Have you ever wondered how the 36 states in Nigeria got their names? If you love history, you may be longing to know how the process came to be. In this article, you find out how each state in Nigeria got its name
Abia is the short form gotten from the four main groups of people in the state as when it was formed in 1991: These four groups are; Aba Bende Isuikwuato Afikpo.
Adamawa was named after a warrior, Modibbo Adama Bin Ardo Hassan, that conquered the region at the beginning of the 19th century.
The name Akwa Ibom is simply named after a river, the Qua Iboe (or Kwa Iboe) River.
Anambra was gotten from the corrupt version of a popular river in the area called Oma Mbala (Ànyịm Ọma Mbala).
For Bauchi, there are three different stories on how the name was gotten; ‘Bauchi’ is a word in Hausa which means the southern flanks of Hausaland. Tribes that reside in the southern part of Bauchi were called “kasashen bauchi”. In the second story on how the name was formed is that it was named after a very famous hunter who stayed there in the 19th century called Baushe. The third story is that ‘bauchi’ is a Hausa word meaning slavery
Bayelsa is a mix of three local government areas that were gotten out of old Rivers state — Brass LGA is known as BALGA, Yenegoa LGA known as YELGA and Sagbama LGA known as SALGA. Combined together, the name BA + YEL + SA = BAYELSA was formed.
The state was named after ‘Binuwe’, the Batta word for ‘Mother of Waters’.
Another name for the Kanuris, the main ethnic group in the state, is ‘Borno’ and that was what inspired the name for the state.
9. Cross River
Named after a river called Oyono or Cross River.
This is where River Niger forms a delta as it enters the Atlantic Ocean.
Ebonyi is just the Anglican version of ‘Aboine’, which is simply a river that runs through Abakaliki, the state capital.
The Bini people that reside in that area identify themselves as Edo or Iduu. This was how the name was formed.
‘Okiti’ is a term used to refer to the settlement of many hills. It later became ‘Ekiti’.
Because of the many amounts of hills and rocks in the area, the people named it “Enu Ugwu”, in Igbo it means “top of the hill”.
Gombe is the dialect of Fulani language (Fulfulde) spoken in the area.
Like many of the Nigerian states, Imo got the name from the river, Imo Mmiri.
Jigawa got its name from its one of a kind golden-colored soil.
‘Kadunas’ means more than one crocodile in Hausa. The many crocodiles in the rivers there inspired the name.
The name Kano was the name of a blacksmith from the Gaya tribe who settled in the area while he was searching for ironstone. Kano State was named after him.
The state was named after the wife of a well known local ruler known as Janzama whose name was Kastina.
It is said that Kebbi was named after a place in Mecca, called Ka’abba.
Kogi is gotten from ‘kogin’, the hausa word for river.
The name was given to River Niger formerly was River Kwara. The state was named after this.
The first set of Europeans to come into Lagos in 1472 was the Portuguese. Lagos means lakes in Portuguese so due to the many lagoons and rivers in the town, they named it Lagos.
Nasarawa means ‘victorious’. The founder of the Nasarawa kingdom, Makama Dogo gave the state its name.
It was named after the popular River Niger
Also named after a river, Ogun River.
Ondo is a word used to describe settlers. The state was named after those who settled in the old Ondo Kingdom.
Named after a river, the River Osun.
Simply named after the Old Oyo empire.
The state was named after the beautiful Jos plateau. A town in Jos was usually mispronounced as ‘Gwosh’, that was how the name Jos originated.
Rivers State was given because of the many aquatic animals available in the area.
Sokoto means ‘suk’ in Arabic and suk means ‘market’. The state itself was named after the now non-existent Sokoto Caliphate.
Named after a river, the Taraba River.
Komadugu Yobe or River of Yo inspired the name of the state.
This state was named after Zamfarawa, one of the many dialects of the Eastern Hausa group.