|Nickname(s): The Heroic Land (The Home of Conqueror)|
Location in Liberia
Largest city (Ganta)
|• Superintendent||Fong G. Zuagele|
|• Total||11,551 km2 (4,460 sq mi)|
|• Density||40/km2 (100/sq mi)|
|Time zone||GMT (UTC+0)|
Nimba County is a county in the north-central portion of the West African nation of Liberia. One of 15 counties that comprise the first-level of administrative division in the nation, it has six districts. Sanniquellie serves as the capital with the area of the county measuring 11,551 square kilometres (4,460 sq mi), the largest in the nation. As of the 2008 Census, it had a population of 462,026, making it the second most populous county in Liberia.
Named after Neinbaa Tohn Mountain, the tallest mountain in Liberia, Nimba is bordered by Bong and Grand Bassa counties to the west, Rivercess County to the southwest, and Grand Gedeh County to the southeast. The northern and northeastern parts of Nimba borders the nation of Guinea, while the northeast lies along the border of Côte d'Ivoire. Created in 1964, the current County Superintendent, who is the chief administrative officer, is Fong G. Zuagele.
Nimba County is one of fifteen political subdivisions of Liberia. During William V.S. Tubman's administration (1944–1971), the region now called Nimba County was one of three of Liberia's Provinces - namely, Western Province, Eastern Province and Central Province. In the sixties, Tubman changed these provinces into counties. Central Province became what is known as Nimba County. Before the civil war of Liberia in (1989), it had a population of over 310,000 people. It is the second largest county in Liberia in terms of population.
The districts of Nimba County include (population):
- Boe & Quilla District (18,262)
- Buu-Yao District (40,007)
- Doe District (35,918)
- Garr Bain District (61,225)
- Gbehlay-Geh District (32,176)
- Gbi & Doru District (8,131)
- Gbor District (10,875)
- Kparblee District (11,424)
- Leewehpea-Mahn District (24,747)
- Meinpea-Mahn District (24,157)
- Sanniqquellie-Mahn District (25,370)
- Twah River District (37,479)
- Wee-Gbehy-Mahn District (32,934)
- Yarmein District (22,718)
- Yarpea Mahn District (21,647)
- Yarwein Mehnsonnoh District (25,584)
- Zoe-Gbao District (29,372)
During the late 1950s iron ore was found in "the iron mountain" Mount Nimba. In a joint venture between the Liberian Government, US Bethlehem Steel and the Swedish mining company Gränges a huge project was set up, LAMCO (LIBERIAN American Co.). The project contributed to economic and social development in Liberia for 30 years. Corruption was minimal and political stability good. Liberia was amongst the most progressive countries in Africa during this period. History itself caught up with the past and ironically the usual tribal war mentality erupted in 1980 (see Liberia facts). Nimba county was devastated by the civil war that followed. The iron ore had been degrading in quality, and world prices plunged. The combination led to a dismantle of the LAMCO project. After the civil war (which lasted for more than a decade), Nimba is finally getting better. Arcelor-Mittal is committed to reopening the iron mine at Nimba Mountain, outside the former company town of Yekepa. Hospitals and Schools built and financed by LAMCO, are now being run by ArcelorMittal. The houses which were built by LAMCO have partly been rehabilitated by ArcelorMittal though most are overgrown by the rain-forest. Presently, BHP Billiton had engaged in an extraction agreement with the Government of Liberia to mine ore in Nimba. As such, they are active promotion of Education, scholarship and the most part human resource.
The main ethnic groups in Nimba County are the Dan also known as Gio and the Mano. The Dan, commonly known as the Gio live closer to the Cote d'Ivoire border and are known as the Yacouba in Côte d'Ivoire. The Mano live closer to the Guinea border. There are also indigenous minority group, which are: Krahn and the Gbi and Doru ethnic group with a little Kpelle and Bassa settlements near the Bong County border and the Grand Bassa County border. These are the historical indigenous peoples of Nimba County who has settlement of towns, villages, hamlet etc.,Dan, Mano,Krahn, and the Gbi and Doru. However, as the movement of people is a fact, there are various ethnic groups from other parts of Liberia like the Mandingo people who are indigenous people of Lofa County, Guinea, and the Ivory Coast; the Lorma from Lofa, the Kpelle and in recent times people from all parts of West Africa live and reside in Nimba.
The ethnic Dan (Gio) owns and live in these areas: Gbehlay-Geh Statutory District, Zoe-Geh Statutory District, Tappita Statutory District; and the main towns are Karnplay City, Bahn City, Tappitta City, Baylehglay, Buutuo, Garplay, Toweh town, Graie,Gbloulay,etc.; the Man(Mano) ethnic groups owns and live in Sanniquellie Mah Statutory District, Saclepea Mah Statutory District,and the Yahwin-Mehnsonnoh Statutory District, with the main towns are, Sanniquellie City, Ganta City, Saclepea City, Flumpa, Zekepa, Kanwin, Yekepa and others. The ethnic Krahn lives along the Ivory Coast border called Kpeahbleee District and main towns are Zoudru,Behwoaloa, Yourpea Old Town, Yourpea New Town,etc. while the other ethnic ingenuous group the Gbi and Doru lives along the border with Grand Bassa and Rivercess and their main towns are: Glann Town, Camp One,Kidka's Town, Torkpor's Town.
Today in Nimba County there are peoples from all over Liberia and West Africa who now resides in Nimba and it has taken a cosmopolitan melting point in Liberia with Ganta becoming the second city in Liberia as its population soars and the business class expands.
Access to quality healthcare in Nimba is lacking for many residents. The hospital at Yekepa, built by LAMCO, is now being run by Arcelor-Mittal. In Sanniquellie, the Ministry of Health and MSF Holland are cooperating to run a hospital and a set of health posts which provide access to basic care. At Ganta, the Methodist Church runs a private hospital. At Saclepea, MSF Switzerland runs a temporary comprehensive health center and is building a permanent one to move into during 2007. MSF Switzerland also operates three health posts at Lepula, Diallah, and Zekepa (all in southern Nimba). There are other small clinics and health posts operated by NGOs like MERCI and Africare. Presently, Equip-Liberia is running two health centers in Kparblee District one is in Zwedru while the other is in Yourpea New Town. Also a private clinic is being run by one Thomas Saulgaie in Kparblee Town. This clinic has about eighteen bedrooms.
Much of the population has access to traditional healers and to unregulated, privately operated pharmacies. The healers are using herbs of unknown efficacy, and the pharmacies are selling chloroquine, a drug which is known to be ineffective against the majority of malaria cases seen in Nimba.