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Ranking 36 States in Nigeria By Land Area And How To Turn Ungoverned Area To Economic Value

Last Updated on November 23, 2021 by Ope Quadri

Nigeria has a land area of 923,768 km² with its administrative headquarters in Abuja while Lagos state remains its commercial capital since the capital was moved from the most populated state to Abuja on December 12, 1991.

With the 36 states and the FCT sharing the 923,768 km² landmass, the land area of each of the states has not transformed to economic value, most times they even become problematic to the state government.

According to a report, a land portion of Nigeria remains ungoverned, thereby giving the criminal elements a free day to perpetrate their evils.

Interesting facts about the land area among states:

Lagos which is the smallest state in Nigeria in terms of the landmass is the most populated and the most Internally Generated Revenue.

Not just that, Lagos has the highest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in 2020, according to data from the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS)

Sadly, the top five largest states in Nigeria are faced with either terrorism or banditry or one form of criminality that has displaced thousands of residents

Zamfara which is the seventh-largest state in Nigeria in terms of land area, interestingly, controls a larger land area than Sokoto State, from which it was created in 1996.

Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has a land area of 7,315km2 meaning Abuja (which was carved out of the present-day Niger State) is bigger than Enugu, Akwa Ibom, Ekiti, Abia, Ebonyi, Imo, Anambra, and Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial city.

The table below shows the 36 states in Nigeria and their rank in order of landmass:

Nigerian States Land Area By km² Ranking
Niger 76,363 1
Borno 70,898 2
Taraba 54,473 3
Bauchi 49,119 4
Kaduna 46,053 5
Yobe 45,502 6
Zamfara 39,762 7
Adamawa 36,917 8
Kwara 36,825 9
Kebbi 36,800 10
Benue 34,059 11
Plateau 30,913 12
Kogi 29,833 13
Oyo 28,454 14
Nasarawa 27,117 15
Sokoto 25,973 16
Katsina 24,192 17
Jigawa 23,154 18
Cross River 20,156 19
Kano 20,131 20
Gombe 18,768 21
Edo 17,802 22
Delta 17,698 23
Ogun 16,762 24
Ondo 15,500 25
Rivers 11,077 26
Bayelsa 10,773 27
Osun 9,251 28
Enugu 7,161 29
Akwa Ibom 7,081 30
Ekiti 6,353 31
Abia 6,320 32
Ebonyi 5,670 33
Imo 5,530 34
Anambra 4,844 35
Lagos 3,345 36

Five Ways How Nigeria Can Turn Its Large Land Area To Economic Value:

In the aforementioned ranking, most of the ungoverned areas are found in the Northern part of the country.

1) For the country to reduce the level at which the ungoverned lands are used as the criminal base of terrorists, Federal Government can turn most of them into cattle ranches and reduce the clash between the nomadic cattle herders and farmers in the middle belt.

2) It can also be used for farming activities and by making water available in dry areas through irrigation.

3) Restore peace in the troubled areas and turn such large areas into industrial locations.

4) Turn some into a military training ground

5) Some of them should have been tourist attractions which could boost the revenue of the government.


In terms of landmass, the top 10 largest states in Nigeria are:

  1. Nige
  2. Borno
  3. Taraba
  4. Bauchi
  5. Kaduna
  6. Yobe
  7. Zamfara
  8. Adamawa
  9. Kwara
  10. Kebbi

Note: All the top 10 largest states in Nigeria are from the Northern part of the country. What this means is that, in terms of land area, North is larger than entire South.

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