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Description of Niger State
The state of Niger is located in western-central Nigeria, and it shares its southern border with the Niger River. It is surrounded by the states of Kaduna to the north and northeast, Kogi to the southeast, and Kwara to the south. Niger state shares a boundary with the Abuja Federal Capital Territory to the east and the Republic of Benin to the west. The floodplains of the Kaduna River are a major feature of the terrain, which consists primarily of wooded savannas.
During the 19th century, the Fulani troops of the Kontagora and Nupe emirates committed a series of slave raids that greatly reduced the population of the area, and the presence of the tsetse fly (which transmits trypanosomiasis, or sleeping disease), has prevented the population from returning. The British established Niger province in 1908; it incorporated the emirates of Abuja, Agaie, Bida, Kontagora, and Lapai, the emirates of Gwari (Gbari), Kamuku, and Wushishi, and the chiefdoms of Gwari (Gbari), and Zuru. From 1918 to 1926, it was known as Nupe province. Niger state was established in 1976, having previously existed as the southern portion of North-Western state since 1967. (excluding the newly created Abuja Federal Capital Territory). Niger state was expanded into northwest Kwara state in 1991. This area was located between the Niger River and the Republic of Benin.
Since the Niger River runs through it, so does the state. In addition to the brand-new Zungeru Dam, Niger State is home to Nigeria's two other major hydroelectric power stations—the Kainji and Shiroro dams. The Jebba Dam sits on the boundary between the states of Niger and Kwara. Niger State is home to the breathtaking Gurara Falls, and the local government area named after the river that forms the falls is appropriately called Gurara. Furthermore, the Borgu Game Reserve and the Zugurma Game Reserve are located in close proximity to one another, as is the largest Nigerian National Park, Kainji National Park, which features Kainji Lake.
Many different ethnic groups call Niger state home, including the Nupe in the south, the Gwari in the east, the Busa in the west, and the Kamberi (Kambari), Hausa, Fulani, Kamuku, and Dakarki (Dakarawa) in the north. Almost all of the population adheres to Islam. In this community, farming is the main source of income for the majority of the residents. Peanuts (groundnuts), yams, cotton, and shea nuts are all grown for both export and home use. Tobacco, palm oil and kernels, kola nuts, sugarcane, fish, and a variety of cereals and legumes are also substantial in the regional economy. In the floodplains of the Niger and Kaduna rivers, particularly in the region near Bida, paddy rice is farmed extensively as a cash crop. Meat is obtained from cattle, goats, sheep, chickens, and guinea fowl. Southern Nigeria benefits from the Minna region's pig production.
Craftsmen in Bida rely heavily on the minerals extracted from the ground, particularly gold, tin, iron, and quartz (used by glass artists). Products made from clay, brass, glass, raffia, and locally coloured textiles all rank high as valuable exports. As the capital of the state, Minna is also home to a brick plant and a marble quarry located in nearby Kwakuti. Two of the three dams in the Niger Dams Project are located in Niger state; one is at Shiroro Gorge on the Kaduna River, and the other is at Jebba (in Kwara state), although its reservoir is located in Niger state. The state also contains a portion of Kainji Lake, the reservoir created by the Kainji Dam (1969). The reservoirs created by these dams support irrigation projects and have become popular fishing spots. Kainji Lake National Park (previously Borgu Game Reserve) is mostly located in the Nigerian state of Niger.
Agricultural products compose of the substantial sector of Niger's economy in terms of the number of persons employed and the percentage of gross national product (GNP). In Niger state there is millet and sorghum, the main food crops, are grown in the south, as well as cassava and sugarcane.
Mining remains the substantial industry in Niger, with uranium being the biggest contributor. In addition, respective small units manufacturing food products, textiles, farm equipment, and metal furniture have mushroomed. The mining industry plays a significant role in Niger’s industry sector. Niger state has substantial resources of gold, coal, oil and other minerals and its ability to exploit them successfully is very significant for the country’s future growth. In Niger state other major industries are cement, brick, soap, textiles, food processing, chemicals and slaughterhouses. However, only 6% of Niger’s population is employed in the various industries, which contribute almost 17% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Universal demand for uranium and its prices are the main drivers of Niger’s uranium industry. In Niger state most of these mines are managed by SOMAIR, a French controlled company and a company owned partly by the government of Niger and partly by foreign interests.
Moreover uranium, utilize deposits of gold, phosphates, coal, iron, limestone and gypsum have been found in Niger state, In Niger state respective foreign companies, including American firms, have taken exploration permit for the exploration of gold and other mineral deposits. In Niger state China’s state-owned company China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) signed a $5 billion agreement to extract oil in the Agadem block, besides building a 20,000 barrels per day oil refinery and a 2,000 km oil pipeline in the country in June 2007. Niger state is also known to have some coal reserves which have low energy and high ash content and thus cannot challenge high quality coal available on the world market. An important portion of Niger state oil requirement is met through imports. Locally mined coal and imported oil are used to produce a significant amount of Niger’s electricity demand, with the rest being imported from Nigeria and other nations.Niger’s service industry is highly efficient and contributes nearly 45% of the country’s GDP while employing only about 5% of its population. The country’s livestock and agricultural division are other important sources of foreign exchange earnings. Niger state communications and other service segments have also been opened up for private investment.