Cross River State

Cross River is a state in South South Nigeria,[3] bordering Cameroon to the east. Its capital is Calabar and its name is derived from the Cross River (Oyono), which passes through the state. English and French are the major foreign languages of the state while Bekwarra, Bette people, Ejagham and Efik[4] are major indigenous languages of this state. Ejagham remains the largest ethnic group which stretches from the northern senatorial district to the southern senatorial district.

Cross River
State of Cross River
Kwa Falls, a waterfall along the Kwa River
Kwa Falls, a waterfall along the Kwa River
Seal of Cross River State
The People's Paradise (French: Le paradis des gens)
Location of Cross River State in Nigeria
Location of Cross River State in Nigeria
Coordinates: 5°45′N 8°30′E / 5.750°N 8.500°E / 5.750; 8.500Coordinates: 5°45′N 8°30′E / 5.750°N 8.500°E / 5.750; 8.500
Country Nigeria
Geopolitical ZoneSouth South
Date created27 May 1967
 • Governor
Benedict Ayade (PDP)
 • Deputy GovernorIvara Esu
 • SenatorsGershom Bassey
Barr. Stephen Adi Odey
Sandy Ojang Onor
 • Total20,156 km2 (7,782 sq mi)
Area rank19th of 36
 • Total3,737,517
 • Rank28th of 36
 • Density190/km2 (480/sq mi)
 • Year2007
 • Total$15.56 billion[1]
 • Per capita$5,150[1]
Time zoneUTC+01 (WAT)
postal code
Dialing Code+234
ISO 3166 codeNG-CR
HDI (2018)0.609[2]
medium · 14th of 37


Cross River State derives its name from the Cross River which passes through the state. It is a coastal state located in the Niger Delta region, and occupies 20,156 square kilometers. It shares boundaries with Benue State to the north, Ebonyi and Abia States to the west, to the east by Sud-Ouest Province, claimed by both Ambazonia and Cameroon Republic, and to the south by Akwa-Ibom and the Atlantic Ocean.[5]


The South-South State was created on 27 May 1967 from the former Eastern Region, Nigeria by the General Yakubu Gowon regime. Its name was changed to Cross River State in the 1976 state creation exercise by the then General Murtala Mohammed regime from South Eastern State.[3]:222 The present day Akwa Ibom State was excised from it in the state creation exercise of September 1987 by the then regime of General Ibrahim Babangida.[6] The struggle for a new state creation started in 1980 in the reign of president shehu shagari where Senator Joseph Oqua Ansa (Mon) the senator representing Calabar senatorial district then was at the helm of affairs. Its capital is Calabar. Its major towns are Calabar Municipality, Akamkpa, Biase, Calabar South, Ikom, Igede, Obubra, Odukpani, Ogoja, Bekwarra, Ugep, Obudu, Obanliku, Akpabuyo, Ofutop, Iso-bendghe, Danare, Boki, Yala, Bendeghe Ekiem, Etomi, Ediba, Itigidi, Ugep, Ukpe and Ukelle.

The state has been previously governed by many governors and administrators including Udoakaha J. Esuene, Paul Omu, Tunde Elegbede, Clement Isong, Donald Etiebet, Daniel Archibong, Ibim Princewill, Ernest Atta, Clement Ebri, Ibrahim Kefas, Gregory Agboneni, Umar Faoruk Ahmed, Christopher Osondu, Donald Duke, Liyel Imoke and Benedict Ayade. The Current Governor is Benedict Ayade, who was sworn into office on 29 May 2015. He was re-elected for a second term in office in 2019 under the platform of The People's Democratic Party.


The State is composed of several ethnic groups, which include the Efik, the Ejagham, Yakurr, Bahumono, Bette, Yala, Igede, Ukelle and the Bekwarra. There are four major languages spoken in the state: French, Efik, Bekwarra, and Ejagham. The Efik language is widely spoken in the southern part of Cross River State, especially in Calabar Municipality, Calabar South, Akpabuyo, Bakassi and Odukpani Local Government Areas. The Ejagham language is the most widely spoken language in Cross River State; from Calabar Municipality, Akamkpa, Ikom, Obubura, Ogoja, Obudu, and Etung local government councils, to the south west province of Cameroon.

The Efik-speaking people live mainly in the Southern senatorial districts of Cross River, or as it is commonly referred to, the Greater Calabar district, which includes Calabar Municipality, Calabar South, Bakassi, Biase, Akpabuyo, Odukpani, and Akamkpa LGAs. There is also the Qua community in Calabar, which speaks Ejagham. The main Ejagham group occupies mostly the Greater Calabar areas of Calabar Municipality, Odukpani, Biase and Akampkpa sections of Cross River State.

There are also the Yakurr /Agoi/Bahumono ethnic groups in Yakurr and Abi LGA, while the Mbembe are predominantly found in Obubra LGA. Further up the core northern part of the state are several sub-dialectical groups, among which are Etung, Olulumo, Ofutop, Nkim/Nkum, Abanajum, Nseke and Boki in both Ikom, Etung and Boki LGAs. Also, the Yala/Yache, Igede, Ukelle, Ekajuk, Mbube, Bette, Bekwarra and Utugwang people are found in Ogoja, Yala, Obudu and Obanliku and Bekwarra LGA's. The Yala are a subgroup of the Idoma nation, part of the Yala LGA's subgroups are the Igede speaking people believed to have migrated from the Oju part of Benue State, who migrated from Ora, in Edo North. In Cross River North, Bekwarra is one of the most widely spoken language. It is understood by other tribes in the district. This language along with Efik and Ejagham is used for news broadcast in the state owned radio and TV stations.

