Delta State is a state in the South-South geopolitical zone of Nigeria. Named for the Niger Delta—a large part of which is in the state—the state was formed from the former Bendel State in August 27, 1991. Bordered on the north by Edo State, the east by Anambra and Rivers states, and that south by Bayelsa State while to the west is the Bight of Benin which covers about 160 kilometres of the state's coastline. The state has 25 local government areas and its capital is Asaba, located along the River Niger on the northeastern end of the state, while the state's economic centre is Warri on the southwestern coastline.

Delta State
Aerial view of Inter-bau roundabout, Asaba, Delta State
Aerial view of Inter-bau roundabout, Asaba, Delta State
Flag of Delta State
Location of Delta State in Nigeria
Location of Delta State in Nigeria
Coordinates: 5°30′N 6°00′E / 5.500°N 6.000°E / 5.500; 6.000Coordinates: 5°30′N 6°00′E / 5.500°N 6.000°E / 5.500; 6.000
Date created27 August 1991
 • GovernorArthur Okowa Ifeanyi (PDP)
 • Deputy GovernorKingsley Otuaro (PDP)
 • LegislatureDelta State House of Assembly
 • SenatorsC: Ovie Omo-Agege (APC)
N: Peter Nwaoboshi (APC)
S: James Manager (PDP)
 • RepresentativesList
 • Total17,698 km2 (6,833 sq mi)
Area rank23rd of 36
 (2006 census)[1]
 • Total5,663,400
 • Rank9th of 36
 • Density320/km2 (830/sq mi)
 • Year2007
 • Total$16.75 billion[2]
 • Per capita$3,990[2]
Time zoneUTC+01 (WAT)
postal code
Dialing Code+234
ISO 3166 codeNG-DE
HDI (2018)0.655[3]
medium · 4th of 37

Of the 36 states, Delta is the 23th largest in area and twelfth most populous with an estimated population of over 5.6 million as of 2016.[4] Geographically, the state is divided between the Central African mangroves in the coastal southwest and the Nigerian lowland forests in most of the rest of the state as a small portion of the Niger Delta swamp forests are in the far south. The other important geographical features are the River Niger and its distributary, the Forçados River, which flow along Delta's eastern and southern borders, respectively; while fellow Niger distributary, the Escravos River, runs through Warri and the coastal areas are riddled with dozens of smaller Niger distributaries that make up much of the western Niger Delta. Much of the state's nature contain threatened dwarf crocodile, Grey parrot, African fish eagle, mona monkey, and African manatee populations along with potentially extirpated populations of African leopard and Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee.[5][6] Offshore, the state is also biodiverse as there are populations of Lesser African threadfin, crabs, and blue mussel along with various cetacean species.[6]

What is now Delta State has been inhabited for years by various ethnic groups, including the Isoko and Eruwa in the centre of the state; Ukwuani in the east; the Ika and Olukumi in the northeast; the Anioma Igbo in the northwest; and the Ijaw, Itsekiri, Urhobo, and Uvwie in the southwest. In the pre-colonial period, now-Delta State was divided into various monarchial states like the Kingdom of Warri and Ughelli Kingdom before the area became a part of the British Oil Rivers Protectorate in 1884. In the early 1900s, the British incorporated the protectorate (now renamed the Niger Coast Protectorate) into the Southern Nigeria Protectorate which later amalgamated into British Nigeria. However, colonial forces did not gain permanent control of modern-day Delta State until the 1910s, due to the uprisings of the Ekumeku Movement. Notably, Delta has one of the few parts of now-Nigeria to have been under French control as the UK leased the enclave of Forcados to France from 1903 to 1930.

After independence in 1960, the area of now-Delta was a part of the post-independence Western Region until 1963 when the region was split and the area became part of the Mid-Western Region. In 1967, the Igbo-majority former Eastern Region attempted to secede as the state of Biafra and invaded the Mid-Western Region in an attempt to capture Lagos and end the war quickly; Biafran forces were halted and eventually pushed back but briefly declared the captured Mid-Western Region (including now-Delta State) as the Republic of Benin. During the occupation there were widespread hostilities between the Biafran forces and the mainly non-Igbo inhabitants of now-Delta State with Biafran forces committing atrocities against ethnic Hausa, Urhobo, and Ijaw people; similarly, upon the liberation of the Mid-West, Nigerian forces committed the Asaba massacre against ethnic Igbos in Asaba. At the war's end and the reunification of Nigeria, the Mid-Western Region was reformed until 1976 when it was renamed Bendel State. In 1991, Bendel State was split with the north becoming Edo State and the south becoming Delta State.[7]

Economically, Delta State is based around the production of crude oil and natural gas as one of the main oil-producing states in the country.[8] Key minor industries involve agriculture as the state has substantial oil palm, yam, and cassava crops along with fishing and heliciculture. In large part due to its vast oil revenues, Delta has the fourth highest Human Development Index in the country; however, disputes between oil companies and local communities along with years of systemic corruption have lead to hostilities that are often tied to the lack of development in host communities.[9][10]


The state covers a landmass of about 18,050 km2 (6,970 sq mi), of which more than 60% is land. The state lies approximately between 5°00' and 6°45' E and 5°00' and 6°30' N.[11] It is geographically located in Nigeria's midwest, bounded in the north and west by Edo State, the east by Anambra, Imo, and Rivers States, southeast by Bayelsa State,[12] and on the southern extreme is the Bight of Benin which covers about 160 kilometres of the state's coastline. Delta State is generally low-lying without any remarkable hills. The state has a wide coastal belt inter-lace with rivulets and streams, which form part of the Niger River Delta.[13]


Delta State was defined out of the former Bendel State on 27 August 1991.[14] The state was actualized following agitations for the realization of a separate distinct state by the peoples of the old Delta Province.[15] There was yet another state request proposed as "Anioma State" comprising the Asaba and Agbor divisions of the old Midwest region.[15] The then Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, recognized Delta state but chose "Asaba" a prominent town within the "Northwestern Lower Niger" as capital city.[15] The proposed capital was a virgin land in the heart of the two constituent divisions that constitutes the Northwestern Lower Niger.[15] Delta state was once integrated in the Mid Western state from 1963 to 1976 and later Bendel state, from 1976 to 1991. The name "Bendel" (Ben-Del) coined from the old Benin and Delta Provinces of Western Region-Delta to reflect the integration of Benin and Delta provinces.[16]


Delta State is predominantly inhabited by the Urhobo, Ukwani, Isoko, Ijaw, Ika, Aniocha-Oshimili, Itsekiri and the Olukumi people.[15] The population of other groups in the state are negligible.

The Urhobo-Isoko are the most predominant people inhabiting the state[15] and currently more than 4 million[citation needed]. The Igboid group populating Delta State are referred to as the Anioma (People Of Good Land[17]) people.[15] The Itsekiri speak a language very closely related to Yoruba but have been culturally influenced by the Edo from neighbouring Edo state, as well as the Urhobo, and Ijaw.[15] The Ijaws are a group of people related to the predominant people of neighbouring Bayelsa State,[18] while the Olukumi are becoming culturally and linguistically extinct,[19] due to acculturation and assimilation.

The vast majority of inhabitants are Christian, with very few practicing traditional religions.


Arthur Okowa Ifeanyi, a member of the People's Democratic Party, was elected Governor and chief executive of Delta State in April 2015.[20] His deputy is Barr. Kingsley Otuaro.[21] The state has three National Senatorial Districts (South, North and Central). In 2011 and 2013, the elected senators were James Manager, Arthur Okowa Ifeanyi and Emmanuel Aguariavwodo who replaced Pius Ewherido who died in 2013 at National Hospital, Abuja.[22] In 2015, Chief Ighoyeta Amori was elected Senator of Delta Central but his election was annulled and Senator Ovie Omo-Agege sworn in as Senator of Delta Central,[23] James Manager retained his position and Chief Peter Nwaoboshi was elected Senator of Delta North. The Executive, Legislative and Judicial Chambers are housed in Asaba with a government house annex in Warri.[24]

Past & present administrationsEdit

Legislative house

Local Government AreasEdit

Delta State consists of 25 Local Government Areas (shown with 2006 population figures):

Delta Central Senatorial District 1,575,738 Delta North Senatorial District 1,293,074 Delta South Senatorial District 1,229,282
Ethiope East 200,942 Aniocha North 104,062 Bomadi 86,016
Ethiope West 202,712 Aniocha South 142,045 Burutu 207,977
Okpe 128,398 Ika North East 182,819 Isoko North 143,559
Sapele 174,273 Ika South 167,060 Isoko South 235,147
Udu 142,480 Ndokwa East 103,224 Patani 67,391
Ughelli North 320,687 Ndokwa West 150,024 Warri North 136,149
Ughelli South 212,638 Oshimili North 118,540 Warri South 311,970
Uvwie 188,728 Oshimili South 150,032 Warri South West 116,538
Ukwuani 119,034

