Full List of Northern States in Nigeria & Details

The different 36 states in Nigeria are divided into various regions which comprises of the Northern region, the south-south, the south west and south east region. Our focus in this post will be to list comprehensively all the northern states in Nigeria who are mostly the Hausa/Fulani speaking people or tribe.


Map Showing The Northern States in Nigeria

Prior to the amalgamation of 1914 by the then Governor general, Lord Lugard, the protectorate of Northern Nigeria was already established in March 1, 1897. It was the treaty of 1885 that granted Northern Nigeria to Britain. Using Indirect rule, Frederick Lugard, ruled with the help of local chiefs which later became a theory in politics. After he merged the Northern Nigeria Protectorate with Southern Nigeria in 1914, the Richards constitution in 1945 gave more autonomy to the North especially in areas of foreign relations and customs policy.

It was not surprising to see that states that made up Northern Nigeria were more than those of the south-east and western states. This was because during the time of Sir Ahmadu Bello as its first premier, the Northern Peoples Congress under Sir Ahmadu Bello dominated parliament than other regions in Nigeria. The creation of various northern states by the different military heads of state also followed suit. They also have the largest land mass than all the other regions put together.

Today in Nigeria, there are 19 states that make up Northern Nigeria and they are subdivided the into North west and the North East states and North central.


Below is the list of all 19 northern states in Nigeria in no particular order:

  1. Zamfara
  2. Kano
  3. Benue
  4. Katsina
  5. Sokoto
  6. Kaduna
  7. Jigawa
  8. Niger
  9. Adamawa
  10. Kebbi
  11. Borno
  12. Bauchi
  13. Kogi
  14. Kwara
  15. Nasarawa
  16. Taraba
  17. Yobe
  18. Plateau
  19. Gombe


Bauchi state was founded in 1976 and its capital is Bauchi. It is among the north eastern states of in Nigeria, with Hausa and Fulani as the major tribes that exist in the state.


Benue state which was established in 1976 is among the north-central states in Nigeria. The capital of Benue is Makurdi and the people are mostly farmers as the state is known to be a rich agricultural region. Languages such as Tiv, Idoma, and Igede are spoken there.


Borno state is among the states that make up north-eastern Nigeria. The capital of Borno is Maiduguri which is also its largest city. It is also among the state established by General Olusegun Obasanjo in 1976. The slogan of Borno state is “Home of Peace”.


Kaduna is a state in north-western Nigeria with its capital at Kaduna city, the 8th largest city in the country. It was established in 1967 and is seen as one of the most developed northern states in Nigeria with the prestigious educational institution, Ahmadu Bello University located there. The slogan of Kaduna state is “Centre of learning”.


Kano state was formed in 1967 and it is located in north-western Nigeria. The capital is Kano and this state has been toutued as the most populous state in Nigeria today by the National Bureau of Statistics. Since Kano state is still the largest state by population in Nigeria, its slogan is “Centre of commerce”


Katsina state is located in the north-western geopolitical zone of Nigeria and was created in 1987 from Kaduna state. The slogan of Kastina is “Home of Hospitality”. This is also a sharia state in Nigeria and are mostly dominated by the Hausa/Fulani speaking people.


Kebbi state is another north-western state created in 1991 from Sokoto state. Its capital is Birnin Kebbi and slogan is “Land of Equity”.


Kogi state is among the north-central states in Nigeria and is located in the middle belt region. Created in 1991, Kogi state shares borders with ten other Nigerian states. The slogan of Kogi state is nicknamed the “Confluence State”. This is so because the confluence of the River Niger and the River Benue occurs in its capital, Lokoja. Tribes such as Igala, Ebira and Okun are predominant here.


Kwara state is located in western Nigeria but put under the north-central geo-political zone. The state was created in 1967 and its capital is at Ilorin. The primary ethnic group and language spoken often in Kwara state is Yoruba. The nickname of Kwara state is “State of harmony”.


Niger state is the largest state in Nigeria in terms of land mass and was created in 1976. It is located in the north-central geopolitical zone of Nigeria with its capital at Minna. Some of the tribes in Niger state include: Nupe, Hausa, Gbagyi, Kambari, Kamuku, and Dukawa.


Sokoto state is a north-western state in Nigeria and was created in 1976. This is the  state that has the seat of the Sultan, a first-class king that is seen as the Islamic head of the country. The capital is sokoto and the nickname of Sokoto state is “Seat of the Caliphate”.


Taraba state capital is Jalingo and it is a state in the north-eastern region of Nigeria. The tribes and languages of the inhabitants are mostly Fulani, Jukun, Hausa, Ichen, Wurkum, Mumuye, etc. Accordind to wikipedia, there are over 40 various tribes and their languages in Taraba state today. The nickname of Taraba is “Nature’s Gift to the nation”


Yobe state is another north-eastern state in Nigeria that was created in 1991. Its capital is loacted in Damaturu and is one of the most dangerous states in Nigeria to reside at the moment. The nickname of Yobe is “Pride of the Sahel”


Zamfara state capital is Gusau and it was created in 1996 from Sokoto. It is also among the states in northwestern Nigeria. The nickname of Zamfara is “Farming is our pride”


The capital of Jigawa state is Dutse and the nickname of this state is “The New World”. It was created 1991 from Kano and it is located in Northwestern Nigeria. Islam is the predominant religion of this state.


Gombe state is another northern state in Nigeria located in the north-east. It was carved out from Bauchi state in 1996 and its capital is gombe city. The nickname of Gombe state is “Jewel in the Savannah”.


Adamawa state falls under the states located in the north-eastern geopolitical zone in Nigeria. With its capital at Yola, this state falls under the dangerous region of the country due to the security challeges it encounters. The nickname of Adamawa state is “Land of Beauty”


Nasarawa state is a north-central state and its capital is at Lafia. The nickname of Nasarawa state is “Home of solid minerals”


The largest state in Nigeria in terms of land mass is Niger state. The states listed above are mostly the Hausa and Fulani speaking people, although there are other ethnic groups within the Northern region. Some might be wondering whether Abuja is a state? The Federal Capital Territory (F.C.T) is not a state, even though it is located in the north, it is the capital of Nigeria.

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Oluchi Chukwu

Oluchi is a seasoned Information blogger, content developer and the editor of Nigerian Queries. She is a tech enthusiast who loves reading, writing and research

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