Cross River State epitomises the nation's linguistic and cultural plurality and it is important to note that, in spite of the diversity of dialects, all the indigenous languages in the state have common linguistic roots as Niger–Congo languages. Finally, the State boasts of being the venue of the largest carnival in Africa.

Obudu Mountains

Local Government AreasEdit

Cross River State consists of eighteen (18) Local Government Areas. They are:


Languages of Cross River State listed by LGA:[7]

LGA Languages
Abi Agwagwune; Kohumono; Ikwo-Igbo
Akamkpa Agoi; Bakpinka; Doko-Uyanga; Efik; Lubila; Nkukoli; Ukpet-Ehom; Ejagham; Kiong; Korop; Ubaghara; Ukwa; Umon
Bekwarra Bekwarra; Tiv; Utugwang-Irungene-Afrike
Biase Agwagwune
Boki Bete-Bendi; Bokyi
Calabar Ejagham; Efik
Ikom Ejagham; Abanyom; Bukpe; Efutop; Mbembe, Cross River; Nde-Nsele-Nta; Ndoe; Nkukoli; Nnam; Olulumo-Ikom; Yala
Obanliku Bete-Bendi; Evant; Iceve-Maci; Obanliku; Otank; Tiv
Obubra Agoi; Hohumono; Legbo; Lenyima; Leyigha; Lokaa; Mbembe, Cross River; Nkukoli; Yala; Ikwo-Igbo
Obudu Bete-Bendi; Bukpe; Bumaji; Elege; Tiv; Ubang; Utugwang-Irungene-Afrike
Odukpani Efik; Ejagham; Idere; Kiong; Korop; Odut; Usaghade
Ogoja Ekajuk; Igede; Kukele; Mbe; Nkem-Nkum; Nnam; Utugwang-Irungene-Afrike; Uzekwe
Yakurr Lokaah; Agoi, Asiga
Yala Izii-Igbo; Mbembe, Cross River; Igede; Tiv; Yace; Yala

Other languages spoken in Cross State are Eki, Ibibio, Ilue, Ito, and Okobo.[7]


Festivals held in Cross River state includes:

  • The Cross River State Christmas Festival – 1 December to 31 December annually
  • The Cross River State Carnival Float – 26 and 27 December yearly
  • The Yakurr Leboku Yam festival – 28 August annually
  • The Calabar Boat Regata
  • Anong Bahumono Festival which is held in Anong Village, during which different cultural dances are showcased, including Ikpobin (acclaimed to be the most entertaining dance in the state), Ekoi, Obam, Emukei and Eta
  • Ediba Bahumono Festival which is held in Ediba Village every last Saturday in the month of July
  • Bekwarra, Obudu, Obanliku, Igede New yam festival which is held every 1st Saturday of September every year.


Cross River National Park

From the soaring plateaus of the mountain tops of Obanliku to the Rain forests of Afi, from the Waterfalls of Agbokim and Kwa to the spiralling ox-bow Calabar River which provides sights and images of the Tinapa Business Resort, Calabar Marina, Calabar Residency Museum and the Calabar Slave Park along its course, there is always a thrilling adventure awaiting the eco-tourist visiting Cross River State.

Other tourist attractions are the Ikom Monoliths (a series of volcanic-stone monoliths of unknown age), the Mary Slessor Tomb, Calabar Drill Monkey Sanctuary, Cross River National Park, Afi Mountain walkway canopy, Kwa falls, Agbokim waterfalls, Tinapa Business Resort, Mono rail way and the annual Calabar Carnival that takes place during the Christmas period.

Cross River State can be accessed by air through the Margaret Ekpo International Airport at Calabar. There are daily flights to Calabar from Lagos and Abuja serviced by airlines such as Air peace Airlines and Ibom Air Airlines.


Tertiary educational institutions in the State includes University of Calabar, Cross River State University of Technology and College of Health Technology located in the state capital Calabar, Ibrahim Babangida College of Agriculture located in Obubra Local Government Area, Cross River State College of Education located in Akamkpa Local Government Area, Federal College of Education located in Obudu[8] and Technical College Ugep located in Yakurr Local Government Area Arthur Jarvis University located in Akpabuyo Local Government Area.[9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "C-GIDD (Canback Global Income Distribution Database)". Canback Dangel. Retrieved 20 August 2008.
  2. ^ "Sub-national HDI - Area Database - Global Data Lab". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  3. ^ a b Benjamin Obi Nwabueze (1982). A Constitutional History of Nigeria. C. Hurst and Co LTD, UK. ISBN 9780905838793.
  4. ^ "Efik Women's Regal Dresses". Folio Nigeria. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  5. ^ Andem, A. B; Udofia, U. U; Okorafor, K. A; George, U. U (11 August 2013). "Bioaccumulation of some Heavy Metals and Total Hydrocarbon (THC) in the Tissues of Periwinkle (Tympanotonus Fuscatus Var Radula) in the Intertidal Regions of Qua Iboe River Basin, Ibeno, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria". Greener Journal of Biological Sciences. 3 (7): 258–264. doi:10.15580/gjbs.2013.7.072913762. ISSN 2276-7762.
  6. ^ "Brief History of Cross-River State:: Nigeria Information & Guide". Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Nigeria". Ethnologue (22 ed.). Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Institutions". National Board for Technical Education. Retrieved 20 March 2010.

External linksEdit