Niger or Niger State is a state in Central Nigeria and the largest state in the country. The state capital is Minna, and other major cities are Bida, Kontagora, and Suleja. It was formed in 1976 when the then North-Western State was bifurcated into Niger State and Sokoto State. It is home to Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Alhaji Abubakar, two of Nigeria's former military rulers. The Nupe, Gbagyi, Kamuku, Kambari, Dukawa and Koro form the majority of numerous indigenous tribes of Niger State.
The state is named after the River Niger. Two of Nigeria's major hydroelectric power stations, the Kainji Dam and the Shiroro Dam, are located in Niger State, The famous Gurara Falls is in Niger State, and Gurara Local Government Area is named after the Gurara River, on whose course the fall is situated. Also situated there is Kainji National Park, the largest National Park of Nigeria, which contains Kainji Lake, the Borgu Game Reserve and the Zugurma Game Reserve. Gold, tin, iron, and quartz (used by the glass artisans in Bida) are mined mainly for local craftsmen. Pottery, brass work, glass manufactures, raffia articles, and locally dyed cloth are significant exports. Marble is quarried at Kwakuti, near Minna, the state capital; and Minna has a brick-making factory. Niger state has a share in all three dams of the Niger Dams Project, including one at Shiroro Gorge on the Kaduna River and one at Jebba (in Kwara state), the reservoir of which lies partly in Niger state.
Most of the inhabitants are engaged in farming. Cotton, shea nuts, yams, and peanuts (groundnuts) are cultivated both for export and for domestic consumption. Sorghum, millet, cowpeas, corn (maize), tobacco, palm oil and kernels, kola nuts, sugarcane, and fish are also important in local trade. Paddy rice is widely grown as a cash crop in the floodplains of the Niger and Kaduna rivers, especially in the area around Bida. Cattle, goats, sheep, chickens, and guinea fowl are raised for meat. Pigs are raised around Minna for sale to southern Nigeria.
Niger State Commodity Prices