Geopolitical Zones in Nigeria by Land Area

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The Federal Republic of Nigeria is divided into six zones, which are also known as geopolitical divisions. They are a type of administrative division that was developed to group the states of the country during the rule of the late military dictator General Sani Abacha. Nigeria’s economic, political, and educational resources are regularly divided among the zones.

States with similar ethnic populations and/or related political history were placed together, rather than dividing the six zones evenly based on geography. Nigeria is home to 450 languages and around 400 ethnic groupings. The government needed to merge similar groups in order to distribute resources effectively.

Geopolitical Zones in Nigeria by Land Area

Nigeria’s geopolitical zones, sometimes known as “regions” or “zones,” are frequently used to identify where Nigerian states are categorized or organized, despite the fact that they do not quite correspond with or honor geography upon closer inspection or research.

Most Nigerians easily substitute the idea of regions or zones for their own personal, political, and religious identities because it is seen to be so significant. Here are the geopolitical zones in Nigeria by land area.

1. Nort East – 272,451km²

With a land area of 272,451km², the North East region of Nigeria is the largest geopolitical zone in Nigeria. Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, and Yobe make up the six states of the North East. There are more than 100 minority groups in the zone.

2. North Central – 242,425km²

The north-central region, which is sometimes referred to as the Middle belt has a land area of 242,425km², making it the second largest geopolitical zone in Nigeria in terms of land area.

The North Central is made up of six states: Kogi, Benue, Kwara, Niger, Nasarawa, and Plateau, as well as the Federal Capital Territory.

The region has seen the greatest intertribal and interethnic fighting in Nigerian history. Some leaders in the Benue region once claimed that there were plans to purge minority groups.

3. North West – 193,088km²

The only region with seven states is the North West. According to figures from the National Population Census from 2006, it is also the region in Nigeria with the most population (NPC).

The North-West zone is the third largest when measured by land area, with 193,088km². Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina, Kano, Kaduna, and Jigawa states are states withing the geopolitical zone.

Unexpectedly, the North-West of Nigeria has the highest population density, according to NPC and NBS figures from 2016. In Nigeria, it is the region with the most council areas.

4. South South – 84,587km²

The south-south, which is sometimes referred to as the Niger Delta region, has an area of 84,587 km2 and produces the most crude oil in the nation.

The zone generates the most money (oil income) for the federal government, which is consumed by the legislature, the presidency, and the state governments.

Rivers, Edo, Delta, Cross River, Bayelsa, and Akwa Ibom are the six states of the zone. The only state in the zone that does not produce oil in the South South region is Cross River.

5. South West – 79,665km²

The southwest of Nigeria, which is dominated by the Yoruba, is occasionally referred to as the Yoruba region by some individuals.

With a land area of 79,665 km2, the South West is the fifth-largest geopolitical zone in Nigeria in terms of land area. States within the South West zone include Ekiti, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Lagos, and Ogun.

The zone continues to draw more individuals from other zones because it is the headquarters of Nigerian financial institutions and the media.

6. South East – 29,525km²

Nigeria’s South-East geopolitical region has the least states of all geopolitical zones in Nigeria, five. Imo, Enugu, Ebonyi, Anambra, and Abia are its five states.

The states in this zone are administered by the defunct Biafra Republic. After the horrifying assassination of Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi-Ironsi on July 29, 1966, during a coup, the Southeast is the only region without having produced a president.

The southeast zone has the smallest land area, with 29,525km2. It is Nigeria’s most inventive commercial district.

Here is a recap of the geopolitical zones in Nigeria by land area. 

Geo-political zoneLand Area by km²Position
North-East272, 4511
North-Central242,4252
North-West193,0883
South-South84,5874
South-West79,6655
South-East29,5256
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