Ebonyi is a state in southeastern Nigeria, created in 1996 from parts of Abia and Enugu states. Ebonyi state is the 36th and youngest state in Nigeria.

It is known for its agricultural products, such as rice, yam, cassava, maize, and palm oil.

The state has the large deposit of salt and lead-zinc in Nigeria, as well as other mineral resources like limestone, iron ore, and coal.

Ebonyi is home to the Abakaliki Rice Mill, and the Ebonyi State University, one of the fastest-growing universities in Nigeria.


It has several tourist attractions, such as the Amanchor Cave, the Oferekpe Waterfall, the Ndibe Beach, and the Salt Lake.

The 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.  The state capital is Abakaliki.

Ebonyi, Nigeria

Landmass: 5,532.2 sq km (2,136 sq mi) – 35th of 37

State capital: Abakaliki

Local Government Areas: 13


Ebonyi State covers an area of 5,532 square kilometres. It lies at latitude 6°15′ North and longitude 8°05′ East. It has a population of 2,176,947 (2006 census) 2,880,383 (2016 forecast) and a population density of 393. The state accounts for 1.6% of Nigeria’s total population.

River Ebonyi


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 these 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 their language is the state’s lingua franca. 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. Christianity is the major religion in Ebonyi State. About 1% of the people in the state are Muslims, while roughly 8% hold other beliefs.


Abakaliki (capital), Afikpo, Amasiri, Edda, Ishiagu, Nkalagu, Okposi, Onicha, Onueke and Uburu.


Ebonyi comprises 13 Local Government Areas (LGAs). The following are the LGAs and their headquarters, administrative capitals

Afikpo NorthAfikpo
Afikpo SouthNguzu-Edda
Ezza NorthEbiji
Ezza SouthOnueke


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/All Progressives Congress)): May 2015 – Present


Oil palm

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 in the state are rice, oil palm, yam, sugar cane, cocoa and groundnut. 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 are Federal University, Ndufu-Alike Ikwo; Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana; Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki; Federal College of Agriculture, Ishiagu; and State College of Education, lkwo.


Mmahi Ezi Salt Lake, Okposi Okwu

The Mmahi Ezi Salt Lake was discovered about 400 years by hunters in search of water.
The women process the salt using instructions said to have been issued by the goddess Mmahi. It has served as the economic base for most of the women in rural communities. It was an important supply of salt during the Nigerian-Biafran war.

Amanchor Cave, Amanchor

The Amanchor cave is one of the longest caves in Africa, It is about 4 kilometres long and 3 metres high.
The cave has several tunnels that lead to different towns making it accessible from Afikpo, Abakaliki, Ngusu and Akaeze.
Some cultural activities, including the Orie-Ogba festival take place in the cave.

Greater Rice Husks, Abakaliki

The Greater Rice Husks look like sand dunes in the desert when piled into heaps during the processing of rice.


The two major festivals in Ebonyi are the New Yam festival and the Dance Parade by Masquerades. The new yam festival is associated with the yam planting cycle. It marks the end of the planting season and heralds the harvest and consumption of new yam across communities in the state.
Masquerades have particular importance in the traditions of the state and its festival features vary across different communities.