States of Nigeria

Nigeria location map.svg
Category Federation
Location Nigeria
Number 36
Populations 1,704,358 (Bayelsa State) – 9,401,288 (Lagos State)
Mean: 5,300,000
Areas 3,580 km2 (1,381 sq mi) (Lagos State) – 76,360 km2 (29,484 sq mi) (Niger State)
Mean: 25,660 km2 (9,907 sq mi)

Nigeria is a federation of 36 states and 1 federal capital territory.[1] Each of the 36 states is a semi-autonomous political unit that shares powers with the Federal Government as enumerated under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Federal Capital Territory, also known as FCT, is the capital territory of Nigeria, and it is in this territory that the capital city of Abuja is located. FCT is not a state but is administered by elected officials who are supervised by the Federal Government. Each state is sub-divided into Local Government Areas (LGAs). There are 774 local government in Nigeria.[2] Under the Constitution, the 36 states are co-equal but not supreme because sovereignty resides with the Federal Government. The constitution can be amended by the National Assembly, but each amendment must be ratified by two-thirds of the 36 states of the federation.[3]

Current states and the Federal Capital Territory

A clickable map of Nigeria showing its 36 states and the federal capital territory.
NigerZinderNiameyBurkina FasoBeninAtlantic OceanCameroonPorto NovoGarouaChadChadLake ChadAbujaSokoto StateKebbi StateZamfara StateKatsina StateJigawa StateYobe StateBorno StateKano StateBauchi StateGombe StateAdamawa StatePlateau StateTaraba StateKaduna StateNasarawa StateBenue StateNiger StateKwara StateOyo StateOgun StateLagos StateKogi StateOsun StateEkiti StateOndo StateEdo StateEbonyi StateDelta StateBayelsa StateRivers StateImo StateAbia StateCross River StateFederal Capital Territory (Nigeria)Federal Capital Territory (Nigeria)Anambra StateAnambra StateEnugu StateEnugu StateAkwa Ibom StateAkwa Ibom StatePort HarcourtBenin CityLagosIbadanKadunaKanoMaiduguri A clickable map of Nigeria exhibiting its 36 states and the federal capital territory.
About this image
Federal Capital Territory (FCT)

Evolution of Nigerian states

Date Events Map
1960-1963 At the time of independence in 1960, Nigeria was a Federal State of three Regions: Northern, Western, and Eastern. Additionally, provinces, which were a legacy of colonial and protectorate times, remained extant until they were abolished in 1976.
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1963-1967 In 1963, a new region, the Mid-Western Region, was created from the Western Region.
Nigeria 1963-1967.png
1967-1976 In 1967, the regions were replaced by 12 states by military decree. From 1967 to 1970 the Eastern Region attempted to secede, as a nation called Biafra during the Nigerian civil war.
Nigeria states-1967-1976.png
1976-1987 In 1976, seven new states were created, making 19 altogether.[4]
Nigeria states-1976-1987.png
1987-1991 During this period, there were 21 states and the Federal Capital territory, Abuja.
Nigeria states 1987-1991.png
1991-1996 During this period, there were 30 states and the Federal Capital Territory. The Federal Capital Territory was established in 1991. In 1987 two new states were established, followed by another nine in 1991, bringing the total to 30. The latest change, in 1996, resulted in the present number of 36 states.
Nigeria 1991-1996.png


States of Nigeria have the right to organize and structure their individual governments in any way within the parameters set by the Constitution of Nigeria.


At the State level, the legislature is unicameral, with the number of its members equal to three times the number of legislators it has in the Federal House of Representatives. It has the power to legislate on matters on the concurrent list.


At the State level, the head of the executive is called the Governor, who has the power to appoint people to the State Executive Council, subject to the advice and consent of the State House of Assembly (Legislature). The head of a ministry at the State level is called a commissioner, who is assisted by a permanent secretary, who is also a senior civil servant of the State.


The Judiciary is one of the co-equal arms of the State government concerned with the interpretation of the laws of the State government. The Judiciary is headed by the Chief Justice of the State appointed by the governor subject to the approval of the State House of Assembly.[5]


See also