history of state creations in nigeria from 1967 till date

History and LGAs in Rivers State

Last updated on November 7th, 2023 at 03:59 am


Rivers State is one of the 36 states in Nigeria and has Port Harcourt as its capital (which is also the largest city in the State). According to census data released in 2006, Rivers State has a population of over 5 million people. Stats show the State is one of the most populated in Nigeria.

  • Date of creation: May 27, 1967
  • Slogan: Treasure Base of the Nation.
  • Geopolitical zone: South South

Rivers State is economically significant as the centre of the country’s oil industry and is close to States like Imo, Abia and Anambra (to the North), Akwa Ibom State (to the East), Bayelsa and Delta states (to the West).

Being one of the top States in the country in terms of opportunities, Rivers is filled with people from different ethnic groups. Additionally, she is home to various indigenous ethnic groups including:

  • Ogoni
  • Abua
  • Ekpeye
  • Ikwerre
  • Ibani
  • Opobo
  • Eleme
  • Okrika
  • Kalabari
  • Etche
  • Ogba
  • Engenni
  • Egbema
  • Obolo, etc.

History of Rivers State

The State was named after the many rivers that surround it. It was part of the Oil Rivers Protectorate from 1885 – 1893, when it eventually became part of the Niger Coast Protectorate.

Seven years later, the region was merged with the chartered territories of the Royal Niger Company to become the colony of Southern Nigeria.

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Rivers State came into being in 1967 with the split of the Eastern Region of Nigeria. During the regime of General Yakubu Gowon, a decree was issued that allowed the creation of the State.

However, after the act, there were constant complaints about political marginalisation and environmental degradation by the Ijaw groups, which made the government carved Bayelsa State out of Rivers in 1996.

From 1967 to date, the state has been ruled by both military and civilian governors.


Rivers State is one of the Nigerian States with a strong economy. In 2007, it was the 2nd State with the highest gross domestic product (GDP) in the country – $21.07 billion, and a per capita income of $3,965.

Natural resources

Rivers State is blessed with crude oil and natural gas. It was perhaps the richest section of the African zone of the British Empire. In fact, more than 60% of Nigeria’s output of crude oil is produced there.

It has two major oil refineries, two major seaports, and various manufacturing firms. Apart from crude oil, Rivers also have silica sand, glass sand and clay in abundance.

Local Government Areas in Rivers State

There are currently 23 Local Government Areas in Rivers State, and they are:

  1. Port Harcourt
  2. Obio-Akpor
  3. Okrika
  4. Ogu–Bolo
  5. Eleme
  6. Tai
  7. Gokana
  8. Khana
  9. Oyigbo
  10. Opobo–Nkoro
  11. Andoni
  12. Bonny
  13. Degema
  14. Asari-Toru
  15. Akuku-Toru
  16. Abua–Odual
  17. Ahoada West
  18. Ahoada East
  19. Ogba–Egbema–Ndoni
  20. Emohua
  21. Ikwerre
  22. Etche
  23. Omuma


As of 1999, there are 2,805 government primary schools and 243 secondary schools in Rivers State.

The State is home to the popular University of Port Harcourt, Choba (established by the federal government in 1975)

There is also a State University – the Rivers State University, that was founded in 1980.

Also Read:  History and Functions of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA)

Other tertiary institutions in Rivers include:

  • School of Health Technology, Port Harcourt,
  • Federal College of Education (Technical), Omoku
  • Ken Saro Wiwa Polytechnic at Bori,
  • Ignatius Ajuru University of Education (Ignatius Ajuru University)
  • School of Nursing and Midwifery at Rumueme, Port Harcourt.
  • Elechi Amadi Polytechnic, Port Harcourt

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