state was separated into three, which were Ondo, Ogun, and Oyo. The East Central states were separated to form Imo and Anambra states.

on February 1976, the newly created states would add up to the existing twelve; thus making nineteen states in Nigeria.

Gen. Yakubu Gowon play

Gen. Yakubu Gowon

(Information Nigeria)


Here is a list of the nineteen states 

  1. Oyo state

  2. Ondo state

  3. Cross River state

  4. Rivers state

  5. Niger state

  6. Sokoto state

  7. Borno state

  8. Kano state

  9. Kaduna state

  10. Bendel state

  11. Ogun state

  12. Lagos state

  13. Kwara state

  14. Gongola state

  15. Bauchi state

  16. Imo state

  17. Anambra state

  18. Plateau state

  19. Benue state

Gen. Murtala Muhammed play

Gen. Murtala Muhammed


Eleven years later, under the military rule of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, two new states were created: Akwa Ibom and Kastina.

Akwa Ibom state was carved out of Cross River state, and Kastina state was carved out of Kaduna state.

Owing to the creation of these two states, Nigeria was, therefore, made up of twenty-one states in the year 1987.

On August 27, 1991, the number of Nigeria states would increase to thirty as Gen. Babangida thought it fit to create another nine state to the existing twenty-one.

Thus the creation of Adamawa state and Taraba state from Gongola. Enugu state was carved out from Anambra.

The twenty one states Nigeria map play

The twenty one states Nigeria map



Edo state and Delta state were created from the then Bendel state. In addition, Yobe was carved out from Borno state, and Jigawa state from Kano.

Kebbi state would be carved from Sokoto, and Osun state was created from Oyo state.

In 1993 when Gen. Sani Abacha came into power, the agitations for States creation seemed to have doubled.

And with the recommendations of the National Constitutional Conference(NCC) on the need to create more States, the dreaded General created six more states, on 1st October 1996, to the existing thirty.

The newly created states include Ebonyi states, which was created from Abia and Enugu(part).

Bayelsa state was carved out from Rivers. Nasarawa state was created from Plateau. Zamfara state was created from Sokoto. Gombe state was carved out from Bauch, and Ekiti state was created from Ondo.

Hence the present thirty-six states we have in Nigeria:

ALSO READ: Here is the story of how the first constitution was created

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