Known as the “Salt of the Nation” because of its large salt deposits, Ebonyi State is one of the 36 states in Nigeria. It was created in 1996, making it one of the youngest states in Nigeria. The State shares a border with Benue State to the North, Enugu State to the west, Imo and Abia States to the south and Cross River State to the east.
Map of Nigeria with Ebonyi State highlighted in orange
For administrative purposes, Ebonyi State is divided into three Senatorial Zones, each represented by a Senator at the National Assembly, and six Federal Constituencies, each represented by a Member of the House of Representatives also at the National Assembly. The three Senatorial Zones are:
- Ebonyi North – comprising Abakaliki, Ebonyi, Ishielu, Ohaukwu and lzzi LGAs
- Ebonyi Central – comprising Ikwo, Ezza North and Ezza South LGAs
- Ebonyi South – comprising Afikpo North, Afikpo South, lvo, Ohaozara and Onicha LGAs
The state is also divided into thirteen local government areas (LGAs), namely:
(1) Abakaliki, (2) Afikpo North, (3) Afikpo South, (4) Ebonyi, (5) Ezza North, (6) Ezza South, (7) Ikwo, (8) Ishielu, (9) Ivo, (10) Izzi, (11) Ohaozara, (12) Ohaukwu and (13) Onicha.
Map showing Ebonyi Local Government Areas and Senatorial Zones
The people of Ebonyi State are predominantly farmers and traders. The main crops produced in the State are rice, yam, palm produce, cocoa, maize, groundnut, plantain, banana, cassava, melon, sugar cane, beans, fruits and vegetables. Fishing is also carried out in Afikpo.
The state is blessed with mineral resources such as lead, limestone, zinc and marble. Ebonyi is called “the salt of the nation” for its huge salt deposit at the towns of Okposi and Uburu.
In the industrial sector, the State has several food processing factories including dozens of rice mills, many quarry factories, a fertilizer blending plant, one of Nigeria’s largest poultries (Nkali Poultry) and one of Nigeria’s foremost cement factories (the Nigerian Cement Company at Nkalagu).
Educationally, the State boasts of a university in Abakaliki (Ebonyi State University, popularly known as EBSU), a federal polytechnic (Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic in Unwana near Afikpo), one college of education in Ikwo, a college of agriculture in Ishiagu and several secondary and primary schools spread across the various towns and villages.
Ebonyi students consistently rank high in educational tests and other achievement scores. The State’s secondary school debating teams have a long history of besting other teams to earn top honors in national and international competitions. That trend continues till date.
In the health sector, Ebonyi has two major hospitals – Ebonyi State Teaching Hospital and the Federal Medical Center – both in Abakaliki. The State also has three general hospitals located in Onueke, Onicha and Enohia Itim (near Afikpo). These are complemented by several private hospitals and clinics in various towns and villages. The State also has three schools of nursing at Uburu, Afikpo and Edda.
Tourist attractions in the State include Ndibe Beach in Afikpo, the salt lakes in the towns of Okposi and Uburu, and Ishiagu Pottery Works in Ishiagu.
Ebonyi State has a rich cultural heritage. This is expressed in the many colorful cultural dances, folklore and artwork, some of which have attracted national and international attention. The popular Nkwa Umuagbogho Dance Group of Afikpo has won several national and international merit awards. Other popular dance groups include the official State Government cultural dance group, Nkwa Nwite of Afikpo, Ojianyalere of Amasiri and many more.