States creation in Nigeria

At the time Nigeria got independence it was a federation of the three states, by then called regions, namely:

  • Western
  • Eastern
  • Northern

Later on another region was added, the Mid-Western Region.

The Mid-Western Region was formed from the Western Region in 1966, and Lagos, the capital, was effectively governed as an unofficial fourth region outside the bounds of the Western Region.

This brought the number of regions to 4 as follows:

  • Western
  • Mid-Western
  • Western
  • Northern

Under the short-lived military government of Aguiyi-Ironsi, Nigeria was reorganized under a central government. Following a coup which resulted in Aguiyi-Ironsi’s deposition and assassination, Nigeria was reorganized as a federal country again with three of the regions being divided into newer entities and all first-level subdivisions being renamed as states.

Western Region was divided into:
Lagos (Lagos)
and Western (Ibadan) states.

Eastern Region was divided into:
East-Central (Enugu),
Rivers (Port Harcourt),
and South-Eastern (Calabar) states;

Northern Region was divided into:
Benue-Plateau (Jos),
Kano (Kano),
Kwara (Ilorin),
North-Central (Kaduna),
North-Eastern (Maiduguri),
and North-Western (Sokoto) states

1976 reorganization of Nigeria’s federating units

In 1976, six years after the end of the civil war, the states were further reorganized:

State boundaries and names were also reorganized.

Benue-Plateau state divided into:
Benue (Makurdi)
and Plateau states.

East-Central state divided into:
and Imo (Owerri) states.
Federal Capital Territory (Abuja) formed from parts of Niger and Plateau states.

North-Eastern state divided into:
Bauchi (Bauchi),
and Gongola (Yola) states.
Niger (Minna) state split from Sokoto.

Western state divided into:
Ogun (Abeokuta),
Ondo (Akure),
and Oyo states

States of Nigeria from 1987-1991

Akwa Ibom state created from Cross River;
Katsina state created from Kaduna

States of Nigeria from 1991-1996

Abia State split from Imo;
Bendel State divided into Delta and Edo;
Enugu State created from Anambra;
Gongola State divided into Adamawa and Taraba;
Jigawa State created from Kano;
Kebbi State created from Sokoto;
Kogi State formed from parts of Benue and Kwara;
Osun State created from Oyo;
Yobe State created from Borno.

States of Nigeria from 1996

Bayelsa State created from Rivers;
Ebonyi State was formed from parts of Abia and Enugu;
Ekiti State created from Ondo;
Gombe State created from Bauchi;
Nasarawa State created from Plateau;
Zamfara State was created from Sokoto.

List of Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory

  1. Abia
  2. Adamawa
  3. Akwa Ibom
  4. Anambra
  5. Bauchi
  6. Bayelsa
  7. Benue
  8. Borno
  9. Cross River
  10. Delta
  11. Ebonyi
  12. Edo
  13. Ekiti
  14. Enugu
  15. Gombe
  16. Imo
  17. Jigawa
  18. Kaduna
  19. Kano
  20. Katsina
  21. Kebbi
  22. Kogi
  23. Kwara
  24. Lagos
  25. Nasarawa
  26. Niger
  27. Ogun
  28. Ondo
  29. Osun
  30. Oyo
  31. Plateau
  32. Rivers
  33. Sokoto
  34. Taraba
  35. Yobe
  36. Zamfara
  • Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory