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Delta State

Coordinates: 5°30′N 6°00′E / 5.500°N 6.000°E / 5.500; 6.000
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Delta State
Flag of Delta State
Seal 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; 6.000
Date created27 August 1991
 • GovernorSheriff Oborevwori (PDP)
 • Deputy GovernorMonday Onyeme (PDP)
 • LegislatureDelta State House of Assembly
 • SenatorsC: Ede Dafinone (APC)
N: Ned Nwoko (PDP)
S: Joel-Onowakpo Thomas (APC)
 • RepresentativesList
 • Total17,698 km2 (6,833 sq mi)
 • Rank23rd of 36
 (2006 census)[1]
 • Total4,112,445
 • Estimate 
 • Rank9th of 36
 • Density230/km2 (600/sq mi)
 • Year2021
 • Total$40.05 billion[3]
5th of 36
 • Per capita$6,025[3]
6th of 36
Time zoneUTC+01 (WAT)
postal code
Dialing Code+234
ISO 3166 codeNG-DE
HDI (2021)0.662[4]
medium · 3rd of 37
Asaba roundabout, Asaba, Delta state

Delta State is a state in the South-South geopolitical zone of Nigeria. Named after the Niger Delta—a large part of which is in the state—the state was formed from the former Bendel State on 27 August 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 was initially created with 12 local government areas in 1991 which was later extended to 19 and now has 25 local government areas. Asaba as its state capital located along the River Niger on the northeastern end of the state, while the state's economic center is Warri on the southwestern coastline.

Of the 36 states, Delta is the 23rd largest in area and twelfth most populous with an estimated population of over 5.6 million as of 2016.[5] 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.[6][7] Offshore, the state is also biodiverse as there are populations of Lesser African threadfin, crabs, and blue mussel along with various cetacean species.[7]

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 Agbor 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.[8]

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.[9] 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.[10][11]


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.[12] It is geographically located in Nigeria's Midwest, bounded in the north and west by Edo State for 350 km (218 miles), the east by Anambra, and Rivers States for about 93 km and about 50 km respectively, southeast by Bayelsa State across the Niger River for 17 km and the Forçados River for 198 km,[13] 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-laced with rivulets and streams, which form part of the Niger Delta.[14][15][16]


An important characteristics of the Climate of Delta State is flooding.[17] The ecological attributes of Delta State also include heavy rainfall, which makes the state, like other states in the Niger-Delta Nigeria to be regarded as lowland rainforest, freshwater swamp and mangrove swamp. Delta State has a mean rainfall of 36.9 mm, as well as increase in rainfall which in year 2015 resulted to inundation of farmlands in the state.[18] 2015 was also the year the state had the highest rainfall, amounting to 3183.6 mm. In year 2007, the state had the lowest rainfall over the 11-year period, amounting to an annual rainfall of 2030.58 mm. While January has the lowest rainfall in the state, in July, rainfall is very high at 423.2 mm.[18]


Delta State was defined out of the former Bendel State on 27 August 1991.[19] The state was actualized following agitations for the realization of a separate distinct state by the peoples of the old Delta Province.[20] There was yet another state request proposed as "Anioma State[21]" comprising the Asaba and Agbor Divisions of the old Midwest region.[20] The then Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, recognized Delta state but chose "Asaba" a prominent town within the "Northwestern Lower Niger" as capital city.[20] The proposed capital was a virgin land in the heart of the two constituent divisions that constitutes the Northwestern Lower Niger.[20] 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) was coined from the old Benin and Delta Provinces of Western Region-Delta to reflect the integration of Benin and Delta provinces.[22]


The State government is led by a democratically elected governor who works closely with members of the state's house of assembly. The Capital city of the State is Asaba.[23]

Electoral system[edit]

The electoral system of each state is selected using a modified two-round system. To be elected in the first round, a candidate must receive the plurality of the vote and over 25% of the vote in at least two -third of the State local government Areas. If no candidate passes threshold, a second round will be held between the top candidate and the next candidate to have received a plurality of votes in the highest number of local government Areas.[24]


Delta State is predominantly inhabited by the Urhobo, Enuani, Isoko, Uvwie, Okpe, Ijaw, Ukwuani, Ika, Itsekiri and the Olukumi people.[20] The population of other groups in the state are negligible.

The Urhobo-Isoko are basically the same people and are the most predominant people inhabiting the state[20] and currently about 3.3 million spanning across 13 local government areas, followed by Ukwuani, Ika and Aniocha-Oshimili(Igbo) people of Delta State with a population of about 1.8 million spanning across 9 Local government areas who are sometimes referred to as the Anioma people.[25][26][20] 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.[20]

The Okpe is a dialect of Urhobo language. The Okpe people occupy two local government areas (Sapele and Okpe) in Delta Central.

The Ijaws are a group of people related to the predominant people of neighbouring Bayelsa State,[27] while the Olukumi are becoming culturally and linguistically extinct,[28] due to acculturation and assimilation.[citation needed]

The vast majority of inhabitants are Christian, with very few practicing traditional religions.[25]

The Catholic Church includes the Diocese of Warri (1964) with 135 parishes under Bishop Anthony Ovayero Ewherido (2022), and parts of Bomadi (1991) under Bishop Hyacinth Oroko Egbebo (2009), both suffragans of the Archdiocese of Benin City.

The Bendel Province of the Anglican Church of Nigeria under Archbishop Cyril Odutemu (2020) includes the Dioceses of Asaba (1977) led by Bishop Kingsley Chukwakanadu Obuh (2022), Ika (2001) led by Bishop Godfrey Ifeanyichukwu Ekpenisi (2018), Ndokwa (2008) led by Bishop Festus Nwafili (2023),[9] Sapele (2009) led by Bishop Blessing Erifeta (2009), Ughelli led by Bishop Cyril Odutemu, Warri (1980) led by Bishop Christian Esezi Ide (2006) and Western Izon (2005) led by Bishop Victor Okporu[10] (2021).


Sheriff Oborevwori, a member of the People's Democratic Party, was elected Governor and chief executive of Delta State in March 2023. His deputy is Monday Onyeme. The state has three National Senatorial Districts (South, North and Central). In 2011 and 2013, the elected senators were James Manager,[citation needed] Arthur Okowa Ifeanyi and Emmanuel Aguariavwodo who replaced Pius Ewherido who died in 2013 at National Hospital, Abuja.[29] 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,[30] 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.[citation needed]

Past & present administrations[edit]

Local Government Areas[edit]

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/Indigenous people[edit]

The British Map of Eastern Nigeria, 1958

Indigenous ethnic groups of Delta State listed by LGA:[40]

LGA Headquarters Indigenous people
Aniocha North Issele-Uku Igbo Enuani, Olukumi, Ika
Aniocha South Ogwashi-Uku Igbo Enuani
Burutu Burutu Ijaw
Bomadi Bomadi Ijaw
Ethiope East Isiokolo Urhobo
Ethiope West Oghara Urhobo
Ika North East Owa Oyibo Ika
Ika South Agbor Ika
Isoko North Ozoro Isoko
Isoko South Oleh Isoko
Ndokwa East Aboh Ukwuani, Isoko
Ndokwa West Kwale Ukwuani
Oshimili North Akwukwu-Igbo Igbo Enuani, Igala, Ika
Oshimili South Asaba Igbo Enuani
Okpe Orerokpe Urhobo
Patani Patani Ijaw, Urhobo
Sapele Sapele Urhobo
Udu Otor-Udu Urhobo
Ughelli North Ughelli Urhobo
Ughelli South Otu-Jeremi Urhobo
Ukwuani Obiaruku Ukwuani
Uvwie Effurun Urhobo
Warri North Koko Itsekiri[41]
Warri South Warri Itsekiri[41]
Warri South West Ogbe Ijaw Itsekiri, Ijaw[41]


The state is one of the richer and more developed ones in Nigeria and has the second-lowest incidence of extreme poverty (around 3% of the population against a national average of 31%) according to World Bank data from 2018.[42]

Natural resources[edit]

There are various solid mineral deposits within the state - industrial clay, silica, lignite, kaolin, tar sand, decorative rocks, limestone, etc.[43] 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,[44] but these minerals are under-utilized.[45]

Delta state also has huge deposits of crude oil and is also one of the largest producers of petroleum products in Nigeria.[46] Sales of petroleum products is what majorly drives its economy.[citation needed]

Higher education[edit]

Delta state Polytechnic, Ogwashi-Uku, Delta state

Institutions of higher learning in Delta state include:[20]


Federal Highways are:

Other major roads include

  • the Warri-Sakpoba Rd northeast from A2 at Ogharefe Junction to Edo State at Otefe,
  • the Agbor Eku Rd south from Agbor,
  • the Sakpoba Rd southwest from Agbor to Edo State at Ugbeka,
  • the Uromi Igbanke Rd north from A232 at Agbor to Edo State.

Airports: Warri Airport or Osubi Airstrip, built by Shell Oil in 1999.

Tourist attractions[edit]

Delta State has some historical, cultural and socio-political tourist centres that attract visitors from around the globe. Some of these sites of tourism include:[20]

  • 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.[73][74]
  • 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 faithful of the Igbe Religious Movement.[75]
  • 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.[76]
  • 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.[77]
  • 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.[78]
  • The Abraka Turf and Country Club, Abraka features a horse club where an international polo tournament holds every year during Easter.[79]
  • 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.[80]
  • 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.[citation needed]
  • Falcorp Mangrove Park
  • Warri Kingdom Royal Cemetery which is a 512-year-old burial ground and serves as the resting place of past rulers of the Warri kingdom. A tree is planted on each grave.[81]
  • Mungo Park House, Asaba is the first headquarters of the Royal Niger Company and Nigeria's first political headquarters in 1900.[73]
  • Kwale Game Reserve is situated in the low coastal zone of Delta State, characterized by rainforest vegetation and deltaic swamps. It is rich in reptiles and water associated animals, particularly red river hog, sitatunga and a variety of brackish, marine and freshwater fish species.[73]


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, and Ogenekaro Etebo.[82]

Notable people[edit]


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