Local Governments/languagesEdit

Languages of Delta State listed by LGA:[35]

LGA Languages
Aniocha North Igbo
Aniocha South Igbo
Burutu Izon
Bomadi Izon
Ethiope East Urhobo,
Ethiope West Urhobo
Ika North Igbo
Ika South Igbo
Isoko North Isoko
Isoko South Isoko
Ndokwa East Igbo


Ndokwa West Igbo
Oshimili North Igbo
Oshimili South Igbo
Okpe Urhobo
Patani Izon, Urhobo
Sapele Urhobo,
Udu Urhobo,
Ughelli North Urhobo
Ughelli South Urhobo
Ukwuani Igbo
Uvwie Urhobo,
Warri North Itsekiri, Izon
Warri South Urhobo, Itsekiri,Izon
Warri South West Izon, Itsekiri

Natural resourcesEdit

There are various solid mineral deposits within the state - industrial clay, silica, lignite, kaolin, tar sand, decorative rocks, limestone, etc.[36] These are raw materials for industries such as brick making, ceramics, bottle manufacturing, glass manufacturing, chemical/insulators production, chalk manufacturing and sanitary wares, decorative stone cutting and quarrying,[37] but these minerals are under-utilized.

Delta state also has huge deposits of crude oil and is also one of the largest producers of petroleum products in Nigeria.[38] Sales of petroleum products is what majorly drives its economy.

Higher educationEdit

Institutions of higher learning in Delta state include:[15]

Tourist attractionsEdit

Delta State has some historical, cultural and socio-political tourist centers that attract visitors from around the globe. Some of these sites of tourism include:[15]

  • The Nana's Palace built by Chief Nana Olomu of Ebrohim. He was a powerful 19th century indigenous entrepreneur who traded with the British. The relationship eventually turned sour. Later, he surrendered (not without putting up a fight) and was exiled to Ghana. His personal effects are housed in this grand palace.[64]
  • The River Ethiope which is reputed to be the deepest inland waterway in Africa (at 176 km). Its source is at the foot of a giant silk-cotton tree at Umuaja in Ukwuani Local Government Area of the state and flows through seven Local Government Areas in the State. It is a place of worship for Olokun traditional religion and also a common site for faithfuls of the Igbe Religious Movement.[65]
  • The Araya Bible Site which houses a copy of the Holy Bible. It is believed that the bible descended to this spot miraculously from heaven around August, 1914. The bible dropped on rain-soaked yam and it didn't get wet. The site now attracts thousands of Christians yearly.[66]
  • Demas Nwoko Edifice which was built using traditional materials, designs and construction techniques of the Igbo civilization by Demas Nwoko, an architect, builder and artist of international repute from Idumuje-Ugboko, in Aniocha North Local Government Area, Delta State.[67]
  • The Mungo Park House which is now the site of the National Museum, Asaba. The house was constructed by the Royal Niger Company (RNC) in 1886 and was used as a colonial administrative headquarters, a military house, the colonial administrative divisional headquarters, the RNC Constabulary building, and the seat of the Urban District Council at different times.[68]
  • The Ogulagha Beach
  • The Niger Bridge which connects Delta State (by extension, western Nigeria) to the Eastern part of Nigeria. It is a beauty to behold. It was completed in 1965 and cost £5 million. It was damaged during the civil war, but later repaired.[69]
  • Lander Brothers Anchorage, Asaba which was built in memory of early British explorers. The complex has a museum, a graveyard, and many artworks and writings. It houses a replica of one of the boats that was used by the brothers.[64]
  • Falcorp Mangrove Park
  • Warri Kingdom Royal Cemetery which is 512 year old burial ground and serves as the resting place of past rulers of Warri kingdom. A tree is planted on each grave.[70]


Delta State is known to have produced several sportsmen and women, notably Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, Sunday Ogochukwu Oliseh, Austin Jay-Jay Okocha, Wilson Oruma, Efetobore Sodje Blessing Okagbare, Jonathan Akpoborie, Alex Iwobi and Ogenekaro Etebo.[71]

Notable peopleEdit


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